Original Publication Date: 1997
Ghostwriter? Yes, Peter Lerangis
Sunny's mom is losing ground in her fight with cancer. Sunny's trying to process everything, but also trying to still live her own life, which ends up annoying people around her because she's not taking things seriously enough. The thing is, this is written during the time when Sunny first allows herself to understand that her mother is dying, and Sunny needs some venue of escape. Certainly, one could argue that she's taking it too far, cutting class and so on, but no one seems to try to really talk to her or understand how she's feeling. She meets a drifter at a beach one day when she's skipping school, and he unwittingly inspires her to run away. When he realizes that she's doing so and what she's running from, he reads her the riot act and takes off to who know where. Ducky ends up finding Sunny late that night and taking her back home.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Ducky):
Sunny's previous interest in boys is growing.
Sunny thinks tuna sandwiches taste good. I always thought she was vegetarian. Maybe she's a "Dawn vegetarian" in that she only avoids red meat.
This book is the one that really starts with hints about Ducky's sexuality. Or so I've been told. I'm really, really naive about that sort of thing.
It's really funny how Sunny internally rolls her eyes at Dawn's attempts to be helpful when Dawn suggests "hippie" things, considering Sunny's family used to be hippies.
Sunny's mom is 42.
This whole book is basically a PSA about the dangers of smoking. But here's something else: not all cancers are caused by smoking, including lung, throat, and mouth cancers. Sometimes bad things just happen despite our best efforts. Playing the blame game never does any good when faced with a life-threatening situation. Sure, do what you can to be healthy, but if you or someone else falls into bad health, don't beat anyone up about it.
If you have children, you should have a will regardless of your health. It's important to have things like who would take care of children in the events of their parents' deaths laid out in the proper legal format. In fact, I'm going to go check mine to be sure we had it written to include any future children, because if not, I need it redone to include Daughter #2...okay, just looked at it and called my lawyer (my dad) and we worded it right to cover all future children whether biological or adopted. He wondered why I was spending my free time looking over my will. I didn't want to explain that it was prompted by reading a YA book.
Sunny mentions working in her dad's bookstore despite being too young to legally hold a job. Thirteen-year-olds in Stoneybrook do that all the time with hardly any issue...and the one time it's mentioned is actually a situation in which there are laws to make it fine: in many cases, the laws specify that children can work in their parents' businesses.
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: 10
BSC Fights: 11
SMS Staff and Faculty: 67
Students (other than the BSC): 209: 119 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 26 7th graders, 47 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: 130