I remember this being one of my favorite Dawn books as a child, but I'm not sure why. I think it had something to do with how she successfully tricks MA. I always wanted to pull off a prank or something that required that much planning.
This one picks up after the cliffhanger of #30. Mary Anne and her dad move into Dawn's house, and the two families have trouble merging. MA and Dawn insist on sharing a room, which does not go well. Eventually Dawn gets her family to talk to one another and discuss their problems...except she doesn't take her own advice. Instead, she tricks MA into moving into the spare bedroom, which makes them both happier.
Over at the Pikes, they experience the infamous Pike Plague. Mallory has chicken pox, the triplets have pneumonia, Claire and Margo had bronchitis, Nicky has broken fingers, Vanessa sprains her ankle, Mrs. Pike injures her elbow playing tennis (while all her kids are laid up...) and Mr. Pike burns his hand. There's no real plot, just a few sitting jobs that are sort of chaotic.
Oh, the cover. First of all, MA is taller than Dawn in this picture, while Dawn is supposed to be the tall one of the group. Jeff looks totally exasperated (and really super short, like if he stood he'd come up to Dawn's elbow). I'm amused by the fact that they're all wearing stripes. I have a shirt with stripes just like MA's...except that it isn't five sizes too big, and I don't wear it tucked into mom jeans with pegged legs.
Dawn thinks she should have caught her mother's bouquet, just because it is her mom. If that's the case, then what's the point of even throwing it? Sharon should have just tossed it straight at Dawn. (It seems to always be the most unlikely ones who catch the bouquet, like the four year old flower girl or a person who normally can't catch anything.)
One thing has always kind of bugged me about the story of Sharon and Richard. Dawn says that her grandparents sent Sharon to school in California to get her as far away from Richard as possible. Wouldn't Sharon have had some say in where she went to school? I mean, she could have chosen to go to the University of Connecticut or something. Maybe they threatened not to fund her schooling if she didn't go where they wanted. I don't know, but it's a plot hole and it bugs me.
Dawn says all of MA's grandparents are dead. Obviously, this was before it was decided that MA lived with her grandma in Iowa for a year.
"But fate intervened. (I read that sentence in a book once. Isn't it great?)" No, Dawn, it's lame and clichéd. Just like the BSC!
Do Sharon and Richard really not have any friends besides their coworkers? They invite the BSC, the Pike triplets, and work friends to the wedding, and no one else.
Dawn is surprised when Sharon takes Richard's last name. She says Sharon said it was okay for Dawn and Jeff to keep their old last name, but why wouldn't it be? Especially because I'm sure their dad would be all HELL NO to his kids taking their stepfather's name.
Really? Charlie comes to the wedding to pick the girls up and take them to MA's house. First, he's got nothing better to do on Saturday afternoon? (Forget Sam. I think Charlie was really the Thomas kid with the hots for one of the BSC members.) Second, eight people in what is probably a car for four? Doesn't Stoneybrook have a public bus or something?
Ooh, chapter two in this book compares Kristy and Claudia! We don't usually get to hear that one!
There's an odd mention of Claudia's one-off boyfriend from SS #2.
Wow, Dawn has a thing for italics in chapter two. She italicizes once when talking about MA, twice when talking about Jessi, three times when talking about herself, and five times when talking about Stacey. Plus, she writes in all caps at one point. (Actually, she continues to have this issue throughout the whole book.)
Tigger cries pretty much the entire day after the Spiers move into Dawn's house. It could have been worse--he could have hidden under the lazy susan and not come out for two weeks.
You don't learn how the BSC operates until chapter 4 in this book.
Dawn says the BSC members are like sisters, and Logan is a brother to them all. Ew to Mary Anne dating her brother.
I love it when MA gets bitchy. She and Dawn fight over a sitting job, and MA tells her that she's fat.
Myriah Perkins makes MA help her write a letter to the President (who, back then, would have been Bush Sr.)
I know Cam Geary has always been described as MA's favorite star, but is it an established fact that he is on a TV show?
Claudia spelling: yisterday, Piks (Pikes'), wehn, becuase, triplits, beter, realy (twice). She also says couldnt' and uses you're instead of your. But the best part is when she says about Mal: "Maybe you didn't lick being babbysat for agian..."
The Pikes play hospital...while Mallory has chicken pox and the triplets are at the doctor's. Claire goes to the Pike hospital ER with a broken head.
Mal's being all pesty while Claudia babysits, and Claud tells her to play with her kid kit.
