May 22, 2013
Summary: Elizabeth is single, which means she won’t have a date to the upcoming prom. She serves on the prom committee with Todd, and they’re kind of on good terms. Devon, meanwhile, is really mopey. He helps out the committee one day, and suddenly Liz is all over him. So the guys aren’t sure who she wants to be with, and she isn’t sure which of the guys she wants to be with.
Todd wants to ask Elizabeth to the prom, but he sees her getting close with Devon and gets mad. He decides to ask Courtney to the prom to make Liz jealous. It works, and also clues Devon in that Elizabeth isn’t completely over Todd. Devon decides he wants to find out once and for all who Liz wants. He asks her to dinner, then sends her flowers, supposedly from Todd, and asks her to meet him at the same time she’s supposed to be with Devon.
Devon follows Elizabeth the night of the date (because he’s a creepy stalker now), and his widdle heart breaks when he realizes she’s going to meet Todd. (Though Todd isn’t actually going to be there.) He doesn’t realize that she’s planning to tell Todd she doesn’t want to get back together. So instead of meeting Todd, Elizabeth meets Devon, and he’s not happy.
Jessica and Lila are also dateless, so they decide to examine all the eligible guys at school to decide who the best candidates are. They wind up making a sort of catalog, complete with pictures, rankings, and keywords. Elizabeth accidentally takes it to school with her, mistaking it for a regular notebook, and Winston and Enid see it. Winston then reads a portion of the catalog over the loudspeaker. Since Liz brought the notebook to school, Jessica blames her.
Lila and Jessica come up with another idea to meet guys: Put personals in other schools’ newspapers. Then they basically audition a bunch of boys. They both like the same guy, Jordan, and agree not to pursue him since they can’t agree on who should ask him to prom. But, of course, they both ask him anyway. For some reason, he says yes to both of them.
In other news, Blubber has a crush on Enid, and she will NOT SHUT UP about it. He asks her to prom, and even though she doesn’t want to go with him, she says yes. Go away, Enid.
Thoughts: Lila: “I just shivered, so someone is probably touching the prom dress meant for me.” Heh.
Enid jokingly asks Elizabeth to the prom. At least I think she’s joking. It’s hard to tell with her.
“I was just blinded for a second by your attractive ankles.” Todd, you need psychiatric help.
Bruce: “[Jessica] and Lila have obviously gone insane. Of course it wasn’t a long trip for them, but now they’ve unpacked their bags and settled in to stay.” Heh again.
Maria Slater gets a date with a model, Tyler Becksmith, who I’m 99% is based on Tyson Beckford. In which case, nice job, Maria.
And you know why she gates to go to the prom with a supermodel? Because she didn’t whine when she didn’t have a date. Unannoying behavior gets rewarded, ENID.
May 15, 2013
Summary: Claudia starts sitting a lot for Nate and Joey Nicholls, and immediately realizes that there is something Very Wrong. Their father is very strict, going off about the slightest things and obsessing about cleanliness and organization. The boys are terrified to do anything that might make him mad. They’re also not allowed to have any stuffed animals, which is really depressing. Claudia thinks Mr. Nicholls is just strict, and since she’s just the sitter, she can’t really say anything about his behavior.
…Until one day when Mr. Nicholls, thinking Claudia has left, yells at the boys and possibly slaps one of them. Claudia calls an emergency BSC meeting (one of the few times that’s actually a good idea) and tells the other girls what happened. They agree that since she didn’t see the slap, she can’t accuse Mr. Nicholls of anything, but it doesn’t sit well with them. Claudia’s mom works with Mrs. Nicholls, so Claudia tells her what happened, and Mrs. Kishi agrees to talk to her.
Mrs. Nicholls tells Mrs. Kishi that nothing happened; her husband just has a temper, but he’s not dangerous. However, the BSC girls become even more suspicious when Mrs. Nicholls calls to cancel all the sitting jobs she’s lined up with them. A few days later, recurring character Erica Blumberg calls Claudia, knowing she’s sat for the Nicholls boys before. She’s sitting for them right now, and one boy has bruises on his arm while the other has a black eye.
