November 17, 2010
BSC #61, Jessi and the Awful Secret: All She Wants to Do is Dance
Summary: Jessi volunteers to help out with a dance class for underprivileged kids. One of the other volunteers is her classmate Mary, who thinks she needs to lose weight and shows other classic signs of anorexia. Jessi’s really worried about her and starts looking into the disorder (aided by the BSC girls), but when she discusses it with Mary, Mary denies that anything’s wrong. Jessi’s afraid to tell any adults about Mary’s dieting and weight loss, so she keeps quiet while Mary steadily gets worse. Finally, after Mary collapses during class, Jessi tells her to talk to their teacher, or Jessi will do it for her. Mary balks, but Jessi follows through, and Mary finally gets help.
In what I guess would be the A- plot, the BSC girls inspire Jessi to help start a scholarship for two of the underprivileged kids so they can continue to take dance classes. Watson, awesome as ever, agrees to fund the scholarship, and Martha, a girl in the class who Jessi thought had a lot of potential, is picked as one of the recipients. Martha is black, and her mother admits to Jessi that she enrolled Martha in classes before but stopped sending her because a neighbor told her she was wasting her money, as there’s no future for a black dancer. But seeing Jessi doing so well has told Martha’s mother that that’s not true.
In the B plot, Shannon starts hanging out with the BSC girls more, and Kristy feels like she’s being replaced. It’s kind of ridiculous, and I kind of think the plot was only written because the ghostwriter realized Shannon never appears in the series.
Thoughts: Parts of the anorexia storyline border on preachy, but it’s an important topic, and it makes sense that Jessi would encounter it. Though I find it hard to believe that she wouldn’t know what anorexia is after taking ballet for so long. And I really liked the A- plot, with Martha’s mother admiring Jessi, and with Jessi trying to get scholarships for the kids. That was really sweet of her.
I also liked Jessi and Mary’s teacher, Mme Noelle, in this book. Mary says that she’s worried she’ll get too big to dance, and Mme Noelle asks her what would happen if she got too thin to dance. She adds that dancing isn’t just about talent, it’s also about passion, which includes loving yourself. If Mme Noelle ever needs a break from teaching ballet, she should be a counselor.
As sweet as Jessi was toward the end of the book, she was kind of annoying in other places. For instance, why does she always trash dancers who aren’t as good as her? We get it! You’re awesome! We believe you!
Jessi also feels bad for poor people. Good to know.
Linny Papadakis doesn’t want to play Let’s All Come In because he doesn’t want to pretend to hold fake suitcases: “I don’t want to stand around and carry air.” Ha!
Shannon and Claudia build a crooked snow condo, and Claudia says only crooked people can go there, like “thieves and con artists.” So she knows more than one meaning of “crooked,” but she can’t spell “deep”?
Claudia eats a whole bag of chips during a meeting. Maybe the girls should read up on some other eating disorders… (By the way, I finished this book while watching What’s Eating You on E!, which is an awesome show. I guess I have a theme going tonight. Now I’m going to go eat a whole box of cereal.)