Monday, March 31, 2014

“She reminded me of a chicken rotating on a barbecue grill.” BSC #34: Mary Anne and Too Many Boys (1990)

Before I begin, I need to apologize. The posting for #30 was accidentally obliterated what I like to call The Great Thumb Drive Crash of 2014. There will be a posting for #30 eventually, but I couldn’t bring myself to reread it right away.

I’m heading off on vacation next weekend (Rhode Island, here I come!) and I’m bringing a stack of BSC books with me. One of two things will happen: I’ll have plenty of time and you may get treated to 3 or more books; otherwise, I may not get any reading done at all. I’ll try to get at least one book done (I have layovers both on the way there and on the way back) so I should have #35 for you at least.

So the very stupid plot line in this one is that Mary Anne, Stacey and the Pikes have gone back to Sea City. The same boys from #8, Alex and Toby, are there. MA and Stacey get into a fight because Stacey assumes her “relationship” with Toby is more important than Mary Anne’s with Alex. It gets even worse after Toby “dumps” Stacey. Meanwhile, Mary Anne is angsty because she goes out with Alex a couple times but she worries about her love for Logan. Eventually, she realizes that she and Alex are just friends, and just because you like a guy doesn’t mean you have to date him.

The subplot revolves around Vanessa’s crush on a random guy who works at the ice cream shop. She leaves him love poems, but he thinks they’re from Mallory. The BSC isn’t really too involved; MA just worries about Vanessa a little bit, but Vanessa sorts the whole thing out by never telling Chris the truth and leaving him with one last poem.

Interesting Tidbits

What is the earliest ghostwritten book? I have my books really awkwardly arranged (I only have 3 “cubes” for what is at least 5 cubes worth of books, so I have to pull 25-48 out to get at 1-24. The first one I see here is 27—neither 25 nor 26 were. But there could be earlier ones. One day when I’m really trying to avoid my research paper, I’m going to through and make a database of all the ‘manuscript assistants’ and which books they wrote.

The cover! Literally seven boys and two girls. I’m assuming that’s MA with Alex and Stacey with Toby. The boy building a sandcastle could be Nicky (he’s got glasses.) Then that could be the triplets in the background, but why are they blonde? (I love the one on the left’s pink/purple swim trunks.) And once again, someone has played with the cover, to give MA short hair! Some BSC fan has even less of a life than I do!


Did you know Dawn has “yards of wheat-colored hair?” Mean neither. If it’s that long, she probably steps on it all the time. Oh, and the same set of member descriptions pegs Jessi as “this really neat black girl.” I don’t know why, but that strikes me as odd.

The story starts the day before the Pikes leave for Sea City, and Stacey and Mary Anne are reminiscing about their last trip. It’s not until they pull Mal into the conversation that she joins in. I’d almost forgotten she was in Sea City with them.

Sharon-itis (the disease where you put things where they REALLY don’t belong): grocery list and pencil in the fridge; tomato in the coupon drawer*

*Who the hell has a coupon drawer?

The triplets and Nicky have a running contest going on whenever the Pike station wagons pass each other (which happens a lot…think that Mr. and Mrs. Pike were egging them on a bit?) Nicky actually shakes his fist at his brothers.

Margo says that ‘raisin rum’ ice cream looks like it has flies in it. That’s a comment I would have expected out of one of the boys. I guess her car-related queasiness doesn’t extend to food.

Claire goes missing at the Howard Johnson’s on the way to SC. So MA is keeping a careful count of how many kids they have. Right as she reminds us of that, she says they can head to the beach because they have everyone: Stacey, Mal, Margo, Claire, the triplets. Vanessa says she’ll be along in a minute. Um…anyone missing?

Mary Anne microwaves bacon for the Pikes. Yum?

What’s with Claire making ice cream messes and getting another free ice cream because of it? It happens twice in the first five chapters. And then the guy at Ice Cream Palace who likes Mal accidentally sets the whipped cream machine onto crazy high, so he remakes Mal’s strawberry sundae. I personally would have wanted the one drenched in whip cream.

