Original Publication Date: 1998
Ghostwriter? Yes, Suzanne Weyn. The book is dedicated to Ren Roome and Ann Ross Roome.
Stacey has been musing lately about how her mom has lost touch with most of the friends she had before the divorce, doesn't seem to have much time or inclination to meet anyone new, and hasn't been on a date since splitting up, although her dad, who works more hours, has a steady girlfriend. So when Stacey gets a sitting job with the Brooke family, which is headed by a single dad, she schemes to set him up with her mom. Mr. Brooke is a writer, and Stacey's mom turns out to be a fan of his books. Stacey and the adults are excited about the possibility of a relationship, but the Brooke children aren't. Their parents' divorce is fairly recent; their mom left to pursue an acting career. They haven't had time to really process what's going on yet. The kindergarten-age son is more accepting, but the older daughter...
Things come to a head when the Brookes come over for Thanksgiving dinner, but Stacey manages to have a nice heart-to-heart with the daughter. Still, even after the rest of the evening goes well, her mom tells Stacey that things aren't going to work in the long term between her and Mr. Brooke. Stacey thinks her mom is just making up excuses, but eventually realizes that she needs to support her mother, who knows better than Stacey what's best for herself. Stacey talks to the kids after the breakup, and agrees to be their honorary big sister. Not that we really hear about them again except in passing...
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: Mallomars in her dresser drawer, carrots (for Stacey)
Stacey's still in the math club at school.
Stacey checks an ingredient list for fructose, among other things. Had this been written today, I'm sure she would have been checking for high fructose corn syrup.
Mallory's troubles at school have escalated to the point that she and her parents take a weekend trip to check out a boarding school in Massachusetts. The BSC as a whole is shocked; Jessi is especially less than thrilled.
Mary Anne's dad dated other women before reconnecting with Sharon. Somehow I pictured him just withdrawing from romantic attachments until one fell into his lap.
Stacey's mom still likes Vivaldi, like she did in Snowbound!
The Club (and clients):
The Brooke family brings the BSC client total to 38.
The SMS soccer team seems to still be in its regular season three weeks before Thanksgiving. Usually fall sports are starting playoffs then. But the passage isn't entirely clear, so it could be playoffs.
"Spaz" is actually a slur against people with cerebal palsy and similar conditions. It refers to the spastic motions they might make, due to issues with muscle control. It's more commonly used that way in Europe than the US, so a lot of people in North America might be unaware of this.
I hate terms like "reverse snobbery" and "reverse racism." In my mind, it's just [whatever prejudice] from a different angle. An argument can be made for reverse racism, but reverse snobbery just sounds stupid.
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