So there are three plotlines in this one. The title refers to Claudia secretly dating Alan Gray. She's embarrassed for Kristy to find out they're together. Alan knows how she feels and has been acting very fake, because he's afraid she'll dump him if he acts like himself. She eventually confronts him and tells him that who he is going to keep changing as he ages, but he should always just be himself.
Meanwhile, Claudia and Erica are working at the library in the kids' room. While that's exhausting in and of itself, Claudia gets into a fight with her mom because Claud wants to redo the dated children's mural. They eventually talk it over and get past it, and Claudia learns that her mom's actually jealous of her art skills.
Erica, who had previously learned she was adopted, decides to find out the names of her biological parents. She and Claudia break into her parents' safe and learn the names of her bio 'rents, but she then confesses to her parents, who decide she's old enough to decide for herself if she wants to hunt them down. Erica's honesty with her parents is what leads Claudia to be honest with her mom and Alan. See how that works?
The final sentence on the back cover: "Will Claudia find luv?" I don't know if that's the middle school version of lust, or a bad Claudia misspelling.
Heh. I think I need to list all the annoying things Alan is listed as having done: burping "Row, row, row your boat;" putting M&Ms on his eyes at Mary Anne's birthday party (#10); getting suspended for throwing a cherry bomb in the bathroom; getting a fireball stuck up his nose in second grade; sticking crayons in his mouth as fangs; wearing underwear on his head.
Claudia refers to Alan's past as "besmirched", which I found really amusing.
Apparently, Stacey once got a lump of gum stuck in her ear. I'm always glad when they don't write her as all mature and sophisticated. (Of course, she was a little kid when that happened, but that still counts.)
Real books: Jack and the Beanstalk, Black Beauty, A Baby Sister for Frances, Fell, Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye (I like this because Claudia mentions it to Erica as a story of someone who looks for her birth parents, which is how it came up the first time); Harold and the Purple Crayon.
I like this: Claudia has realized that Janine talks the way she does, not because she's a genius, but because it throws people off their strides.
When Claudia tells Kristy she's been out with Alan, she thinks Kristy's head might explode.
Mistake! Stacey points out that Kristy once went out with Alan, to a dance (true.) Kristy says she learned her lesson and never went out with him again. She went with him to a dance in #2 and mentions she had been to the school end dance with him in #6 also.
When Claudia tells everyone she went out with Alan, Kristy goes apoplectic. Stacey (who knew) says, "Good for you." MA does what she always does and tries to smooth things over. And Dawn just thinks the whole thing is hilarious.
Claudia's mural goes to hell when Ms. Feld (the children's librarian) decides to let all the kids "help" without asking Claudia. The result is a complete disaster.
Claudia and Alan invite their respective friends to go out for mini golf. I had to laugh when Alan brought Cary and Pete, because in my adult-BSC verse, each of those two is married to a babysitter. (I'll let that sit. See if you can figure out who is who, but it's not who you'd expect based upon this story.)
Oh, shut up, Dawn. You're going mini golfing, so we don't need to hear about how real golf courses pollute the environment.
Cary maneuvers the game play so that all the people are paired: He and MA, Stacey and Pete, Claudia and Dawn, and Kristy with Alan. Claudia pictures Kristy's head exploding, which I think was Cary's point.
Way back during the original painting scene, I thought to myself, "Why don't they just have each of the kids do the same thing, like a handprint?" And of course that's exactly what they end up doing. All the kids put a hand and their name on the wall, and Claudia gets to do her planned mural at the top.
Oh my gosh. Claudia throws a party with the BSC (current members and old members), Alan, Pete, Cary and Erica. Charlie gives Kristy and Abby a ride and...decides to stick around and grill for everyone. The poor young man really has no life. *shakes head sadly*
I'm more than a little amused by a crash that occurs when Pete, catching a flying bag of chips, runs over Mary Anne and a bowl of pickles.
Leave it Abby to laugh at corny jokes about Alan "putting Pete and Mary Anne in this pickle," and "Goodbye, Mr. Chips."
Claudia: red, blue and purple tie-dyed t-shirt, beige linen shorts, earrings made from bottle caps, purple high tops
I'm on vacation the next two weekends (Midwest Dariacon 2013 and my sister's bachelorette party) so I'm hoping to get all my school work done before I go. I've had a nasty case of vertigo the last week or so, but I have to read one more Claudia book for July. Once school is out in another two weeks, I’ll be able to catch up.