12/31/11

Secret Santa

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? Not that I can tell

Synopsis:

The BSC members draw names for a Secret Santa exchange (Dawn mails hers from CA). Rather than tangible or easy gifts, they put down what they wish for. They also get a child's letter to Santa, from Eliza who asks for her runaway sister to come home.


Kristy wishes she didn't have such a big mouth. Mary Anne is her Secret Santa, and she knows what Kristy really wants: a Christmas card from her father.


Mallory wishes to be remembered forever. Logan fulfills her wish by having a tree planted in her name, with a plaque by it so people will know.


Claudia wishes to do something meaningful for someone. Mallory writes a really sweet letter to her that all the work Claudia did for Eliza was meaningful.


Shannon wishes for a better sense of humor. Jessi gets her a joke book and props from the McBuzz catalog (no picture, though).

Stacey wishes she could be in New York City at Christmas. Claudia paints her a mural of the scene (even though it would be perfect for a picture, there isn't one).

Mary Anne wishes for a real letter, not a form letter, from Cam Geary (probably the easiest of these, but still pretty hard!). Dawn gets to make up for needlessly lying to Mary Anne in the last letter book by sending Cam Geary a blank card, already stamped and addressed. It works!


Jessi wishes to be able to dance in the New York City ballet. Shannon has a poster made up with Jessi listed as prima ballerina.


Logan wishes for three more wishes. Stacey cleverly gets him a wishbone, a penny, and a four-leaf clover (but no letter to take a picture of).

Dawn wishes for her BSC and WKC friends to be better friends with each other. Kristy works with Sunny to make a scrapbook of all Dawn's friends, and gets to know her better in the process.


Eliza gets the few small toys she asked for plus some other fun things, and the BSC sends a letter to her parents to tell her about her main wish. It turns out that Jennifer has been living with her uncle in another CT city, so she's safe but not really talking with her parents. Claudia tracks her down and it's able to be arranged that the sisters see each other Christmas Eve.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: none

nothing new.


Their Families:

Becca still believes in Santa (at 8, that's realistic).


The Club: nothing new.


SMS: nothing new.


PSA Time: nothing comes to mind.


Misc:

The traditional NYC sights that Stacey mentions are real, at least according to my Modern Marvels: Christmas Tech DVD I bought from the History Channel.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 7

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 4 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Christmases in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 7

BSC Fights: 9

SMS Staff and Faculty: 47

Students (other than the BSC): 165; 101 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 31

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 97

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

Mallory Pike, #1 Fan (RS#80)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? Yes, Suzanne Weyn

Synopsis:

Mallory has a fangirl crush on her latest favorite author, Henrietta Hayes. It seems to have affected her mind, judging by how immensely stupid Mallory is in this book. You see, the girl who's been dreaming her whole life of being an children's book author and once wrote a story about mice who wear clothes (New York, New York!), now thinks that YOU MUST ONLY WRITE BASED ON REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE.

She gets the chance to meet her idol, who conveniently lives nearby, through a school project (it also involves writing a play for the Kids Can Do Anything Club, which portrays the Pikes pretty badly; it doesn't go well). When she discovers that the author's life is vastly different from the FICTION books, Mallory reads her the riot act. It's just so not Mallory. She starts out wondering how much of the author's life influenced her writing (totally fine), but then loses it. Things do work out in the end when Mallory starts to return to her normal self, but everything before that...Her behavior is so cringe-inducing and unbelievable. This is not one of the better BSC books. It's so painful to read, especially chapter eleven.


Greer at http://blog.stoneybrookite.org/ is diligently posting about the BSC Challenge. Here are my last answers:

One thing you learned from the BSC: Just one? I learned that you shouldn't refreeze defrosted chicken and the "continue on" is redundant. I also learned the trick about not guessing what a child's drawn because you could very well be wrong, and how to look for secret passages by knocking on walls to listen for hollow spots (and even found the compartment where my great-grandparents kept the deed to their house and other papers like that).

Favorite BSC villain: Cokie Mason was always good for a laugh, as was Cary Retlin. Most entertaining though is Stacey when she quits/is fired.

Biggest "that would never happen in real life" moment: Hmm. There are so many...Mallory's delusions in this book, Logan just randomly picking up pole vault and being amazing at it with no experience especially during TRY-OUTS for TRACK AND FIELD, Mary Anne--an accomplished knitter--thinking that a hat is easier than a baby blanket, ten-year-olds obeying eleven-year-olds (I have trouble with eight-year-olds sometimes, and I've got almost two decades on them), Kristy finding softball teams in neighboring towns to play hers, Jessi getting all those ballet lead roles, the Baby-sitters' Island Adventure fiasco...again, just one?


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: none mentioned

Mary Anne's back to being short again.

Mallory tells us, "Dawn swears she'll be back, but sometimes I wonder." I guess there was no set date for her return then? Or is this foreshadowing?

Sure, Kristy runs her mouth a lot, but some things need to be said, like in this book when she tells Mallory in vain that her play is offensive.


Their Families:

Vanessa Pike is still a deep sleeper.


The Club:

Danielle Roberts's leukemia is back.


SMS:

The continuity with teachers has been pretty good lately.

I don't get the point of this assignment...doing a bunch of work kinda-sorta in the realm of what you might want to do when you grow up...as a sixth-grader...My twelfth grade (last year of high school for those with different school systems) had something like this, but much more organized. We were supposed to report on the training required for your intended career, the upward mobility of it, the pay range, what locations it was available in and if your pay would cover expenses. And you know what? Even though I was certain what I'd be doing, four years later I was somewhere totally different. Not bad, but different.


PSA Time:

When someone starts acting wildly different (especially paranoid) it's not a bad idea to suggest medical intervention. I'm just saying, Mallory hangs out with Charlotte Johanssen, maybe she should go see her mom. Might be a brain injury or something.

The Pikes use a microwave to heat their water? Have fun with the exploding!


Misc:

This book is full of "Remember when...?" and they seem pretty on.

This book also has a lot of unnecessary commas.

Either streets are labeled differently on the East Coast or the ghost writer (Suzanne Weyn) doesn't understand street addresses. A house with the number 312 won't be crazy-far away from one with 80 (although 80 is a weird house number for the US); it will be two blocks away. And one street branching off another...both shouldn't be "Road"...one should be "Court" or "Place" or something.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 7

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 4 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 7

BSC Fights: 9

SMS Staff and Faculty: 47

Students (other than the BSC): 165; 101 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 31

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 97

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

12/24/11

Mary Anne Breaks the Rules (RS#79)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? Yes, Peter Lerangis

Synopsis:

Mary Anne's been sitting for the Kuhns a lot lately, and notices that Jake could use a male role model, his dad living so far away and all. She enlists Logan to come on occasion and hang out. Unfortunately, Mrs. Kuhn arrives home early one day and thinks Mary Anne was hanging out with Logan and ignoring the kids. Instead of just explaining things and solving the problem, Mary Anne just stammers out a weak apology (doesn't help that Logan runs off without explaining). Mrs. Kuhn even calls the BSC to complain, and they aren't too nice to Mary Anne about her HONEST MISTAKE.

It's also almost Halloween (the same Halloween as in the Dawn mystery). Some of the kids decide to make a couple haunted houses, one to scare people and one to be funny/gross. Logan ends up helping with the latter and Mary Anne voices concern that doing so is unfair. She needn't worry, because none other than Alan Gray helps with the other haunted house. Guess he's good for something!

Greer at http://blog.stoneybrookite.org/ is diligently posting about the BSC Challenge. Here are my next answers:

Moments/scenes from the books that stand out to you: The description of the "dark and stormy night" in Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls, the generic and genuine fear that The Ghost at Dawn's House inspired in me before I finished it (I was young, okay?), the scene in Claudia and Crazy Peaches when Claudia finds out about the miscarriage, the Pikes eating the melting ice cream in Snowbound!, and (spoiler alert) Sunny's mom's last words in the California Diaries series (they were my nana's too).

Favorite Claudia outfit: I've never been too into outfits, so only a few even stand out in my memory, including the Ms. Frizzle outfit from Claudia and the Middle School Mystery and the one that she tie-dyed a bunch of colors that ran in the rain on her way to sit at the Newtons'.

