Original Publication Date: 1999
Ghostwriter? No. The books is dedicated to Betsy Howie. Betsy is Mrs. Winslow's first name.
Dawn is adjusting to having a baby in the house. She's bonded with Gracie, but of course a teething baby can get on anyone's nerves. She's craving something new and exciting, and feeling like she has far less to do in California than she would in Stoneybrook, where she had more close friends. So she's pretty thrilled when her favorite band announces it'll be playing nearby. Ducky scores four tickets to a special function with the concert that will allow him, Dawn, Amalia, and Sunny to meet the members of the band (Maggie doesn't care about the band). Dawn obtains permission from her dad and Carol to go with Ducky driving, and is willing to put up with Sunny for the privilege. She's been trying to reignite her friendship with Sunny lately, but it's not going so well. They put up with each other okay at the concert, until Ducky has a few drinks at the insistence of Sunny and a friend they meet up with, and then Sunny tries to convince him to drive anyway and Dawn intervenes and takes Ducky's keys (and rightly so). Dawn's dad and Carol are pretty upset with the situation, but do give Dawn credit for calling. Dawn's dad drives Ducky home too (Sunny was too angry and took the bus; Amalia went with her so she wouldn't be alone) and gives him a bit of fatherly advice, since Ducky's parents aren't around to dispense it.
While Sunny was absolutely in the wrong about the drinking, one can hardly blame her for being out of sorts. Her mother has come home...permanently. The chemotherapy is doing more harm than good, and she's receiving pallative care only. She's come home to die. The finality of this reality finally spurs Dawn and Sunny to restart their friendship, albeit with a heavy pallor cast over it.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Ducky):
Dawn's pretty opionated and pushy. Not only does she try to force Sunny to handle her mother's health problems the way Dawn thinks is right, she tries to force any conversation with Maggie to food and weight.
Mary Anne might visit over spring break.
Dawn's had tequila.
Ducky quit his job at Sunny's dad's bookstore in January or February.
Dawn's dad pays her to watch Gracie and Jeff, which I think is appropriate. I got money sometimes for watching my younger brother, although not every time. It was more that once in a while Dad would give me some cash because I'd watched him a few times.
Carol nurses Gracie in front of Dawn and Ducky, and it bugs Dawn even though she tries to tell herself it's natural. I know that a lot of mothers will nurse anywhere with varying layers of clothing, but being a pretty private person I prefer to have a light blanket covering myself and if I can, will go to a different room or less crowded area. But when the baby's hungry, the baby's got to eat! However, I can cut Dawn some slack because Gracie is old enough that a little extra time to sit at on the couch instead of across the table from Dawn's friends wouldn't hurt Gracie.
Gracie takes a bottle sometimes. It's not specified whether it has expressed milk or formula. Since she was born in June, she's eight months old. My daughter was eating a few foods by then; rice cereal and bananas and that sort of thing. I nursed her until she was 15 months old, though she was down to just once a day, at bedtime, by then.
Wow, Carol's been able to take this much time off work and doesn't have to go back for two or three months! Combined with her bedrest before Gracie was born, that's about a year off from work. Good for her that she was able to do that.
I have to say, I'm pretty annoyed that Sunny's mom used to smoke. It reads like the cancer is her fault. I'm not saying that people who smoke deserve cancer (because I would love for my grandmother to still be alive), but I really hate how it comes off as blaming the victim. While you can do things to mitigate your risk factors, when it comes down to it, diseases don't really care whether you've been a good person or not, and people will or won't get cancer regardless of how they've lived their lives.
EDIT 7/5/2014: I want to clarify the above. Please don't smoke. It's very, very bad for you. No one deserves cancer or STDs or hepatitis or other illnesses; and smoking, having sex, drinking, etc doesn't make you a bad person, but you will be healthier if you're careful with what you do. I just think it's pointless to shame people for poor health decision after they receive difficult diagnoses.
Just to echo Dawn's dad's instructions: never get in a car driven by someone who's impaired. It's simply not worth the risk. Get the person's keys if you can, too.
It's just a bad idea to not get your own drink at a party or concert. If you get it yourself, you can be sure of what's in it more easily.
This book takes place from early February to mid March, although it wasn't published until April. Valentine's Day is on a Sunday in this book, although it was a Saturday in Abby's Un-Valentine. But it was a Sunday in 1999, and in Ducky's first diary.
This is the last book narrated by Dawn.
Whoever owned this book before me wrote "Drohan" on the inside front cover. I'm assuming it's someone's last name, and from the handwriting could be either a child or an adult, maybe a teacher who had BSC books in the classroom. One of my cousins who teaches grade school keeps BSC books on her shelves.
In general, I try not to call people before 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning and not after 9:00 at night. A few people, like my grandparents who stay up late, I know I can call later, but generally people are up for phone-answering between 9:00 and 9:00.
Most juice isn't all that healthy. It's not really a good substitute for a piece of fruit. If you compare sugar contents on a lot of it, you may as well have pop.
Dawn mentions a restaurant called the Tea Shop, at which "you can buy an awful lot more than tea there, and I don't just mean food." Curious.
Speaking of babies, I was going to put this post up on Thursday, but I had a baby instead. She was a week early like her older sister and is doing well!
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