Wednesday, September 24, 2014

“I didn’t know you could apply physics to cosmetology.” BSC #58: Stacey’s Choice (1992)

So it’s apropos that I’m reading this book now. I was supposed to read it last weekend, but instead my dad decided to come visit me. He says he didn’t find out that the Red Sox were playing the Royals until after he booked the trip. I said (not to his face, mind you) that he’s full of bull. On the plus side, we actually got to talk without trying to kill each other and the Royals beat the Red Sox while we were at the K. Go Royals! Anyway, back to Stacey’s dad problems instead of mine…
Just when you think Stacey’s parents are actually going to be civil to each other…. It was only 15 books ago, after all, that Stacey had her emergency and told her parents off for putting her in the middle. They promised to do better, but I guess they failed. Stacey’s mom gets really sick, and, seeing as they’re a two person family, Stacey feels responsible for caring for her. Her dad gets a promotion at work and wants her to come to some event with him, but she feels like she can’t leave her mom. Communication in this whole family pretty well stinks, and it only improves whenever Stacey forces the matter.
Meanwhile, the kids have been ordering stuff from the back of magazines and comics, and when it doesn’t live up to the advertisements, they try to sell it to others.
Interesting Tidbits
Well, I feel foolish. I was looking at the cover, thinking, ‘Which one is Stacey and which one is Dawn?’ Then I looked to the left, where all the babysitter faces are sitting…and the ‘Stacey’ face is from this book. Whoops.

