Original Publication Date: 1995
Ghostwriter? Yes, Jeanne Betancourt
It's summer (again) and Claudia, Kristy, Mary Anne, and Dawn are off to Maine for a bit to watch Karen and Andrew Brewer and four kids of another family (friends on the Brewers' mom's side). The latter family, the Menders, have inherited a very nice house up there and are deciding whether to move. Jessi, Mallory, Logan, and Shannon agree to cover their sitting jobs. Oh, one more thing: the house seems to be haunted. (Of course, it's just the "caretakers" trying to scare the Menders away because they're actually cousins who are in the will too, and a couple times the Menders' oldest child.)
Claudia spends a lot of time with one Georgio Trono, the college-age gardener. He's briefly crush material, but she thinks he's behind the fake hauntings, plus he's six or more years older. She also helps the Menders kids put together a float for the town parade (like she does in about every third Super Special).
Kristy reigns in Karen's over-helpfulness, as the latter tries to push one of the young charges into making friends instead of letting her go at her own pace. She also helps Jason Menders (elementary-aged) make friends with members of the local baseball team.
Mary Anne bores everyone with tidbits of information about New England. I love history and trivia, but even I think she goes too far.
Dawn gets a mini-me in the form of Jill Menders, one of the sitting charges.
Jessi and Mallory take turns being president of the BSC and goes okay. They think Shannon doesn't respect their authority (she talks down a bit, but it's more that she's busy) and that Logan is brushing them off (he has a job--somehow--at a restaurant). Really, what happens is that they're in over their head and they panic. Things get busy, and Janine even takes a job! The two think they've destroyed the BSC, but of course it works out fine.
Logan (no chapter for Shannon!) puts up with the insanity of frazzled Mallory and Jessi.
Karen gets a chapter too and ticks me off by refusing to use contractions. That doesn't make you look smart. It makes it look like you don't understand grammar conventions.
Stacey doesn't get a chapter or subplot because she's a HOAR who thinks she's too good for the BSC.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: Chuckle Rings and rice cakes under her bed, Tootsie Rolls under her mattress, blue corn chips, and Twinkies
Dawn's getting wistful for California.
Kristy counts herself as related to Karen and Andrew, despite there being no blood ties. I like that; I have a lot of steps and halves and adopteds and even more tenuous relations than that in my extended family.
The Club (and clients):
Shannon's still the alternate officer, with Dawn as treasurer.
At one point Mallory and Jessi decide to stop taking turns being president because there are only the two of them. Way back in Hello, Mallory, during the short-lived sitting club (Kids, Inc) Mallory and Jessi found, they come to the same conclusion.
Mrs. Hall, Claudia's English teacher, does sound like an awesome teacher. Claudia describes how the teacher has gone out of her way to help Claudia pass, even letting her do a summer writing project rather than summer school. You can tell that Claudia appreciates the extra help and works harder as a result.
To clean a glass/crystal/etc chandelier or candlelabra, put a bath towel underneath where it hangs from the ceiling and spray it down liberally with rubbing alcohol (provided you know it won't damage the material it's made of). Because rubbing alcohol evaporates at a low temperature, you won't need to dry all the nooks and crannies; just let it drip onto the towel.
Probably a terrible idea to advertise on your home answering machine that you'll be gone for six weeks. "Hi! You've reached the [residence]. If you want to break in before the end of next month, we won't notice until we get back. Have fun!"
This is clearly the same summer as the last book, but part of it takes place when the camp should be happening. FOUL.
Starting 8th grade: 7
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)
Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2
Summers after 8th grade: 8
BSC Fights: 10
SMS Staff and Faculty: 48
Students (other than the BSC): 172; 108 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified. Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students.
Clients: 33 families
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 112