Original Publication Date: 1992
Ghostwriter? Yes, Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner
Mallory couldn't be happier when she sees riding lessons advertised at a nearby stable. She and Jessi both plan to go, but Jessi's parents say she's too busy already with ballet and the BSC. Mallory get the go-ahead, and is excited to learn, even if Jessi can't be there.
But it doesn't go well. She's clearly the outsider among the students, who know each other from a different school they attend together. And she doesn't realize it at first. It's pretty painful to read about her introducing herself to several students and offer to host them at her house and give out her phone number, only to have no one reciprocate. She does end up invited to another student's birthday party, but is so out of place that she can't wait to leave. And her horse throws her badly during the second lesson, so she gets nervous about riding, which the other students pick up on and tease her for. Mallory tries to vent to Jessi, but Jessi's too busy being jealous of the riding lessons. I mean, sure, it would be hard to hear Mallory go on about how great they are, as she initially does, but later Mallory just needs someone to be there for her. And she comes across as such a genuinely nice person in this book. Of course, the friends do patch things up, and Mallory gains enough confidence to ride in the competition at the end of the session (not placing very high, sixth of twelve, because it's Mallory), but decides to not sign up for the next session.
Meanwhile, Nina Marshall is having trouble adjusting to preschool, largely because she insists on taking her huge once-blue-now-grey security blanket with her. The BSC figures it out pretty quickly, but in this instance where it would be really helpful to tell the parents, they keep it to themselves. Even when it-GASP-impedes on Nina's joining the talent show the younger Pikes are hosting. Tragic, as you can't ever have someone who'd simply rather not participate (it does make it hard for her to make friends, though). Anyway, Dawn ends up solving the problem when the blanket disintegrates in the dryer. Dawn show Nina that she can take tiny pieces of the blanket with her and people won't notice. On second thought, that doesn't really solve the problem, does it? Just hides it. Oh well, maybe one of the pieces is the right size to be a handkerchief for Nina at her wedding someday.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Why is it such a big deal that Jessi's full name is Jessica but it's rarely mentioned that Stacey is short for Anastasia?
Dawn and Lewis Bruno are still writing to each other.
Their Families: nothing new
Fail: Mallory describes the additions of Logan and Shannon as associate members happening after she and Jessi joined the BSC. No mention of Stacey's moving back and forth.
However, obscure win: a callback to Eleanor Marshall's ear infections.
Nina Marshall has blue eyes.
SMS: nothing new
PSA time: nothing new
Mallory indicates that she wore her own regular clothes on a trail ride at Camp Mohawk. That's surprising, given that Camp Mohawk required uniforms.
Starting 8th grade: 3
Halloweens in 8th grade: 2 (plus one in seventh)
Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2
Summers after 8th grade: 2
BSC Fights: 6
SMS Staff: 25
Students (other than the BSC): 72; 50 8th graders, 2 7th grader, 10 sixth-graders, nine unspecified
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 56 (bubble gum, Butterfingers, butterscotch candy, candy hearts, Cheese Doodles, Cheetos, a chocolate bar, chocolate-covered cherries, Chunky bar, cookies, Cracker Jacks, crackers (unspecified and whole wheat), cupcakes, dark-chocolate caramels, Ding-Dongs, Doritos, Fig Newtons, Fritos, fruit pie, gumdrops, Gummi Bears (regular and sweet-n-sour), Heath bars, Hershey's kisses, Ho Hos, jawbreakers, jellybeans, Kit-Kats, licorice, licorice whips, Lifesavers, M&Ms (regular and peanut), Mallomars, marshmallows, Mentos, mini candy bars, Necco wafers, Oreos (Double Stuf and chocolate-dipped), 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-8 (Guy, Terry, Austin Bentley, Timothy Carmody, Arthur Feingold, Woody Jefferson, Trevor Sandbourne, Will Yamakawa), Dawn-5 (Travis, Lewis Bruno, Parker Harris, Price Irving, 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-2 (Curtiis Shaller, Quint Walter)