Other than that, these girls are very fashionable for 1992. Except I would have expected to see more mall-hair style bangs. Oh, and this actually happens in the book!
According to this, Dee is just a nickname that Ms. McGill calls Mrs. Pike.
Hee hee. Dawn has “a lot of admirers.” I don’t know why that phrasing strikes my fancy, but it does.
Oh, I’ve always remembered this! One time I retold this story to my mom, only I thought it was something that had happened to one of my friends (rather than Kristy.) She says she bought a tape of old rock and roll songs performed by the original artists, but when the tape arrived, it was a bunch of remade songs performed by a band called…the Original Artists.
The introduction of the Rosebud Café! I didn’t realize it wasn’t around before this. Although, they do tend to go to places like Good Time Charley’s and Friendly’s in the earlier books.
Stacey’s dad may regret inviting her to his promotion dinner when he sees the type of outfit she buys for it. (see below) Stacey’s mom says it’s perfect, however.
Buddy wants to order a book called How to Become Mr. Muscle so he can look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I’m enjoying the plotline with the kids ordering crap from the back of magazines (something I was never allowed to do, as my mom told me all of it was a rip off) way more than Stacey’s plot. Is that bad? Dawn is sitting for the Barretts when half the neighborhood comes over and talks about what they’ve ordered. Haley ordered wart remover and Jake ordered a kit to grow catnip. When Dawn asks if she has warts/he has a cat, they’re both like, no, but….someone must!
Stacey wants to write a Divorce Handbook to help children of divorced parents through. Even though I’m in my thirties and my parents get along better than Stacey’s do, I’d buy it.
One of the funniest bits about the mail-order storyline is that Vanessa ordered a bust developer. Everyone (especially the flat-chested Kristy) is interested in seeing it and if it works. Later, when the kids are trying to sell their products off, Claire keeps asking everyone what a bust developer does, but no one will tell her.
During an argument between Buddy and Suzi, at one point Suzi’s name is spelled Suzy, despite the fact that it’s spelled correctly in the paragraph before and after.
Stacey and Dawn have a talk about divorce, which is actually quite nice. It’s one thing the two of them have in common, and it’s good to see them getting along after the last book, when Stacey (rightfully) wanted to kill Dawn. Dawn points out that she doesn’t get caught between her parents as often as Stacey does, but when she does, it’s much worse because a plane trip is involved.
Stacey goes to the Pikes to do her homework, but she can’t get anything done because all the kids are feeling ‘gypped’ over spending all their money on mail order garbage, when all they really want is yo-yos. (Like a family like the Pikes wouldn’t have a yo-yo or five lying around somewhere). Mal suggests they go ask for an advance on their allowances…just so they’ll leave her and Stacey alone. Every now and then, I love Mal.
And now I love her even more. Mrs. Pike picks up Stacey, Mal and Jessi at school with Claire riding along. Mal, Jessi and Claire start pretending Stacey is going on a long trip (instead of just staying overnight in NYC) so they start yelling stuff like, “Don’t forget to write,” and “Have fun in Spain!”
I have spent most of the book feeling sorry for Stacey, but there have been a couple of times I’ve just wanted to slap her. Like during this line: “I decided I had been away from New York too long. I was losing my grip on sophistication.”
Stacey wonders what happens to the homeless when they die. Her dad thinks she’s being morbid, but it’s a valid question. I read a book about street kids—runaways, throwaways, foster kids, rebels, etc—and every so many chapters began with the backstory of one of the kids…who then left the streets during that chapter. Truly sad and depressing. One froze to death; one was murdered; one’s parents came and picked him up (not so sad); one’s grandparents were found so that she could safely go home; and one was carted off to the loony bin, if you’ll excuse the term. I wish I could remember the name of that book. The main character went by the street name of Maybe. Sound familiar to anyone else?
When Stacey gets back from NYC, the issue of communication comes up. Stacey’s dad had told her he’d schedule a visiting nurse to watch her mom, but never told her he’d actually followed through on that. Meanwhile, both Stacey and Mrs. Pike were arranging neighbors to watch Stacey’s mom as well. Apparently, instead of drawing up a calendar or a schedule, they each just called people. (Later, you find out that Stacey had made a calendar, but Mrs. Pike never saw it.) So there were multiple people showing up at the same time, when they weren’t even needed. Stacey’s parents both try to tell her she can’t be responsible for everything and everyone, but to me that’s not really the issue. If her dad had just said to her, “Stacey, don’t worry. I will hire a visiting nurse to spend the weekend with your mother so you can come visit me without worrying,” and then later told her exactly what he’d lined up, this book wouldn’t have happened.
Haley has to figure out how to explain what a rap is to Matt. I don’t envy her for that task.
This book made me laugh twice. Once during the Pike family rumpus and once during the door-to-door show the kids make up for selling their products. (They don’t sell anything, but the parents pay the kids for their plays and raps and pantomimes.) When the wagon train shows up at the Pikes, Mr. Pike says, “Heavenly days!” Mal (who is helping, along with Stacey, supervise the show) gets all embarrassed, and Stacey responds, “My father says ‘I swan,’” which he did indeed do earlier in the story.
One last question about the little traveling show. All the kids who were involved in skits or raps or whatever earned money from the parents they performed for. That explains how most of these kids recouped their funds. But Haley steadfastly refused to perform, so is she just out her lost money, or did they share with her?
The title quote is a Claudia line. She bought crow’s feet remover from Haley (so I guess she did get some money. I don’t know why I wonder about crap like that) and wrinkle remover from the Pikes. Stacey explains that what Claudia’s worried about its just laugh lines, and that your skin has to go somewhere when you smile: “It’s, like, a law of physics.”
“Children are never boring.” Thank you for that insight, Kristy.
Kristy: jeans, red sweatshirt, sneakers
Stacey: hot pink silk jacket, black leggings, pink and black socks, black bodysuit, black flats

Next week: We’re finishing out September with mystery #6: The Mystery at Claudia’s House, one of my favorite mysteries

Monday, September 8, 2014

“Dawn’s got her mind on other things. Like permanent garbage.” BSC #57: Dawn Saves the Planet (1992)

You all owe me big time for even opening this book. You can pay me in alcohol or BSC books; I still need 20 to complete my set.
Okay, before I begin, let’s vlog about Dawn:

So the eighth graders are studying ecology in science class, and Dawn and Stacey decide to create an environmentally friendly class for some of the their sitting charges. The kids get really into it, but Dawn is even worse. She lectures everyone and is totally out of control. She gets the good idea to start a recycling program at SMS, which the students get behind quickly. However, Dawn’s been so annoying that the kids at school don’t want her to head up the program. Eventually, the BSC shows her the error of her ways.
Interesting Tidbits
This book is so bad, I couldn’t even get Scout the cat to attack it. And I tried!
The cover. The girls seem really intent on that ridiculous, pointless poster Dawn’s pointing at, but the boys aren’t paying attention at all.

