Original Publication Date: 1997
Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles.
During "Take Your Daughter to Work Day" Stacey gets picked for a brief modeling gig. Cokie Mason is in it, too, along with some more experienced girls. At the end of the "fashion week" one girl will be picked to be Princess Bellair. It's not long before strange things start happening. Harmony, the requisite girl with a pushy stage mother, comes down with painful stomach cramps just after having some tea (perhaps spiked with laxatives?). Some outfits are cut to shreds just before a photo shoot. Threatening notes appear. It's pretty similar to Jessi and the Dance School Phantom. But a bit more sinister: someone gets a strange rash from the stage makeup, another girl has a nasty spill on the runway, and Stacey and another girl come a little too close to falling off a roof (they land on part of it a foot lower than the rest). After the girl who was poisoned is name Princess Bellair but doesn't seem truly happy about it, Stacey realizes she's been sabotaging herself (that same girl also fell with Stacey, and on the runway). With the BSC's encouragement, she's able to admit to her mother that she's sick of modeling and that she's going to quit after the fashion week is done. She even relinquishes her title of Princess Bellair, which goes to another of the models.
The subplot is a giant PSA about smoking: how you shouldn't start and how if you have, you should work on quitting. Several parents and other adults suddenly smoke (for example, Aunt Cecelia smokes a few times a day and Watson Brewer has the occasional cigar) and make efforts to give it up all together on a set day. The kids and the BSC help by having people sign a pledge to either never start smoking or quit for (at least) a day, and pass out carrots and gum to help ease the oral fixation.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: Skittles
Stacey mentions having won a modeling contest at Belliar's, which if I recall correctly, is a reference to the BSC TV show.
One of Claudia's parents is an investment banker.
Emily Michelle is still having trouble picking up spoken English. My own two-year-old (almost 26 months) knows a lot of words but is stubborn about saying them. However, she uses American Sign Language very well to communicate her needs and wants. Maybe Jessi should work with Emily Michelle.
David Michael comes up with idea of a quit day for the smokes. Guess great ideas run in the family.
Aunt Cecelia's stubborness serves her well when she signs the quit-smoking pledge.
The Club (and clients): nothing new.
SMS: nothing new.
By the way, if you think a funny joke is to pass out laxative-laced brownies to your schoolmates (like happened when I was in high school), it's not funny. You don't what what other medicine someone might have had that day, or what allergies a person has. Plus laxatives just flat out cause pain. Fortunately I didn't have any, and nother horrible happened, but it was just such a stupid thing to do.
I guess about half the days I work are "Take Your Daughter to Work" days. I have a nanny job specifically so I can bring her with me on the days my husband's at work. His weekends are Sunday to Tuesday with every other Wednesday off.
Did I grow up really sheltered or is it weird that this book and the one before, plus a few earlier ones, have teenagers smoking so much? How could they even buy cigarettes? I know some teens do, but it seems more on the level of nose-picking in these books: a habit that a lot of people don't want to see, but that a lot of people have.
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