Claudia immediately calls her mom, who takes Mrs. Nicholls home to get the boys. Claudia gets restless waiting to hear back and decides to go over as well, to at least give Erica some support. Just as she, Mrs. Kishi, and Mrs. Nicholls get there, Mr. Nicholls also shows up. There’s some yelling in the house, but everyone except Mr. Nicholls leaves in Mrs. Kishi’s car. They take Erica home, and the rest of them go to Mr. Kishi’s office in Stamford, knowing Mr. Nicholls won’t think to look for them there.
Mr. and Mrs. Kishi help Mrs. Nicholls arrange to stay with her sister in New York, then buy her everything she’ll need for a car trip there. Once everyone is safe for at least the night, Claudia and her mom both break down, emotionally worn out. Late that night, Claudia gets a call from Mr. Nicholls demanding his kids back. She’s understandably shaken. The Nichollses end up leaving town, with nothing completely resolved, and though Claudia’s sad that she might never see the boys again, she’s glad they’re safe. She also buys them stuffed animals.
The B plot is about the BSC girls organizing a bunch of kids for a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Top o’ the boring to ya.
Thoughts: Is everyone sufficiently depressed? I need to go look at some pictures of puppies now.
Claudia is completely awesome in this book, though. When she sees something, she says something. She would make a good New Yorker. My only problem is that when the girls are discussing the events at the end, they agree that Claudia was right to tell someone, and agree to tell each other if something like this happens again. I think they should have been encouraged to tell an adult instead.
Mrs. Kishi is also awesome here. She gives Claudia good advice, immediately takes control when she finds out what’s going on, and comes across as someone you don’t want to tick off.
For a small town, Stoneybrook sure has a lot of parades.
Erica gets invited to a BSC meeting. Wow, she breached the inner sanctum! Oh, the things she must have seen.
May 8, 2013
Summary: Elizabeth decides she needs a break from both Todd and Devon, since the last time she saw them, they were acting like cavemen. She hears about an adventure program where people go out in the woods and learn to live off the land and fend for themselves, so she signs up. It’s boring, so just imagine what you think would happen on that sort of trek, and I’ll tell you you’re right and move on.
Jessica wants to cheer everyone up and take their minds off of all the drama, so she decides to throw a big party at Secca Lake. This is actually, amazingly, a good idea. Jess’s friends agree to help with the party, but none of the guys will help. Also, they keep disappearing and acting kind of weird. This is because Todd has gotten them all interested in mountain biking, and they all start hanging out in the mountains and convening with nature to relieve stress. The girls follow them one day and find out what they’re doing, and they’re kind of confused.
Devon is really mopey because he’s lost Elizabeth, so he decides to leave town. First, though, he runs into all the guys in the mountains. Instead of getting into another fight with him, Todd invites him to bike with them. Suddenly everyone’s mellow and forgiving, and it’s weird. They happen to be biking in the same area where Elizabeth is having her back-to-nature experience, but when she sees Todd and Devon, she thinks she’s hallucinating from hunger. The girls also wind up in the same place, and Jess tries to get Liz to leave with them, but she wants to finish her trek.
The time apart (and with nature) has been good for Elizabeth, Todd, and Devon, with Todd and Liz agreeing that they can just be friends. But the guys had both agreed to give her some space, so when Devon arrives at the Wakefields’ and sees Todd leaving, he gets mad. (Never mind that Devon shouldn’t be there either.) Now the guys will fight to the deal! Or something.