Favorite Stacey outfit: The only one that I even remember is the one with the plum-colored pants that leave a stain in the snow in Stacey and the Cheerleaders.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Gummi worms, Mallomars, chips, Chunky bar, pretzels, Milk Duds, Heath Bars, M&Ms

This is the book in which Shannon mentions her desire to take sackbut lessons (a musical instrument).

Claudia, at first, is very sweet and understanding to Mary Anne in this book. Before everyone gives Mary Anne the cold shoulder enough for me to add to my BSC fights count.


Their Families:

Mary Anne's dad is watching his cholesterol.


The Club:

Buddy Barrett and Jake Kuhn come up with devastating insults for each other: Cruddy Carrot and Fake Prune.


SMS:

A few people from the basketball team are mentioned, and the context fits which, frankly, surprised me.


PSA Time:

You can order extras of most prescriptions, contact lenses included, before you run out of them to avoid having to go without. Or you can call your doctor's office at 4:45 on a Friday because you took your last pill yesterday (why no, I've never worked at a doctor's office and taken dozens of calls like this, why do you ask?).


Misc:

Got nothing this time. Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it, and to the rest, have a good Sunday.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 7

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 4 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 7

BSC Fights: 9

SMS Staff and Faculty: 47

Students (other than the BSC): 165; 101 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 31

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 97

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

12/21/11

Dawn and the Halloween Mystery (M#17)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles

Synopsis:

Dawn witnesses the getaway to a robbery that could result in Halloween trick-or-treating being canceled. She and the We  Kids Club organize a party for the sure-to-be devastated kids, but also want to solve the mystery. In a truly shocking turn of events, the robber who for once Dawn did NOT insist might be a woman is a woman! A recently divorced woman who's trying to earn money to be able to see her son (a friend of some of Dawn's sitting charges) more often, as her ex has primary custody.

Back in Stoneybrook, the Barretts and DeWiits finally succeed in finding a house that they all agree on. It will be a little cramped, but the kids are happy and the parents can afford it.

Greer at http://blog.stoneybrookite.org/ is diligently posting about the BSC Challenge. Here are my next answers:

Major or minor character you could see yourself being friends with: I think I could be friends with Claudia as long as we didn't send each other letters. Bad grammar really irks me when it's a lot in a row (as in, more than just typos and obviously not caring). I also think I'd get along well with Shannon.

Favorite Friends Forever book: Kristy's Big News is the most memorable storyline, although I also really like reading about Claudia and Alan's interactions in Claudia and the Disaster Date.

Least Favorite Friends Forever book: Kristy Power was too over-the-top for me. I don't think that censorship is a good thing, but this book and others in the BSC books that deal with are so heavy-handed.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy:

Dawn claims she doesn't care if her brother eats candy because that's his business. Right.

Dawn still has the ring she got from Thrash in her last mystery book.


Their Families:

Dawn and Carol are getting along better now, and Dawn's pretty much accepted her as a stepmom. Dawn also still owes her dad money for the plane flight back to CT.

Jeff's still into bad puns.


The Club: nothing new.


California:

It's Halloween, so Dawn's short visit has officially lasted more than a year...or only a month?


PSA Time:

Dawn and the members of the We  Kids Club enjoy chips with freshly-made salsa. Salsa is easy to make, but like cheesecake, it tastes better after it sits overnight in the fridge.


Misc:

Dawn says that every race is exciting to watch even if it's not the Olympics. Having done distance races, I would clarify that the last 400 meters or so are exciting, not necessarily the entire thing.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 7

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 4 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 7

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 47

Students (other than the BSC): 165; 101 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 31

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 97

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

12/10/11

Shannon's Story (RR#3)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? Yes, Nola Thacker

Synopsis:

Shannon's mother is requesting more and more of Shannon's time, and Shannon's feeling stifled. She can't seem to get away from her mom, who is trying to involve herself in her daughter's life very awkwardly: buying matching outfits for them to wear together, wanting Shannon to spend time home instead of doing her usual activities, suddenly treating her like a little kid, and generally passive-aggressively inserting herself into Shannon's life. At the same time, her dad is becoming more and more distant, always at work and hardly involved with the family at all. Shannon won't let it get her down, though. She's too excited for her French class trip to Paris. Until her mother signs up to chaperone! Shannon can't stomach the idea, and purposely tanks the final exam so that her French GPA is too low. While her mom is on the trip, Shannon's in charge when her father's at work. She starts to understand her mom's actions: she's bored. Upon her mom's return, the two talk and things are somewhat sorted out, but things are still tense with between her parents.

It's also Mother's Day. The BSC organizes an event for kids to make different gifts (actually sounds kinda cool, too) and a mother-child softball game (not so much).

Even though this book was published around the time of other books that take place in the fall, I think this was supposed to be with the "last" Mother's Day, based on the talk of Tiffany's garden and Dawn being in California.

Greer at http://blog.stoneybrookite.org/ is diligently posting about the BSC Challenge. Here are my next answers:

Favorite couple in the books: Stacey and Sam. I love the way they are together.

Favorite couple you wish were in the books: In the Friends Forever books, Mary Anne and Cary Retlin seem to get along well.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: chocolate-covered coffee beans in her desk, chocolate-covered Oreos and graham crackers under her mattress, Mallomars, Frookies, Gummi Worms, Cheez Doodles

Any time anyone takes a language, it's French. Shannon, Stacey, Mary Anne, Jessi...all French.


Their Families:

All the Kilbourne girls have blonde hair. I thought one used to be brunette...

Shannon's mom apparently does the family's laundry. By the time I was Shannon's age I'd been doing my own for a while. The kids also drink whole milk and their dad one percent (no mention of the mom's preference).


The Club: nothing new.


SMS: nothing new, but Shannon's school no longer has the astronomy club that she wanted to join in her vivid memory story; it's now a four-member group lead in part by Shannon herself.


PSA Time: nothing stood out.


Misc:

Shannon mentions an upcoming meteor shower. This book was published the same month as Claudia and Crazy Peaches so at first I thought she meant the October Draconids or Orionids. But then this book takes place around Mother's Day, so it's probably the Eta Aquarids.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 7

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 7

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 47

Students (other than the BSC): 165; 101 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 31

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 97

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

12/9/11

Claudia and Crazy Peaches (RS#78)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? Yes, Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner

Synopsis:

This is, sadly, another book in which Claudia gets angry with someone close to her, that person has something bad happen, and Claudia thinks it's somehow at least partially her fault, as if her anger caused it.

Anyway, Claudia starts out thrilled: her aunt Peaches (given name Miyoshi) and uncle Russ are going to have a baby! Peaches is about two months along, and she and Russ are moving to Stoneybrook. Since their old house sold so quickly they're going to stay with the Kishis for a month. Claudia gets some help preparing the house from a new sitting charge, Natalie Springer (who volunteers to come and clean; she's not forced to). Natalie ends up being very clingy, since she has no friends. The BSC decides to help, but Natalie's bossiness with her peers gets in the way. But some new friends help her overcome that.

Claudia's attention is also being demanded of her by her aunt, who recently quit her job in anticipation of the baby. Claudia accompanies her shopping, helps her make fancy dinners, and goes with her on a midnight craving run. Her grades falter and she gets in trouble with her parents. Frustrated, she blows up at Peaches. They walk on eggshells around each other for a few days. Claudia decides that she has some blame in the situation, and is ready to apologize and get back to normal.

Then Peaches has a miscarriage.

She has to be admitted to the hospital overnight (she's late first trimester or early second; she may have needed surgery). When she comes back to the Kishis' she and Claudia are able to patch things up. The doctors also say that it will be safe for her to try for another baby when she's ready. Peaches and Russ say they will, but not for a while yet.


Greer at http://blog.stoneybrookite.org/ is diligently posting about the BSC Challenge. Here are my next answers:

Favorite BSC organized event: the outing in Stacey's Mistake. It was fairly sensible, they were well-prepared, and it sounded like a blast for the kids.