And Dawn is being annoying right off the bat: She sits down and announces, “I’m going to save the planet.” To make me laugh, Claudia responds, “It’s about time.”
Claudia’s the one making fun of the lunch this time, by calling it “The Green Slime.”
Oh, Dawn’s one of those people: the ones who make lists for everything.
It says that Marnie Barrett “raced” down the steps, but most two year olds aren’t that steady on their feet. Marnie barely speaks, and I’ve always pictured her as being a ‘young’ two, (as compared to Gabbie, who is 2 and ½ and has the language skills of an elementary school students.)
My parents never bought six-packs of soda, but I remember staying at my uncle’s house and trying to plead with him to cut up the six-pack rings so fish didn’t get stuck in them. Sad but true—I think I learned that from this book.
Stacey and Dawn hug in the hallway and a couple of boys look at them and smirk. I think that might be just about the only same sex combo I haven’t seen a fanfic about.
I really wonder sometimes how they decide which kids should be part of each activity. Like, why are all the kids in Kristy’s neighborhood (DM, the Papadakises and the Kormans) invited to an ecology class in Stacey’s backyard while the Arnold twins, who live in her neighborhood, are not?
Also, they invite two Pike kids—Nicky and Vanessa—but not the younger ones. I can see the logic behind this if everyone in the class were around that same age. Most of them are, but then Andrew and Suzi are there too. Why not invite Margo (who is seven, same age as many of the students) and Claire, then?
I wonder what kids who read this book today think. Recycling is such a normal part of many people’s lives these days. Many cities have recycling facilities and many kids just leave their recyclables on their front stoop, next to their garbage. Of course, there are still people who burn all their garbage and others, like my former supervisor, who feel like recycling is a conspiracy and a waste of time.
And now Dawn’s lecturing Claudia on her candy choices because the ‘chocolate drops’ are individually wrapped in plastic.
What kind of school uses Styrofoam cups for their individual servings of food? We always had everything in plastic cups. Of course, Dawn would probably bitch about those, too.
Oh, look, the Ohdners! They have the measles this time.
Dawn’s not paying attention during a BSC meeting, and the title quote is Claudia’s commentary on it.
And now Dawn’s being a jerk to everyone because they’re all not as much of an enviro-Nazi (I’m totally going to patent that term, but you all can use it) as she is. She gripes at Claudia for throwing out a soda can, Mary Anne for not writing on both sides of the paper, etc. She says she sounds like a ‘grumpy old teacher’, but she really sounds like an asshole.
Ha! Both Dawn and Stacey are teaching the class together, but because Stacey hasn’t taken leave of her senses, Mal and Jessi only blame Dawn when the Pikes become mini enviro-Nazis. They call them Green Meanies.
And this part was funny:
            Jessi: Is it alright to give the kids glasses of milk to drink?
            Mal: Sure. Why wouldn’t it be?
            Jessi: I don’t know. Maybe milking cows is bad for the animals.
            Mal: The Green Patrol has really shaken you up, hasn’t it?
            Jessi: I’m afraid to breathe. I might pollute the air.
You know Dawn’s being a bitch when even Mary Anne abandons her. She’s trying to get students to join her recycling effort, but then yells at them when they aren’t environmentally perfect. MA, who was holding Dawn’s sign for her, hands it back and walks away stiffly.
And she keeps it up with someone who doesn’t want to learn anything: Shawna Riverson, she of the genius idea to cheat off Claudia. Shawna actually manages to get a good shot back in at Dawn.
You know what time it is? Claudia spelling time! Wernt, cauht, Charlot, chatered, rilly, lerned. Oh, and did you know that the real name of this book is Dawn Saves the Plant? You should, because that’s how Claudia spelled it.
Trevor and Woody ate paté, brie and sparkling cider at lunch. They brought their own tablecloth, dishes, glasses and flatware. They claim that they did it to piss off the lunch ladies and protest the mystery meat lunches, but it sounds like they were on a date.
Dawn asks Claudia to make the fliers for the Green Fair. Claudia asks Charlotte to help her, which is a good idea. Maybe the fliers will actually be spelled properly.
I love how Claudia keeps cracking jokes about Dawn the enviro-Nazi. Stacey’s ready to bitch-slap Dawn (which is something I’d love to see by this point) because she’s totally taken over their class and keeps criticizing her. MA gets all teary-eyed and then just stalks off on Dawn, as I mentioned above. But Claudia just lets Dawn roll off her back while being a little snarky. MA says Dawn told everyone about the recycling program when they walked in the front door, and Claud replies, “That must be why everyone is using the back entrance.”
So after Dawn is not elected to head the recycling program, she pouts and refused to get involved with it. Because she’s terribly mature.
The SMS band sounds a lot like the band at my middle school. MA says they have to announce the name of the song their going to play, because otherwise no one would ever recognize it.
Oh, the Toilet Monster. How I love thee.
YES! Bill and Melody call their parents out on the hot dog/babysitter conspiracy. I do love that that fact remains (nearly) consistent, with them eating hot dogs in every books except the one where they have fish sticks, and this one, when their complaining gets them pizza for dinner.
Does anyone think that Kristy would actually be grossed out by the idea of squishing bugs? It doesn’t seem to match her tomboy act.
So I’m about twelve chapters into the book and I’m eating nachos as I read. I sat here, getting ready to read on, and thought to myself, “I wish I had some tequila to go with this.” And then I realized I did! So if the tidbits make no sense after this, I apologize. 
Stacey finally gets fed up and calls Dawn on her shit, which starts everyone pointing out that Dawn’s been lecturing and ordering everyone around. Mary Anne points out that Dawn’s been unpleasant; Kristy ups it to obnoxious.
I feel like Dawn’s usually a least a little bit obnoxious, but she upped it in this book to “raging bitch.”
Ha ha ha! The booth manned by Karen, Andrew and Suzi topples over in the breeze. Mal calms the three of them down—they’d been worried that no one would want to come to their broken booth—by suggesting it looked like a scene from The Wizard of Oz and was magical. It’s actually really cute the way she turns the kids’ mood around, although my favorite part was that Adam was standing right behind her, scoffing at the idea the whole time.
At the end, Mrs. Gonzales, Dawn’s teacher and the head of the recycling committee, asks her to be co-chair. Which doesn’t sound like a good idea on her part.
Stacey: floral leggings, pink shirt with big sleeves, long vest, black fedora (OMG, she’s totally Blossom!)
Next week: #58 Stacey’s Choice