But first, the Secca Lake party! Todd heads out to get something for the party in the twins’ Jeep. Jessica calls right after he leaves to tell Elizabeth not to use the Jeep; the brakes aren’t working. It’s too late for Elizabeth to stop Todd, so she and Devon take his motorcycle to try to catch up with him. Unfortunately, Todd crashes before they can get to him, and the Jeep almost falls off a cliff. Devon and Liz save him, and though he’s injured, he’ll be fine.
Todd’s parents are away, and they ask Elizabeth to look after Todd until they can get to the hospital. But she realizes that she needs to be single for a while, and they can still only be friends. She visits Todd, taking Devon with her, then announces that she’s done with boys for the time being. Or, in other words, “I choose me.”
Thoughts: So it turns out Devon is really emo. Fantastic.
“This was more like it. A bunch of guys, the mountains, and good times.” I think that means Elizabeth finally drove Todd to the other team.
Lila wears an orange shirt, brown pants, and racing gloves. Did she lose a bet?
Suddenly everyone has a cell phone, but I don’t remember that many people having them in 1998.
May 1, 2013
Summary: For Valentine’s Day, Stacey and Pete Black organize a fundraiser for the eighth-grade class involving valentine-grams. A bunch of the middle schoolers buy valentines for their boyfriends and girlfriends, some write them for crushes, and some send joke valentines to get people’s hopes up, because that’s what middle schoolers do. Then the valentines disappear, and notes surface commenting on what people wrote.
There are a number of suspects: Alan, Cokie, Cary, Stacey’s ex Robert, and even Pete. Their motives aren’t known, so the BSC girls start investigating. They find out that Pete has a crush on Emily Bernstein and sent her a valentine, but it’s possible he stole them all back so she wouldn’t see it. (Though why wouldn’t he just take his own back?) Cokie and her boyfriend are having trouble; she sent him a bunch of valentines but he didn’t send her any. Robert has been acting so weird that Andi, the girl he almost cheated on Stacey with, asks her to talk to him. (He’s not the thief, he’s just depressed.)
Cary looks more and more like the thief, especially after the girls see a striped sleeve photocopied with one of the valentine-grams, then see him wearing a striped shirt the next day. Stacey asks him if he had anything to do with the theft, but he has an alibi, since he was at the dentist. Then Stacey realizes that he gave his alibi before he knew the timeframe she was trying to nail down.
Cary says he isn’t the thief, but he knows who it is – someone who was about to receive a joke valentine from a girl he had a crush on. Stacey puts together that he’s talking about Alan. She questions him, but she feels so bad for him that she gives him the chance to return the valentines with no punishment. He does, and everyone’s satisfied.
In the B-plot, the BSC girls throw a “Valentine’s festival” for their charges. It’s not a festival, it’s a lame party. They just ask the kids what they want so everyone’s happy.
Thoughts: I wish Alan hadn’t been the culprit. The thief should have turned out to be someone completely unexpected, and Cary shouldn’t have been involved at all. It was too obvious.
Kristy wonders if the Hobarts know about Valentine’s Day. Kristy, they lived in Australia, not on the moon. Also, they’ve been in the series for, like, nine Valentine’s Days already.
Abby wants to “check out” Cary and “keep an eye on him.” That’s my girl.
Mary Anne calls Pete shy, but since when? He’s the class president, and they don’t tend to be shy.
The BSC runs a focus group for their Valentine’s party. Kristy has officially lost her mind.
I’ve never Xeroxed a sleeve, so I don’t know for certain, but I’m pretty sure stripes wouldn’t show up on the copy.
When Stacey questions Cary, he’s in the school basement, chilling in an armchair. It’s like he’s in a secret lair. I love it.
April 24, 2013
Summary: While Elizabeth and Devon have the world’s longest makeout session, Jessica quickly decides that the best way to get revenge is to pretend to hook up with Todd. Todd somehow has too much class for that, and instead goes to the beach to confirm that Jessica was telling him the truth. He wants Elizabeth back, even though she’ll probably just cheat on him again five minutes later.
