Monday, April 29, 2013

"My, isn't" BSC #51: Stacey's Ex-Best Friend (1992)

Stacey's New York best friend, Laine Cummings, has a week off school and Stacey talks her into coming to visit Stoneybrook for the week. But Laine thinks Stoneybrook is lame and Stacey's friends are immature and her interest in babysitting is childish. Things come to a head during the Valentine's Dance at school, which Laine attends, and Laine goes home Stacey's ex-best friend. And except in flashback and references to the past, she's never heard from again.

In the B plot, the BSC has put together a V-Day party for the kiddies of Stoneybrook. Carolyn Arnold and Nicky Pike are excited because they each have a crush on someone attending the party, and the BSC assume they like each other. It turns out, though, that Carolyn likes James Hobart and Nicky has a crush on Carolyn's twin, Marilyn, and the crushes like them back. Yay, happy ending.

Interesting Tidbits

Stacey says her parents got divorced a few months ago. A lot (twenty-three books worth) happened in those few months, including at least one summer vacation.

I remember being really jealous of Laine for getting a vacation in February. I grew up in the Midwest, and you get Christmas break and Spring break and that's it.

Stacey's so excited about Laine coming to visit that she just bulldozes ahead. She doesn't notice how unenthusiastic Laine sounds. (She also doesn't seem to notice that there's hints even before Laine shows up that they're drifting apart, such as having very different interests and forgetting to tell each other important things.)

Stacey says that they keep track of the rates the clients pay in the club record book. Does this mean that each family pays differently? Or do they have a per-child rate? Wouldn't sitting for, say, the Papadakises (who have three children) pay more than sitting for Charlotte Johanssen? They never fight over money in these books, but it would have been interesting to see.

Apparently, Dawn chews on pens. There is a special place in Hell for people who do this.

I've always liked the joint notebook entry between Stacey and Mallory that starts chapter three. I'm going to transcribe it (sorry, couldn't find a font with hearts over the Is):

Oh, a rainy day at the Pikes' house.
Hey, don't groan, Stacey. Remember who you're with. Me, Mallory. One of the Pikes. And I wasn't
(In case you couldn't tell, I just grabbed the pen away from Mallory.) Of course I didn't mean that Mal was part of the problem. Got that, you guys?
Are you saying that my brothers and sisters are a problem?
NO! For heaven's sake. All right. I'm going to start again. Okay, it was a gorgeous rainy Saturday. Mal and I were sitting for Mal's charming younger brothers and sisters....Mal, does this meet with your approval?
Yes, thank you.

Stacey's version of Claudia spelling: "It's a haliday! Come celabrat Vanentins day with the BSC."

When Stacey suggests that the Pikes make the invitations to the Valentine Masquerade, Adam replies, "Gnarly, man!" Given that it's 1992, I'd say this is due to too much Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Stacey, if you have to redecorate your bedroom before your friend comes, that's a sign that she doesn't like you the way you are and therefore, maybe you're not such good friends.

Laine's boyfriend King sounds special. He's originally described as wearing his long hair in a ponytail. Later we learn that the tips of his black hair are purple, and he does the bedhair look. He was emo before emo was invented.

Stacey orders a "hoagie" for the party to welcome Laine to town. My dad grew up in Rhode Island, and they're called "grinders" there.

Everyone gets all excited during the sleepover because To Kill a Mockingbird is on. 1) How have they ALL seen it before? 2) That's not exactly normal sleepover movie fare.

Real Claudia spelling: Marlyn, Carolin, abel, diferent, Carlin, sercrit, wont. She also uses their for they're, a part for apart, mad for made, and twines for twins. She also has a run on sentence and uses look instead of looking. (I found a book of "fashion designs" I had made when I was eight and my spelling was pretty similar to Claudia's. I had written LAURA'S FASHON DESINES" on the front.)

Stacey refers to the groundhog who sees his shadow as Sagatuck Sam.

Claudia helps the twins make pop-up, 3D cards. They're actually drawings in the book that demonstrate how to do it, in case the reader was inclined to steal the idea.

Mal and Stacey use a code to determine if Mal is going to walk to school with the BSC or with her brothers and sisters. Laine thinks it's stupid, but Stacey points out that she and Laine used to have a similar code. Laine is like, we were only ten! Well, Mal's only eleven! Sheesh!