This conversation says a lot: Mary Anne: Logan has nothing to worry about. Stacey: Do you mean, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him? (Oh, Stacey…*shakes head*)

I do find it really interesting that Mary Anne is actually cheating on Logan when she hangs out with Alex. Sure, they’re not making out or anything, but it’s still emotional cheating.

Vanessa’s luuuuuv poem: An accident brought us together/And I know we will never part/Please say you’ll love me forever/You’ve totally stolen my heart. Mary Anne’s concerned because Vanessa’s writing these words to a guy she met once, but that sounds pretty typical pre-teen to me. I used to get crushes on boys at Vanessa’s age and imagine us getting married. (One time, I imagined marrying the guy I liked at sixteen and making ends meet by driving the school bus….)

Oh, and I think Vanessa may have the nicest handwriting out of everyone in these books.

Ooh, I think this is the first time Dawn met Carol!

Dawn and Jeff are watching Indiana Jones while babysitting. Jeff spends the whole evening playing with the three year old while Dawn deals with a colicky baby. She thinks the idea of Jeff as a babysitter is funny, but why is that so weird? (Of course, I’ve already read the book where he is babysitting.)

How does Chris know the Pikes’ names? He calls Vanessa by name and then says, “Tell Mallory…”

Jessi’s totally watching Sesame Street, although it is never mentioned by name. She puts it on for Squirt but ends up watching it mostly by herself.

I hope that Misty and Frodo the hamsters are the same gender. Squirt puts them in a cage together after watching a same/different segment on the above-mentioned show. I remember reading that as a kid and hoping that Jessi could tell the hamsters apart or the Pikes might get the wrong hamster. (I don’t know why, but I’ve always wanted to spell hamster with a P…hampster.)

Mary Anne and Stacey actually get into an argument over who used whose towel. And it’s as boring as it sounds.

Apparently, Mary Anne and Logan take turns paying for their dates.

Funniest part of the whole book: Only Mrs. Pike is up when Mary Anne gets home from her “date” with Alex, and she (jokingly) wants to talk over MA’s date with her. I don’t know why this cracks me up, other than I basically just wrote her taking on the same role in one of my fanfics with her son’s girlfriends.

Vanessa’s final note to Chris: I’d love to see you tonight/but the timing just isn’t right./We’re leaving Sea City today/and going far away./I’ll always remember your smile/please think of me once in a while. I [heart] you forever, your secret admirer

Mallory shouts in her sleep. I once had a roomie who did that and, like Vanessa says, it’s creepy at first, but you get used to it.

The title quote is MA’s opinion of Stacey’s tanning procedure.

I’m pages from the end of the book, and all I can think is, they were so busy talking about boys in this book, they didn’t even touch on the issues from the first Sea City book. It would have been nice if they’d thrown a little nod to it, like having Byron not wanting to go snorkeling with his brothers or having the triplets pick on Nicky a little more.

One final Vanessa poem, this one to Mary Anne: Love can hurt, love can sting/a broken heart can never sing./Boys will come, boys will go/but a friend is forever, this I know./A friend is rare and hard to find/everyone knows it’s true/You helped me through a very bad time/I’ll always be grateful to you. Awwww!

Kristy: red t-shirt, faded jeans, visor
Stacey: khaki safari pants, jungle print blouse, expensive belt; blue bikini
Sharon: pink jumpsuit. Wait, was that really Dawn’s and ended up in her clothes by accident? Please say yes.
Dawn: Laura Ashley dress, pearl barrettes (for a plane trip. For my trip, I plan to wear a long sleeved t-shirt, jeans and flip-flops so I don’t have to worry about walking around in my socks at the airport. I would NOT wear a dress that’s probably dry-clean only.)
Claire: red tank swimsuit
Mallory: swimsuit with blue bottom and striped tank top

New Characters:
Chris, the Ice Cream Palace boy (12)--36
Sheila, Alex’s mother’s helper charge (2)—26
Julie and Gregory, Dawn’s sitting charges (3 and infant)—27 and 24

Friday, March 21, 2014

“I’m not sure I would write ‘I love you’ on a postcard where the mailman and your mother could see it.” BSC Super Special #3: Babysitters’ Winter Vacation (1989)

Before I begin, I need to point out that this has always been my least favorite super special. I owned 1-4 and 6-11. I reread my favorites a dozen times or more. I think I read this one twice, maybe three times. I think part of it had to do with the fact that, in my head, it’s even more ridiculous than the SS where they get stranded on an island (my absolute faaaaavorite). The other part had a lot to do with the fact that Mary Anne drove me absolutely nuts all throughout this book.

