Original Publication Date: 1997
Ghostwriter? Yes, Peter Lerangis.
Claudia's doing well in seventh grade, keeping up with her classes well enough to help her classmates study. And she's become good enough friends with some classmates that they nominate for Seventh Grade Queen, which is a long-standing tradition that SMS suddenly has. Claudia is flattered, but the eighth grade BSC members are dismissive about it and seem to think seventh graders beneath them. Jessi and Mallory get all immature and giggily at the thought of Claudia potentially being paired up with the Seventh Grade King. The younger two get over it quickly, but the older ones keep acting high and mighty. The SMS "royalty" helps organize the school's prom, but it's basically a puppet government. Claudia, however, is determined to actually have an influence. She channels Kristy and organizes a very well thought-out prom, complete with a food and clothing drive. And she does end up crushing on the seventh grade king, Mark Jaffe...and kissing him. She also puts the older BSC members in their place, which I found more satisfying than Claudia dating someone.
Meanwhile, the BSC is having to deal with Sean Addison's anger issues. Part of his anger comes from feeling like a baby because he still needs a sitter. But the BSC helps him out by discovering that certain classmates have sitters themselves, and show him how to be more responsible and thus earn more trust.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: marshmallows in her dresser drawer, Paydays behind her headboard, Chips Ahoy near her bed, Milk Duds
Stacey can run AN ENTIRE HALF MILE. Yes, a little more than 800 meters. I bet it didn't even take her five minutes. (Yes, sarcasm. In eighth grade, a half mile was the warm up for most of my sports practices, and Stacey is supposed to be decent shape from the description of her bike riding in Stacey McGill, Super Sitter)
Their Families: nothing new.
The Club (and clients):
The Addison family (parents ignored the kids by shuttling them off to different activities in Claudia and the Sad Goodbye, the son torched some library books in Mary Anne and the Library Mystery) are in family therapy, which is good. The mom says the son, Sean, is learning to express his anger verbally...uh, if his anger is on the level of burning books, he needs to learn to not be so angry, not express it differently. Granted, words are better than vandalism, but still...
New-to-us students: Tom Blanton, Shira Epstein, Joanna Fried, Mark Jaffe, Loretta Jorgensen, Len Judson, Jeannie Kim, Jennifer Kline, Bonnie Lasher, Abigail Leib, Frank O'Malley, Josh Rocker, Ron Tibbets, Duryan Weinstein, Neil ?, Spud ? (7th grade)
New-to-us teachers: Mr. Hochberger (English), Ms. Pilley (7th grade homeroom)
PSA Time: nothing stood out.
The book states that only animals of the same species can mate, which is not quite true. Only animals of the same species can produce fertile offspring. For example, a donkey and a horse can produce a sterile mule and tigers and lions cross-breed but are clearly not the same species. But a cocker spaniel and a Labrador retreiver can produce puppies who can go on to have puppies themselves.
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: 65
Students (other than the BSC): 203: 118 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 25 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