Sweet!!! The Stacey bookmark advertised on the front cover of the book is still inside. I had all of these back in the day except Kristy.

Pete Black develops an instant crush on Laine and keeps staring at her when she comes to school for the day. He tells her she has hair like gossamer, and later that her eyes are limpid pools. From what kind of cheesy movies or books did he pick up lines like that?

Gasp! The cover shows something that actually happens in the book! This is during lunch at SMS, when Rick, Pete and Austin sat with the BSC and Rick and Austin made molecules out of the prunes and pretzels. It's the wrong kind of pretzels on the cover, though. (They'd have to be the stick kind, but the cover shows circles.) What kind of middle school cafeteria sells prunes anyway?

Gag! When King calls, he asks, "How's Babe?" and when Laine picks up the phone, she says, "Hi Heart. It's me, Babe." I know plenty of couples who call each other Babe, but never quite like that. Blech.

Stacey overhears Laine use the word childish on the phone with King while describing the Valentine's dance. Instead of catching on, Stacey assumes Laine must be talking about her babysitting charges.

Ben and Mallory got into a fight in the library and got kicked out. This cracks me up, especially as they were fighting over the card catalog. It's kinda like the episode of Glee where some of the dorkier kids figure they can get bad reputations if they sing MC Hammer in the library.

I think it's funny that Jessi has picked up on Laine not wanting to go to the dance when Stacey barely has. And Jessi wasn't even there during any of the dance related stuff with Laine!

Also, Mal and Jessi figure that all the bad stuff related to the dance (Bart wanting to stay home and watch "the game" instead of going--PROBABLY THE MOST REALISTIC THIRTEEN YEAR OLD BOY MOMENT IN THE WHOLE SERIES!; Mal and Ben fighting; Laine being iffy about going with Pete) is because the dance is on Friday the 13th. I guess it's because they're superstitious idiots. Or eleven. Whatever.

Oh, Kristy. Laine is talking at 5:30 when the BSC meeting starts, so Kristy interrupts her to call the meeting to order. When Laine complains, Kristy speaks to the assembled masses and points out that Laine is there (as if they didn't know). Then she says, "Will the guest please be quiet?" I guess it's more polite than yelling, "Pipe down!" but not by much.

How does Laine have a "real" job? Sometimes I think the ghostwriters forget that these girls are only supposed to be in middle school. I guess she could be fourteen and able to get work papers, but still.

How is it fair that the BSC meeting is cancelled because of the dance, but Claudia has to stay in her room and answer calls?

How is Stacey able to buy off a shopping network on television? They require you to be eighteen and have a credit card. I can't picture Stacey's mom loaning her a card to buy china clowns off infomercials, either.

Interesting fact: the Junk Bucket is now "at least four colors." Since I always picture it in my head as a VW Bug, I'm now picturing the Slugmobile, my friend's ex-husband's car from when they were dating. I'm the one who convinced him to paint it a bunch of colors and drew slugs on the roof. Maybe I got the idea from Charlie to begin with. Hmmm. (Interestingly, Stacey acknowledges that the BSC takes advantage of Charlie's good nature by bumming rides everywhere.)

Mistake? Austin (Stacey's date) and Pete show up with flowers, and Stacey tells Claudia that they brought us flowers. She should have been talking to Laine.

Continuity: Bart asks what band is playing, and Stacey reminds us that Bart plays in a band himself, which is mentioned in #38.

Laine freaks out because Pete wears sneakers with his suit. He'd be a lot more in fashion these days.


Stacey: purple shirtwaist top (I have never known what a shirtwaist was, except that people wore them "back in the day." I may have to go look it up now.), flowered leggings, cowboy boots, purple hair ornament made of shoelaces, silver dangly earrings; red shirt and short jean skirt; red leggings, red ankle boots, red sweater, red barrettes

Laine: jean coat with a fur collar, black capri pants edged in lace, red beret, black ankle boots; black leotard, black jacket, black leggings, black stockings, black shoes, big silver jewelry

Monday, April 22, 2013

"Don't worry, Mary Anne. You can stay." BSC #65 Stacey's Big Crush (1993)

I've mentioned before that I stopped reading at #73 of the original series books. However, there were a couple of books that came before it that I never read. One was #68, because I couldn't find a copy of it anywhere. Plus, since I read #69, I knew how it came out and didn't see the point. The other was this one, and I could have bought it. I picked it up at the store one day, read the back cover and said, "Heeeeeeeeellllllll no!" and put it back. I have NEVER liked to watch people make fools of themselves, and I could tell that was exactly what was going to happen in this one. So I have never read it before, and I'm already cringing and I haven't even opened the book.

