Original Publication Date: 1998
Ghostwriter? Yes, Suzanne Weyn.
Abby and her family are headed to their grandparents' summer home in the Hamptons to help them prepare for the party they have every year to celebrate their wedding anniversary (the party is Alice in Wonderland themed this year, which inspires the book title). Although the party is shaping up to be fun, Abby's concerned about several family members who aren't able to come, since it seems to be bothering her grandmother more than Abby would expect. Something else is bothering her too, but Abby isn't sure what until she overhears a phone conversation and accidentally comes across some medical information while looking for something else for her grandfather. Abby's grandmother has either been diagnosed with breast cancer or is waiting for a definitive diagnosis. Neither grandparent is saying anything, but Abby wants to help without revealing what she knows. So she calls up the relatives who have declined invitations to convince them to come. The stress of keeping the secret gets to be too much for Abby, and she finally admits to grandmother that she knows. As it turns out, the biopsy results aren't back yet, and Abby's grandparents didn't want to worry everyone in case the lump in her breast turns out to be benign. The book ends before the results come in, but with Abby confident that her grandmother can handle what life throws at her.
The subplot is about the Pikes: they can't afford their usual summer trip to Sea City because of unexpected car repair cost. Dawn comes up with the idea to set up a beach in their backyard, using plastic pools for water and sand, decorations (including souvenirs from Sea City), and playing beach music and sounds.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: none mentioned
Dawn is still in town for the summer (it's August).
Kristy visits Abby's family for the anniversary party, but really adds nothing to the plot.
A great-uncle of Abby's was killed in action during World War II. Abby's great-grandmother came to the United States from Germany in the 1920s; nine of her twelve siblings were murdered in the Holocaust.
Abby's maternal grandfather is a bit like mine: he loves electronics and computer stuff. My grandad was an electrical engineer, among other things (for example: doctor, flight surgeon, navigator, colonel in the Air Force, college professor, crew team member for a senior rowing team; he's been in three or four bands...).
One of the foods served at the anniversary party is crab legs, which aren't Kosher. Imitation crab made from certain kinds of fish would be okay, I think. I know that not all Jewish people keep kosher, but it still seems odd that a Jewish character created for the BSC wouldn't keep Kosher.
The Club (and clients):
The Pike experiment with having the triplets act as one of the extra sitters is over; the BSC is now back to sending two sitters again.
SMS: summer break.
First thing to do when a toilet clogs: turn off the water to that specific toilet. Look near the wall under the tank; there will be a knob. Turn it to shut off the water, then mop up the mess.
You can do breast self-exams to look for lumps, and should monthly, in addition to getting mammograms when recommended based on your risk factors. Men can get breast cancer too, and can also do at-home checks and, if they meet certain risk factors, should also get mammograms.
Since formula-feeding seems to be the norm in BSC books, I think it's worth mentioning that breast-feeding reduces a woman's risk for breast cancer. So if you have the opportunity to breast-feed, it's another reason to do so. Also relevant to the BSC: having a baby before the age of thirty reduces breast cancer risk.
There's no such thing as a seagull. They're just gulls. Herring gulls, California gulls, mew gulls, et. al.
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: 4
St. Patrick's Days in 8th grade: 1
Summers after 8th grade: 11
BSC Fights: 12
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: 141