Ghostwriter? Yes, Nola Thacker
The Addison family is moving to Seattle, WA (yay, out-of-control Sean is coming live near me). While they help the family pack, the BSC also has to deal with Sean being convinced they hate him and are happy to be rid of him. The BSC throws the Addisons a going-away party. The Nicholls family moves into the Addisons' old house.
At the same time, Lou McNally is moving back with her older brother and aunt and uncle. (She's the star of Kristy and the Worst Kid Ever, who was in foster care with the Papadakises. She acted out due to the immense stress of her situation.) Lou is now constantly on her very best behavior and almost never acts like a kid. While she's easy to watch, the BSC is concerned that she's unable or unwilling to be herself. There's also the way that a little mistake, like spilling a glass of water, sends her into a panic. After talking with her brother, it seems that Lou is worried that if she messes up, her aunt and uncle might not be able to keep them or something might happen to them. Abby tries to convince Lou that she's not in any danger, but it doesn't really take until Abby explains what's going on to Lou's aunt and uncle.
This book takes place in February, which in the US is Black History Month. For a school project, Abby gets some of the BSC charges involved in a documentary she makes about the Underground Railroad (Nicky Pike inspired the idea).
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: garlic nugget pretzels, M&Ms, trail mix, an apple (for Stacey)
There is a sewing machine at Mary Anne's house but it's unclear if it's primarily Mary Anne's, Sharon's, or Richard's. I'm betting it belongs to Mary Anne.
I don't know why Abby passed off her tears as allergies when she was talking to Jay (Lou's older brother) about his father dying. I bet he and Abby could have helped each other, having had the same sad experience. Even if she didn't want to talk about it, it would make more sense to me for her to say something like, "My father passed away too, and it makes me emotional to think about it, but I don't like to talk about it."
Their Families: nothing new.
The Club (and clients):
I do think it's weird that the girls refer to themselves as BABY-sitters when they usually watch older kids. I've watched kids for at least a decade and a half in various capacities from minding my younger brother to being a five-day-a-week nanny, and I refer to myself as a sitter unless there actually is an infant. I've known little kids for whom it's very important that they not be implied to be babies.
The Addisons move away but the McNallys settle in Stoneybrook, so the number of BSC clients is unchanged. The Nicholls family, who moves into the Addisons' house, has two kids and might call on the BSC for sitting services soon. The BSC notes that Mr. Nicholls is pretty strict with his boys, but think it's from the stress of moving.
EDIT: Oops...I confused which part means what, so ignore most of the following! It was correctedin the comments. Abby was still wrong, though.
PSA Time: nothing stood out.
Is it foreshadowing that Abby and her charges mention the name of Mary Anne's street is odd, Burnt Hill Road? Maybe. The name certainly makes more sense once we get to the last regular series book (it's in 27 more books; one Super Special, four mysteries, seven California Diaries, and fifteen regular series).
Was anyone else confused as a child to read that Mary Anne and Dawn's house was part of the Underground Railroad despite being in Connecticut? I know now that many escaped slaved went all the way to Canada to avoid extradition back to the South, but when I was a kid and read about the secret passage I only knew about slaves trying to get north of the Mason-Dixon Line (CT is north of that and therefore didn't have slavery). Maybe it was just me, but I think that with how much the BSC books overexplain things there could have been a mention back in The Ghost at Dawn's House when the passage is first introduced, rather than waiting until this book!
Mrs. Addison is correct, you don't get very dependable snow in the Seattle area. We had none this year, but last year there was a snow and ice storm that shut some stuff down for a few days (steep hills+cars/drivers that aren't equiped for snow+ice+not a lot of equipment to get rid of the ice and snow=dangerous driving conditions).
Starting 8th grade: 10
Halloweens in 8th grade: 6 (plus one in seventh)
Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 3
Winter holidays in 8th grade (that BSC members celebrate in the plot of a book, not just reference): Christmas-5, Hanukkah-2, Kwanzaa-3
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): 214: 120 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 29 7th graders, 48 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: 136