Original Publication Date: 1992
Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles
People in Stoneybrook are working projects for Heritage Day, tracing the histories of their families in the town. Mary Anne is forced to acknowledge how little she knows about her family. She decides to look in the attic for clues about her past and her family. To her shock, she discovers letters from her maternal grandparents: Mary Anne lived with them for a while after her mother died, and there was some sort of custody dispute. Mary Anne isn't sure who actually has legal custody (as if her dad wouldn't have taken care of that). And then her grandmother calls Richard! Now Mary Anne's REALLY worried that her grandmother (her grandfather is dead) is going to try to lay claim to her.
As it turns out, Mary Anne has nothing to worry about. Her grandmother merely wants a visit, which Mary Anne and Richard agree would be a good idea. So Mary Anne heads off to Iowa, and we learn through letters that Mary Anne has a good time getting to know her family.
Oh, the letters Mary Anne finds in the attic? Her grandparents were HORRIBLE to Richard. Stuff about not being sure they trust him to raise a daughter on his own, and wanting to check up on his progress. I can see why they didn't stay close.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: bonbons
Mary Anne, on adjusting to having a stepfamily: "At first Dawn and I tried to share a room, but we soon discovered that we each needed our own space." That's not quite how I remember it happening...
Dawn likes to analyze dreams.
Dawn is now officially messy. An organized messy (she knows where everything is) but no longer is she the tidy person we met at the beginning.
Mary Anne's been to DisneyLAND. We already knew about Disneyworld.
Until she married Richard, Sharon had never owned a vacuum cleaner.
Mary Anne says she'll never call Sharon "Mom" ("that name is reserved for someone I lost a long, long time ago), which I absolutely respect, but it makes it even funnier that in a couple of books other characters, or Mary Anne herself, refers to her mom in the present tense. Any speculation that the character was referencing Sharon gone.
Mary Anne's mom is established as having been a good baker.
Kristy's family moved next door to Mary Anne's a little after Mary Anne was born. Kristy would have been an infant.
The horror! Mary Anne makes a scheduling mistake! Jessi catches it before it's an issue.
School is in session again...still not sure if it was last book. But either this or the previous book marks the fourth time Mary Anne has started 8th grade.
***Commenter Laura pointed out that there is mention of Jessi's French class in the last book (Keep Out, Claudia!), so THAT was the next time the current school year had started***
You wouldn't think I'd have to say this, but given the events of the book: when painting life-size replicas of historical figures, do it outside or in the garage, or your barn if your have one. Not in your den on the carpet. Idiots.
This is a really hard book to read now that I have a baby girl (the same age as Mary Anne when her mother died: about six months). I think I'm still hormonal...
While researching, the Pike triplets come across some information about Old Hickory, which all lines up with what's been established before.
One of the names Mary Anne reads on a headstone that can't help giggling at is the last name of someone I graduated high school with.
A census worker comes to Mary Anne's house, but this book was published in 1992. The US census is taken every ten years in years that end in zero (1990, 2000, 2010) and as far as I can tell, Connecticut doesn't take a state census. **update: according to commenter Bazu, census workers collect other information during other times, so this is plausible**
In a letter, Mary Anne writes "awhile" when she should have written "a while."
Starting 8th grade: 4
Halloweens in 8th grade: 2 (plus one in seventh)
Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2
Summers after 8th grade: 3
BSC Fights: 6
SMS Staff: 26
Students (other than the BSC): 84; 59 8th graders, 2 7th grader, 11 sixth-graders, 11 unspecified
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 62 (bonbons, bubble gum, Butterfingers, butterscotch candy, candy hearts, Cheese Doodles, Cheetos, a chocolate bar, chocolate-covered cherries, chocolate marshmallow cookies, 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, malt balls, marshmallows, Mentos, Milky Ways, mini candy bars, Necco wafers, Oreos (Double Stuf and chocolate-dipped), Payday bars, 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, tortilla chips, 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-3 (Daniel, Curtis Shaller, Quint Walter)