Favorite vacation spot: I like the road trip they go on in BSC in the USA. It was fun to read about the different areas, especially since I've been a few road trips (seen all the CONUS!). I just wish Seattle had gotten a little more screen time...

Favorite holiday book: Christmas is my favorite holiday, but the BSC books that feature Christmas don't really do it justice in my opinion. However, I do love Mary Anne's Bad Luck Mystery, which is a Halloween book. Spooky, entertaining, and funny.



Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: pretzels

I've never liked "Claud" as a nickname. Sounds like "clod" to me.

Claudia's still writing for the school newspaper.

No wonder Claudia has such trouble with school; she thinks there's only one hour between 4:00 and 6:00.


Their Families:

Now, I know a lot of people think you shouldn't reveal pregnancies until after the first trimester because of the risk of miscarriage or potential backlash from an employer (I happen to disagree when it's my pregnancy; if the worst happened I'd rather have shared some happiness while it lasted). That said, I would not call anyone to share the news before 8:00 am, like Peaches does.

Karen informs Natalie Springer that no, Claudia is NOT her friend because Stacey is Claudia's best friend. Then Kristy claims Karen worries that Natalie has so few friends. Maybe it's because people are jerks to her, KAREN.


The Club:

New client: Natalie Springer, a classmate of Karen's.


SMS:

School's back in session.


PSA Time:

Trust me, I know how exciting it is to be waiting on the arrival of a baby. But save your money and don't go buy everything for the baby right away. You'll probably have a baby shower or two; wait until after that. Then you can see what's still left and use the gift cards you're bound to receive.

Peaches says something that is important: pregnancy loss isn't something to assign blame over. Especially with miscarriage, it's almost always something that just happens without any external factors. But she also says, "It was probably for the best." No one except the mother is allowed to say things like that. Also not allowed, "You can always try for another." Not helping, those.


Misc:

Claudia has a wonderful, touching idea: to have Mary Anne, who learned to knit from Mimi, teach Claudia to knit. That way, Claudia can knit something for Mimi's grandchild. BUT: the ghostwriters clearly don't knit. Mary Anne thinks a blanket is too complicated and suggests booties instead. A simple baby blanket is the perfect beginner project while even simple booties have complicated steps. The description of knitting sounds like someone who's watched knitting but never done it.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 7

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 7

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 47

Students (other than the BSC): 165; 101 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 31

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 95

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

12/2/11

Dawn and Whitney, Friends Forever (RS#77)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? Yes, Nola Thacker

Synopsis:

Dawn gets a regular sitting job, but an unusual one. She's to be a companion for a twelve-year-old named Whitney who has Down syndrome. Whitney doesn't know that her parents are paying Dawn for her time, which predictably causes an issue when it slips out. But Dawn and the parents apologize for the deception and Whitney eventually accepts it, but not after trying to prove that she's grown up by taking two girls Dawn is sitting for to a carnival without telling Dawn. It turns out fine, but does scare Dawn. Whitney is even made a member of the We ♥ Kids Club, though of course she'll go on jobs where another sitter is present.

During this time, Dawn's dad goes on dates with several women, trying to fill the hole left by Carol. Dawn and Jeff get subjected to "family dates" with a few. Some women just don't click, and one is outright nasty to Whitney. But by the end of the book, Jack starts seeing Carol again, and after talking it over with his kids, proposes to her. She accepts, and no one commits felony theft over it.

Greer at http://blog.stoneybrookite.org/ is diligently posting about the BSC Challenge. Here are my next answers:

Favorite BSC fight: The fight in Mary Anne Saves the Day is just so funny. "Sheep are in!"

Favorite BSC love interest: Will Yamakawa, the boy Claudia meets at Camp Mohawk. I wish they'd stayed in touch. They did exchange addresses, and some letter back and forth after Mimi's death would have been appropriate.



Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: none

Dawn is noticeably silent on exactly WHY her dad and Carol broke off their engagement.


Their Families:

Dawn counts the ghost of Ben Brewer as a member of Kristy's household, which makes sense for her.

Oops, one of Jack Schafer's dates calls him Richard (page 69). He's Jack again on page 114.


The Club:

Mrs. Barrett is now engaged to Franklin DeWitt.


California:

Sunny's still a little boy-crazy; or at least, she places a high importance on dating.


PSA Time: nothing stood out.


Misc:

This book takes place in the summer and Jeff goes to bed after sunset, at which point Dawn and Sunny decide it's not too late to call Stoneybrook. Sunset in Anaheim in July is around 8:00. So, they're calling at the earliest maybe 11:30 pm Eastern Time. At the end of the book something similar happens. I think the author (Nola Thacker in this case) got confused and was thinking Eastern Time is three hours BEHIND Pacific.

Yeah, food does get all mixed together in your stomach regardless of how much you keep it separate while eating, but you know what? There are no taste buds in your stomach.

Dates with your family sound weird, Dawn? I don't know what you're talking about: A Date with Your Family.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 7

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 47

Students (other than the BSC): 165; 101 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 95

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

11/30/11

Claudia and the Clue in the Photograph (M#16)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles

Synopsis:

From my favorite Super Special (and one of my favorites overall) to a mystery. Yeesh. At least this one has a darkroom.

Remember how in Stacey's Lie Claudia was interested in--and pretty good at--photography? It wasn't just a one-time thing. She's taking a photography class in SMS's summer school. It inspires her to come up with an idea of a project for Dawn: the BSC and the charges will go around Stoneybrook one day and take pictures, selecting the best for a photo album for her, "A Day in the Life of Stoneybrook." Claudia finds herself and Mary Anne taking a lot of shots of the bank's architecture...and then finds out a large sum was stolen that day. There's even a scary bit when a mysterious figure opens her bathroom/darkroom door and ruins her film (but it was Janine). At first, it looks like there's nothing in the pictures, but when she enlarges them she notices something odd and it helps solve the case. There's a lit window, and with some other information, the police are able to nab the bank VP.

Greer at http://blog.stoneybrookite.org/ is diligently posting about the BSC Challenge. Here are my next answers:

Favorite minor character: Sam Thomas, I think. I really like the Sam-Stacey pairing. And Mimi is way up there, of course.

Least favorite minor character: The obvious answer is Mr. Nichols, who beats his kids (Claudia and the Terrible Truth). I also don't like the Jeremy character from the Friends Forever series. We get a character from my neck of the woods and he's a jerk? Not cool, Ann, not cool.

Favorite parent: I think Richard Spier and Elizabeth (Thomas) Brewer both did an admirable job in very difficult circumstances.

Least favorite parents: Well, obviously, Patrick Thomas is an awful parent. Shannon's parents are also very distant and clueless. They remind me of a family I nannied for; the parents seemed to actually clock out when I arrived and didn't pay a whole lot of attention to their kids at any point. It showed in the kids' behavior, too.




Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Hershey's kisses in a box of pastels, jaw breakers, Fig Newtons, pretzels

I keep forgetting that Logan's supposed to have curly hair. His pictures never do, but we're often told so.

This isn't the first time Shannon has been the distraction during a BSC mystery investigation. Those drama camp lessons must be good for something.

Kristy gets "a craving" for pizza...hmm, wanting salty food...is she becoming a woman?


Their Families:

The Kishis must be loaded. Just running out to set up a temporary darkroom, with all the equipment and chemicals needed, can't be cheap. She's not just developing photographs, but the negatives too.

On page 23, we're informed that one of Mallory's brothers is named Gordan. Did Claudia's spelling troubles infect the editor? (He's Jordan again on page 31)

Richard Spier would have an old Brownie camera.

Mrs. Kishi's bank PIN is Claudia's birthday.


The Club: nothing new.


SMS:

Photography teacher/stuck doing summer school: Mr. Geist

Math teacher/stuck: Mr. Davies


PSA Time:

A robbery happens when the victim is aware of the theft as it happens (like a mugging). The bank in this story wasn't robbed; it was burgled.


Misc:

This is the first time Sgt Johnson features prominently. And he lets the BSC in the interrogation room with a suspect...?

The ATMs in Stoneybrook give out tens, fives, or fifties (Claudia's mom routinely gets $50).

