Original Publication Date: 1998
Ghostwriter? Yes, Vicki Berger Erwin.
Claudia's parents are going out of town for the weekend, and Claudia decides to have a small party while they're gone. She's been feeling pulled between her obligations to her BSC friends, her seventh-grade friends, and her boyfriend, so is looking forward to having a chance for everyone to get to know each other and hang out with all of them. Janine's also been wanting to spend more time with Claudia, which Claudia thinks is nice, but she can only be so many places at once. Janine agrees to help with the party, so Claudia's thrilled that everyone who wants a piece of her can be involved. Predictably, more people come than planned (it seems that some guests invited other guests) and things get a bit out of hand. Of course, during the party, Claudia's aunt and uncle show up. In the ensuing awkwardness, Janine and Claudia fight, but patch things up the next morning as they're cleaning.
Subplot is about Melody and Bill Korman. They keep getting in fights with each other (Bill seems to get blamed for more than his fair share, which I'm sure is part of the problem, but it's oddly never brought up). Jessi suggests doing something to force the two to work together, so Mary Anne, who has the next sitting job with them, pretends to lose the house key while on a walk and they work together to retrace steps and actions until they find where Mary Anne hide it in their baby sister's stroller.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: M&Ms, Snickers, and pretzels in her desk drawer, more M&Ms under her bed, a Hershey bar in a purse in her closet. She also likens her feeling of being stretched different directions to being a piece of taffy pulled apart.
Mallory's still being teased at school, and it's affecting her sleep.
Okay, Claudia might have a point about Janine using big words to show off her intelligence. Janine says that her ex-boyfriend was taking up her time "geometrically instead of arithmetically" as a way to say he was taking up too much of her time. That just sounds like gibberish; if she wanted to make a math pun then she should have stuck with something more like "exponentially instead of linearly."
It's been mentioned that Janine also has a sweet tooth, and true to form, the first night the parents are out of town, Janine makes a dessert of blondies topped with ice cream and caramel sauce.
Janine and Claudia change in front of each other. I suppose Vanessa and Mallory do as well, since they share a room. Maybe that's normal though; I don't have any sisters.
The Club (and clients):
Abby sometimes runs from her house to BSC meetings instead of getting a ride with Kristy. Still don't get why they don't just hang out with another club member for a couple hours or study or something after school...
SMS: nothing new.
While the Korman kids think they're locked out of the house, they wonder if they should break a window to get back in. My first thought was that one of them should wrap a hand in a shirt to protect the skin from broken glass, but Bill suggests a better idea: throw a rock or heavy shoe through the window. Far less chance of getting cut that way.
So, at 13 and 16, Claudia and Janine have their first night at home without their parents. I've never spent the night at my parents' without them there, and I'm going to 29 this year. I went from home to the college dorms to an apartment with my husband (just before our senior year of college), and didn't even spend a night there alone until a while later when he worked an overnight shift. I was probably 22 or 23 before I was alone overnight. My older brother was probably 21ish, and my younger brother...I'm not sure he has yet! My parents did go out of town once when he was 18, and he had a small party with my parents' permission, but my husband hung out upstairs for the duration. My brother's quite a bit younger than I am, which is probably why my parents didn't do overnight trips when I was living at home.
Starting 8th grade: 11
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): 216: 122 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 30 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: 143