So Stoneybrook Middle School apparently is a very lucky school, because they get a (low-cost) vacation to Vermont every year courtesy of the Leicester Lodge. They have a Winter Carnival full of outdoor sports. And because the BSC is stupid, they agree to play babysitters to a group of elementary school students whose teachers are injured. Here are everyone’s stories, in the order they first get a chapter:

Mary Anne: Logan is in Aruba so she spends the whole book mooning, worrying about a ghost (did she turn into Dawn?) and worrying because she hates a gym teacher who is their chaperone.

Stacey: Meets a guy and falls in (ready?) luv.

Dawn: Is a giant klutz, falling down left and right. And she fights with Mary Anne, who’s being all self-centered.

Kristy: Is in charge of the whole carnival and gets too far into it (there’s a shocker.) She guilts some people into taking part, including a guy who breaks his leg.

Claudia: Thinks her ski instructor has a crush on her, but eventually finds out he’s married.

Jessi: Worries because she’s in charge of the talent show. Also thinks one of the elementary school girls, Pinky, is racist. Doesn’t want to do anything wintery because she might get frostbite and not be able to dance anymore.

And last and least interesting:

Mallory: Does her stupid #$^*ing Harriet the Spy schtick again. Lame-o! And she’s afraid of a dance.

Interesting Tidbits

I am soooo dorky. I was trying to remember which sitter was the frame for each book—the reason that the sitters all sat down and wrote about their exploits. I know Kristy is the cause for #7 and #8 and Jessi is behind #9 and #13. Stacey is behind #2 and Dawn, I think, behind #4, #5 and #12. I’d have to pick up the others to remember exactly, although #1 and #15 were kind of a joint effort and I think #6 was a Claudia story. This is the only Mary Anne.

Mary Anne says you get to meet new people at Leicester Lodge, which is fun. But if she’s really shy, wouldn’t she prefer not to meet new people?

Kristy = funny? If you say so, Mary Anne. Not the first word I think of when I think of Kristy.

Richard reminds Mary Anne to brush her teeth; she stifles the urge to remind him she’s not a baby. She then turns around a few minutes later and reminds him to feed Tigger while she’s gone.

Leicester Lodge Lounge Lizard. Sounds like a really bad cabaret act.

Even writing on a shaking bus, Stacey still has to dot her Is with little hearts.

There are 382 kids at SMS, but this is early on the series. Tons more kids move to town before it ends.

Dawn mentions “The Shining.” I hadn’t watched that movie when I was reading these books. And since I got nightmares from “The Stand,” I have no intention of ever watching it.

Mallory and Jessi are afraid of getting lost. Why? It’s a hotel! You can’t tell me they’ve never been to a hotel before. We know Mallory has.

Heh. To calm Mal and Jessi, the older girls show them around. They ride the elevator to the top floor of the dorms to show that all the dorm floors are the same. Claudia points out the candy machine on every floor. Jessi asks if they have to ride up and look at all the candy machines every time they head downstairs.

In the first Kristy chapter, she addresses her letter to everyone in her family individually. Luckily, she left the pets off.

Claudia spelling: minut (twice), loge (twice), straving, waht, whith, hospitle. She also uses four for for and there for their. Stacey helped her spell figure (by telling her there’s no Y in it…)

Dawn snores. And I don’t know why, but I take great pleasure in that.

Mary Anne worries about Logan cheating on her with…ahem…”a girl who wasn’t shy and who was good in gym.” Yeah…

Real book: Jessi gives Pinky Matilda by Roald Dahl to read. One of my childhood favorites!