It really makes no sense how Claudia' film negatives get destroyed. I've developed film and pictures, and you open the film canister and put it on the developing solution in a sealed bag. You can sit outside on a bright sunny day under a tanning lamp, and as long as no one opens the bag your film will be fine. Claudia even mentions the bag that's used for this purpose. Her individual prints might have been exposed to light too early and ruined, but the negatives would still have been intact.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 7

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 47

Students (other than the BSC): 165; 101 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 95

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

11/28/11

The Baby-sitters Remember (SS#11)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? No, this one's all Ann

Synopsis:

The BSC has a sleepover, and the topic of memories comes up. What's your most vivid memory?

Kristy: her first sitting job, for her brother. Her mom has a housekeeper who is unreliable (she can't afford anyone better) and one morning the housekeeper cancels and Kristy's brothers are unavailable. She's 10 at the time. She does such a good job that her mom fires the housekeeper the next day and Kristy and her older brothers watch David Michael.

Stacey: the time just before her diabetes diagnosis. It's the beginning of sixth grade, and she's part of an exclusive clique. Then comes the fateful sleepover when she wets the bed. She is eventually diagnosed with diabetes, but she's out of the clique. Oh, and the memory prompts her to write to her dad about the experience. "Dear Dad, remember when I was horribly embarrassed?"

Claudia: her first homework assignment. It's from her first grade art class, and the students are to draw a self-portrait and bring it the next day. Claudia uses most of the colors in her box of 64 crayons to make a butterfly, but gets chewed out by the teacher when everyone else draws people. It's really mean of the teacher, too, berating six-year-old Claudia in front of the class for not taking things seriously when Claudia honestly believed she'd done a good job with a metaphorical portrait. Mimi understands completely, and puts the teacher in her place. Claudia still has the drawing, on which she wrote her name: "CALUDIA."

Jessi: when Squirt had colic. Jessi's parents have a healthy baby after losing two. They know the sex of both babies (boy then girl), so unless there was testing done on the tissues, the babies died in the late second or even third trimesters which would make these stillbirths. Anyway, Squirt is born and very colicky. Jessi's resentful of the disruption at first. But then she finds that she's the only one who can calm her baby brother, and bonds very closely with him.

Logan (not at the sleepover; Mary Anne told him about it): first meeting Mary Anne. It's basically a summary of Logan likes Mary Anne! from his perspective.

Mallory: meeting her favorite author. When she was ten, Mallory got dressed up and went to a book signing of her favorite author, bouquet in hand for her hero. Since she's Mallory, she gets a serious case of shy and can't speak, instead breaking down in tears.

Shannon: a bad experience with a new girl. She gets burned in eighth grade by the jerk new girl, this prompts her to shun Kristy later.

Dawn (written in a letter since she's out West): her parent's divorce and the move to Stoneybrook. It's pretty much what you'd expect, culminating in meeting Mary Anne.

Mary Anne: a sitter she had at eight years old. Mary Anne's worried the sitter will be strict, so Mary Anne is allowed to have Kristy spend the night (her dad's on a business trip). But they find out when they play some pranks that she's pretty fun-loving, so it works out great. Mary Anne remembers the good humor the sitter had and uses that to be a good sitter herself. Pretty forgettable story, in my opinion, but noseinanovel has some good points about it in the comments.


(Mine, by the way, is probably when I hurt my knee badly at a military training encampment. It pops up randomly in my head. Or, if you count what I can picture exactly as it happened, it's a few months ago when I was having some trouble adjusting to motherhood and was holding my two-month-old daughter, feeling down. She looked up at me, put her tiny hand on my cheek, and smiled.)

Greer at http://blog.stoneybrookite.org/ is diligently posting about the BSC Challenge. Here are my next answers

-Least Favorite Super Special: I never read Baby-sitters' Island Adventure as a kid, so when I read it for the first time a couple years ago I just couldn't get over how unrealistic it was. It was still entertaining though; I like Super Specials in general. However, if you include the Super Mysteries, then it's a tie for all four because I just don't like the mysteries very much.

-Favorite Minor Character: I can't think of a good one; I'll have to come back to this

-Least Favorite Minor Character: same, I'll have to come back to this

-Favorite Sitting Charge: Henry and Grace in New York would be fun to sit for. And the Pikes would be exhausting, but fun also. Andrew Brewer always seems really sweet and good-natured.

-Least Favorite Sitting Charge: Betsy Sobak. Really? You broke your sitter's leg badly due to your idiocy, kinda halfway apologize but really make excuses, and then everything's supposed to be okay?



Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: none mentioned

The reason Kristy wants to be in charge and do everything for herself is that she wants to be like her mom. Awww...

When Kristy is trusted to watch David Michael alone, Mary Anne still has sitters herself. Although, I think in most states now it's illegal to leave ten-year-olds home alone.

The girl (Marty) who switched schools in Stacey's memory goes to a boarding school in Massachusetts. I wonder if it's Riverbend Academy...

Claudia can't read in first grade.

So, in Kristy and the Baby Parade, Jessi doesn't know what colic is. Yet her most vivid memory is about colic...Squirt should have had a different ailment.

Mary Anne once wrote a fan letter to Louisa May Alcott.


Their Families:

When Mary Anne, Kristy, and Claudia were young Janine used to walk them to school. She can read and walk at the same time.

Kristy's dad took off before she learned to ride a bike without training wheels. My dad helped me learn, which makes that fact about Kristy's growing up seem extra sad.

Stacey's parents might screw up some things, but I have to say that they do a good job trying to get to the root of the problem right away.

Jessi's family doesn't know the sex of Squirt before he's born, so that cements it: the previous pregnancies ended in stillbirth and her mom had to go through labor. Most places even today (in the US) won't do a whole of lot testing until a woman's had three miscarriages, so the babies must have been developed enough and big enough to tell the sex by looking. If I were to ever be in a situation like that, God forbid, I don't know if I could bear to be conscious during labor. I know Jessi's parents are fictional, but I feel terrible for them right now.

Jessi's mom is a strong advocate of (are you ready) breast feeding!

Logan's mom can knit (so can Mary Anne).

Shannon implies that her parents don't love each other.

It's possible that Dawn's dad was having an affair. He's always out late, he doesn't keep his stories straight...Although her dad says "our lawyers will cite irreconcilable differences."


The Club: nothing new.


SMS: nothing new.


PSA Time:

Reusing things from the first baby for your subsequent ones? Great idea. However, for the carseat, make sure it still complies with safety regulations and if it's more than five years old, the plastic may have degraded to the point that it's no longer safe.


Misc:

In the Chapter Two, Kristy lists the BSC members in a sentence that ends "Logan (associate member), and Dawn (our ?)" I wonder if that's an editing error. Maybe the question mark was meant to be a placeholder until Ann M. Martin (no ghostwriter for this book) could think of the right descriptor. But the question mark works too, so I don't know.

In Stacey's story, she mentions how Laine created a group of friends at school. When one girl switches schools, Laine says they'll have to replace her. This reminds me of when my best friend and I were discussing apostolic succession (basically, the reason the Catholic Church has a pope and cardinals and bishops and all that) and whether it had a basis in the Bible. I brought up how the apostles had replaced Judas after his defection and death, and she said, "Yeah, it would be weird if when I moved, my friends all decided to elect someone to take my place."


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 7

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 45

Students (other than the BSC): 165; 101 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 95

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

11/21/11

Kristy and the Vampires (M#15)

Original Publication Date: 1994

 Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles

Synopsis:

Sorry it's a bit since the last post. There were two baby showers, one of which I co-hosted, and my daughter's birthday was yesterday. Just a little busy. Anyway, the book. Derek Masters is back in town to shoot a TV movie called Little Vampires and Kristy is largely responsible for watching him on set. It doesn't take long for suspicious accidents to happen, and threatening notes to show up. The BSC is able to solve the mystery, of course. It was an obsessed fan of the (adult) star of the film, who thought that Derek was taking the attention too much away from her precious star crush.