Monday, September 1, 2014

“You’re a hunk, Old Hick.” BSC Mystery #5: Mary Anne and the Secret in the Attic (1992)

I really wanted to make fun of this book hard, but instead, I just felt sad reading most of it. I think, even though Mary Anne makes some pretty silly assumptions and leaps of logic, we can all relate to her urge to know about her past and where she comes from.
Mary Anne’s been having very vivid dreams that feel real, full of people she doesn’t know. Meanwhile, Stoneybrook’s having a Heritage Day, so all the kids in town are talking about heritage and their ancestors. Mary Anne has no memories of her mother or her mother’s family, so she starts digging around in the attic. She discovers that she lived with her grandparents for a while after her mother died and decides her father gave her away. (Rather than, you know, the logical idea that he let her grandparents help him out while he was grieving and pulling his life together.) Eventually, she tells him the truth and gets to go visit her grandmother.
It would have been much more interesting if the secret in the attic was a twin that MA never knew she had that Richard and Sharon kept locked away. Mwahaha!
Interesting tidbits
I used to LOVE when I would pick up a book and read the spiel inside that started If you purchased this book without a cover. I always wanted to get a coverless book so I could go to the police to turn in the person stealing books. It’s like how I used to watch every episode of America’s Most Wanted with the hope of recognizing criminals. I don’t think I ever outgrew that urge, either.
And back to the BSC. Let’s look at the cover:

It’s pretty boring over all. Mary Anne actually looks pretty cute, though.
Ugh, I hate when these books begin in the middle of something and then the main character says, “You must be so confused. Let me explain.” This one does that not once but three times in the first chapter. Sloppy, sloppy writing. First Mary Anne says, “You’re probably wondering who me is.” Then she does the, “Is that kind of confusing? I’ll back up and explain.” And then she mentions that she’s off topic and goes even more generic.
Dawn’s having a Sharon moment. Her clothes are scattered all over the room, but she knows exactly where they all are. (This was totally me growing up.) I guess this is supposed to demonstrate the difference between MA, who planned and laid out her outfit the night before, and Dawn, but it seems kind of incongruous with the normal neat-freak Dawn.
Mmm! Pour me a bowl of Health-i-os! I feel like Dawn has eaten that before.
Y’know, I think the BSC is responsible for the obsession I had with bodysuits and unitards in fourth and fifth grade. I always wanted to have a “cool” wardrobe full of them. I had a couple of bodysuits later, in sixth or seventh grade, but they definitely were never actually cool. And thankfully, I never had a unitard.
I’ve always wondered about Kid Kits. I get the appeal of someone else’s toys—that’s why I always loved playing at Tessie’s house when we were kids. Her toys were way cooler than ours. (She felt the same way about our house, even though her family had Peaches and Cream Barbie, the Heart Family and 300 Little People, and all we had were a Tonka truck and some Maxie dolls with permed hair…ah, the 80s.) But Mary Anne’s kid kit includes a Barbie and a game of Candyland. What family with small children doesn’t have Candyland anyway?
Oh look, Charlotte’s just skipped into third grade…despite the fact that she was in second grade last year. I feel like that’s a fairly simple fact to keep straight. I don’t understand why they had a bible for the series if they never used it.
Charlotte’s great grandmother was named Berit Marie Hjielholt. Try saying that three times fast. Oh, and Char’s all excited about reading Berit’s diary and letters back to her mother…but she grew up in Denmark and then moved to the U.S. as an adult. I doubt either the letters or diary would be in English.
I don’t blame Mary Anne for wanting to seek out her family history. I felt that way at her age, and I grew up with both parents. My dad feels that way, and he’s a 50-something year old man who is now obsessed with genealogy. (Thanks to him, I now know I’m distantly related to Celine Dion.)
Nicky, like Charlotte, is making a family tree. Apparently, having a large family is a Pike family tradition, as one of their ancestors had ten brothers and sisters whose names all started with P. I’m trying to imagine which of the Pike kids will follow in that tradition and which ones will decide to buck the tradition and not have kids or only have one or two.
Through a series of events, Stacey winds up taking the triplets to the graveyard. She finds it all creepy, but they’re having a grand old time. I’ve always loved old graveyards, especially when they’re all poetic, as Jordan says this one is. For example, the grave of a small child says, “How many hopes lie buried here.” My nephew is buried in the “babyland” of a cemetery, and most of the stones for the babies and small children are pretty repetitive. There’s a lot of “Rockabye Baby,” “Now I lay me down to sleep” and “In God’s arms now.” Teah read a beautiful book when she was pregnant with her son that included the line, “You are an angel, my darling, a star, and my love will find you, wherever you are.” His grave has a star on it and part of that line.
“Cutest jumpsuit” is an oxymoron. Especially when said jumpsuit is turquoise.
More “Dawn as Mini-Sharon” info: Dawn hates doing laundry. Yet in another book, I swear Dawn made a comment about doing her own laundry because Sharon turned her undies pink or something. (This is also the other book when Dawn eats Healthios, only without the hyphens.)
So the BSC puts together a booth for the Heritage Day event, since it benefits the historical society. They decide to make cardboard cutouts of Stoneybrook “celebrities” like Old Hickory (and they know what he looks like how?) and Sophie. No one knows the Sophie story except the BSC, though. Lame.
Hahahahaha! This is probably only funny to me, but I don’t care. Mary Anne barely speaks during a BSC meeting, and later she comments she felt like an anthropologist observing typical American teenage babysitters. I read that right during a conversation on the television between Booth and Brennan about the anthropological need for sex. (Sometimes I love being autistic. I don’t know anyone else who could read this book and follow an episode of Bones at the same time. “Why can’t I go home?” “Didn’t you just hear the news? You’re dead!”)