MA wants everyone to contribute so she can make a book for Logan, showing him what he missed. So why does Stacey think that Logan would want to hear about her latest crush?

Even though Mal’s Harriet crap is boring, she did make me laugh a couple times. First, she copies Mary Anne’s notes and shows that at one point, MA wrote Mary Anne Bruno and then Logan Spier. Then Mal comments on the ghost that supposedly haunts the lodge: “But maybe that explains the white thing I saw in the corner of our dorm last night. Then again, it might just have been Stacey’s bathrobe, hanging on a hook.”

One of the lodge employees has worked there since 1930. Which was a long time even back then, and this book was published 25 years ago. (My surviving grandparents weren’t even born in 1930.)

Claudia owns a Polaroid.

Both Claudia and Dawn are mad at Kristy, which is only fair. She’s acting like a bitch. She’s mad at Dawn for being a klutz on ice skates. Claudia judges the ice sculpture contest (see my comment below) and chooses a winner from the other team, so Kristy’s being super-nasty to her on the ski slopes.

Here’s what I don’t get. If Kristy is organizing the events, why is she also a team captain? That makes no sense. Even worse is the fact that Claudia is allowed to judge the ice sculpture contest. If she’s on a team, then she shouldn’t be allowed to judge. There are enough teachers that they should have been able to make it work without student input.

Claudia spelling time again! Juge (twice), juging, totle, sclupture (twice), whanted, Cheshur (Cheshire), realictic, Ahsley. She also uses planed for planned bite for bit and no for know.

Mal says something and Jessi says she sounds just like her mother. I can totally see that. Mal spends a lot of time playing second mom anyway. You know that someday, she’s either going to end up with a whole house full of kids herself, or she’s going to boycott that and remain single and childless her whole life.

In her entry for Logan’s book, Dawn writes the following: “Mary Anne, are you really going to put all this stuff in your book for Logan? Try to tone it down a little, okay? It’s embarrassing.” Okay, first, if it’s embarrassing, why even write it in the first place? Second, I really wonder how much of this book would actually make it into a book for Logan. Would she really tell him about all the time she spent mooning over him and his imaginary girlfriend? (At the end she says she realized she needed to cut that out of his book, as well as the bit about all the letters she wrote him.)

Claudia steps on Stacey’s hand when she gets out of bed. Of course. Can’t let that joke die!

Spacey Stacey. Heh.

I LOOOOOOVE when Mary Anne and Dawn fight. They’re total bitches to each other.

This fight isn’t as good as the one in #31, but it’s still pretty awesome. Because the Conway Cove kids are with them, they fake being civil to each other and go completely overboard. “Thank you.” “Oh, you are so completely welcome.”

You guys know Dawn isn’t exactly my favorite babysitter most of the time, but I actually feel for her in this book. Mary Anne was being totally self-centered. Kristy was being an ass to her. And I like the character development (even if she forgets it by the next book): she realizes she actually does care what others think about her to some extent; she’s not as much of an individual as she thinks she is. I feel like that same point is brought up in a lot of Dawn books, and then forgotten again.

List of things Dawn says she’s survived: the divorce, moving to Connecticut, Jeff moving back to California…and the Trip-Man.

Despite actually not hating Dawn in this book, I take amazing pleasure in the fact that she sets a world record for Fastest Bankruptcy in Monopoly.

Jessi has dimples. Has that ever been mentioned before?

Mary Anne keeps trying to write Logan letters, which is stupid because she says she’s not going to mail them. Plus, they’re awesome. One is about how she yearns and pines for him; another, in her own words, sounds like something you’d write to “an eighty-five year old great-aunt who has blue hair and stuffs Kleenex up her sleeves.” The third begins, “Dear Logan, light of my life.”

Logan actually calls Mary Anne from Aruba. Those two are way too attached.

I just love how all the ‘ghost stories’ the teachers tell around the fire are old urban legends: the Choking Doberman; the dead boyfriend above the car…

Mal’s excited about the snowstorm because they might have to be evacuated and then they won’t have a dance! Dumbass.

