Original Publication Date: 1990
Ghostwriter? No, Ann wrote this herself and dedicated it to the memory of "Lisa Novak and Gregg Peretz, whose short lives touched hundreds of others' in unique and wonderful ways." From a Google search, it seems they were murdered in their early 30s and may have been married. There is a scholarship fund set up in their names.
The BSC wins a lottery prize (not the top one) and uses the money to go to California and visit Dawn's dad during one of SMS's many two-week vacations. Since the last super special involved a shipwreck, we'll go ahead and call this realistic.
Dawn gets irritated with her dad's girlfriend, Carol, who can do no right in Dawn's eyes. But she takes care of situation with Stacey (see below) well enough that Dawn ends up okay with her, even being able to accept the idea that her father might marry Carol someday.
Mary Anne babysits a few times for Stephie Roberts, a little girl whose mother died several years ago and who has asthma. Mary Anne is able to sympathize with her about the former and worries a lot about the latter. She eventually relaxes about the asthma and lets Stephie run around and do the things Stephie knows she can do. Of course, Stephie does have a brief asthma attack the last time Mary Anne sits for her, but they both handle it fine.
Claudia goes on a few dates with Terry, a boy she meets at the beach. She's worried that he's too smart for her, and puts on airs to impress him. When she finally lets the charade drop, she discovers that he's much easier to talk to, and they get along fine. They promise to be penpals and try to visit, but of course we'll never hear about him again after this book.
Kristy scoffs at the lackadaisical way the We ♥ Kids Club is run. She volunteers to sit for Erick and Ryan DeWitt, two notoriously ill-behaved boys. They overrun her at first, but Kristy does eventually gain control. In doing so, she (of course) learns that maybe there is more than one right way to do something.
Stacey takes up surfing and starts hanging out with some high school surfers. She starts to act recklessly, following their lead: taking waves that are too big for her, not speaking up when the driver of the car isn't being careful. The driver ends up causing a four-car collision. No one is seriously hurt, but Stacey gets pretty bruised. Carol picks her up from the hospital, and has her tell Dawn's dad what happened, then tell her own parents.
Jessi gets to go the set of PS 162, Derek Masters's TV show. She even gets to be an extra, and starts thinking about searching for an agent in California, because she has no memory of RS#27, in which she already did this and decided to continue with ballet. She only flirts with the idea though, and goes back to concentrating on ballet.
Mallory decides that she needs to look like a California girl and spends a ton of money on make up and (magic) wash-out hair dye that (magically) turns her red hair blonde. She's depressed when the PS 162 director tells her she doesn't have the right look to be an extra, but Kristy snaps her out of it by pointing out that her new look hasn't gained her anything and that she was fine before (Kristy's tactlessness used for good instead of evil). She dyes her hair red again and Stacey and Claudia buy her makeup from her.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: not in this book
Apparently Claudia has been having her dad buy her lottery tickets for a long time...and he's okay with that? She can't read Nancy Drew, but her parents let her play the lottery?
Why do the girls address their postcards so formally? They're to "Mr. and Mrs. [dad's name]." I didn't even do that on my wedding invitations, just "Granny and Grandad" or whoever. (For what it's worth, I was married in a full nuptial Mass)
Claudia loves spaghetti...and this is the infamous flight in which Dawn orders the chicken. Because she's vegetarian, you know.
It's kinda stupid that Kristy would wonder why Carol (Mr. Schafer's girlfriend) would get on Dawn's nerves, given how she was with Watson at first.
Carol is a painter. My first thought was a house painter, but I think she's an artist? She drives a red sports car.
Mallory's dad is named Daniel in this book. In others, he's John.
The Club: nothing new
SMS: nothing new
PSA time: nothing new
I love how Mary Anne is when Stephie is crying (upset that Mary Anne is going home): "I didn't say 'Don't cry' because everyone has a right to cry when they're feeling bad. And I didn't say 'It's okay' because it wasn't." She just hugs Stephie and lets her be upset.
It's really weird to read about the plane flight with all the changes that have happened in air travel in the last twenty years (yes, this book was published twenty years ago). But weirder than that is the brief discussion about the Soviet Union, in present tense.
It cracks me up that the BSC doesn't know what asthma is. My dad and I have it, and my younger brother used to, so it seems like basic knowledge to me.
You know those gorgeous white sand beaches? Some are made by parrot fish: they eat coral and excrete white sand.
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-7 (Guy, Terry, 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)