The plot of this one is pretty ridiculous. Stacey's math class is getting a student teacher (read my rant about that below) named Wesley Ellenberg. Stacey develops an instant crush on him. She helps him after class, makes sure all her answers are perfect, and tries to impress him with her clothes. Eventually, she writes a poem to tell him she loves him, which he doesn't take well. When she asks him about it, she ends up running off crying. Finally, he explains that he's much too old for her and tells her they can be friends. She realizes she's been an idiot and starts to move on with her life.

Meanwhile, Dawn and Mary Anne are goat sitting for Elvira, an adorable kid. They take her on babysitting jobs with "hilarious" consequences that mostly end with Elvira eating everyone's garbage.

Interesting Tidbits

The cover amuses me. First, as Tiff of Claudia's Room pointed out, someone involved in making the covers was far too literal. This is just one of several covers where words on the cover are in single quotes. The banner in the background says 'SMS Spring Dance' including the 's. Then, the "hot" student teacher is not attractive at all, and looks ridiculous dressed in a tux at a middle school dance. Stacey looks like a smitten character in a Disney movie, and Jessi is giving Wes a once-over. (This actually sort of happens in the book, but Jessi's actually giving Stacey the look, not Wes. And Stacey's outfit is pretty much the way it's described in the book, right down to the silver hoops and bangle.)

The story starts with a math problem, and I paid more attention to solving it than I did to whatever Stacey was rambling on about.

If Stacey's such a math whiz, why is she only taking pre-algebra? The gifted class at my middle school took algebra in eighth grade, and if you got a 500 or more in math on the SATs (taken in sixth grade), you took algebra in seventh grade and geometry in eighth.

How does Stoneybrook Community College have a master’s program?

"Mr. Ellenberg" is coming in to take over the class for the last three weeks of school. That makes no sense. I taught school, and student teachers usually spend the entire semester with a teacher, first observing, then taking over a bit here and there, and eventually teaching everything. (Add to that the fact that Stacey says its spring, and yet Stoneybrook schools usually don't get out until well into June. Also, most colleges let out in mid-May.)

Claudia calls him Wesley Baconburger.

Why would Dawn voluntarily eat something that has "Nacho-substitute Cheese-food Flavor?" Sounds disgusting. Kristy says they look like moldy cheese doodles, and prefers the "organic marshmallows" in Mallomars.

Stacey says Shannon has been coming to meetings a lot. I wonder if they were already setting up when she took over for Dawn and Mallory?

Mistake! (Or is that Mrs-take?) Stacey refers to Sharon as Mrs. Schafer, when she took Richard's last name and is usually called Mrs. Spier.

When Elvira is first mentioned, Stacey spends several pages being horrified because she doesn't realize that Elvira is a kid goat and not a kid human. It got old about three sentences in.

Somehow I doubt that Stacey sees celebrities all the time in New York and that she just walks on by without a second thought.

Ummm, Stacey. Lust (aka a crush) is not the same thing as love or even luv. Seeing a hot guy and not being able to talk does not mean you're in love with him.

Wait, so as part of his master’s program at the community college, Wes is getting a B.A.? Way to be confusing, ghostwriter!

Heh. This one made me smile: "It's okay. You're human. And, sometimes, quite frankly, I'm not sure Sam is." This is what Kristy says after Stacey tells them all how "hunkified" Wes is.

Of course, Sabrina Bouvier once went out with a teacher! I love middle and high school rumors. Like the one at my high school that the driver’s ed teacher wasn't allowed to be one on one with female students because he'd gotten one pregnant.

Mr. Johanssen is an engineer.

OMG, Wes is an idiot. He can't figure out how to organize his paperwork, and he never realized he could use the filing cabinet in the classroom.

