Original Publication Date: 1990
The company Mallory's dad works for is having trouble, so he's laid off. Mallory and her siblings are pretty worried, especially when he has little luck with job prospects. Mrs. Pike works for a temp agency, but since the kids are concerned that won't be enough to make ends meet, they all work hard to use less money (for example, not watching TV to save on the electric bill) and save their own money in case their parents need it. (They don't know that Mr. Pike has severance pay)
Mallory ends up baby-sitting a lot more, including a steady job at the Delaneys', who just had a pool put in. She helps Amanda and Max deal with the problem of who's coming over to play with them versus who's coming to play with their pool. She's in a good position to discern real friends, since some of the sixth-graders she'd been closer to are now teasing her, saying that her dad must be lazy or was stealing from the company.
Mr. Pike does eventually get another job, albeit not quite as good, but it's good enough that things can go back to normal. The book ends with Mallory hosting her first BSC sleepover, complete with prank-calling the two girls who were meanest to her.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: Mallomars in her jewelry box, Fritos behind her pillow
When Mallory got her ears pierced, her mom specifically said she wanted her to wear fun earrings, but now she's only allowed to wear studs or tiny hoops (before her father gets laid off).
Stacey's still not feeling well.
Mallory's mom likes computers and is very good with them.
Last book witnessed the advent of "distant" for "cool." Now we also have "dibble" for "incredible" and "stale" for "uncool."
Mrs. Prezzioso is pregnant. Dawn and Mary Anne know the baby's gender, but the rest of the club wants to be surprised.
SMS: nothing new
PSA time: nothing new
Isn't there a difference between being laid off and being fired? Because you wouldn't know it from this book.
Washing dishes for a family of ten by hand doesn't really save money. Dishwashers use less water when they're run at full capacity.
Starting 8th grade: 3
Halloweens in 8th grade: 2 (plus one in seventh)
Summers after 8th grade: 2
BSC Fights: 5
SMS Staff: 16
Students (other than the BSC): 32 8th graders, nine sixth-graders, nine unspecified
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 41 (bubble gum, Butterfingers, butterscotch candy, Cheese Doodles, a chocolate bar, cookies, Cracker Jacks, crackers, cupcakes, Ding-Dongs, Doritos, Fritos, gumdrops, Gummi Bears, Heath bars, Hershey's kisses, Ho Hos, jawbreakers, licorice, licorice whips, Lifesavers, M&Ms (regular and peanut), Mallomars, marshmallows, Mentos, mini candy bars, Necco wafers, Oreos (Double Stuf), Planter's Peanut bar, popcorn, potato chips, pretzels, pretzel sticks, Ring Dings, root beer barrels, salt water taffy, Snickers, taco chips, Tootsie Roll Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Twinkies)
Crushes: Claudia-6 (Guy, Austin Bentley, Timothy Carmody, Woody Jefferson, Trevor Sandbourne, Will Yamakawa), Dawn-3 (Travis, Lewis Bruno, Parker Harris), Mary Anne-2 (Alex, Logan Bruno), Stacey-6 (Toby, Kelsey Bauman, Pete Black, Pierre D'Amboise, Scott Foley, Sam Thomas), Kristy-1 (Bart Taylor), Mallory-1 (Ben Hobart)