Greer at http://blog.stoneybrookite.org/ is diligently posting about the BSC Challenge. Here are my answers so far

-Favorite sitter: Claudia. She seems to just do a really good job with her charges and I would both enjoy being sat by her and would trust her to watch my kid. I like Shannon a lot, too, but she's a big unknown.

-Least favorite sitter: Dawn. She spends so much convinced that she's right that I would think she'd try to undermine my authority if she were sitting for my kid.

-Favorite regular book: I have a few that I always enjoyed: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls for the atmosphere, Mary Anne Saves the Day for the storyline, and Claudia and the Bad Joke probably because of how many times I've been on crutches.

-Least favorite regular book: Again, a couple. I hate Kristy and the Walking Disaster, Kristy and the Baby Parade, and Mary Anne to the Rescue because they're just so boring. And I hate Dawn and the School Spirit War because of how stupid everyone is in it.

-Favorite mystery: I generally don't like the mysteries, but Mary Anne and the Secret in the Attic is a book I enjoy. It doesn't seem as far-fetched as some of the others.

-Least favorite mystery: So many to choose from! Probably Dawn and the Surfer Ghost. I just can't get myself to care about the book at all.

-Favorite Super Special: Tie between Snowbound! and The Baby-sitters Remember because so many entertaining stories happen in them.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Oreos, Starburst, Twix

Mallory acts a little starstruck, just like when she first met Derek. She also gets to be an extra in movie because the director loves her look, which must be great for her self-confidence.

Dawn's still in California. Her six-month stay seems to be on its ninth or tenth month now.


Their Families:

Haven't heard lately if Sam Thomas is still in the Math Club.


The Club: nothing new.


SMS:

Cokie Mason's in here a bit, playing her usual part of a rich, self-centered social climber.


PSA Time: Nothing stood out.


Misc:

Books like this make me glad I'm not into acting. It sounds tedious to reshoot and reshoot over and over.

This book was published in 1994, the year after Jurassic Park, one of my favorite movies. Near the end of the movie when the kids, Grant, and Sattler are running away from the raptors in Visitor Center, the girl falls and her stunt double looks directly at the screen. However, in post-production they were able to digitally replace the stunt double's face with the actress's face. Too bad that technology wasn't around for Derek's movie or they wouldn't have to worry about him doing his own stunts (smaller budget for a TV movie, I'm sure).


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 7

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 45

Students (other than the BSC): 165; 101 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 95

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

11/12/11

Stacey's Lie (RS#76)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? Yes, Suzanne Weyn

Synopsis:

Stacey's dad is taking a break (or attempting to, anyway) from his workaholic tendencies and offers to take Stacey on a two-week vacation anywhere, up to and including Europe. Naturally, she chooses nearby Fire Island, where her boyfriend will be working during the summer. Her dad also says Stacey can bring Claudia along. But Stacey doesn't tell her dad or Claudia that Robert will be there since she wants to avoid conflict. Naturally, it blows up in her face, causing some issues when Mary Anne, Kristy, and Shannon visit for the Fourth of July (the BSC actually takes a few days off, since Jessi and Mallory are working at a community center during this time). Stacey's dad feels used when he finds out and is mad at her too.

However, Stacey's dad has a secret of his own: he's been going off to meet up with his girlfriend. Just like Stacey, he didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so he'd been avoiding the issue altogether. Knowing that her dad has the same well-meaning but misguided flaw helps Stacey sort things out.

Subplot: Haley Braddock and Vanessa Pike get in a big feud but it gets sorted out.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Cheetos under her pillow

Stacey's taking pre-algebra in eighth grade. I took it in seventh, a year ahead. I'm better at math than Stacey!

Wasn't Dawn's extended visit to California supposed to be about six months? She left in early autumn, and now the school year's ending.

Claudia's showing an interest in photography.


Their Families:

You can see Stacey's parents trying to be civil about each other around Stacey. It's not working that great, but at least they're not having shouting matches in hospitals.


The Club:

Stacey describes Shannon as the newest member of the BSC, but she was an associate before Mallory and Jessi joined.


SMS: summer vacation


PSA Time: Nothing stood out.


Misc:

Stacey says that a restaurant won't be very busy at six in the evening. When does she usually eat? Claudia thinks it's early for dinner, too. Although she does turn out to be right...is the East Coast into late dinners?


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 7

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 45

Students (other than the BSC): 165; 101 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 94

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

11/5/11

Jessi's Horrible Prank (RS#75)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? Yes, Peter Lerangis

Synopsis:

Jessi signs up to be part of the Sixth Grade Plot Device, I mean, Sixth Grade Follies. It's a sketch show the class puts on annually to rib the SMS faculty and staff. One sketch will be making fun of her current Short Takes teacher, Mr. Trout, and Jessi isn't sure it will go over well as he seems particularly awkward and not really the type to take a joke well. Jessi decides to portray him despite how poorly the class treats him, justify it by telling herself it will make him feel included and it's not that mean of a joke, and besides, she doesn't want to ostracize herself from her (white) classmates when she's fitting in so well. The other sixth-graders and the teachers in charge of the show agree that it will be funny and the Mr. Trout won't take it the wrong way. They couldn't be more wrong: it's the final humiliating straw after so many pranks and the total lack of respect that Mr. Trout leaves without notice. Jessi feels awful and even tries to start a petition to invite him back, but it goes over like a lead balloon. As it turns out, he's decide (correctly) that he's not cut out for teaching. Jessi is able to write him an apology letter at least, and he writes back, assuaging her guilt.

Subplot is the BSC charges putting on a similar thing about the BSC members.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: tortilla chips

I didn't realize how long Jessi's "joker" personality stuck with her. I thought she had become the black ballerina caricature by now.

Having had hair the color of Shannon's at one point (mine got darker as I got older) I am thrilled that hers is described as dark blonde instead of dirty or dishwater blonde.

There's a scene when one of Jessi's classmates is dropped off at her house for a meeting and his dad walks him to the door and meets her parents before leaving. Jessi isn't sure whether he'd do that if her family were white, and I can see that she'd be concerned. That she wonders about this sort of thing regularly makes the part with Mallory and Jessi's extended family in a later Super Special make a bit more sense.

Jessi does a vocal prep exercise she says she learned from Shannon, and it is indeed one that Shannon did a few books ago (saying "you-ee" up and down scales).


Their Families:

Jessi's family has a rhododendron bush in their yard, which I only mention because the Coastal Rhododendron is my state's flower (Washington).

Karen and Andrew now switch houses every month, a change which occurred in the Little Sister series. Which I am not subjecting myself to reading.

The Pike boys have learned to clean up their own spilled milk! Hooray!


The Club:

And we're back to keeping official BSC time with Claudia's clock.

Jessi seems oddly observant of exactly what time it is, and other BSC members have shown that in the past. At first it's weird, but consider how Kristy has them trained.


SMS:

Students: Ben Abbott, Lauren Aronsen, Jeff Atkinson, Craig Avazian, Sanjita Bates, Ashley Bedell, Tom Block, Jimmy Bouloukos, Liz Cohen, Maria Fazio, Sarah Green, Bobby Gustavson, Sandra Hart, Renee Johnson, Lisa Mannheim, Justine Moss, Mark O'Connell, Randy Rademacher, John Rosen, Mara Semple, Jamie Sperling, George Weiss (6th); Kate Condos--possible sister to sixth grader Maya Condos? (7th). Janet O'Neal, from Poor Mallory! also reappears, still a jerk. 22 new sixth grade students in one book!

I'm not counting Mr. Trout in my faculty/staff tally since he's only here for this one book. Those who do count are teachers Ms. Bernhardt, Mr. Jazak, and Ms. Vandela.


PSA Time: Nothing stood out, aside from the obvious "Don't be horrible to another human being" lesson.


