I am back from NaNoWriMo, 63.5 thousand words later in my original novel (which is now more than 2/3 done!) I'm trying to get back into a BSC groove, because there's nothing I love more at the holidays than a crazy BSC FF book.
Regarding the title: I keep trying to call it Claudia Gets Her Man. But maybe it's because Alan's only thirteen that they didn't use that title?
Oops. I just gave away the plot, didn't I? Claudia learns that Stacey and Jeremy broke up and thinks Jeremy is avoiding her. She writes a note, inviting him to the Valentine's dance, but puts it in the wrong locker. Alan gets the note and thinks it's for him, and tells Claudia he's had a thing for her for a long time. He gives her gifts, treats and flowers, proving to Claudia how sweet he can be. She agrees to give him a chance.
In the B-plot, Claudia and Erica sign up to work with immigrants, teaching them English and helping them with life skills (answering the telephone, shopping, etc.) Erica is paired with a Bosnian family, which sounds about right. Claudia's family is from Japan. It's all about the cultural differences, but falls flat on a couple of levels.
OOOH! The book starts with Claudia babysitting for the Rodowskys. For about the second time all series, we actually get to see a sitting job! And, in a sense of continuity (although I doubt ANYONE else remembers this), the Rodowskys always leave Claudia some Ben & Jerry's ice cream to snack on. They're the family that, when the kids were all eating lunch together back in #24, gave their kids donuts and soda while most of the kids were eating fruit and drinking juice.
Interestingly, this book actually overlaps #6. Claudia is sitting for the Rodowskys during Mr. Zizmore's going away party. I'm trying to remember back 6 weeks ago, but I'm pretty sure Kristy or someone mentioned to Stacey that Claudia took a last minute sitting job during the party.
Despite the fact that Claudia and Stacey are talking again, Claudia is still mad at her and says they're not best friends currently. This is actually beginning to remind me of my college roommate...she reached out and broke up a not-speaking-to-each-other spell we'd been in for two weeks, but I was still really mad at her and avoided her presence as much as possible for several weeks more afterward.
Oh, and Claudia says there were probably friendship problems with Stacey before Jeremy ever came into their lives. If a boy can come between the two of them that easily, I'll agree with her.
Hee hee. Mary Anne starts a conversation with Claudia, "You know how I hate gossip..." and then begins to gossip with her anyway.
There's something wrong wtih Claudia describing Jeremy's hair as a 'delicious brown.' I think it's because she described his teeth as being as white as vanilla ice cream three books ago. Does she want to date him or snack on him? (Zombie Claudia!!! Fanfic, anyone? She'd only nosh on the brains of fashionable people, naturally.)
In the first two chapters, the Kishis get two phone calls for Claudia on the family line--one from Mary Anne and one from Erica. Why don't they call her on her personal phone?
Claudia decides she needs a very special outfit to see Jeremy for the first time since he broke up with Stacey--very typical Claudia. But she can't decide what to wear, so Janine actually gives her style advice. And she's right!
At lunch, the BSC aren't all sitting together this year for every meal. On the day of the kimono blouse, Kristy, MA, Claudia, Abby and Erica sit together, while Stacey sits with Rachel.
I'm a little confused about Claudia's ESL (English as a second language) volunteer gig. She's working with a Japanese family, which makes sense given her background. But...most Japanese students are taught English as a matter of course, and unlike Erica's Bosnian immigrant family, it's not like this family comes from a third-world or war-torn nation. It's still possible that a family would want to get away from Japan and come to the U.S., but it seems a little off. Especially because the family is portrayed as kind of backwards.
The title quote refers to posters for the Cupid's Arrow dance. I've never heard of mushrooms appearing after a rain, but I have heard of worms doing that.
LOTS of Claudia spelling. She tries to write a letter to Jeremy: Jermy, writting, imporetant, questiun. She tries again and comes up with Jermery, ben, wundering, freinds. Third shot: Jerymy, havent', awile, freind. Fourth: Jermie, freind. Fifth: Jaramy, arow, easyest, freinds, eether, specail, udnerstand. She types her letter in to a word processor on the computer so that she she can use the spell check. (She then decides to copy the proper spelling onto nice stationery.) This is necessary to the plot, as spell check can't figure out how to spell Jeremy's name. She leaves it off...which means that when she puts the letter in the wrong locker, Alan doesn't immediately figure out it's not for him.
Kristy does a sports commentator voice of Jeremy walking down the hall, which was annoying me as much as it annoyed Claudia until Jeremy finds a shoe that Kristy says is from the Paleolithic era and that she can smell it from all the way down the hall.
When Claudia realizes she put the letter in the wrong locker, she gets her friends to help. Kristy tries yanking on the locker (always effective.) Stacey actually comes by and tries to open it, credit-card style, with a nail file. Finally, when time runs out, Kristy says she'll ask Cary to open it, since he can open any locker.
After Claudia admits that she's going to the dance with Alan, Kristy gets mad, but the other two are more understanding. Mary Anne says that they should all give him another chance, while Stacey points out he's actually kind of cute. I sort of wish there was a cover with Alan on it--a boy we could look at and gage Alan's cuteness. (Is he in any of the graphic novels? He must be, right? I'll go look shortly. (I didn't find him.))
Alan decides to up his game with Claudia. He gets her flowers and arranges a 'gourmet' meal of Burger King and Sprite. "This was an excellent year for Sprite," he says as he pours it out like champagne.
Erica said she used to wonder whether her biological parents were movie stars or royalty, but now she knows better. I have to laugh because I watched this documentary recently. A family had three sons--the oldest was adopted and had a traumatic brain injury, the youngest was gay, and the middle transitioned into a woman after she hit adulthood. The documentary, made by the daughter, was originally supposed to be about her high school reunion, with everyone seeing her as a woman for the first time. But she and her older (adopted) brother were in the same grade in school, and the majority of the documentary turned out to be about their strained relationship. He'd sought out his birth mother and learned that she was Rebecca Welles Manning...daughter of Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles.
More Claudia spelling: Jermy, avoyding, wont, chek, maldy (madly), shuld, anser, chang, Allan, diffrent, todays. She also uses hats for hates.
Stacey says, "Like boys even notice what we wear." Why do they bother, then? Anyway, Alan proves her wrong a short time later.
Claudia: tie-dyed thermal shirt and cargo pants; blouse made from Mimi's kimono, 'swirly' short black skirt; black leggings, green miniskirt, yellow sweater, platform sneakers, star earrings made of Sculpey (I had a LOT of Sculpey earrings in the mid 90s!); short hot pink 1960s dress with white trim and white heart buttons, clunky black shoes, hot pink bangles and barrettes
Alan: cargo pants, suede Converse All-Stars, red shirt
Stephanie Boxer, the girl with a crush on Alan: flouncy, lacy white dress