Original Publication Date: 1998
Ghostwriter? Yes, Peter Lerangis. Stieg Retlin did the interior illustrations.
Amalia's trouble with her ex are fading, although she's still rattled by the experience, and he occasionally tries to win her back by sending her unwanted notes and presents. She's also concerned about Maggie, who admits to Amalia that she has a problem. Amalia wants to help, but isn't sure how. Maggie talks to Dawn, and requests that she only discuss it with her and Amalia. While I understand that they're respecting her privacy, I wouldn't promise to NEVER tell about something that serious; there might be a real reason to go to a medical professional or responsible adult down the line. Amalia recommends a therapist, and Maggie agrees to see her, but Amalia wonders if she's done enough to help.
But some good things are happening too. Amalia gets the band Vanish a paying job at the school's homecoming dance--and the band performs amazingly well. Maggie continues seeing the therapist. And there's this new guy at the school, a pretty good-looking one...who seems to really listen to Amalia and wants to get to know her better. They talk after homecoming, and Amalia's not sure quite where things are headed, but she's game to see what will happen.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Ducky):
Sunny's been pushing her friends away.
Amalia has a mild crush on Ducky for part of the book.
Amalia is nervous of guys, even when they seem nice, because her ex seemed nice at first too. I know someone who was married to a "nice" guy who turned abusive, and now refuses to ever marry again, because of how bad the abuse was. It's really sad when someone's trust is so utterly betrayed like that.
Maggie's father is willing to pay for her to see a therapist, even though she doesn't tell him why (but I'm guessing he figures it's about her dieting; he mentioned it in Maggie's last diary).
Not every promise or secret should be kept. Some information is dangerous if not brought to light. The best I've heard it phrased comes from a mom I know: Keep surprises, not secrets.
This book takes place from late September to mid-October.
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