Original Publication Date: 2000
Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles. Also, special thanks is given to the helpful staff at Central Vermont Adult Basic Education.
Now that Jeremy and Stacey have broken up, Claudia's wondering whether Jeremy has (or maybe still has?) feelings for her. She doesn't have too much time to worry about it, as she and Erica Blumberg are busy helping with an English as a Second Language class. They're assigned families to talk to so that the immigrants can learn American English as it's spoken by native speakers. Claudia's family is from Japan, and she has a good time helping them out with different things.
Jeremy gets pushed back to the front of Claudia's mind pretty quickly when she finds out that there's going to be a dance for Valentine's Day. She decides to write him a note asking him to go with her. Worried she might spell his name wrong, she addresses the note "To a good friend" and slips it his locker. Well, she puts it a locker. Alan Gray's, to be precise. He finds her after reading the note, and before Claudia can explain the mistake, he tells her the note was the nicest thing anyone's ever written him, how special he thinks she is, how much it means to him that she's noticed how he's trying to act more mature, and that yes, he'd love to go to the dance with her. And Claudia realizes that there is more to Alan than the class clown, and decides to give him a chance. He shows her that he can be very thoughtful and sweet. Cary Retlin, who's friends with Alan, cautions Claudia not to lead Alan on or take advantage of the fact that he likes her, and Claudia promises to be careful. She surprises herself at the dance, when she ends up dancing with Jeremy and realizes she'd rather be dancing with Alan. Now that she's gotten to know him, Claudia discovers she really likes him!
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: Snickers bars in her sock drawer, Gummi Bears behind her books, M&Ms under her mattress, peanut M&Ms and pretzels under her bed, Combos, Raisinets
Erica Blumberg calls Claudia on the Kishi's main phone line rather than using Claudia's number. Maybe she tried Claudia's number but got no answer...still, it seems weird for Claudia to get a call NOT in her room without mentioning having her own line.
Claudia's very perceptive that she shouldn't go on too much about her concerns regarding Jeremy when talking to Erica, realizing that Erica has her own things on her mind (she's still searching for her birth parents).
Claudia and Stacey finish patching things up.
With the Alan Gray development, Claudia and Stacey are tied at thirteen apiece for the highest number of crushes BSC members have had (although Stacey's dated more of her crushes than Claudia has).
Their Families: nothing new.
The Club (and clients):
In the last book, Claudia couldn't attend the going-away party because she was sitting for the Rodowskys. This book starts with her at that sitting job.
New-to-us student: Stephanie Boxer (7th).
PSA Time: nothing stood out.
My copy of this book was once bought at a West Virginia bookstore named Paperback Palace.
The funny bone is actually a nerve, so no, you can't really break it. You can hurt it, of course.
Another Valentine's Day!
Starting 8th grade: 12
Halloweens in 8th grade: 6 (plus one in seventh)
Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 5
Winter holidays in 8th grade (that BSC members celebrate in the plot of a book, not just reference): Christmas-6, Hanukkah-2, Kwanzaa-3
Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 6
St. Patrick's Days in 8th grade: 1
Summers after 8th grade: 12
BSC Fights: 13
SMS Staff and Faculty: 69
Students (other than the BSC): 218: 123 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 31 7th graders, 48 6th graders, 16 unspecified. Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students.
Clients: 38 families
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 151