Stacey is an even bigger idiot. She actually thinks that Wes asking her to help him organize is the start of a "relationship."

Okay, they're ALL idiots. They make another of their infamous banners, welcoming Elvira to Dawn and MA's barn.

Stacey references Heidi, and I almost didn't get it.

Mistake number two: Stacey says that Suzi is four. She's five.

Elvira butts Jamie in the butt. Heh.

Claire insults Nicky by calling him a tweetie-bird brain.

Why on earth does Wes have W4 and insurance forms? Student teachers aren't paid, and he's only there for three weeks!

Wes has a beat-ass Toyota. It's only seven years old and, among other things, the bumper is falling off. My car is twelve years old and way nicer than that.

Eww. Stacey writes a lousy poem and then gives it to Wes. Originally she ended it by saying, "and brings two lovers back again," but she changes lovers to young people. She gives it to him and he just blinks at her. Later, she tries to explain the poem because she thinks he doesn't know what it means. And he has exactly the same reaction. There's no way he could have misinterpreted that poem, so why didn't he go straight to Mr. Zizmore and tell him what was going on and ask for help?

Sam calls Stacey, and Stacey asks her mom if it's a boy or a man on the phone. Her mom chuckles, but shouldn't she be concerned that her thirteen year old thinks a man might be calling her?

There's a minor subplot about Charlotte having a crush on a boy in her class. Like Stacey, she writes him a poem. Unlike Stacey, Charlotte's poem actually works, and he keeps bothering her. She actually goes to a lame-o play at the Pikes' (starring Elvira) in an effort to get away from him.

Stacey says she is going to the dance doe, because men who go alone go stag. Lame.

Another mistake, I think: Claudia is going to the dance with Austin Bently. I am certain that's usually spelled Bentley (and the BSC Complete Guide agrees with me.)

A deejay working a middle school dance? We always had one of the staff members work as the deejay.

Ooh, look, I found something positive to say! At least, after Wes finally tells Stacey that she's too young for him, she realizes she's been an idiot for thinking they could ever have a relationship. She uses the word "deluded," which is about right.

Dawn and MA hang yet another banner when Elvira leaves.

Heh heh. Logan comes to Elvira's going away party with a box of tissues, because he knows MA will need them at some point.

And we'll leave the last words on the subject to Stacey and, especially, to Charlotte.

Stacey: "Boys are hard to figure out."

Charlotte: "No they're not. They're just dumb. It's stupid to even think about them."


Stacey: oldish stretch pants, large turquoise men's shirt; long red gown; stone washed jeans and a knit top; paisley stirrup pants; "short, rayon challis tank dress with polka dots;" spring-like dress; pastel floral-print dress with scoop neck and shirred skirt.

Next week: we'll be finishing up April with #51: Stacey's Ex-Best Friend

Thursday, April 18, 2013

"I think you might have to try being five, first." BSC Mystery #1: Stacey and the Missing Ring (1991)

I never owned this one as a kid. The first mystery in my collection was #2, where Dawn is afraid of some mystery letters she's getting. So I'd forgotten the plot of this book when I picked it up back in 2009 and reread it.

But the plot is fairly basic. Stacey sits for a new client, the Gardellas, and afterward, a diamond ring is missing from the Gardellas' house. They think she stole it, and so do some of her friends, particularly since she was hoping to get a diamond for her birthday (it's her birth stone.) But it turns out the Gardellas' cat had hidden it, and Kristy and Stacey are able to solve the mystery by uncovering the cat's stash.

No subplot. Not even a lot of babysitting!

Interesting tidbits

Why is it that, even though the books at this point always describe Stacey as having a perm, she's rarely ever pictured with one on the front cover? If her hair was wavy or frizzy (picture a 1989 mall rat--Tiffany, perhaps?), we'd never have problems telling Stacey and Dawn apart on the covers.

Stacey starts out by telling us she actually likes housework sometimes. Riiiight.