Misc:

Jessi internally thinks of nose piercing as an African style. While I kinda see what she means, I tend to think of it originating in South America, but not for any good reason beyond seeing a couple Discovery Channel documentaries.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 6

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 45

Students (other than the BSC): 165; 101 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 94

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

11/4/11

Kristy and the Copycat (RS#74)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? Yes, Nola Thacker

Synopsis:

Kristy decides to join the SMS softball team and is one of only four new players to make the cut (I would expect that the team has 15 players, tops). In order to be accepted by the team, Kristy and the other three are subjected to hazing: they must vandalize a school shed or the other players will force them to play badly so as to get them kicked off the team.The girls are intimidated enough to go ahead with it, and the next morning are horrified to learn that the shed burned down after they left and a witness to the fire was badly hurt and is hospitalized in critical condition. Kristy wants to confess, fearing that the matches two of the other girls used to light the cigarettes ignited the flammable paint. Before she works up the nerve to confess, it the people who started the fire confess so Kristy...gets away with vandalism.

You may be wondering what any of this has to do with a copycat. That's a subplot with Karen wanting to be thirteen and shadowing the older BSC members.

What do I take away from this? Hazing is stupid and Karen's annoying no matter what she does.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Gummi worms, pretzels, and an ice cream cake (to celebrate Kristy's making the team)

Kristy at least tries to remember the lesson she learned about over-scheduling herself in Kristy for President. She has Stacey and Claudia take over the Krushers during her softball season, but I have a hard time believing that a middle school sport isn't more demanding than a grade-school one coached by a thirteen-year-old.

Mary Anne's height is inconsistent. Sometimes she's really short like Kristy, sometimes she's grown a few inches, sometimes she's back to be being really short.


Their Families:

In this book, Karen and Andrew's mother calls for a sitter, rather than Watson pawning his kids off on the rare weekend he sees them.


The Club:

Official Club Time is kept by Kristy's watch in this book, rather than Claudia's clock.


SMS:

Students: Bea Foster, Coreen ?, Marcia ?, Tallie ? (8th), Tonya ? (7th), Dilys ? (6th).

Coach Wu seems to work at the school aside from coaching judging by her being there in the morning, so one more tally mark for SMS faculty and staff.


PSA Time:

These books seriously misunderstand carb-loading. Eating a lot more of any kind of food than you usually would within 12 hours of your workout isn't going to help. It is a good idea to be sure your body has enough caloric energy to do what it needs to, but consistency and actual athletic training should play a part.


Misc:

Really, Kristy, you don't teach your softball team about strike zones? I understood those really early on and I didn't play except one season of T-ball.

There's a bit with Kristy in need of new baseball shoes because her cleats are worn down, but not wanting to break in new shoes blah blah blah. The cleats on baseball shoes are replaceable, like track and field spikes.

I've grudgingly accepted that the BSC books have trouble with the difference between "we" and "us" but this book actually confuses "you're" with "your." *twitch*

In true BSC fashion, I have named the kitten after a person, one of the ones who found him: Joel.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 6

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 41

Students (other than the BSC): 141; 101 8th graders, 5 7th graders, 20 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 94

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

10/30/11

Stacey and the Mystery at the Mall (M#14)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles

Synopsis:

SMS students are all getting jobs during a six-week Short Takes class, so they can learn about working in the real world. Stacey is working at Toy Town, a store in the mall, and the rest of the BSC (except Shannon, since she goes to a different school, and Dawn of course) also gets jobs at the mall. But there have more than a couple instances of shoplifting, and the BSC is sure they can find out who's responsible. After some investigating, they discover that not only is the mall manager shoplifting items to sell later, but there are some homeless children living at the mall. The mall manager was trying to recoup losses he'd incurred by mismanaging the mall. The kids had seen him, and were allowed to stay if they'd be discrete and not tell. The police nab the manager and get help for the kids, who ended up homeless when their mom had to be hospitalized. Stacey also helps spearhead a childcare center for the mall.

Because this book is so centered on the mall, there's not a lot of continuity information.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Hershey's miniatures under her bed, Cheetos Paws, cookies sweetened with fruit juice

Shannon's schedule is light enough at this moment that she can handle most of the BSC jobs that come in.


Their Families: nothing new.


The Club:

While this project is going on, Shannon is pretty much the BSC. So, SMS can just keep the kids doing school work for hours?

Shea Rodowsky has a crush on Shannon (Buddy Barrett did earlier).


SMS:

Hello, Short Takes classes, also known as plot devices. They're classes that last a few weeks and teach something specific in encapsulated form. The class that had the egg babies is referred to in this book as a Short Takes class, but wasn't when we first read about it.

Teacher: Mr. Withum (Short Takes)


PSA Time: nothing stood out.


Misc:

Stacey's wearing floral print leggings on the cover. I think it's interesting that a lot of print fabrics would make nice skirts but terrible pants.

The kitten is healthy aside from a little cold and is a six-week-old BOY. Now that I know it's a boy, I'm not sold on Simon the Zealot. We'll see.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 6

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 41

Students (other than the BSC): 135; 97 8th graders, 4 7th graders, 19 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 92

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

10/29/11

Mary Anne and Miss Priss (RS#73)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? Yes, Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner

Synopsis:

I don't normally put up pictures of the books, but it's a good excuse to show off the early birthday present my husband gave me:


That's who's perched on my shoulder right now. Fitting since it's a Mary Anne book. My brother-in-law found it, stray behind his apartment. We're 99% sure it's a girl, and after she gets a clean bill of health at the vet Monday and we're sure my husband's twelve-and-a-half year-old cat won't try to eat her, she's ours! If Eddie is just a big jerk, my best friend has expressed interest. If it is indeed a girl, Jill. If boy, I really like the idea of Simon the Zealot because it'd be bizarre. (And yes, that is a Stegosaurus bath mat in the kitten quarantine bathroom.)

Anyway, the book. Jenny Prezzioso is acting more obsessed with her appearance than usual, and it's preventing her from joining the kickball team the Pike triplets are organizing. She doesn't want to join and get dirty and no one wants her on the team, so I don't see what the problem is, aside from how obsessive Jenny is about getting dirty. It eventually comes to light that Jenny is trying to be perfect because her baby sister Andrea is getting modeling jobs and Jenny is worried her parents will like Andrea more. Jenny ends up going on some auditions herself, but isn't as successful as Andrea. In retaliation, she forgoes her cleaning rituals and gets herself as filthy as possible, vying for attention. Once Mary Anne helps Mrs. Prezzioso see this, Jenny gets the attention she craves, and even a modeling job. But she finds her heart's really in playing kickball, which is now very well organized after some tips from the BSC. And Jenny's dad goes to watch her pitch in a game. Aww...

AND...Mallory brings up to her parents that she's sitting for her siblings more than she used to sit for other kids, and after a talk with the doctor they agree that she can rejoin the BSC.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: potato chips in the closet, pretzels

Logan was on the school volleyball team. In Washington, there is no official boys' volleyball through schools (Title IX thing). I checked with the CT school sports website and it appears there is volleyball offered through schools there.

Claudia makes her own greetings cards.


Their Families:

The reason the triplets start the teams is that they want to prove they're old enough to not need a sitter, finally realizing that Mallory's only one year older than they are.


The Club:

Jenny asks who's at the door before opening it to Mary Anne's knocks, as she was being taught in earlier books.


SMS:

Claudia's personals column is still running in the school paper.


PSA Time:

If you have a sandbox in the yard you should cover it when it's not being played in. Cats, raccoons, opossums (or possums in Australia, I suppose) and other animals think they make great litter boxes.


Misc:

Apparently the ice cream man comes really early to Stoneybrook. The last book was midwinter, so it can't be too much earlier than the beginning of spring--wait, am I trying to apply a logical timeline to these books?



The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 6

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 40

Students (other than the BSC): 135; 97 8th graders, 4 7th graders, 19 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 90

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

10/26/11

Dawn and the We ♥ Kids Club (RS#72)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? Yes, Peter Lerangis

Synopsis:

This is the book that turned most Dawn hold-outs against her, whoever was left after Dawn Saves the Planet. There's being upset, even understandably angry, and then there's committing what could well be felony theft.

Anyway, the book starts with the We ♥ Kids Club being interviewed in the local paper, and the story gets picked up for a spot on the TV news. Suddenly the calls won't stop coming, which you'd think would be fine since there are no set meeting times. Kristy gets jealous and tries in vain to have the BSC similarly recognized.

