Original Publication Date: 2000
Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles.
The barn has been renovated into a house, and Mary Anne is about to move into it with her family. The last Mary Anne book suggested this would happen around January; it's now June. But that's realistic: it seems people often underestimate how long construction projects take. Dawn and Jeff are in town for this as well, and Dawn has brought Sunny with her to try to show Sunny a good time in a place that won't have upsetting memories of her mother.
The new house takes some getting used to. It doesn't feel like home yet. Jeff is especially unimpressed (the Pike boys end up helping him get excited about the new place, and Mary Anne helps him sort out his feelings of loss). Mary Anne is also out of sorts because she's unsure how to act around Sunny, who she has to admit seems to know Dawn better than Mary Anne does. To Sunny's credit, she does make an honest effort to enjoy Connecticut and not make Mary Anne feel like a third wheel. Sunny's exuberant personality is a bit much for Mary Anne to take at times, especially the boy-crazy side (she tries to find Mary Anne a new boyfriend even though Mary Anne's not ready for that yet). Dawn and Mary Anne surmise that Sunny is keeping busy to avoid thinking about her mother's death, and they try to keep up with her. Things come to a head during an excursion to New York City (without parental permission). They nearly get caught, and would have if Dawn hadn't finally pointed out to Sunny that she's taking advantage of how everyone walks on eggshells around her. They all go home not speaking, but once there Sunny opens up to Mary Anne, who helps her out. Before Sunny heads back to California, the Schafer-Spiers have a party that's part going away, part housewarming, complete with a BSC reunion. Sunny leaves on good terms with everyone, and Mary Anne and her family start to feel at home in their new house.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: none mentioned. Mary Anne does consider buying her a glass Hershey's kiss, but it's too expensive.
Mary Anne makes a joke by imitating a therapist, which is especially fitting as she's actually had therapy sessions.
Mary Anne's dad rides a bicycle, and is implied to do much of the maintenance on his own.
Margo seems to be the only one of the Pikes who enjoys vegetables. She and Claire knows how to sew, at least a little bit. I wonder if Mallory taught them.
The Club (and clients):
According to Mary Anne, the BSC no longer meets regularly.
Abby's an honorary BSC member.
School's out for the summer, for the thirteenth time.
Orangutans are not nice animals. There's a reason that the keepers at the zoo won't retrieve items dropped into their exhibit. Hold on to your camera tight.
This is Mary Anne's last book.
Sunny's mom died on March 19, and this book is supposed to take place a few months later in June, but the last California diary took place in late summer with no mention of Sunny leaving with Dawn...is this the next year or the same year with a different story? My head hurts.
So, Sunny. She's supposed to have strawberry-blonde hair. It's mentioned in this book, and has been in others. But have any of the cover pictures ever show her that way?
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: 13
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