Stacey's mom had a beehive at her sixteenth birthday party. I'm picturing her in a Mad Men episode, so mid-sixties, right? Making her in her mid to late twenties when Stacey was born. Here goes my nerd pedantry again. We know Mary Anne's mom died when she was small and was only 25 when she died, making her about 24 when MA was born. According to two different stories, Kristy's mom had Charlie right after she finished college and/or when she was twenty--it is possible, if she skipped a grade, to do both--making her about 24 when Kristy was born also. Sharon and Richard were, according to one of my earlier posts, about 30 when Dawn and MA were born. I think that's all the parent ages I know, although I'm sure more of them have come up.

Stacey says she knows plenty of girls who have birthstone rings. I had plenty of birthstone stuff growing up. But a) like Dawn, I'm a February baby, so my birthstone is an amethyst and b) I don't even think they were real amethysts in those pins and necklaces. Stacey could have easily gotten an affordable birthstone ring that had cubic zirconium in it, if the birth stone part was so important to her. She sounds unbelievably greedy, even before she tells her mom the price (which we don't get to hear.)

Nice. Stacey decides she wants to go to the mall, so whom does she call first? Not Claudia, her best friend, who loves to shop. It's Kristy--because she's hoping Charlie will be willing to drive them...which, of course, he does.

When talking about Mary Anne's upbringing, Stacey mentions how strict Richard used to be by pointing out that he had rules about her hair--pretty standard for chapter two. Then the ghostwriter threw me for a loop by pointing out that MA didn't want a Mohawk or pink hair. So now I'm picturing MA with a pink Mohawk and it's hilarious.

Dawn is using a new shampoo that smells like wildflowers. Charlie says it smells like an accident in a perfume factory.

Oooh, real store! Kristy mentions Sears. Oh, and they eat at Friendly's. I used to love that place.

Stacey loves the smell of malls. Okaaaay....

You know you're being a brat about something when you bring it up to your friends and they're ALL on your mom's side. Stacey tells them about her fight with her mom and they all say things like, "I wouldn't dare ask my parents for a diamond ring, even if it was my birthstone," even though Stacey expects them to say how mean her mom is.

This book takes place after #46, because Logan and MA have broken up and gotten back together.

Mrs. Gardella spends a very long time giving Stacey directions about how to feed and care for the family pets...and barely even mentions her baby.

Mrs. Gardella's first name is Kay, while Mr. Gardella is Peter.

After Mrs. Gardella discovers her ring is missing, she calls Stacey and asks if she "borrowed" it. She then threatens to tell all the other BSC clients about it. Of course, Kristy calls an emergency meeting.

MA babysits for the Prezziosos and Jenny's friend Joey comes over. MA says he's a terror because he drags the hose into the house and gets everything wet. Well, if MA had been watching Jenny and Joey, she would have noticed they were playing with the hose before it ever got into the house.

The thirteen year olds summarize the events of #4 for Mal and Jessi. What's funny is that it's Dawn (who wasn't in the club yet) who explains why the fight happened. And Claudia's main memory of the fight was that Mary Anne told them all off. And then they review the events of #3 also.

While Jessi is sitting for Becca and Squirt, she gets paranoid after hearing a report about a burglar on the loose. She freaks out and tries to hid all the valuables. I wonder if it was the Phantom Phone Caller? After all, they're replaying all the other old stories.

Add to that, if you're so scared by the report of a cat burglar that you turn on every light in the house and turn the radio volume up so loud your brother and sister can barely fall asleep, maybe you shouldn't be sitting. Just a thought.

Claudia spelling: reely, aprecsiate (that was her third try), realy, leting, Pretziosos, sinse, Adisons, canseled, relly (she's having a lot of trouble with really), meens, Genny, sush (instead of such), rite, goten, latley, wuld, leest, sneekers. She also uses their instead of there, by instead of buy, and pane instead of pain.

Jenny's favorite baby doll is named Pee-wee after Pee-wee Herman. Later, she and Claudia play Shark Attack. I remember my sister really wanted that game.

Stacey and her mom try to pick out a movie to watch, and her mom keeps suggesting classics. Stacey says she doesn't see what's so handsome about Cary Grant, but then she agrees to watch Gone with the Wind, so maybe she just prefers Clark Gable.

Oh my Lord (as Claudia would say). Stacey actually asks Claudia what Mrs. Prezzioso was wearing when Claudia babysat.