But the really big thing that stands out in this book is that Dawn's dad announces he and Carol are engaged. And Dawn...oh, Dawn. She's understandably shocked, so she responds as any normal person would: stealing her dad's credit card and flying back to Stoneybrook. She at least leaves a note. Once she lands, she finds a very upset mother, who takes her home but makes it clear Dawn's going right back to California to finish the time all parties had agreed on, only to come back early if it's actually planned. And she has to pay for BOTH tickets. During her brief stay on the East Coast she's grounded and can't see any of her friends (except Mary Anne, of course). Tough, but totally called for. Selfish Dawn gets her way though: the enormity of what she did strains her dad and Carol's relationship enough that they break up completely.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Reese's Pieces under her mattress

I was already well aware of Dawn's dislike of omnivores, but since when does she get annoyed by jocks? I mean yeah, she hates everyone, but jocks get a special mention.

If Dawn doesn't like kids to play with toy guns, why is she okay with toy swords? Also, in California Girls she was fine eating airline chicken, but now it's nauseating. California's getting to her!

I can understand Dawn's initial reaction. Even when you know something that you don't want to happen is eminent, it's hard when you actually have to face it. However, everything after that is insane.


Their Families:

I don't remember Dawn's parents arguing over her desire to spend time in California, at least not too much. But Dawn implies that there was a huge fight.

The California Schafer house is consistently described as being U shaped in a few books now.

Jeff is in the habit of making terrible puns.


The Club:

Nothing new about the BSC, but the We ♥ Kids Club reluctantly agrees to schedule regular meeting times.


SMS: book takes place in California


PSA Time:

It's a good idea to ask before recording someone talking. Depending on your local laws, it might be illegal to recording without the consent of both parties.


California:

You can totally tell Dawn's school is in California because her teacher says "See you mañana" instead of "See you tomorrow." People outside of Southern California never use Spanish words, ever.

According to Dawn, the stands for love, as in the We Love Kids Club.

Sunny still remembers how to surf, which she learned in the last California book. She also originally hails from Oregon.

Jill's already the odd man out: she lives the furthest, and when Dawn describes the reactions to being interviewed of what should be four girls, she only mentions three.


Misc:

"Chimichangas" is italicized, because it's a bizarre foreign word, and leaving it in regular font would confuse our poor, non-Californian brains.

Mary Anne is reading Julie of the Wolves, which I just finished rereading. Good book.

The newspaper reporter wears grey stirrup slacks. And they make her look sophisticated.



The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 6

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 40

Students (other than the BSC): 135; 97 8th graders, 4 7th graders, 19 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 90

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

10/21/11

Mary Anne and the Library Mystery (M#13)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles

Synopsis:

At Mrs. Kishi's request, Mary Anne decides to help out with the library readathon. It's not long before the mystery gets going: someone set a fire in a library bathroom! It's the first of a few fires, all set by torching books, and Mary Anne is determined to find out who wants to damage the library.

The suspect list gets narrowed down to a group of protestors who want to ban books (surprisingly they're not portrayed as monsters, just earnest if misguided), the new librarian (because if MST3K has taught us anything, it's that slightly unattractive people are evil), and Nicky Pike (very briefly), but none of those leads pan out. Then Mary Anne realizes that the burnt books are from the fifth grade reading list, and after a discussion the BSC deduces the next fire will be from that list on the next Wednesday. They stake out the library and find the culprit: Sean Addison. He's acting out of anger that his parents force him and his sister into extracurricular activities so that they're out of the way.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Twizzlers and a chocolate bar in her backpack, pretzels (chocolate-covered and plain) and jellybeans in a box marked "kaligruphy pens," M&Ms (she says the brown ones are best, followed by red), Ruffles, Ring Dings, and bagel chips

It just occurred to me...on the surface, it seems unfair that while she recovers from mono Mallory can't sit for the BSC but has her own sibling foisted on her all the time. However, if her parents are paying her, maybe it's a way for her to still be able to earn some money but not exert herself by taking on extra jobs.

This won't be the last time Mary Anne has nightmares about fires...


Their Families:

While playing dress up (which has been noted as a favorite pastime of the youngest Pikes), Claire introduces herself as Mrs. Filthy-Rich. That's just hilarious.


The Club:

Why is Betsy Sobak still considered a client? If she and her family had ever truly made amends I could MAYBE understand. Maybe. She did apologize to Claudia, but even before that the BSC was right back watching her, with no indication that her parents were going to do anything about her.


SMS:

8th grader: Tiffany ?

Math teacher: Ms. Frost.


PSA Time: nothing stood out.


Misc:

Mary Anne implies that Little Women is a children's book.

Really? The Stoneybrook police aren't interested in the fires being set at the library? The wanton destruction of government property (the burned books)? It's not like they're that busy, just the odd dognapper or counterfeiter or thief once in a while.

One of the protesters is Bertha Dow, who comes back later, maybe as late as the Friends Forever series, as the mother of an SMS eighth grader.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 6

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 40

Students (other than the BSC): 135; 97 8th graders, 4 7th graders, 19 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 89

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

10/20/11

Claudia and the Perfect Boy (RS#71)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? Yes, Suzanne Weyn

Synopsis:

Claudia's feeling down and out because she doesn't have a boyfriend, and has never had a serious relationship. This segues into her starting a personals column with the school newspaper (don't worry, they have spell check). She does a really good job with it, and even goes on a handful of dates that originate from it. But nothing pans out. She decides, wisely, to wait for someone who meets her standards rather than settling.

This is also the book in which it's discovered that Marnie Barrett is allergic to dogs, and the family has to give Pow away. I do actually feel bad for the kids, but at least the Pikes agree to take the basset hound, so the Barretts can visit often.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Cool Ranch Doritos under her bed,

Shannon's "on the short side." I always pictured her a little taller than average.

It seems Mary Anne has told the rest of the BSC that she used to see a therapist (previously she told Claudia in the Chain Letter book).

Claudia responds to an anonymous personal ad that turns out to be from Alan Gray. On paper they seem like a pretty good match. File this information away for when I reach the Friends Forever series.


Their Families:

The Pikes' cat Sarge that appeared in the very first books is still forgotten.


The Club:

The order's a little messed up when Claudia tells us the history of the BSC. She implies that there were no associate members until after Stacey returned from New York, when they were really inducted before she moved.

Suzi Barrett still believes in Santa, which plays a role in her subplot of the twelfth Super Special.

Do you think it was intentional that the ceremony to mark Pow's transfer to the Pikes ended in eating Oreos? Marnie's allergic to dogs and chocolate...


SMS:

Students: Liza Shore (7th), Brian Hall, Julie Stern (8th), Rose Marie Montey, Kurt ?, Nathan ? (unspecified)

The SMS paper is put out weekly. When I was on the high school paper, it was only monthly and a lot less complicated than the one SMS does. However, my graduating class only had 69 students and the SMS eighth grade is nearly 100 strong.


PSA Time: nothing stood out.


Misc:

Do you get results immediately from an allergy test? I'm fortunate enough to have no allergies, so I don't know if it's realistic that the Barretts found out Marnie's allergies the same day as the test.

Ew, Claudia wears brown and yellow together. That color combination makes me think of an old moldy banana.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 6

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 36

Students (other than the BSC): 134; 96 8th graders, 4 7th graders, 19 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 87

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

10/16/11

Stacey and the Cheerleaders (RS#70)

Original Publication Date: 1993

Ghostwriter? Yes, Peter Lerangis

Synopsis:

Stacey finds herself falling in the with the popular crowd at SMS, comprised of the boys' basketball team and the cheerleaders. She goes on a date with one player and later becomes the girlfriend of another (Robert). She also tries out for the cheerleading squad, but doesn't make it despite being the best candidate due to behind-the-scenes nonsense that arises because the cheerleaders themselves are picking the new member rather than a coach. It's all part of this vast favoritism thing, one and the same with basketball players getting breaks on their schoolwork. When Stacey's new boyfriend finds out, it's the last straw and he quits the basketball team in protest. Apparently it sparks a change for the better.

