Original Publication Date: 1991
SMS has assigned a big project to Mary Anne's grade: the students are to out in groups and given an author to research, and present about how the authors' lives impacted their books. Nturally, Mary Anne is intimidated (I'm with her; group projects rarely go well). Mary Anne is assigned one of her favorite authors...and put in a group with Logan. They haven't been speaking since they broke up. To make matters worse, Cokie Mason weasels her way into the group, trading with Miranda Shillaber (She can't stand the group's fourth member, Pete Black). They all get to work, but it's clear that Cokie is trying to skate by doing as little as possible, if not less, and that she's only in the group to go after Logan. Naturally, Mary Anne was about to try to rekindle things with.
Then it ends up that the author Mary Anne's group is researching will be at the school for the presentation. Mary Anne and Pete go into overdrive, while Cokie distracts Logan. The latter is barely ready in time. The former...doesn't even the book she's supposed to and embarrasses herself in front of the school. As you've probably guessed, Logan isn't intereseted in going out with Cokie any further, and he and Mary Anne start hanging out again.
This is also the book in which the Korman kids are plagued by their Toilet Monster invention, who becomes real in their minds. It's left somewhat unresolved.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Mary Anne states she's not allowed to get her ears pierced, but in SS#2 she decides that she never will pierce them, and has shown zero interest since then.
Reference to Dawn's winning the beautiful baby contest.
Kristy still does not need a bra.
Dawn gets in a couple digs at Claudia during a lunch period (really rude of her, by the way). One is laughing that Claudia doesn't know Louisa May Alcott is dead. Mary Anne could have helped Claudia not feel embarrassed by telling Claudia about the time she wrote to LMA, also not realizing the fact. Or Dawn could have not been a jerk.
There are some nice callbacks to RS#31, when the Schafers and Spiers had to adjust to living under one roof, like Sharon's not liking cats.
In this book, "Karen just turned seven, and Andrew is almost five."
New client: the Delaneys have moved and the Kormans (Melody, Bill, and Skylar) live in their house. Eighteen-month-old Skylar is the one who's afraid of cats.
8th grade student: Sonya Hardy
Good job, Mary Anne! Always cut up hot dogs (and grapes and other things throat diameter) you're serving to a baby. I actually choked on a sample of a hot dog at a grocery store as a young child. My mom nearly had to perform the Heimlich.
Given that she's friends with Karen, I'm surprised Melody Korman thinks it's silly to believe in witches.
Starting 8th grade: 3
Halloweens in 8th grade: 2 (plus one in seventh)
Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 1
Summers after 8th grade: 2
BSC Fights: 6
SMS Staff: 19
Students (other than the BSC): 63; 40 8th graders, nine sixth-graders, nine unspecified
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 50 (bubble gum, Butterfingers, butterscotch candy, candy hearts, Cheese Doodles, Cheetos, a chocolate bar, chocolate-covered cherries, cookies, Cracker Jacks, crackers (unspecified and whole wheat), cupcakes, dark-chocolate caramels, Ding-Dongs, Doritos, Fig Newtons, 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, red hots, Ring Dings, root beer barrels, salt water taffy, Snickers, taco chips, Tootsie Roll Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Triscuits, Twinkies, Yodels)
Crushes: Claudia-7 (Guy, Terry, Austin Bentley, Timothy Carmody, Woody Jefferson, Trevor Sandbourne, Will Yamakawa), Dawn-4 (Travis, Lewis Bruno, Parker Harris, Richie Magnesi), Mary Anne-2 (Alex, Logan Bruno), Stacey-7 (Toby, Kelsey Bauman, Pete Black, Ross Brown, Pierre D'Amboise, Scott Foley, Sam Thomas), Kristy-1 (Bart Taylor), Mallory-1 (Ben Hobart), Jessi-1 (Quint Walter)