Original Publication Date: 1998
Ghostwriter? Yes, Suzanne Weyn.
This book is the one in which Mallory decides to attend a Massachusetts boarding school in response to the bullying at SMS and deals with the tensions between her and her friends, especially Jessi. For some reason, it's not told from Mallory's or Jessi's perspective, but Mary Anne's, because Mallory and Jessi have confided in her and she feels stuck in the middle of their argument. The main problem between Jessi and Mallory is that Jessi thinks Mallory is running away from her problems instead of trying to fix them (one point she has is that her family didn't run away from racism when they moved to Stoneybrook), while Mallory is upset that Jessi can't be happy for her to have been accepted--with a full scholarship--to an exclusive school. I'm willing to bet that part of Jessi is upset because if Mallory was going to up and leave for a boarding school, why did Jessi bother coming back from Dance New York? I can see why Jessi would feel hurt and abandoned, but she majorly crosses a line when she gets Mallory's siblings worked up about her leaving and turns them against her. Which honestly makes the scene in which Jessi's dance friends are excited for Mallory pretty funny. Mary Anne isn't laughing though; she's tired of being complained to all the time. She finally gets Jessi and Mallory to talk to each other and make up, just in time for the send-off party the BSC had arranged for Mallory.
Subplot: the BSC and several charges make new holiday decorations for the nursing home in which Mallory's great-uncle lives.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: none mentioned
Abby complains briefly that BSC members should be allowed to have lives when Kristy angsts about a party meaning all the members will be unavailable. Potential foreshadowing for the first Friends Forever superspecial?
Mrs. Pike is still temping and has a job over the holiday season.
Boo-Boo the cat is no more. There's a new kitten named Pumpkin in his place, a plot I understand is covered in a Little Sister book.
Mary Anne describes the Schafer diet well: they're basically vegetarian, which is pretty accurate considering how often we've seen Dawn eat chicken or Sharon be fine with picking meat out of or off something. So it's more that they prefer to not eat meat rather than never eating meat.
The Club (and clients):
The BSC elects to not replace Mallory, as they can't think of anyone good enough.
Although Mallory will be attending Riverside after the winter holiday break, my running total for SMS students will stay the same because it doesn't include the BSC.
PSA Time: nothing stood out.
This book takes place in December and there are some holiday preparations happening, but none actually celebrated.
It strikes me as funny that the director of the nursing home describes some decorations as so ancient that, at thirty years old, they should be tossed. Because pretty much all of the residences are going to be at least twice that age! Of course I realize that people aren't things, but it's pretty funny to me all the same.
Starting 8th grade: 11
Halloweens in 8th grade: 6 (plus one in seventh)
Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 4
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: 38 families
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 143