Original Publication Date: 2000
Ghostwriter? Yes, Suzanne Weyn.
When Stacey goes to visit her dad, she finds out some big news: he and Samantha are engaged. Stacey likes Samantha a lot, and sees that she and her dad are a good fit, but she's worried about how her mom will take it. Her mom's seemed distracted by something lately, and Stacey's concerned about how she hasn't dated much since the divorce. Sure enough, it is hard news for Stacey's mom to hear; for reasons she can't really articulate it's overwhelming. Stacey and Claudia decided to get some tapes from a video dating service and get her some dates, and they go over the candidates with Kristy, Mary Anne, and Mallory. They don't find anyone, but Stacey's mom does get asked out by a coworker, and Stacey helps her get ready for the date. It doesn't go well, and Stacey takes it harder than her mom, because she's sure that the reason her mom has been upset is that her dad has moved on and is getting married. But Stacey doesn't need to worry long, because what's been getting to her mom is that she's felt stuck in a rut and not herself. Her solution is to go back to her maiden name (she makes sure Stacey is okay with this) and to quit her job in favor of opening her own clothing store.
Mallory is back from boarding school for the summer, as her school lets out earlier than SMS. She has some trouble adjusting to how different her family's become in her absence, like how Byron is now in the position of The Oldest (even though technically he's not) instead of her, and Vanessa's acting resentful of her. Stacey helps her sort through things.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: potato chips (that she brings to Mallory's welcome back party)
Stacey implies that Jessi and Mallory aren't as close as they used to be.
Stacey has a cell phone. Since she commutes to and from New York City on a train, that seems reasonable.
Maybe my neck is unusually short, but how can one put shoulder length hair into a bun? On the rare occasion my hair is that short, some pieces are too short for a ponytail. Maybe a low bun, but wouldn't the hair at the front still not make it into a bun shape? Maybe she has bangs.
I would mention that Stacey's dad should have talked to Stacey before proposing, since the possibility of a remarriage affects his minor child a lot, but since he'd already brought up the idea of Samantha moving in, he's already put out feelers for how Stacey would react to Samantha becoming a more permanent presence.
Point for Samantha: when Stacey's dad hints that maybe Stacey's mom would handle the news of the engagement best if heard from Stacey, Samantha steps in to say that it's really his job. (Stacey slips and says something before he calls, but at least he meant to)
Byron is the youngest triplet.
Stacey's mom's last name is now Spencer, and she tells Stacey's friends to call her Maureen.
The Club (and clients):
When Mallory returns, Jessi and Abby join the remaining BSC members in welcoming her home (Dawn is in California). They also reunite for a sleepover at Stacey's.
SMS: nothing new.
PSA Time: nothing stood out.
This is Stacey's last book.
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