Jessica still wants revenge, so she comes up with a so-crazy-it-just-might-work-plan: If she can get Todd interested in another girl, Elizabeth will get jealous and want him back. Then Jessica can swoop in and take Devon for herself. She thinks Courtney is perfect for the role of Todd’s new love interest, and of course Courtney’s game, because she still likes him.
In boring land, there’s a science fair coming up, and Elizabeth wants to enter with Devon. He resists because he doesn’t want everyone to know how super-smart he is, or something. Jessica also tries to appeal of Devon’s science knowledge by getting him to tutor her. It backfires. Jessica continues her revenge plan by stealing the ring Todd gave Elizabeth, then passing herself off as Liz so Todd thinks she’s wearing the ring and wants to get back together with him.
Jess sets up Todd and Courtney, then arranges for Elizabeth to catch them together at Guido’s. This also backfires – Elizabeth figures that if Todd’s already moved on, it’s okay for her to be with Devon. So you’d think this would all work itself out, right? Wrong.
Jessica wants to impress Devon by entering the science fair, so she teams up with Bruce, who’s mad at Devon for not wanting to hang out with the other rich kids. They decide to make a volcano, which is so dumb in so many ways. Jessica then takes things a step too far by sabotaging Liz and Devon’s project for no reason. Also, the volcano blows up, which is kind of a metaphor for Todd and Courtney’s relationship – it’s over practically before it begins.
Elizabeth asks Todd to meet her so she can give back the ring. He’s confused, since he thought he saw her wearing it. They figure out that Jess pulled a twin switch. Meanwhile, Jessica knows that if the two of them talk, they’ll bust her on everything, so she grabs Courtney to…I don’t know, flirt with Todd again? Devon shows up as well and gets mad because Liz is with Todd. Todd tries to solve the problem in the weirdest possible way: by proposing to Elizabeth. She doesn’t respond, and Todd and Devon start pounding on each other. Elizabeth decides they’re both jerks and leaves, possibly the smartest thing she’s ever done.
Thoughts: There is way too much science in this book.
Todd, upon hearing that Elizabeth kissed Devon: “There’s no way Elizabeth would do that to me.” Really, Todd? Have you forgotten the five other times she’s done it to you?
“A science fair! What a cool idea!” Shut up, Enid.
When Todd and Courtney first became friends, she tried to get some alone time with him by asking him for a tour of their fathers’ company after hours. They wound up accidentally crashing a black-tie event. Now Mr. Wilkins warns Todd of upcoming events by sending him an invitation and writing on it, “You are not invited.” Ha! Awesome.
Bruce, I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to make a volcano for a science fair after the age of ten.
I REFUSE to believe that Lila and Amy build a robot. The ghostwriter must be high.
Speaking of which, Sandra and Jeanie’s project is using a prism to make a rainbow. Are you kidding me? That’s not an experiment! I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your souls!
April 17, 2013
Summary: Lou from Kristy and the Worst Kid Ever is back in town, having been adopted (along with her older brother) by her aunt and uncle. And she’s completely different. Not only is she not bratty, whiny, grouchy, or rude, but she’s the exact opposite. Take the most well-behaved, polite child you can think of, then double it, and you have Lou.
Unfortunately, she’s not as great as she sounds. She goes so overboard with trying to please people that she gets on their nerves instead. Abby’s working on a big project for Black History Month, with a bunch of kids helping, and Lou’s desire to please actually has the opposite effect. She ends up screwing things up, and Abby’s so annoyed that she snaps at her.
Lou’s behavior continues like this until one day she accidentally breaks one of her aunt and uncle’s plates. She panics and admits that she’s worried they’ll send her away. As has been clear from the first page she appeared on in this book, Lou is overdoing the niceness because she’s afraid of being taken back to foster care. (And if that doesn’t break your heart, then I’d like to know what shade of black your heart is.) Her aunt and uncle assure her that they love her and want her around no matter how she acts.
