Original Publication Date: 1991
Ghostwriter? Yes, Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner
Mallory is excited about SMS's upcoming writing competition, and has a great idea for a story. Unfortunately, she has very little time between the BSC and her family. Finally, she goes on strike, taking a two-week hiatus from the BSC and taking a day from being the family's gopher. She makes a lot of progress, not just with her story, but with helping her parents see that they have gotten too used to the idea that she should always help out: Mallory needs to be able to do her homework and have her own life, too. Her parents give her a special day to do whatever she wants, and and elects to take Jessi to the mall. They have a great time, and Mallory realizes that when she can have a break from being on-call for her family, she appreciates them more.
The competition closes, and Mallory soon finds out that she's won Best Overall Fiction for the sixth grade. She's thrilled, and gets to work on planning a special day for her siblings. She organizes a day of fun and a scavenger hunt for her siblings, with Jessi's help. They all have a great time, and Mallory is happy that she can appreciate her family.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: Mallomars in her dresser drawers, M&Ms in her jewelry box, pretzels and Tootsie Pops in her shoes.
Mallory's most difficult subjects are math and science.
Mallory references a particular quilt pattern, which is nice as we learned a few books ago that she knows how to sew.
It's funny and kinda sad that Mallory seems to be the only BSC member to regularly use the slang the club has made up (acute, fresh, etc).
Jessi is studying French to learn more about ballet, as we learn when she informs Claudia that her favorite dish at Chez Maurice is eels. But Stacey's been taking French for a couple years. It would have made more sense for her to realize that.
You know, we hear about Mallory's braces, but is she ever wearing them on any book cover?
The finger that Nicky broke back in Mallory's first book is still slightly crooked from getting jammed playing volleyball.
Chez Maurice is Claudia's parents' favorite restaurant.
Kristy's getting more uptight about being on time to meetings, leaving less and less room for slack.
Ugh, the BSC still sits for the Betsy Sobak. Why?
New SMS staff: Mr. Doughtery, creative writing, who goes by Mr. D.
6th grade student: Rebecca Mason (possible relation to Cokie Mason? But Rebecca is smart.)
PSA time: nothing new
Mr. D. asks the class if they have the "Write Stuff" (it's written that way on the blackboard). He explains that the right stuff can mean lots of different abilities, like flying a space shuttle. Where ever, pray tell, did he come up with that idea in relation to the right stuff?
I actually used Kristy's idea from this book in real life. When I was coaching cross country, one athlete was having trouble balancing everything in her life. She was thinking of quitting, and I was dangerously low on numbers, so I suggested a two-week break first instead.
There's a discrepancy within a few pages: Mallory sees some earrings she says Claire would like, but later says she thought of Margo.
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: 20
Students (other than the BSC): 64; 40 8th graders, 10 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)