Sunday, May 29, 2016

“Why would they hit cars?” BSC #115: Jessi’s Big Break (1998)

This is the last Jessi book in the entire series, folks. Why did Jessi’s tale end so early? I can’t be sure. I honestly think that #108 would have been Mallory’s last book if the whole boarding-school plotline hadn’t come up.
Jessi gets to go to a three week dance class in New York City called Dance New York. DNY includes both a professional school and dance troupe and special programs like the one Jessi is in. Jessi stays in Brooklyn with her cousin Michael—Aunt Cecelia’s son. She meets up with her old friend/sorta-boyfriend Quint and gets introduced to his friends, including a girl named Maritza. Jessi feels very at home living in NYC and hanging out with Maritza and her friends, who are all African American. She gets the opportunity to audition for the school/dance troupe, but turns it down when she imagines leaving Mal and the BSC.
The subplot features Mal and Becca, who are both really missing Jessi while she’s enjoying herself. Jessi invites Mal to spend the weekend with her
Interesting Tidbits
Look, it’s leotard central!

Ouch. After Aunt Cecelia plays downer to Jessi’s good news, Jessi repeats her dad’s joke: Aunt Cecelia only moved in with them because no one else would take her.
Remember in SS#14, when I mentioned Jessi’s uncles Arthur and John? She’s back to having uncles named Arthur and Charles these days. What’s the point of having a bible for the series (published as the Complete Guide) if the ‘manuscript assistants’ don’t even read/use it?
I’ve never really stopped to think about Jessi and Becca’s relationship before, but here goes. Most of the time, they seem to get along really well. But there are a few occasions when they don’t, and it all boils down to the same thing. Remember back in the first Jessi book, when Jessi was really surprised to find out that Haley was sometimes jealous of Matt? Well, wouldn’t make just tons of sense if Becca were occasionally jealous of Jessi? Jessi gets all this attention for dancing, while Becca doesn’t even have activities that she’s involved in. It makes her bratty behavior in this book completely understandable. (She does things like tell Squirt Jessi will be going bye-bye and suggest that Jessi will be homeless, eating rats.)
Jessi says all she remembers about her cousin Michael is that Aunt Cecelia used to yell at him a lot. Mallory: “She yells at everybody.”
Claudia calls Mary Anne’s preppy fashion “L.L.J. Crew Bauer.” I so would not have gotten that joke when I was ten, or even when this book came out (when I was nearly seventeen.)
I like Jessi’s cousin Michael, who behaves a lot like the other men in the Ramsey family, making jokes about Aunt Cecelia and teasing her. I feel sorry for his wife, though, who seems nervous around the Ramseys. Can you imagine having AC for a mother-in-law? Ugh.
Awww! Shortly after Jessi leaves for NYC, Mallory comes to babysit for Squirt and Becca. Squirt’s all excited to see her…because he thinks Jessi will be following her. He actually sits in the window, calling her name.
There is a wicked-lot of ballet terms in this book, paired with explanations of what the mean. I’m so bored reading them that I’m going to fall asleep. Be back in six months….
My high school journalism teacher would be so disappointed reading this book. She always hated repetition of the same word when it was possible to phrase it another way. In less than one page, the word gab/gabbing is used five times to describe how Jessi, Maritza and Tanisha were talking. Buy a thesaurus!
Jessi’s friends in NYC: Maritza, Tanisha, Quint, Rasheen, Simi, Brandon, Julissa, Denise, Marcus, Celeste, Michiko and Randy.
This is odd to me. Michael went to art school, and then business school. He says that Aunt Cecelia was upset when he gave up art. Aunt Cecelia doesn’t really seem to be the type to suggest that her child live as a starving artist while he tries to ‘make it’ in New York. It makes more sense to me that she’d have urged him to go back to school. Even Jessi is surprised about AC.
Claudia spelling: kayoss (chaos), Charlot, Becka, figgured, triplits, diegnosis, seperation, anziety
The BSC and the Pikes plan a surprise party for Jessi, which is nearly ruined by, in turn, nearly every kid there. My favorite? When Byron fell over because, in his words, Nicky farted. You know how I love when these books let kids be kids.
The title quote is Claire’s response when Mrs. Pike suggests the Ramseys may have hit traffic on the way back from NYC.
Becca’s all grumbly about Jessi acceptance to DNY, and so when Jessi repeats that the head of the program told her she was one of them now, Becca responds, “He sounds like Darth Vader.”
I liked the ending to this one. The first person Jessi tells when she makes up her mind is Aunt Cecelia, who’d been rallying for her to go to the program while everyone else had been more logical and conservative about it. The invitation was open, meaning Jessi could start right away, or next semester or school year, or in a couple of years even. Jessi decides she’s not ready to go away, so she tells AC she’s going to accept…later. AC actually compliments her and tells her she likes the way she thinks. It’s a good point. Jessi’s eleven. If she’s that good of a dancer, she should wring everything she can out of Mme. Noelle and live her life as much as possible before reaching for the stars. I remember reading about how much Olympic athletes practice in any day and how much they give up to be the best. I’m sure ballet’s much the same way.
Sorry, I just realized how short this entry is. I guess there really wasn't much to say either way about it. I'm not sure if that is good or bad.
Claudia (the Snack Czar): leopard print jumpsuit, black silk shirt tied at the waist, steel-toed combat boots, rhinestone-studded cats eye glasses on top of her head.
Next: Mystery #33

1 comment:

  1. Really good point about Becca being jealous of Jessi. It makes a ton of sense.