Kristy Power! (FF#5)

Original Publication Date: 1999

Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles.


Kristy and Cary Retlin are assigned to interview each other for a class biography project. When interviewing Cary's brothers, Kristy snoops a bit at Cary's journal and reads something that indicates Cary did something that forced his family to move away from their previous home in Illinois. She accidentally admits to Cary that she read his journal, which obviously ticks him off. Turns out that it was actually notes about a work of fiction Cary's writing, but he let Kristy feel bad about it because he was still upset that she invaded his privacy.

Related to the project is a list of fiction books from which students are read and report on. Some of the titles are controversial, and some parents are up in arms trying to get the teacher (a sub) removed from the school. He's temporarily suspended, but eventually reinstated. Kristy makes an impassioned speech at a community meeting about what a great teacher he is, which seems to be the reason for the book title.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Mallomars

All the members of the BSC, past and present, are reunited at the end of the book at a party, even Shannon and Logan.

Their Families:

I find it ironic that Mrs. Kishi speaks against book banning, since she won't allow Claudia to read Nancy Drew books (although I am fond of the fan theory that the Kishi parents only pretend to be against the books to make the forbidden fruit and therefore encourage Claudia to read them secretly).

The Club (and clients): nothing new.


Mr. Morley is subbing for Mrs. Simon, who's on maternity leave. She had her baby a month or month and a half early; Kristy assures us that the baby and mom are fine.

New-to-us students: Merrie Dow, Jessica ? (8th)

New-to-us teacher: Ms. Breer (English department head)

So, I guess the teachers at SMS aren't unionized? It seems like Mr. Morley gets suspended pretty quickly. Maybe because he's a sub...I don't have much knowledge of how teachers' unions work. Still seems weird that SMS doesn't really stick up for him.

PSA Time:

Since this takes place a public (and therefore government-run/sponsored) school, it was entirely accurate to cite the First Amendment of the US Constitution. But a lot of times people cite it inappropriately, like claiming the right to free speech in a private forum when other private people are telling them to be quiet. In the US, the government can't tell you shut up, but a private individual can (and even in the case of the government, there are laws about inciteful speech, slander, etc).


One of the books on the controversial list is Steinbeck's The Red Pony. I read it once with high expectations since I like Of Mice and Men, but was majorly disappointed in the ending. Then I found out that the copy I'd read was missing the last chapter.

Kristy hosts a Christmas party. This is the sixth time Christmas has been celebrated since the BSC started eighth grade.

Oh, of course the parents who want to ban books are religious. I'm very observant about my religion (and have some conservative viewpoints as well), so it bugs me how over-the-top the portrayals are in this book. My parents are the same way, and they never said "No" to any books, or movies, although a couple times they said "Not yet." And for good reason; I wasn't ready for some graphic scenes in a handful of books or movies when I was in elementary school. That's the same way it'll be with my kids: if the books or movies have graphic scenes, then I want them to be old enough to not be too horribly disturbed by them. It'll only be about whether the child is mature enough for the content, not whether the content fits with my beliefs. And I'll never petition for those books or movies to be removed from anywhere. Not everyone who goes to church is close-minded.

(I edited the above to add "never" to the second-to-last sentence. That was a massive typo, and thank you to commenter Anonymous for pointing it out !)

The numbers:

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: 5

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): 217: 123 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 30 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: 150

Mary Anne-2


Anonymous said...

"And I'll petition for those books or movies to be removed from anywhere."

I don't agree with that at all. Why should people suffer from certain books or movies being removed from libraries/schools/channels because parents refuse to do their jobs? You don't like what your kid is watching? Change the channel. You don't like what they're reading? Help them understand what might be too "mature" for them. Banning or removing books only makes the kid more interested in what they can't see, not less. It always surprises me when people who claim to love reading end up being for censorship.

SJSiff said...

Oh, MASSIVE typo! No, I mean I WON'T do that! So, sorry; I'll edit that now, and thank you for pointing that out!

Anonymous said...

I figured that was a typo. I can tell from your posts that you would never be in favor of book banning. I love your blog BTW.

SJSiff said...

Thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt, bscfan. Man, I can't believe I mistyped that to mean the exact opposite of my point!

Alycia said...

I get that it bugs you that it's always religious people who are banning books, but who else normally bans books? And intelligent people know that not all religious people promote censorship, it's just the really loud ones who happen to be religious and use that as an excuse to ruin everyone's fun. There is a big difference between "hey this isn't right for my kid" and "no one should be allowed to read this", and unfortunately some folks don't see it that way.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for fixing that typo! I hope I didn't come across as rude, banning books is just one of those things that I can't not talk about. I'm sorry for not giving you the benefit of the doubt and I hope you can forgive me. I love your blog!

SJSiff said...

Alycia, I have to say that's a good point. I suppose since religion is rarely featured in these books, it stands out when it's in a bad light. I'm not saying the girls should have been pious nuns-in-training, just that another couple of neutral mentions of religion would have been nice (like Mallory's family being in the church Christmas pageant). There was a line in this book to the effect of "I bet [the mother leading the censorship team] only lets her kid read the Bible."

There were some other neutral mentions throughout the books, and some positive ones. I like that Abby and other characters got to show readers a little bit about Judaism. I also think it was very fitting that Sunny's mother's funeral was held at a UU church that they went to sometimes; seems perfect for their family.

Anon, no worries at all. It was my fault for not proofreading carefully and I'm so glad you pointed it out, and came back and saw my correction!

Isabel Escalante said...

I can't stand when religion is portrayed in a bad light, and when people think that all people who go to church are hypocrites. My family's Christian, and they never restricted me from reading books or watching TV shows. Most of the shows that I watched, they would watch them with me, and explain anything that was questionable, or anything that they considered didn't set a good example. I'm 30 now, and I still prefer clean, light books and movies over heavy, graphic ones.
I do wish there would have been more mentions of the BSC girls going to church. It wouldn't have to have been a big part of the plot, but say, one of them could turn down Sunday morning babysitting jobs because she goes to church... or have one of the girls show a craft she learned at Sunday school to her charges... something like that.

SJSiff said...

Me too, Isabel. Sure, some religious people are jerks, but some of ANY group will be jerks. Because they're people, not because they're religious. I'll be 30 in a few months and also prefer lighter stuff, especially after having kids. It's hard for me to read about or see certain violent things without worrying about my kids.

I too found it odd that out of the whole club religion was only mentioned a few times, and was only important to the plot in Abby's Lucky 13. None of the charges really mention religion either unless it's December (and then it's Hanukkah, Solstice, and Santa--and Kwanzaa which is more cultural than religious) or the brats in Keep Out, Claudia! Again, I don't think any of the BSC needed to be massively religious, but why not have some eight-year-old charge studying for First Communion or complaining about getting up early for church or something?