The B-plot involves a very un-Lou-like kid, Sean Addison. The Addisons are moving to Seattle, and Sean is grumpy because he doesn’t think anyone will miss him. Which they probably won’t, because he’s a brat. Part of this stems from the whole library thing with Mary Anne. Some of the BSC girls try to spend the day with him, letting him do whatever he wants, but he gets the impression that they only hung out with him because they felt obligated. The whole thing doesn’t really get resolved, but it’s not like it matters, since the family’s moving across the country. Then we meet the Nichollses, the family moving into the Addisons’ house, and the BSC girls get a weird vibe from the father. But that’s for another book.
The C-plot (I guess) is about Abby’s project, which she stresses about because she needs a good grade. She can’t decide what to focus on until Nicky Pike suggests the Underground Railroad, since the Spiers’/Schafers’ house was supposedly a stop. (I thought this was nice continuity from past books where we were told he likes to hang out in Dawn’s secret passageway.) Eventually Abby makes a fake news report about an escaped slave and includes some behind-the-scenes footage. It sounds like she did a ton of work and wound up with a great result.
Thoughts: Mallory does her Black History Month project on “deconstruction of Uncle Tom’s Cabin from 1852 until now.” Um, NO. She’s in sixth grade. There’s no way she knows what deconstruction is. (Also, after all the lit theory discussions I had in college, that word makes me cringe. But not as much as “post-modern” makes me cringe.)
Claudia and Corrie work on a project that’s actually pretty cool. They make a big mural of Stoneybrook and put in people and places Corrie will want to remember after she moves. I also love that they draw Kristy’s grandmother’s car, the Pink Clinker, speeding down the street with the police chasing her.
“I wasn’t the new kid anymore.” No kidding, Abby. You’ve been in the series for two years and you’ve had more books than Mallory and Jessi combined during that time.
April 10, 2013
Summary: Remember Devon? He’s officially going to SVH now. Remember how he spotted Jessica in a previous book and wanted to meet her? Now he’s more interested in Elizabeth. They have chemistry together (the class, not the romantic sparks…well, both, I guess), and he immediately falls in luuuuv. Elizabeth likes him, but she’s with Todd, so she tries to get Devon interested in Jessica. Devon thinks Jess is too shallow for him. Jessica just thinks he’s playing hard to get.
Devon, by the way, has a hard time with the word “no.” He knows Elizabeth has a boyfriend, but he keeps bugging her to go out with him. He thinks she’s been with Todd too long and needs to try dating someone else. Little does he know how many times Liz has tried dating someone else, only to end up back with the Toddster. Speaking of Todd, he’s trying to do something sweet and romantic for the anniversary of the first time Elizabeth was published in the Oracle. He settles on making her dinner, but has to call Enid for help since he’s a horrible cook.
Jessica invites Devon to a party, but he skips it to hang out with Liz. He asks her to meet him for dinner the next night. Elizabeth feels so bad for Jessica that she tells her Devon will meet her the next night. When Jess arrives, she realizes that Devon thought he was meeting Elizabeth. She pretends to be Liz until Devon figures it out. He thinks Elizabeth sent Jessica to mess with him, and Jess is equally mad that Elizabeth didn’t tell her the truth, and that Devon doesn’t want her. But she lies to Liz, saying they had a great time.
Finally, it’s the day of Elizabeth and Todd’s big, romantic get-together. He asks Jessica to bring Liz to the beach so he can surprise her. Instead, Elizabeth winds up talking to Devon, and they kiss. Jessica sees them and runs to the beach to tell Todd what his girlfriend’s up to.
Thoughts: Shannon of Shannon’s Sweet Valley High Blog is totally right about this book: It’s very Rory/Dean/Jess from seasons 2 and 3 of Gilmore Girls.
Some of these books reaaaaaally don’t need to be 200 pages. Like this one.