Isn’t it convenient that, right after MA discovers she lived with her grandparents for a while, her grandma calls for the first time in more than ten years?
Dawn should know better than to take three kids to the town hall when only one of them had something to do…especially the Rodowskys. At the very least, she should have brought crayons and a coloring book or some other activity for Jackie and Archie to work on while Shea was researching.
When the BSC paints their cardboard cutouts, a paint war breaks out. And I thought immediately of this:
Heh. Logan removed his paint covered shirt, which totally embarrasses Mary Anne, especially because Kristy shouts, “Woo!” I’m trying to decide if she’s trying to make him blush, or if she actually enjoys seeing him shirtless. I could see Kristy and Logan dating…if he weren’t with MA.
Mary Anne takes Charlotte to the heritage picnic because Char’s parents can’t go. MA feels out of place because she’s the only one not a mom or a little girl. I’m more shocked by the fact that Corrie Addison is there with her mom. I guess, every now and then, her parents actually care about her and Sean.
I knew there was a book where Shannon’s parents got names! Shannon went to a family reunion where she had to wear a nametag that said, “Shannon, daughter of Ted and Kathy.” I’m just glad her dad isn’t named John like almost everyone else’s. (Although, if Ted is short for Edward, then he has the same name as Stacey’s dad.)
The title quote is what Dawn says when she has her picture taken with Old Hickory so they can have a display “sample” in case people can’t figure out the purpose of their booth.
Claudia spelling time! The sign for the booth says, “Pose with Stonneybrook’s Selebritys.” Well, she got two out of four right. You’d think they’d learn to start spell checking her before she starts.
I know I wondered in writing recently about whether Logan and Shannon ever spent time together. The BSC works their booth in shifts: Dawn, Mary Anne and Kristy; Claudia, Jessi and Mallory…and Stacey, Logan and Shannon.
This conversation was fabulous. I really wonder what Richard thinks about Dawn after reading this:
            Dawn: Maybe I can find some more about Jared Mullray.
            Richard: Jared Mullray?
            Dawn: You know, the crazy guy whose ghost haunts our house.
            Richard: Oh, right, that Jared Mullray.
Richard is actually really sweet in this story. I feel bad for him, in many ways. He tried really hard to raise MA the best he could, but he was also grieving and in pain. Maybe keeping things about his wife from MA wasn’t the best idea, but he didn’t know that. As soon as MA asks about her mother, he tells her everything. He says MA looks and acts so much like her mother; originally, it hurt, but as she aged, it became a comfort.
Maynard, Iowa, sounds like Elburn, Illinois, where I grew up, although Elburn didn’t get a traffic light until 1995. We were thrilled to get a McDonalds in 1998. (Now, it has at least half a dozen traffic lights, a number of fast food restaurants and is a ‘real’ town.)
Ha ha! Farmer Bob! He’s the boy Mary Anne goes on a “date” with in Iowa. One of my college roommates married a man her friends call Farmer Bob.
Yay, more Claudia! She writes a letter to “Mary Ane.” She also spells Stacey’s name wrong (Stacy). Other spelling: plam (palm), cactis, projict, scuptur, detales, sinse, latley. She also uses their for they’re. (She’s totally indignant because Stacey says she’s wearing earrings shaped like palm trees, while Claud insists they are ‘cactuses.’)
I love Richard’s handwriting. He has small lower case letters with huge capitals, and he prints.
I swear MA once said her mother hated to cook, as MA does (mostly because she apparently sucks at it). Yet it’s established that MA’s mom made a lot of applesauce cakes in this book, and in a later mystery, they bake another of her mom’s cakes. Maybe Alma just liked to bake?
Mary Anne: pink sweater, chinos, boots
Dawn: denim skirt, turquoise necklace (but apparently no shirt. Ooooh!); turquoise jumpsuit
Claudia: white bodysuit covered in a white lacy shirt, black skirt with white polkadots, lacy white leggings, red hightops (does this scream Madonna, circa mid-80s to anyone else?), black and white papier-mâché jewelry
Stacey: pink jumpsuit that matches Dawn’s
Jordan: knickers, vest, cap (he’s an “old fashioned newsboy”), green sneakers with orange laces
Next week: It’s the story you’ve been waiting for! I can’t wait to start mocking #57 Dawn Saves the Planet

