Original Publication Date: 1995
Ghostwriter? Yes, Peter Lerangis
The local radio station hosts a contest for middle schoolers to compete for a chance to host a twice-weekly show. Feeling lonely (she's missing Stacey as well as Mimi and Peaches) and looking for something to do, Claudia enters. She wins, along with Ashley Wyeth. The two have an awkward start, having gone their separate ways since book #12, but they figure out a good show format and enjoy decent success, despite Kristy trying to hijack the show for BSC advertising (I think she and Karen switched bodies, given how annoying Kristy is here).
However, it turns out that part of the reason for the contest is that the station's on the verge of bankruptcy. With the winners hosting a show, the station doesn't have to pay as many employees. That is, until the station gets a large donation from the happy mother of a child who called in to the station. Turned out he was going through some very rough stuff, and Claudia was able to help him out by recommending the therapist Mary Anne saw (Mary Anne told Claudia about that in the Secret Santa letter book). So Claudia saves the day! Not only that, Claudia alludes to missing Stacey while on the air, and Stacey hears her, and the two start to slowly rekindle their friendship.
Overall, it's a fun read, more than you'd expect from the title.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: Milk Duds and Snickers in her desk; pretzels and Charleston Chews under her bed; M&Ms, Raininettes, Yankee Doodles, and Doritos in her closet; Twinkies in her art supplies; Skittles in her sock drawer; plus a Milky Way bar, Peppermint Patties, Snickers, Chunky bars, Hostess cupcakes, rice cakes, Oreos, and potato chips
Kristy learned to walk before Claudia did.
Mallory's writing stories about an Oogly Oogly Beast, which actually seems pretty entertaining.
Claudia and Janine are definitely getting along better. Not only is Janine really sweet to Claudia when Claudia announces she won the contest, the two girls are more comfortable around each other than previously.
The Club (and clients):
Shannon's still the alternate officer, with Dawn as treasurer.
Claudia is no longer in charge of the SMS newspaper's personals column. Oddly, when she's looking for a hobby she doesn't consider returning to it nor does she indicate why she doesn't, despite mentioning the column a few times.
Claudia suggests giving a baby who won't go to sleep warm milk with HONEY in it. Honey isn't recommended for children under 1 or 2 (opinions vary) because of the risk of botulism. The baby in question is 18 months old, but still...
There's a mention of a kazoo band. My dad was in one in high school, which was banned from basketball games because no one could hear the real band. Until the basketball team started losing...
Claudia alludes to how the sound of the letter "P" can "pop" in a microphone, which is one of the first things I learned about speaking in a microphone. I lector (read) at my church and my dad warned me about that so I could practice avoiding it. Also, the letter "S" can hiss really bad, so you need to almost lisp and say the "S" sound really fast.
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: 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.
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 109