Original Publication Date: 1997
Ghostwriter? Yes, Peter Lerangis
Maggie's first diary is about the pressure she feels to put up a good front at school, to live up to her dad's high expectations of her, and to deal with her mom's alcoholism. One big problem is that her dad wants her to be her best, so he's always pushing her to acheive more and in doing so, ignores the great things she HAS done. So no matter what Maggie does, she thinks it's not enough. In the midst of this, Maggie gets to know Amalia Vargas, who manages a high school band. Amalia overheard Maggie singing, and convinces her to become a singer for the band, Vanish. Maggie tries out for backup, but is given lead singer. Vanish ends up placing second in a Battle of the Bands contest, but when Maggie's father finds out, she can tell that even though he disapproves of her being in the band, he thinks they should have performed better and gotten first. And she agrees.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Ducky):
Sunny's taken to dressing wildly to deal with her mom's illness. She's also trying to set up her friends with dates, maybe so that her interest in boys seems less noticeable. She'd been somewhat boy-crazy in her appearance in regular BSC books, but it's increasing.
There's some foreshadowing of the anorexia-like tendencies that Maggie will later have.
Maggie has an eleven-year-old brother, Zeke, who acts out in response to their home life. The family also employs Pilar, a housekeeper.
Maggie's mother has a drinking problem, but is described fitting into a slinky gown. Doesn't too much alcohol lead to a bloated appearance? Maybe just around the face. But if it does, perhaps her mother has an eating disorder as well?
If you ever think you're not worth it, you're wrong. Everyone has value.
This book takes place from mid-November to early December.
Maggie has a conflict about how she shouldn't feel overwhelmed by the problems she's having, because so many people (Sunny in particular) have worse things to deal with (for example, dying parents). I remember that feeling VERY well when my first daughter was born; it's portrayed VERY realistically.
Maggie finds herself entertaining a daydream of singing in a band in front of a crowd at the Kingdome. Seattle shout-out! Kingdome's gone though. The ceiling kept falling. It existed when this book was written, but now the Seahawks (football) and Sounders (soccer) play at the CLink (Century Link Field), and the Mariners (baseball) play at Safeco.
This may be the only BSC book in which someone practices a scripted conversation in order to ask a favor or broach a difficult subject and actually sticks to her script.
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