We also get a glimpse into Shannon's family life, when the middle sister (Tiffany) feels inadequate compared to her over-achieving siblings. She finds a hobby (gardening) with the help of the BSC, and is happy to let that be what she excels in.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: blue corn chips under her bed and behind a hat in the closet; chips, pretzels, and malted milk balls in her backpack

Stacey is getting much more interested in being popular. And it's believable; she was part of the in group at her school in New York before THE DIABETES.

Shannon is a member of the honor society and "practically fluent" in Spanish and French. She also still likes drama.


Their Families:

Tiffany Kilbourne is ten, and needs a sitter. When we first met her, she went with Shannon on sitting jobs to help. Maria is eight and into swimming.


The Club:

Stacey "introduces" Shannon to us as an associate member despite the fact that Shannon's filling Dawn's position and present at meetings.


SMS:

8th grade Students: Corinne Baker, RJ Blaser, Robert Brewster, Marty Bukowski, George Burke, Jason Fox, Ronnie Gallea, Margie Greene, Malik Jeffrey, Linda Kedem, Kathleen Lopez, Sheila MacGregor, Diane Maqnani, Wayne McConville, Penny Weller, Darcy (didn't catch her last name)

Faculty/Staff: Ms. Levine (8th grade homeroom), Mr. Schubert (unspecified), Mr. Halvorsen (basketball coach but also works at the school; he has an office)

Mascot: the Chargers


PSA Time: nothing stood out.


Misc:

I'm siding with Stacey on her low opinion of Pizza Express. I ate at a Pizza Express in Seattle and it was pretty bad. I'm fairly certain there's no franchise that connects the two, what with one existing in a fictional book, but still...

Claudia calls Stacey asking for a barrette. Good thing she wasn't missing a red ribbon!

Robert shows up for a date wearing a "zipped-up down coat." I remember that description being awkward when I read it as a kid.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 6

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 36

Students (other than the BSC): 128; 94 8th graders, 2 7th graders, 19 6th graders, 12 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 86

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

10/14/11

Dawn and the Surfer Ghost (M#12)

Original Publication Date: 1993

Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles

Synopsis:

Dawn's enjoying a California winter that's warm enough to surf in, taking lessons in the sport with Sunny. Then a surfer goes missing, and is presumed dead. Dawn is sure there was foul play (tampered surfboard, etc) and then she starts seeing a mysterious figure surfing at night. Is it his ghost, back for revenge?

Of course not. The surfer survived the sabotage (someone was out to get him) and has been hanging around practicing in disguise. He shows up for the big surfing competition to reveal that it's been him all along, and the would-be murderer freaks out upon seeing him. Since the surfer had alerted the police earlier on Dawn's advice, after she recognized him, the police nab him and justice is served. Naturally, he wins the competition. It's totally radical.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy:

Mallory's still too sick for sleepovers.

I'm honestly surprised that Dawn says Jill's dark brown eyes remind her of chocolate instead of carob or something like that.

It's funny that one of the pieces of continuity that's really well followed is how Jessi once mentioned she'd try to be better about writing letters.


Their Families:

Dawn flat-out admits that the only reason she doesn't like Carol is that Carol's dating her dad. Not in a "she's not good enough for him" way, either.

Jeff's into skateboarding.


The Club:

Nothing new about the BSC, but really, how does the We  Kids Club work without regular meeting times?


SMS: nothing new.


PSA Time:

I nanny, and one of the things that I really appreciate about the family is that the parents have left me a copy of the kids' insurance cards just in case. Note to parents: it's a good idea.


California (only for the Dawn books when she's there and later the California Diaries series):

Sunny loves to flirt, and thinks everyone else should, too.


Misc:

Dawn doesn't know that "Down Under" refers to Australia, despite how much of a stereotype the Hobart family is.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 6

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 36

Students (other than the BSC): 112; 78 8th graders, 2 7th graders, 19 6th graders, 12 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 85

Crushes:
Stacey-9
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

10/9/11

Get Well Soon, Mallory! (RS#69)

Original Publication Date: 1993

Ghostwriter? Yes, Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner

Synopsis:

The BSC is gearing up for another activity. They want to put on a Thanksgiving celebration for the people in the retirement home (or is it a nursing home? Both?). The plan the come up sounds honestly pretty great: thoughtful gift baskets and a carnival the residents get to participate in. Everyone starts pitching in, but Mallory's struggling to keep up. She's still constantly exhausted, and getting worse. Finally, she gets diagnosed with mononucleosis. And since she's Mallory, it's an especially bad case. She's laid up pretty much the whole month of November, causing her family to miss out on attending the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade and forcing her to temporarily stop baby-sitting. She thinks the BSC should replace her, but the other members disagree: they want Mallory to recover and come back when she's well. Until then, she's an honorary member.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: none mentioned

Shannon routinely wears black mascara.

Page 52: "This is the worse thing that's ever happened to me." [emphasis mine] Apparently only two things have ever happened to Mallory.


Their Families:

Vanessa show some Mallory-like traits, breaking up an argument between her younger siblings.

Mrs. Pike makes all the kids lunches to take to school.

In this book, Jessi calls her mother "Mom" instead of her usual "Mama."


The Club: nothing new.

SMS: nothing new.


PSA Time:

It's true that mono can be spread other ways than kissing. A soccer teammate of mine had it one season (she had to sit out the whole time; you could see the swelling of her spleen through her skin). From then on, all the coaches of the sports teams were extra careful to remind us not to share water bottles.

Fruit juice isn't as healthy as most people think. Even the ones that don't have as much sugar as pop still are a far cry from actual fruit.


Misc:

It's Halloween again, plus the first mention of Thanksgiving.

Stacey and Charlotte Johanssen go back to Polly's, the candy store first mentioned in The Truth about Stacey.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 6

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 36

Students (other than the BSC): 112; 78 8th graders, 2 7th graders, 19 6th graders, 12 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 85

Crushes:
Stacey-9
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1

10/7/11

Jessi and the Bad Baby-sitter (RS#68)

Original Publication Date: 1993

Ghostwriter? Yes, Suzanne Weyn (and "Special thanks to Beth Perkins for her creative input")

Synopsis:

The BSC is busier than ever, and with Dawn gone for six months and Mallory seeming to be coming down with some mysterious illness, the club jumps at the chance to bring on Jessi's friend Wendy as a new member. She's great with kids, but in the chaos of the busy schedule, she never really gets the rules and expectations of the BSC explained to her, and she doesn't always get to sitting jobs on time. It turns out the BSC isn't a good fit for her and vice versa. She's gone by the end of the book.

The BSC charges miss Dawn as well, and film a version of Snow White that involved Captain Planet to send to her. During the process, Jessi notices Margo Pike shoplifting, and it eventually comes out that she's swiped a few small things. Jessi helps her come clean about it and make restitution.

Best of all, Shannon is now the Alternate Officer!


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: cupcakes in her desk drawer (I WANT CANDY SO BAD RIGHT NOW! I would totally go to a store for Halloween candy right now, in the middle of the night, except that the baby's asleep.)

Jessi mentions praying twice, which makes four offhand references that her family might be religious, but it's so vague I can't tell.

Mallory's still into archery.

Stacey shows an interest in film-making, which will resurface toward the end of the series.


Their Families:

The Ramseys have cable.

Jeff Schafer is a Grateful Dead fan.


The Club:

Jessi tells us Dawn, as alternate officer has held each position at least once. Let's see...Kristy missed at least one meeting (when her dog died), Claudia was out of commission when her leg was broken, Stacey sometimes leaves for New York on Fridays and she lived there for a while, and Mary Anne skipped some meetings during the backlash over her haircut. Yep, checks out.

The BSC has to turn down a job!


SMS:

Sixth-grade student: Wendy Loesser


PSA Time: nothing stood out.


Misc:

I might not have any candy, but I just remembered that I have some poppyseed muffin mix. Close enough for me; I'm going to make some.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Halloweens in 8th grade: 2 (plus one in seventh)

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Summers after 8th grade: 6

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 36

Students (other than the BSC): 112; 78 8th graders, 2 7th graders, 19 6th graders, 12 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 85

Crushes:
Stacey-9
Claudia-8
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1