“Thus speaks the famous Dr. Stacey McGill, child psychologist.” BSC #55: Jessi’s Gold Medal (1992)

I had this read a week ago but had some problems posting it. Oh well, it means you get two for the price of one this week!
Jessi, in the place of gym class, is taking synchronized swimming. Her partner is a girl named Elise who, of course, is never seen again after this book. (I think the Mafia is involved.) The two of them enter the SMS Sports Festival and come in first, but both decide they prefer their other activities—ballet and swim team. Kristy and Alan are also in competition, while Mal actually injures herself while faking an injury to get out of being in the Festival
Meanwhile, the BSC decides to put on a mini-‘Lympics (my term) for their sitting charges. There’s a bunch of stuff going on with that, but it’s boring. Most of the main plot points will be in the tidbits.
Interesting Tidbits
The cover: That’s Jessi and her partner, Elise, doing their synchro. Interestingly, Elise is described as being black haired in the book. Also, I feel like most swimmers wear swim caps.

“Horses sweat, gentlemen perspire, ladies glow!” Thank you for that tidbit, Mme. Noelle. (I wonder what it would sound like with her awful fake French accent.)
Who the hell buys their daughter a ‘plain white’ swimsuit? See-through much? Even Becca thinks so, because she colors hers with markers.
Remedial swimming sounds awesome. Do they have floaties on for that?
I’m trying to figure out the logic of this. The summer Olympics are usually in August, right? Well, this book takes place during the spring, so I guess AMM and Peter Lerangis were just hoping we wouldn’t notice the difference between August and April.
Becca wants to know if the Olympics will ever be held in Stoneybrook. If I were on the Olympic Committee, I’d vote for it!
Jessi comes into a BSC meeting and finds Kristy and Stacey stretched out on Claudia’s rug…doing the breast stroke. With Claudia’s room being such a rat hole, I can only imagine the kind of things they’re stirring up.
“A week of personal service.” Alan bet Kristy that he could beat her at any event, and this is their wager. And of course, my mind didn’t go straight into the gutter. Not at all.
Mistake: Kristy says Linny is eight. He’s nine.
Poor Andrew. He’s complaining he’s not good at anything. He’s only four, and all the other kids can run faster, throw better and jump higher. I bet he wouldn’t feel so bad if they put him in a contest with a bunch of other four year olds (Jamie, Archie, Nina, Jenny, etc.) He’d be pretty even-steven. But of course Linny and Bill and that lot are going to make him feel small and useless, since they’re so much older.
Jessi’s talking about ballet moves (I won’t repeat them, because they might put me to sleep) and Elise responds, “I thought they were French pastries.”
At one point, Mama is spelled as Mamma.
Kristy says “right” with a mouth full of pretzels and apparently, it comes out “wood”. That doesn’t even sound accurate, but I’m not going to stuff my mouth full of food and talk just to test it out.
Jessi keeps worrying about being the worst in her synchro class, but she just joined a few weeks before. All the other girls had been there for at least a few weeks longer than she had. Of course they’re better at it than she is. I mean, I know the BSC are all super-awesome and way talented at everything they do, but it’s not realistic for her to expect to pick up all the synchronized swimming moves in just a few weeks.
Claudia spelling! Beleive, twelv, thru, Saterday, laest, intacked (intact), Olimpyks, acident (that was after she tried twice to spell casualty) sessin, extpretion. She also uses their for there, may be for maybe and pour for poor.
Mallory actually tries to sprain her ankle so she doesn’t have to take part in the sports festival. Why doesn’t she just do what Mary Anne did and say she doesn’t want to take part? Jessi says she is a terrible actress. (I am not surprised by that last fact.)
This sounds like a conversation between me and my friends when I was Jessi’s age:
            Jessi: Maybe we should run away.