Claudia strikes again: Goerge (George), snowstrom, wright (right), excatly, inchis, complaning, prefect (perfect), compertitons, afternon, monring, waht, shinning, frist, broght, gogles, improtent, speel, impresed. She also uses wine for win, and Stacey helps her spell Guy (her ski instructor…since he’s French, he pronounces it Gee, which is what she wrote first.) If Stacey’s helping her, shouldn’t she spell check everything? Claudia says Stacey helped her speel, after all.

Jessi, to Mal: “Relax. You look like you’re being carried off to jail. This is just a dance.” (She ends up dancing half the night with the same guy.)

The title quote is what Mary Anne writes in response to Stacey’s guy, Pierre, writing I love you on the postcard he sends her. I have more of an issue with the fact that he’s about thirteen and he thinks he loves a girl after spending a week with her…

Mary Anne and her dad actually pick Logan’s family up at the airport.

I just realized that, other than making fun of her spelling, I kinda neglected Claudia and her ski instructor. This is partly because that plot line didn’t start until the book was more than halfway over and partly because it’s just so Claudia to assume that any guy who pays attention to her must like her. I could also say I neglected Stacey and her boy Pierre, but they get even less attention in the book than Claudia. Here’s a Daria quote to sum up how I felt about Claudia’s storyline: Ms. Barch: Why don’t you apply for a federal grant, dear? Send an inquiry to the U.S. Department of Deluded Adolescents.

New Characters:

Kids from Conway Cove elementary school: Ginnie, Bryce, Priscilla “Pinky” Winkler, Amber, Joey, Renee, Corey, Kara, Valerie, Ian, Ryan, Kathie


Teensy (a lodge employee): jean overalls, plaid shirt, painty baseball cap

Mallory: red and white sweater with jeans

Coming next: #30 Mary Anne and the Great Romance

Saturday, March 8, 2014

“You two sound cuckoo.” BSC #27: Jessi and the Superbrat (1989)

This is a short one, not because the book is awful, but because I’m reading while battling a respiratory infection and going on thirty-six hours with no sleep.

Before I start, two things. 1) Does anyone know if Stoneybrook High School has an established mascot? I seem to remember one but can’t recall what it was.

2) I nearly wrote Superbra instead of Superbrat a few times while writing this. Jessi and the Superbra might have been more interesting.

Jessi’s star-struck when she discovers that one of the stars of Becca’s favorite television show, Derek Masters, lives in Stoneybrook when he’s not working in L.A. (or as Becca calls it, L.P.) Coincidentally—or not so much, for a BSC book—the Masterses come back to Stoneybrook shortly thereafter. Jessi’s hired for a bunch of jobs with Derek and his little brother and discovers that Derek’s having a hard time fitting back in. The girls are all star-struck and the boys make fun of him. He mentions one particular boy, whom Jessi calls the Superbrat, who does a bunch of nasty things to him. Claudia helps him make friends and, just before he moves back to L.A., Derek admits that the Superbrat never existed—all the things he said the brat did, Derek actually did to other boys in the class.

Meanwhile, Derek tells Jessi she could be a model and actress, so she actually looks into getting an agent while in the midst of auditioning for Swan Lake. But when she gets a part, she realizes that ballet is her real love.  

Interesting Tidbits

The cover of this book cracks me up. All four of the boys (presumably Derek and the Pike triplets) are seriously disturbing in appearance, and Jessi’s proportioned like a flat-chested Barbie: her head is too tiny for her body, while her legs are super long. And let’s not even talk about the awesome outfit. (She’s trendy Kristy—in jeans, turtleneck and sweater/sweatshirt.) Also, why does everyone have their own birdie? That’s not how badminton is usually played…

Weird! When I went looking for this cover online, I found one where they had redone Jessi’s face so that she looks like does in the much later covers. But they didn’t change anything else. She looks closer to 11 than thirty that way though.

I think that of all the characters in the books, I was the most like Becca when I was growing up. I was all quiet and shy around strangers, and a loud nutcase at home. Oh, and I had giant crushes on television stars…only mine were on Steve Burton and Shemar Moore. Yummy.

Jessi keeps confusing Derek with his brainiac character, Waldo, to the point that she thinks that he might be able to help her with her sixth grade science homework.