Here's what's weird about the Pike Plague. I know that in families with small children--especially those with that many kids--germs go around and around and around. But usually everyone gets the same thing at the same time. Either everyone gets the stomach flu, or they all get the same cold, or whatever. But the Pikes have a little bit of everything. And some of them aren't even sick, just physically injured.
I love that Dawn can see how Sharon and Richard are not solving their problems, just skirting around them, but doesn't see how she needs to address her issues with Mary Anne.
Richard organizes his clothes by color. The colors in his sock drawer are in alphabetical order.
Sharon gets really upset because Tigger throws up. At least Sharon didn't find the barf with her bare feet.
Claudia's wearing a candy necklace to the dance, and Dawn's only comment is, "You had candy in your room and you didn't eat it?" (There goes that italics monster again.)
We meet the infamous Carol in this one, and she says that she'll never marry anyone. We all know how that worked out. (Incidentally, I was talking to someone who read the California Diaries books and she said that Carol and Dawn's dad have a baby during that. While Dawn is still in eighth grade. So, in one year, both her parents got married again and her dad managed to pop out another kid. They move about as fast as Stacey's dad getting engaged just months after getting divorced.)
Uh oh. Dawn's getting deep. She wonders if "real" sisters (only she used italics, not quotes) fight half the time and then are close the other half. She should have met me and my sister--I'm in my thirties and she'll be thirty this year, and we still get along best when we're in different zip codes.
Apparently, Mary Anne is an awful liar. She ends up giggling when she tells Dawn that she's not giving her a job simply because Jenny Prezzioso is a brat.
When Dawn and MA get into a shouting match while doing their homework, Sharon and Richard come in to mediate. I don't even think I was surprised when I was ten that Sharon took MA's side, and Richard took Dawn's.
During a Kristy/Jessi joint entry, Jessi says that Nicky and Vanessa will be back in school on Monday. Does that mean that they were staying home from school for three broken fingers and a sprained ankle?! My mom would have never let me stay home for something silly like that. (Although it could be a bit of a problem for Nicky if his broken fingers were on his writing hand.)
I've finally figured out what was bugging me so badly about last week's Mallory book. It's that they always describe Mallory as being sensible, partly because she's the oldest of eight kids and partly just from her personality. So it bothered me that she thought a cat was a ghost. Which leads me to....
While Kristy and Jessi are helping out at the Pikes while all the Pikes (except, by now, Mal) are injured or sick, Mal keeps giving them instructions. Breakfast is a set menu and there are no substitutions. Kristy and Jessi think she's nuts, but she's right. When Jessi gives Margo a banana (not on the menu), it turns into a brouhaha and breakfast ends up going on for two hours.
Charlie is a saint. He goes grocery shopping for the Pikes and then helps Jessi, Kristy and Mallory cook dinner.
Instead of talking to Mary Anne and trying to solve her problems like a grown up, Dawn decides to be sneaky and scare MA out of her room. (*shakes head*)
She also decides she needs revenge on MA for all the things she's done to her. Which is a pretty stupid list, and half the things on it are about MA complaining about the events of the book--which is exactly what I've been reading Dawn doing for the last 123 pages.
Mistake: Charlie picks Mary Anne up for a sleepover at Kristy's. Dawn runs out to meet them and says hi to Kristy, Jessi and Sam. (Italics mine, not Dawn's.) Since Charlie had just come from helping at the Pikes', I'm pretty sure Sam wasn't with them. (And she probably would have greeted Charlie also.)
Dawn decides to pretend to be a ghost in the secret passage, but she's not going to just be a generic ghost. She has to pretend to be the ghost of Jared Mullray.
I remembered this as soon as I started to read it. Claudia is standing on her head, trying to get blood rushing to her brain, as she has a big test coming up. She believes the extra blood flow will make her smarter. Kristy theorizes that, since she's been sitting all day, she must have a really smart ass. (Only she doesn't get to say that. They don't even let her say butt or bottom or anything. She gets cut off.)
When she gets back up, Claudia is light headed. When she asks if that's how it feels to be a genius, Janine shouts out a no from her room. Claudia rolls her eyes, but I thought it was kinda cute.
Dawn tells her family they need to be more honest with each other. Pot, calling kettle. You are black. I repeat, you are black.
Mallory has chicken pox scars, and she won't tell where they are. But apparently Jessi knows...
Outfits:Claudia: pink sparkly high tops; short, flared skirts over leggings
Next week: I'm between two Jessi books. I was going to do #103 Happy Holidays Jessi, but I'm a major dork and figured that, next time Jessi comes up will be December. So it's probably #22 Jessi Ramsey, Pet Sitter.