Before I begin this, I have to say it. I like Abby. Maybe it's partly because she's a fresh voice in the club, who hadn't become cliché yet. I know it's at least partly because she's a little silly. (In SS #13, she's "rowing a boat" on Claudia's bed and "hits the brakes" when Kristy calls the club to order.) And the way she calls Kristy on her various shit is a welcome change. Yes, she can be overbearing, but overall, I do enjoy her books.
In this one, Abby, Anna and their mother are vacationing at Gram and Grandpa's vacation house in Long Island. The grandparents are having an Alice in Wonderland themed anniversary party. While helping Gram prepare a family tree, Abby learns her grandmother may have breast cancer. She keeps it to herself for a while but eventually discusses it with her Gram. She considers how strong her grandmother is.
Meanwhile, back in Stoneybrook, Mr. Pike's car has died and money intended for a trip to Sea City is put toward that use. The babysitters help them have a stay-cation by doing things like turning their backyard into a beach and having a ridiculous sleepover.
Abby packs her suitcase by throwing a bit of this and a bit of that in there and without folding it. I seem to remember her doing this in the Hawaii super special too. (Her room seems a lot like mine did a that age; I doubt she folds her clothes when she puts them in her drawers either.)
Abby didn't need to find a best friend when she joined the BSC. Instead of describing how she's "so different" from her bff, as they do for Kristy and MA, Dawn and MA, Stacey and Claudia, or Mallory and Jessi, they compare and contrast Abby and Anna. It's always bugged me that, because Abby is into sports, she has to dress like a jock all the time (lots of spandex at a time when that would have no longer been cool) and, because she's into music, Anna has to dress like she's in Little House on the Prairie or something.
Abby recounts the plot of an entire mystery in this one. I'm not going to say which one, or ruin the plot. Let's just say it was one mystery I was dying to read, and she went and spoiled it for me by ruining the ending.
Abby's initial thoughts of Kristy: "Who did this little squirt...think she was, telling me what to do?" Heh.
Abby describes Mallory as having a dry sense of humor. I've never stopped to think Mallory has any sense of humor, really.
Anna and Shannon are apparently good friends.
The Pikes are disappointed that their trip to Sea City has been cancelled, and the kids are acting like horrors. Mal suggests that when her mother calls looking for sitters, they should tell her she called the wrong number.
Mrs. Stevenson drives a minivan.
MA and Dawn help the Pikes come up with ideas to bring Sea City to their house. Several of them are bound and determined to catch a seagull by the supermarket. That's only one step up from wanting a pigeon.
Abby's grandmother shames her into wearing sunblock. It's totally a PSA.
Gram is making a family tree, and Abby suggests some computer software and a scanner. We're not in 1989 anymore, Toto.
Gram's mother was one of 13 children, but she says 9 of them were killed in the Holocaust.
It's weird reading this book because the other babysitters are barely in it. I guess it's not much different from last week's book in that regard, but it's odder given that I've barely read any Abby books before. It almost feels like it's not a BSC book at all.
The Pike beach party is pretty much what you'd expect: kiddy pools, a sand box, snacks and pink flamingos. Although Nicky does make a lifeguard stand and set himself up in it. When the triplets start spraying everyone with water balloons, Adam ends up attacking his mother with the hose. She retaliates with a super soaker.
Really early on in this one, you get that it's going to be an "issue" book. I was guessing Alzheimer's at first. But Abby finds a bunch of pamphlets about breast cancer. There's some bullshit about how she can't tell her mom or Anna because Gram still doesn't talk to her sister Leah because Leah squealed that Gram went to Weight Watchers back in 1838 or something. So instead, Abby decides to talk to Kristy. Because, yeah. She doesn't have a big mouth or anything.
I just noticed that, since Dawn is home for summer vacation in this book, they shoved her picture on the top left hand corner, above Kristy and the other girls. It looks like she's floating in outer space.
On the same topic, I've always tried to figure out which book the photos came from. I'd had most of them figured out at one point. Several of them are from a super special--Mallory and Dawn are definitely from SS #6, and I think Claudia and Jessi are from SS #10. MA's first picture is from #52; her short hair picture is from #60. I think Abby's picture is from the first Abby book, #90. I'm still working out Kristy and Stacey.
You can tell how exciting I find a book based on how many tidbits have absolutely nothing to do with the plot.
Abby has an aunt she's only known for a few months. While she calls all her great aunts and uncles "Aunt Leah" and "Uncle Izzy," her mother's sister is just Miriam.
Abby researches breast cancer. It reminds me of when MA goes to NYC and reads guide books aloud. She sounds like a "Breast Cancer and You" pamphlet.
Heh. When Kristy first arrives on the ferry, she greets Mrs. Stevenson by saying, "Too much sun isn't good for you." How pleasant of her.
Are the Pikes nuts? They let all their kids have a giant slumber party in the backyard. Now, I only plan on one, maybe two children, but even if I ever did have more than that, I can't imagine all of them having guests at the same time. If I count correctly, then there are eight Pike kids, six guests, plus Claudia, Stacey, Jessi, Logan and Ben Hobart. Cray-zee.
Anna has a friend named Corley, who is apparently crazy smart and plays the cello. (Right now I'm hearing my nephew, 2, yell BIG CELLO! while looking at his music book.) She has a red Afro hairstyle and four younger sisters.
At the party, Abby dresses as Alice; Corley and Anna as Tweedledee and Tweedledum; Kristy as the Mad Hatter; Grandpa as the White Rabbit; Gram as the White Queen; Miriam as the Duchess; and Mrs. Stevenson as the Jack of Hearts. Aunt Leah, who finally agrees to come, shows up as a caterpillar.
The book leaves the ending wide open. You never find out if Gram has cancer or not. I would have hated that when I was a kid, but I like it a lot more now.
Anna: white shorts and blue t-shirtClaudia: orange leggings, long yellow shirt covered in beads, aqua shoes, dangly bead earrings
Gram's friend Molly: red and orange tie dye outfit with flowing sleeves. (OMG! She's totally senior-citizen Claudia!)
Next week: Starting the babysitters over again at the beginning! #81 Kristy and Mr. Mom