Elizabeth wears a short-sleeved sweater with pearl buttons, linen pants, and white leather sandals. Dude, even Andrea Zuckerman thinks you need to loosen up.
Devon is supposedly super-smart, but they put him in a chemistry class where they’re testing acids and bases. SVH sucks.
Todd thinks the C in a recipe means centimeter, not cup. I have no words.
I’m down to only eight books left in the SVH series, but never fear: I have already gotten my hands on more than half of the Sweet Valley University books. The madness will continue!
April 3, 2013
Summary: Jessi spends a few weeks in New York, dancing with an elite program that could springboard her to superstar status. She stays with her cousin Michael (Aunt Cecelia’s son) and his wife, who remind her how awesome New York is, in case someone in this series hasn’t mentioned that in the past five minutes. The dance classes are wonderful, Jessi makes a ton of friends, and she feels independent and grown-up in the city.
Back home, Mallory and Becca are lonely and mopey. Mal is at least mature enough not to whine, but Becca is a brat, and I can’t believe her parents (and Cecelia) put up with her attitude. Mal goes to visit Jessi one weekend and feels out of place since Jessi’s New York friends are all dancers. Also, because Jessi’s so busy with classes and taking in the culture of the city, she doesn’t call home very often.
Jessi’s only problem in New York is Quint, her sort-of boyfriend. He keeps wanting to talk to her, and she’s afraid he’s going to tell her he wants to date. She doesn’t feel ready, so she keeps putting off The Talk. Eventually, though, she tells Quint that she likes him and can see herself dating him, but not until they’re older. He’s fine with it and things between them relax.
So now that Jessi’s New York experience is completely awesome, she gets some good news: David Brailsford, the director of the program, wants her to apply for another program, one that will keep her in New York permanently. It’s a real honor, but it means leaving her family and friends, and dancing even more than she already is.
As much as Jessi immediately wants to say yes, she does some really mature thinking about the situation. She worries that she’ll get bored after the freshness of being in New York wears off, and that she’ll run herself into the ground by dancing so much. She won’t have time for anything else in her life. Plus, of course, she’ll be away from her family and friends.
Jessi’s parents are supportive of whatever she chooses to do, and surprisingly, Aunt Cecelia is her biggest champion. She regrets not following her dreams when she was younger. She’s even disappointed in Michael for giving up a potentially successful art career to attend business school. Ultimately, Jessi decides to defer the decision until she’s older, and use the time before then to learn even more in Stoneybrook. She’ll get to live her normal life while still finding a way to follow her dream. Not bad for an 11-year-old. I don’t even know how to snark on that!
Thoughts: Aunt Cecelia encouraging people to follow their dreams seems out of character to me. The Cecelia we’ve seen so far strikes me as the sort of person who would want her son to go to business school and do something practical instead of hoping to make money painting.
At the beginning of the book, Jessi learns she’s in the program and then has to convince her parents to let her go. So why did they let her audition if they hadn’t yet decided whether to let her go if she got in?
If I’d talked to anyone the way Becca does in this book, I would still be grounded today. But no one says a word to her! They’re just all, “Oh, she’s upset because Jessi’s gone.” Yeah, but she can be upset with her mouth closed.
Quint is five-eight at the age of 11? Holy cow.
All the ballet terminology thrown together makes me think of “steppity-step and jazz hands.” (Bonus: The other actor in that scene is Principal Green from Dawson’s Creek.)
Mallory writes in the BSC journal, “Several of the children were pretty difficult.” That girl is 11 going on 40.
Brailsford: “You’re one of us now.” Run, Jessi! He’s a cult leader!
March 27, 2013
Summary: This book is stupid and boring and painfully long, and I don’t want to have to think about it again after I publish this post.
So anyway, back in 1998, there was this thing called the “Internet.” And on the Internet (a series of tubes, many of which contained cats), you could log into these things called “chat rooms” and have conversations with people who lived all over the world. All you needed was a computer! And guess what? Olivia Davidson has a computer! So she logs into these chat rooms and talks to people about art and poetry and all that hippie stuff she’s into.