Claudia is upset because she hasn't been getting sitting jobs--the club hasn't been getting many jobs since Mrs. Gardella threatened to tell people--so she goes over to Stacey's house, to double check and make sure Stacey didn't actually steal the ring. Nice to know how much she trusts her best friend (although, I think Claudia and Stacey are the best friend pair that spend the most time through the series fighting with each other.)

Heh. The club is all trying to figure out what happened to the ring. Jessi thinks the burglar got it. MA wonders if baby Tara could have swallowed it. Dawn supposes Mrs. Gardella might have dropped it down the drain without noticing. And Kristy just figures it's around somewhere but the Gardellas didn't really try to find it (which is pretty accurate.)


Claudia: black leggings, lunch box purse, red high top sneakers, oversized red sweater. (Why are sweaters trendy when Claudia wears them and lame when Kristy wears them? Kristy's wearing pretty much that same sweater on the cover.)

Mrs. Gardella (Stacey tells us what she was wearing, so okay): tight black velvet dress, with long sleeves and a low back, black velvet shoes with really high heels, lots of diamond jewelry

Jenny P: faded overalls, too-small pink-striped sweatshirt, pink sneakers

New characters

Tara Gardella (infant)--22

Monday, April 1, 2013

"I spent a lot of time imagining myself cruising to Manhattan in a hot red convertible." BSC #94: Stacey McGill, Super Sitter (1996)

Stacey needs to raise a lot of money so she can take Robert to a Broadway musical, so she takes a special sitting gig with a new family, the Cheplins. Mrs. Cheplin keeps piling more and more chores on Stacey, and Stacey can't get it all done. She misses out on fun times with her friends and Robert and eventually has to quit the job. Lame.

After Becca and Charlotte spy Logan and Kristy out shopping for a present for Mary Anne, they assume Logan is cheating on MA. They start a hate campaign against Logan and Kristy until the whole thing is sorted out. To make up for it, the kids make Logan and MA a "romantic" dinner. How realistic. (Also, how do they make it up to Kristy?)

Interesting Tidbits
We start the book with Stacey and Robert heading home from school; they go to Stacey's house to study. Her dad calls and freaks out because the two of them are home alone. Stacey says her mom's rule is that they have to stay in the kitchen. 1) How easy would it be to break that rule and never have mom know, as long as they keep track of time? 2) It's not like it's that hard to do in the kitchen what you can do in any other room.
Celebrity name dropping: Keanu Reeves, Winona Rider, Macauley Culkin. (Doesn't Dawn mention in one book that Maggie has met the first two of those? And Macauley Culkin wasn't exactly "cool" any more by 1996.)
Kristy calls Stacey from the mall to ask the BSC can afford to buy glue. Yeah. Even now, glue costs a couple bucks a container. If the treasury can't handle it, I'm sure someone could just pay for it and get paid back later.
Yet another BSC Valentines Day.
Claudia channels Dawn: she uses wax paper bags because they're more biodegradable than plastic.
I find it highly amusing when "super mature and sophisticated" Stacey calls out Mal and Jessi for acting like little kids. They're only two years younger than she is, and and it's not as if she's Miss Perfect. Sad bit is, when she does it (not out loud to them, just in her head), it's usually because they're having fun and being silly about something. Like in this one, they're doing high fives, low fives, behind the back fives, and every other kind of five they can think of. Doesn't sound so bad.
Mal says she needs the club notebook so she can write in it. I've always wondered about the logistics of that. How do they find time at the meetings to write up all the jobs, and also read everything everyone else wrote?
Isn't it convenient that, right after Stacey decides she needs to raise a lot of money, the BSC gets offered a daily sitting gig that pays really well? I think it might have been more interesting to watch Stacey try to steal everyone else's sitting gigs out from underneath them and get as many jobs as possible to raise the funds.
When Mrs. Cheplin meets Stacey, she complains right away that she's so young. She invites Stacey for a meeting without finding out any information about her. With the type of job Stacey's signing up for, it's different than a typical BSC job. You'd think Mrs. Cheplin would ask for some details before allowing the potential sitter to come to her house.
Actually, Mrs. Cheplin says she was hoping for a high school girl. A) Don't they always says that Stacey looks and acts older than she is? Then how does Mrs. Cheplin know she's not in high school anyway? B) What the Cheplins really need is a nanny or a housekeeper who is willing to babysit for a few hours. Something like the arrangement Dawn's dad has with his housekeeper, who keeps an eye on Jeff.
Robert is the king of bad bowling puns.
Robert and Stacey go on a double date wtih MA and Logan. It's actually fun to read, because they playfully banter back and forth.
Logan wants Stacey to go with him to pick out a V-Day ring for Mary Anne. Since she can't go, she suggests Kristy. Logan had enough sense to ask Stacey, who has fashion sense and whom Mary Anne kinda wants to be when she grows up (pathetic but true) and yet he still goes for this. Who lets Kristy pick out jewelry? Wouldn't Claudia be a better second choice?
Stacey's mom asks if Logan wants to ask Mary Anne to go steady. And I feel like we're back in the fifties. Instead of a ring, he should just pin her and take her to the sock hop. (Later, Stacey points out to her mom that Logan and MA are not getting engaged.)
Dana is a bit of a brat. She invites her best friend Mandy over and always wants her own way. When Stacey tells Dana to let Mandy choose the game, she fakes a diabetic reaction. She keeps doing this throughout the book whenever the other kids want to do something different than she wants to do, or when she doesn't want to go to her piano lesson. Part of this comes from, I'm sure, the fact that her family had to revolve around her diabetes for a while after she was diagnosed. She keeps telling Stacey that people should treat her special because she's sick.
Stacey told all the club members sans MA about Logan's plans for V-Day. Wouldn't it make more sense to keep it as secret as possible? The more people who know, the more likely it is someone will let it slip to MA. Isn't that what happened when Dawn moved back to CA?
Stacey actually has nightmares about Mrs. Cheplin's list of chores.
Apparently, Stacey is making more than double their normal babysitting rate. Even though she hates the job, she seriously starts thinking about sitting for the Cheplins for several years, so that she can get a down payment for a sports car. (No way you can afford to pay the payments AND the insurance on that one, sweetie.)
The triplets are making a snow fort and keep taking items from inside the house to make their fort even cooler. (I had to smile a bit when they wanted to put ice cream in the fort's ice chest.) Mallory tells them they can't take certain items, and that they're tracking mud and mess all through the house. It was actually fairly realistic when they ignored her/were rude to her--after all, she's their older sister and only one year older than they are!
Apparently, the kids of Stoneybrook really like Mary Anne and don't want to see her get hurt by Kristy (Crusty Toenails) and Logan. And they're poetic about it! To wit:

Crusty is a girl we know
she looks like Pinocchio
When she comes down the street
you can smell her dirty feet.
When she runs around the house
she looks like a scrawny mouse.
Crusty's clothes are never clean
she's ugly and she's really mean.


Logan is no friend of mine
He looks just like Frankenstein.
When he comes down the street
you can smell his dirty feet.
Logan is a dirty bum and he is
a great big crumb.

