Original Publication Date: 1993
Ghostwriter? Yes, Nola Thacker
The Papadakis family is fostering a child, Lou (short for Louisa). She's been through a lot in her short life, and is hard to get along with. She picks fights, resists peoples' attempts to get to know her, and complains about the rules at the Papadakis house (after all, she's a McNally, not a Papadakis). Eventually, Lou lets Kristy in a little bit, and Kristy starts to understand where Lou's frustration comes from. It was already known that Lou's mother had abandoned the family, her father recently died, and her brother was with a different foster family, but it isn't until Lou starts opening up that the BSC realizes how much hurt she's had to endure.
Nonetheless, the fact that Lou has had a difficult life doesn't mean she's allowed to make the people around her miserable. She starts to learn that it's okay to let people get close to her, and stops trying to push everyone away. But she still believes her mother will come back and take her and her brother, so when her social worker comes with the news that she and her brother will live with their uncle's family, Lou goes ballistic. Kristy calms her down, though, and when the day comes for Lou to go to her new family, things are okay. Two big things help: she gets to see her brother again, and she gets a puppy all for herself. Dogs make everything better.
Meanwhile: Karen and her friends turn the old garden shed into a playhouse, and SMS holds a fund-raising auction (the BSC writes letters and gets celebrities to donate things like a jacket worn during a movie filming, the warm-up blanket from the Kentucky derby winner, etc). The highest-earning item? 24 hours of sitting from the BSC. Cue eyeroll.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: yogurt-covered raisins, Mallomars, Frosted Flakes, and sourdough pretzels under her bed, marshmallows in a desk drawer, Fig Newtons
Dawn's starting to lecture more about food, but about eating healthy, not cow carcasses (yet).
Mary Anne still has a fangirl crush on Cam Geary. Later in the book, Mary Anne correctly uses a possessive pronoun with a gerund and I consider starting my own fangirl crush.
Kristy specifically mentions that Mary Anne holds a piece of paper a little far from her face to read it. Considering Mary Anne uses reading glasses, that makes perfect sense.
It's implied that Stacey's tastes are getting older than those of the rest of the BSC. She's into music that high schoolers like, for example. Maybe because of dating Sam?
Logan buys pearl earrings for Mary Anne at the auction. I hope they're clip ons.
And exactly HOW does Sam Thomas deliver groceries for the A&P? It's his parttime job, and he's fifteen...
We get to see the Craine family again, the ones who had a ghost cat. I thought they only appeared the once in the Mallory mystery.
SMS has computers! And has had them long enough for the computers to be outdated! I forget sometimes that technology from beyond the 1970s exists in the BSC world.
From Jessi's narration, it's implied that SMS has no playground or recess. But in the first few books they have recess. Jessi and Mallory even met during recess.
PSA Time: nothing stood out
Considering how it seems Ann M. Martin was trying represent different kinds of families in the BSC members, it's interesting that all the girls are raised by at least one biological parent. There are divorcees, widows, happily married couples, extended family living under the same roof, but no BSC member is adopted. Even the American Girl books have an orphan (Samantha, who's in her grandmother's custody).
There are a lot of accurate call-backs in this books: different incidents with Cokie Mason, Kristy's run for class president...
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: 8
SMS Staff and Faculty: 32
Students (other than the BSC): 96; 63 8th graders, 2 7th grader, 18 6th graders, 12 unspecified
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 68 (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, Devil Dogs, Ding-Dongs, Doritos, Fig Newtons, Fritos, Frosted Flakes, fruit pie, Goobers, 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, Milk Duds, Milky Ways, mini candy bars, Necco wafers, Oreos (Double Stuf and chocolate-dipped), Payday bars, Planter's Peanut bar, popcorn, potato chips, pretzels (regular and sourdough), 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, yogurt-covered raisins)
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)