Guess who else has a computer? Ken Matthews! One day he decides to use it to find out a score from an El Carro High School football game. He logs into a chat room and asks if anyone there is from El Carro. Someone responds, and Ken thinks that person is from El Carro. But she’s not! It’s Olivia! And she thinks Ken goes to El Carro! But he doesn’t! They both go to Sweet Valley High! HOW AMAZING!
So Ken and Olivia start talking a lot in the chat room, and sometimes in private chat rooms, which is like instant messaging but not. Ken decides not to reveal that he’s a jock, and he lets Olivia teach him about poetry. At one point they basically have cybersex and it’s really uncomfortable. (For me. I don’t know if it was uncomfortable for them. I hope they used cyberprotection.) Then they decide to meet, but they’re each too dumb to realize who the other is, so they both think the other didn’t show up.
When they reconnect in a chat room, Olivia and Ken realize that they know each other, and that each has fallen in luuuuuuuuv with someone he/she never thought he/she would be interested in. Because, see, jocks and artists can’t comingle. And that’s where we get the other plot.
There’s a dance at SVH, and a fight about music leads to a brawl between the popular kids/jocks and the artsy kids/”burnouts”/nerds. It ends when a football player named Blubber sends druggie Justin Belson to the hospital. The lines are clearly drawn between the cliques, with only a few people (Elizabeth and Winston, really) floating among groups. The ghostwriter brings back a couple other previous characters – Keith the hippie and Nicky the rebel – to round out the outcasts.
The burnouts/nerds/hippies get revenge on Blubber by stealing a test he got a D on and posting it on a bulletin board. (A real bulletin board, not one of those bulletin boards you find on the Interwebs.) Because Blubber has a temper and is an easy target, the outcasts keep targeting him, picking on him at a football game until he beats up Nicky. Elizabeth thinks Blubber crossed the line, but Jessica and Todd side with the other jocks/popular kids. This leads to another almost-breakup between Todd and Liz, because we have to have one of those every other book.
Blubber ends up getting suspended from the football team because of his grades, and he is NOT happy about it. One night Jessica goes out with two football players, Danny and Bryce – and yes, she goes out with both of them at the same time, which, let’s not even get into that – and they decide to go by Blubber’s house to see how he is. He’s not great: They arrive just as an ambulance is taking him to the hospital, because Blubber tried to commit suicide.
It turns out Blubber was having a rough time because his parents are splitting up, but the school finally steps in and tries to stop all the madness with the cliques. Everyone calms down, and Olivia even comes up with an idea to fix things: a dance! I mean, of course. Everyone has to dress up in someone else’s clothes, because they’re taking the “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” thing way too literally. But it breaks the ice, and people start mingling, and everything’s good. Also, Olivia and Ken get together, in case you cared. I didn’t.
Thoughts: The book starts in SVH’s gym, so either they rebuilt it really quickly or we’re pretending Fight Fire With Fire ever happened.
In case you’ve been keeping track, Bruce and Pamela are back together.
“I still hate it when guys try to settle things by punching each other out.” Whatever, Jessica, you’re totally the type of girl who would find that hot.
Olivia’s outfit when she goes to meet Ken: “batik-print sarong pants in royal purple with a matching loose vest over a simple white tank top.” Sarong pants?
March 20, 2013
Summary: This Super Mystery has not one, not two, but THREE mysteries, so it actually deserves to be called a Super Mystery. And they’re actually mysterious!
First, it’s almost Christmas. (Yeah, I know it was Christmas in the last book. I’ll get to that later.) Someone is auditioning for the role of Grinch by breaking into houses in Kristy and Abby’s neighborhood. Fortunately, the break-ins happen when no one’s home, and only a few things are stolen, but there’s a lot of destruction. Plus, the burglar is painting “naughty” on the houses. