Original Publication Date: 2000
Ghostwriter? Yes, Nola Thacker.
As summer winds down, Ducky and Sunny are spending more time together. They get along really well as friends. Ducky finds himself wondering if there's more to it than that, whether Sunny wants it to be more, and whether he wants it to be more. They go to see a movie one evening and as Ducky drops Sunny off at home, she kisses him. He ends up incredibly confused: does she really think of him as boyfriend material? What happened to being best friends? And why didn't he like it?
Much of his diary is full of this sort of wondering. Part of him even wants to be able to be in love with Sunny, but he can't make himself feel that way. After several days, he and Sunny finally talk and agree that the kiss was a failed experiment and are able to go back to being friends without any romantic undertones. Ducky celebrates the end of the summer with a party (Amalia, Sunny, Dawn, Maggie, and Brendan are all guests). He wraps up his diary entry with a sense of satisfaction that while he might not have all the answers yet, his life and his friends' lives are going to turn out all right.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Ducky):
Ducky has never used a bookmark in his life. He's not allowed to borrow any of my books then. I like my book spines and pages intact, thank you very much. No leaving books pages down and open or dog-earing pages.
Ducky is back working at the bookstore Sunny's dad owns.
This is the diary that is said to be the most indicative of Ducky's sexual orientation. He picks out several books by gay authors, wonders if other men are as he puts it "afraid of women" and confused about things the way he is, and so on.
Amalia is still dealing with the after-effects of an abusive boyfriend, pushing Brendan away because she's worried about getting hurt (not just emotionally).
Dawn has bonded with her baby sister. Good!
Maggie's mother is drinking more and more, to the point that Ducky has to go pick up Maggie and her brother in the middle of the night during a drunken rampage of hers (Mr. Blume is in Vancouver for a film shoot). Finally, finally, finally her family gets her into a treatment center.
Sunny and her dad have grown closer since Mrs. Winslow died.
Saying trite things like "Oh, I guess if you can't find the price it's free!" to the cashier when you're checking out makes the cashier hate you.
It actually is okay to call the police on family or close friends if someone's in danger. You might feel like you're betraying whoever is causing the danger, but either that person needs help (like is mentally unstable) or has already betrayed you by acting dangerously (in the case of pressing charges against a family member after an episode of domestic violence).
This book takes place during the second half of August and the beginning of September.
This is the last book narrated by Ducky, and the last California Diary.
My copy of the book is yet another California Diary with "Drohan" written in it. Must have been part of a lot I bought off eBay.
At one point Ducky gets "a horror book set at a beach." Would it really have been that big of a problem to name-drop Jaws?
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