            Elise: Or hire doubles to take our place.
            Jessi: Or secretly drain the pool!
Elise and Jessi are so paranoid that they look terrible and are going to embarrass themselves, but a guy walks by and tells them they look fantastic. Instead of taking that as a compliment, they assume the guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
This Sports Festival makes no sense. It’s not mandatory, which is fair enough. But it happens during the school day, one event at a time. So the kids who enter are in an event and everyone else (including lots of parents…during the day…on a Wednesday) sit around and watch. That sounds very poorly planned for any number of reasons.
Umm, why are they building a concession stand right before the festival starts? Doesn’t SMS already have a concession stand, and if not, then why wait until minutes before the event starts, when all the concessions are already…concessed?
I need to reread this book and count how many times they use the term ‘synchro.’
Kristy gets embarrassed? I didn’t know such a thing was possible.
Charlotte doesn’t want to be involved in the Mini-‘lympics, but Stacey tries to talk her into it. When Stacey realizes Charlotte thinks she’s mad at her, she gets Mary Anne to call her. (‘Cause MA doesn’t want to be in the festival, get it?) But what’s interesting is that when MA calls Char to talk about how it’s okay to not be a jock, Charlotte is the one to point out that MA sounds mad about it. She convinces her to support her friends and not be upset because she’s too un-jocky. Or klutzy or sensitive or whatever.
Of course, Elise and Jessi win first place. Duh. I mean, the title of the book is “Jessi’s Gold Medal,” not “Jessi’s Last Place Finish” or “Jessi’s Horrible Embarrassment.”
Because Kristy won the race and the “week of personal service,” she makes Alan come to the BSC ‘lympics and set up for her. She also makes him call her ma’am. This is almost disappointing compared to some of the dirty thoughts I had about it. Although, she does make him clean up when Jamie throws up in his potato sack.
I’m disturbed that Richard knows who Alan is. I mean, I know MA’s known him since kindergarten or so, but unless he used to throw birthday parties for Mary Anne where her whole class was invited, how does he know Alan? It’s not as if MA would invite him over or anything.
There’s something funny about Mallory using a cane to deal with her sprain. I keep waiting for her to wave it and shout ‘Get off my lawn, you kids!’
The ‘lympics seem really badly organized as well. Basically, there’s someone running each event (a BSC member or parent) and then kids just go wherever they want and do whatever they want whenever they feel like it. I guess that’s better than having 4 million kids sitting around while one event at a time runs, but it’s hard to give awards when you can’t see everyone at every event.
Poor Andrew. He enters everything and ends up basically in last place in everything he does, even a ‘cross country’ race with only other kids his age. He winds up crying. But he does feel a lot better when he wins the “Most Determined” award.
And then Dawn gets the “deep” award for pointing this out: “They’re just kids, but sometimes you can really learn things from them.” Um, you’re just a kid, too, Dawn. Don’t forget that.
And the ending is so stupid, I just want to smack Kristy. YECH!
I’m getting irritated with the wiki source that I used to order my books. This one advertises Logan’s Story as ‘coming soon’, while that title mentioned SS#8 as ‘coming soon.’ Oh, well. I’m in the right general order, right? But the OCD in me is showing through.
Claudia: pastel-green shorts, Hawaiian shirt, sandals criss-crossing up her legs (Claudia loves these sandals but they don’t sound comfortable); electric pink (it’s electric, boogie-oogie-oogie) track shorts with turquoise stripes and matching shirt, hightops without socks, pink floral suspenders, silver Olympic symbol hair clip

Coming up next: Mystery #5 Mary Anne and the Secret in the Attic. I haven’t read it since about 1993, but I remember laughing at MA a lot.