Original Publication Date: 1997
Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles
Abby arrives home from school to find a six-month-old (or so) baby boy on the porch. There's no indication of where the baby came from. After a visit from the police, it's decided that the little boy can stay with the Stevensons for now. Abby's mom hires a nanny for when she's at work and the girls are at school. Abby's not convinced the woman her mom hires is best for the job, and she's also very curious about the private conversations her mom is having with the police and social workers. Plus her (maternal) grandparents are acting weird. Maybe they know something...but this is a BSC mystery, so these could easily be red herrings.
Maybe it has something to do with the younger sister Abby's mom suddenly has (a few books ago, Mrs. Stevenson was an only child). The sister has been estranged for a while, although Abby has heard of her enough to know her name and stories from her childhood. Sure enough, a trail of clues leads Abby to a New York City hospital, where she finds her mother visiting her aunt. She had dropped the baby off at Abby's house, not quite thinking clearly to due diabetic complications, and ended up in a coma for a little while, which explains the lack of a phone call or anything. At the end of the book, the whole family is healthy and reconciled. (Well, except that the baby's father left Abby's aunt...)
Subplot: The BSC organizes a month-long writing group for the charges. Yay.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: Hershey's miniatures (and the dark chocolate ones are her favorite)
In addition to soccer, Abby likes softball and track.
Claire is very new to writing, and even needs help spelling "the." Is that normal for a kindergartener? To not be able to spell small words?
I think we can safely say that the Stevensons don't keep Kosher. Abby has pepperoni pizza ready for a pizza. Aside from mixing milk and meat, pepperoni tends to be pork. I don't think a family that kept Kosher would have pig meat lying around the house. Although Abby never states whether she eats any.
The Club (and clients): nothing new.
SMS: nothing new.
Abby is a bit snobby with her mom's substitute receptionist when the woman won't give Abby the information she's asking for. Abby sure the woman knows. But, having been the one answering the phones, there is no way for this woman to know who Abby is. She's doing what her boss asked her to do. Don't try to trick receptionists. We don't like it.
Typo on page 96. Abby narrates that Stacey was ribbing Claudia's spelling in a notebook entry, but from both the handwriting and the content, Mallory was doing the ribbing.
Abby describes the BSC members by how they'd react to finding a baby on their doorsteps. She keeps referring to the imaginary baby as "it" since she's not imagining a boy or girl specifically. It sounds odd, but what are you gonna do? I'm just glad that I found my next baby is a girl so that we can stop saying "it" and start saying "she" while we wait for May when she'll be born.
Starting 8th grade: 9
Halloweens in 8th grade: 6 (plus one in seventh)
Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 3
Winter holidays in 8th grade (that BSC members celebrate, not just reference): Christmas-3, Hanukkah-1, Kwanzaa-2
Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 3
Summers after 8th grade: 9
BSC Fights: 11
SMS Staff and Faculty: 60
Students (other than the BSC): 187: 118 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 9 7th graders, 44 6th graders, 15 unspecified. Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students.
Clients: 37 families
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 123