Stacey's mom gets a bit bitchy with her. Instead of saying, "I don't like you working so many hours because your grades are slipping, I never see you and I don't think it's healthy for you to be rushing around all the time," she accuses Stacey of being a workaholic like her dad. OUCH! And then she gives her fake smiles and the same kinds of looks she would give Stacey's dad when she wasn't happy with him.
Stacey's doing a slap-dash job on a massive research paper that's worth a quarter of her grade. Now, it's been a long time since I was in middle school, but I do recall that when they assign research papers like that, they don't just assign them and then have the students turn them in at the end of the term. There's a due date for some small step every so often. You have to turn in your list of resources by this date, you have to have made so many "note cards" by this date, you need to have an outline by this date and so on. Not only does it teach good habits on how to prepare a paper, but it also means that the kids can't "forget" about it until the week before and then turn in garbage...which is basically where Stacey is.
Stacey arrives at the Cheplins one day to find a ridiculously long list of chores, which she is unable to complete because Dana actually does have a diabetic reaction. Mrs. Cheplin doesn't even wait to hear why the house is a mess before she lays into Stacey. If I were Stacey, I would have quit right then. (I also take offense to the fact that Stacey always has to clean Adam's room. Adam's six, and he's old enough to clean his own room, for the most part.)
Totally out of nowhere, I just noticed two things.
1. Generally, kids in Stoneybrook all tend to have different names. That way, when they say Norman (Hill), or Charlotte (Johanssen), or Matt (Braddock), or Jenny (Prezzioso), there's only one of them. (Even though in real life, there would have been tons of Matts and Jennys in the 80s, and Kaitlins and Zachs in the 90s.) Yet Adam has the same name as another well-established character.
2. This book obviously takes place after MA got her hair cut in book #60. Yet the picture on the side of the front cover shows her with long hair, as she appears on the earlier books. Huh.
Logan notebook entry! He's babysitting for his brother and sister when a whole group of sitting clients, including the female Pikes, Becca, Haley, Jenny and even Kerry accuse him of seeing "another woman." Some of the lines are kinda hilarious (in a bad way.) For example, Margo actually says, "Poor, sweet, trusting Mary Anne." Of course, the whole truth comes out, and we learn that Kerry actually cancelled Logan's dinner reservations for V-Day. MA tells the kids they're sweet for being concerned, but Logan just scowls at them. (BTW, Buddy Barrett was with them too. He seems to be the only boy in the group. I'm not going to say it, but I'm sure you know what gutter my mind jumped into.)
During the V-Day dinner for Logan and MA, the kids sing the "romantic" songs from Lady and the Tramp and the Lion King, and Stacey says they're awful.
Stacey actually lets MA supervise her sitting charges during her dinner with Logan so that the Cheplins' housework gets done.
Ahh, I should have seen this coming. Part of the reason Stacey's mom has been so cranky and wanting to spend time with Stacey is that she's sad not to have a valentine of her own. With the BSC having 300 V-Days in eighth grade, it's truly easy to forget that it's been less than a year since Stacey's parents divorced.
After Mrs. Cheplin extends Stacey's "trial" for another two weeks, Stacey actually bursts into tears at the BSC meeting. After that, she finally tells them what's been going on. (I guess she doesn't have write notebook entries for the Cheplin jobs.)
I found the "author's note" in the back a little scary. It says that readers would write to AMM with their sitting problems. To me, this means that either A) the ten and eleven year olds that I remember reading the series were babysitting or B) the kids who were really old enough to babysit were still reading these books. Hopefully, it was more along the lines of the kids who used to read the series were now old enough to sit, but still dumb enough to think that AMM had the time to individually answer their letters and solve their sitting problems.
Once again, totally off topic. I was reading a fanfic series for a TV show I loved that began airing shortly after this book was published. In the fanfic, a geeky teen boy is trying to find "legitimate employment" and takes a babysitting job. He discovers too late that the sittee is insane and a psychopath. He calls the show's main character during dinner and asks her for help. When she comes back to the dinner table, she says, "Emergency Babysitters Club business."
Stacey: hot pink parka and woolen gloves
Claudia: long sleeved tie-dyed shirt, black leggings with patches of tie dye sewn into them; tie-dyed scrunchie. (Remember when scrunchies were cool?)
New characters:
Dana and Adam Cheplin (8 and 6)--25 and 23
Next week: Mystery #1 Stacey and the Missing Ring

Happy Birthday, Stacey!

I won't say that Stacey was my least favorite babysitter growing up, but I did feel like she was the BSC member I had the least in common with. I didn't have diabetes, I wasn't "sophisticated," I hadn't lived in New York, and I didn't enjoy shopping, clothes and make up. About the biggest similarity between Stacey and me is that I like math (except geometry). It could be argued that I have even less in common with Claudia as I'm not Asian, I don't "do" art, and I always got good grades, but I guess that I knew girls who were like Claudia--but I didn't know anyone like Stacey.
As a child, I didn't really "get" the whole issue with Stacey's parents fighting all the time--possibly because most of my friends' parents were still married, and of the ones that weren't, their parents were closer to Dawn's (got along the best they could for the sake of the kids; a long physical distance apart) or Kristy's (one parent didn't know where they other was; bad financial situation) than Stacey's. I also know I don't remember there being quite as many times where Stacey felt stuck in the middle of her parents as I see there being now that I'm re-reading the books.

As I mentioned once before, most of the later books in the series that I haven't read yet are Stacey books. Most of her plotlines starting when she rejoined the club just sound so silly. But we'll start the month off with one I haven't read yet and hope there is something wonderful to mock inside.