Original Publication Date: 1994
Ghostwriter? Yes, Peter Lerangis
Dawn's dad is getting married to Carol...the same weekend that Mrs. Barrett is marrying Franklin DeWitt! Some sitters will be at each wedding (Claudia, Kristy, and Mary Anne fly to California), so Dawn suggests they all keep journals of what happens. That way, they can share the stories of the weddings. What hijinks await? Well...
Dawn is excited to be a bridesmaid with Mary Anne at the wedding, as well as being excited about the addition to her family (maybe less though). She's also nervous about passing her final exams for the school semester, because she has to in order to re-enroll at SMS: she's returning to Connecticut on Christmas Day. Carol helps her study and she passes.
Stacey has grown close to the Barrett-DeWitt clan during Dawn's absence, and is asked to fill in for a bridesmaid who had to cancel.
Jessi gets tapped to play a mall Santa. But she's BLACK! Of course, despite her worries, she pulls it off.
Mallory agrees to take some kids caroling with Ben Hobart and to help watch kids during the Barrett-Dewitt wedding, and then realizes they're at the same time. She calls Ben to cancel and he gets ticked off. After they both calm down, they reschedule and have a blast.
Mary Anne has conflicting feelings about her stepsister's dad's wedding. She's excited for the wedding and happy for the new family, but thinks the venue (a beach) is going to make things tricky. Then she gets a shock when Dawn informs her she's a bridesmaid, complete with unflattering dress. Then she finally reconciles that fact, and finds out that Dawn never cleared that with her dad or Carol so the "offer" has to be rescinded, leaving Mary Anne feeling hurt. Things get resolved pretty quickly, though.
Kristy helps the We ♥ Kids Club plan a surprise going-away party for Dawn. She also gets to feel superior because the W♥KC had nothing planned. She also gets to help Claudia decorate the Christmas tree at the Schafer-Olson home. Lucky! I love decorating Christmas trees. (It's actually the Christmas present that my best friend gives me every year, since she's neutral on the matter. For her January 1 birthday, I undecorate it.)
Claudia is in charge of wedding photography and flowers for the California festivities, having been hired as a consultant to help defray the cost of her plane ticket.
Shannon gets a very brief chapter about watching the youngest DeWitt during the wedding. He escapes for a moment and almost runs up to his dad during the procession, but spends most of the ceremony asleep in a nursery playpen.
Logan helps the Barrett-DeWitt family move, including the DeWitts' piano. (no piano movers in Stoneybrook? Guess everyone's too busy being a lawyer.)
Also: Jeff is nervous that their housekeeper will be fired after the wedding (she isn't), Carol and Jack get in a tiff over what furniture they should each get rid of after she moves in (but her stuff gets stolen and they figure oh well), and Suzi Barrett leaves a trail of cookie crumbs from her old house to her new house so Santa can find her (he does).
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: several types of candy mentioned, but none from Claudia's room
So Dawn comes back to Stoneybrook on Christmas Day. She spent three and a half months or a year and three and a half months in California. They're still in eighth grade, but she had summer there!
Dawn's pretty firmly in the "everyone who doesn't do things the way I do is evil" camp now. No more laid-back Dawn.
She's also pretty inconsistent: in her first chapter she snots that she can't understand why people eat slaughtered animals, and during Mary Anne's first one she's thrilled to have flounder for dinner. Maybe it wasn't slaughtered commericially, just showed up dead.
Upon realizing that she's a bridesmaid, Stacey thinks about how in the wedding pictures she'll be "forever 13." That has to be a joke about the time warp.
Dawn and Mary Anne used to be able to share clothes when their parents first married. Now their sizes are different enough that they can't fit each other's clothes comfortably. I could write this off as "Oh, they used just share sweaters and socks" or something, but I remember them specifically switching skirts.
"Not long after I [Dawn] came to CA, Carol and Dad broke up. I think Carol was jealous of the attention Dad was giving me." Selective amnesia there, Dawn? Maybe you forgot an important catalyst? One involving identity theft?
I guess Carol doesn't have much family? You'd think if she had siblings they'd be involved in the wedding. Her family isn't mentioned at all. No parents, nothing.
Hunter Bruno is naturally talented at piano. The Brunos, of course, ended up with the DeWitts' piano...which Logan had to move again.
Jeff, upon being kept up all night by Dawn and Mary Anne's chatter, wishes he could sleep in the barn. Hold that thought until book 131, Jeff.
The Club (and clients):
During the Barrett-DeWitt wedding, Marnie escapes from Mallory and runs up to hold on to her mom, where she remains for the entire ceremony. Say it with me: AWWWW.
SMS: nothing new.
Bird who eat rice won't die from it expanding in their stomachs (otherwise brids feasting on crops in Asia are screwed). But it is easy for people to slip on, which is why a lot of wedding venues have people throw birdseed. However that can be slipped on as well. Instead you could have people blow soap bubbles from tiny containers (like one of my cousins and I did) or if it's a night wedding, have sparklers (like my best friend--it was awesome).
Down syndrome. Not Down's or Downs. (according to the National Down Syndrome Society)
This used book came from "The Library of Nicole Elizabeth G[lastname]", who had pretty pink stickers printed up to mark her books.
Jessi could have asked to play Zwarte Piet instead of Santa if she was so worried about the color of her skin: Zwarte Piet. edited to add: this was meant sarcastically--although Zwarte Piet isn't considered racist in his own country, a character in blackface certainly doesn't work well in the US.
I know a lot of people don't invite kids to weddings. I understand the concern that they're unpredictable and certain venues are less kid-friendly than others, but I don't quite understand why not. We had kids at and in our wedding and that was part of the fun. My cousin's husband ended up watching from the narthex (foyer) with their one-year-old, but I only noticed because they were in the background of a picture. And our two flower girls (ages 2 and 3 1/2) dancing at the reception? Adorable! But to each his own. Basically, to sum up: kids are weddings aren't an automatic recipe for disaster. And if I get invited to your wedding I will double-check that kids are okay to bring, since it's YOUR party, not mine.
Starting 8th grade: 7
Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2
Halloweens in 8th grade: 4 (plus one in seventh)
Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1
Christmases in 8th grade: 1 (Hanukkah is also mentioned, but no one in the BSC celebrates it)
Summers after 8th grade: 7
BSC Fights: 9
SMS Staff and Faculty: 47
Students (other than the BSC): 165; 101 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 97