Mallory suggests a television show: Babysitter for the Stars. A) That sounds like something Kristy would come up with…and then actually try to pitch to a network and B) Didn’t that air on some cable network sometime in the last ten years?

At one point, Jordan is spelled as Jordon.

Ugh, Karen. Say no more.

Okay, say more. Jessi says Karen chews on life the way a puppy chews on a slipper. That’s…both accurate and hilarious. She leaves behind a hot mess when she’s done.

Why the &$^! would Kristy tell Karen that there’s a celebrity in Stoneybrook? Even at six, she’s the type who would stalk someone. Plus, she thinks she’s going to be the next star. We all know the only thing Karen could star on would be an obnoxious reality show. Oooh, I’m thinking of a fanfic where Karen is one of the contestants on The Bachelor. (I will not actually be writing it…the most Karen is allowed to show up in my stories is as a mention, and even then, just about everyone has to be disdainful of her.)

I always wonder why Kristy agrees to let Hannie and Amanda come over at the same time when she knows the two of them just argue all the time.

Then again, I always wonder why ANYONE wants to spend time with Karen. She’s bossy, rude, bratty and self-centered. And those are her better points.

Jessi: I can’t get all my hair to stay in the elastic, Daddy. Mr. Ramsey: Did you try gluing it? (And then he offers to shave her head to solve the problem. Can he be my dad?)

Claudia spelling: meen (and that’s her third try!), realy, nise, Derich, reelly, whent, Derick, frends, fingirs. And of course, she writes the entry because she’s…babbysitting!

Ooh, Mary Anne forgot to write down a job! Shocking!

Mrs. Masters is NOT good at keeping a secret. The BSC hosts a surprise party for Derek before he leaves, and Mrs. Masters keeps not-so-subtly asking Jessi if they need more items for the party. It reminded me of when I taught school and my students and I threw a surprise party for our paraprofessional. The kids kept saying things like, “Miss, what kind of cake do you like to eat at parties?” (The title quote is Derek’s response to the conversation.)

You got to wonder why the Masterses even bother coming and going from Stoneybrook. Wouldn’t it be easier on Derek and Todd (and their parents as well) if they just moved to L.A. until Derek was done? If he plans to be a working child actor, it seems to be pointless.

Remember when cereal boxes had prizes in them?

Eight year old Derek has better spelling than Claudia.


Claudia: pink t-shirt, red skirt, black footless tights

New characters:

Derek and Todd Masters (8 and 4)—33 and 29

Next week: Yay, it’s super special time!

“We passed a Howard Johnson’s and Mr. Kishi said we could go in there to eat because he knew the manager personally, and I thought he meant he knew Howard Johnson.” BSC #26: Claudia and the Sad Goodbye (1989)

Claudia’s grandmother Mimi collapses and is taken to the hospital. She gets some blood transfusions and then goes back home. Claudia gets testy because Mimi isn’t feeling well and is testy herself. Mimi goes back to the hospital, where she passes away in the middle of the night. Claudia gets mad and then feels guilty (I think she goes through just about all the stages of grief in 147 pages.) Eventually, she realizes that Mimi helped make her a better person and honors her memory with a collage.

Meanwhile, Claudia and Mary Anne are hosting an art class for various sitting charges, including Corrie Addison, whose parents enroll her in every activity imaginable in order to avoid spending time with her. Corrie is obviously unhappy with this arrangement, so Claudia eventually points that out to Mrs. Addison. She makes an effort to spend time with her…temporarily.

Interesting Tidbits

Claudia’s dad is a partner in an investment firm. Notice how all of the BSC parents are professionals? No one’s a truck driver or an electrician or something like that.

Claudia says that Janine’s IQ is “like, nine million.” I’ve always wondered about her IQ because they make such a point of her being a genius. I know a girl with an astronomical IQ. She just turned fourteen and is a sophomore in high school, although she takes most of her classes at the community college for dual high school and college credit. Her parents didn’t want to hold her back but they didn’t want her to be too far ahead of her peers either.

Claudia describes what she’s wearing that day, and it’s exactly what she’s wearing on the cover! Wow! Even the Christmas light earrings:


Mallory freaks out because Mimi scolds her for something she never did. Then Claudia gets annoyed/scared because Mimi gave Mal a bird from her collection. That’s something she hadn’t been doing…yet.

Claudia has a box labeled ‘art suplys’. That’s kind of vague. Shouldn’t it say ‘charcoles’ or ‘pant brushes’ or ‘pastells’ or something?

Claudia explains how to prevent getting salmonella from meat. Great. We’re getting cooking lessons from someone who probably would spell chicken as chiken. (Plus, I just hate thinking about raw chicken anyway.)

Janine’s college class (according to Claudia): Advances and Trends in Computerized Biopsychiatry.

I don’t know why this disturbs me so much: when Mimi needs to be rushed to the hospital, Claudia immediately sets down the hot tureen she was serving soup out of directly onto the table. She mentions that the mark has never come off the table. I guess it’s just kind of a horrible reminder of what the family went through that day. I’m more disturbed by the mark on the table than I am with Mimi being carried out by the paramedics.

During the first art lesson, Gabbie spends all her time mixing paint colors in the water and announcing what colors she makes. Later, Jamie decides to give her a lesson on colors and shapes, and tells her she gets a ‘J-plus.’

For some reason, Mary Anne’s handwriting looks shaky and off in her notebook entry. They always make a point of what good handwriting she has, but I’ve always thought Kristy’s handwriting was easier to read.

Mimi starts to feel better the second time she goes to the hospital. She actually makes a joke that she’s a vampire, because the doctors have to keep giving her blood.

Claudia makes a point of closing Mimi’s door in the hospital. She notes that Mimi had to get changed with the door open and wants to respect her privacy and dignity. At this point, it’s about the sweetest and most meaningful thing she could do for her.

Mimi, in turn, says something very sweet to Claudia, who doesn’t even know what it means: “My Claudia, never believe what other people say. About you. Never unless you believe it too. I love you.”

Everyone’s all awkward during the BSC meetings after Mimi’s death. Janine sits in on the first one because she doesn’t want to be alone (which seems sweet and totally in character for what little we actually know about her). At the second one, people are still being quiet because they don’t know what to say, so Kristy tries to distract them by talking about bras and food fights. One question: was this during the same conversation, or two separate ones?

Jessi’s apparently the only one who doesn’t want anchovies this time. I know it’s been mentioned before that Kristy likes anchovies. I wonder if she’d be up for my favorite pizza: pineapple and anchovy?

Everyone gathers at Mary Anne’s after the BSC meeting, and that’s where they eat the pizza. They also tell Mimi stories, and Mary Anne says the title quote as part of a story about the first time Mimi had pizza.

Stacey really keeps a sitting notebook for her jobs in NYC? The hell?

Claudia actually wonders who’s babysitting for all the kids of the friends who came to Mimi’s funeral, since all the BSC members are in attendance.

Claudia’s been extra tired (because she’s been working hard at not thinking about Mimi), so she worries that she’s coming down with leprosy, of all things.

I’d expected to cry at some point in this book, and I did…but not when I expected. The kids made papier-mâché puppets in Claudia’s art class. Corrie goes on and on about how her mom will be so happy when Corrie presents her Nancy Drew puppet as a gift. But when her mom is almost three hours late picking her up, she shoves the puppet at Claudia and says she doesn’t want her mom to have her after all. It totally broke my heart.

This is when I thought I’d cry, because I’ve remembered this part ever since I was ten: Mimi wrote her own obituary and even listed the correct year for her death. Janine uses it to point out to Claudia (who feels guilty, like her occasional frustration with Mimi led Mimi to ‘give up’) that Mimi just knew her time was up.

The image of Claudia’s parents hooking pinkies and saying ‘jinx’ made me laugh.


Claudia: lavender plaid cuffed pants, green shirt, suspenders, beret, fleece lined high tops, Christmas light earrings

New Characters:

Sean and Corrie Addison (10 and 9)—35 and 34

Next: #27 Jessi and the Superbrat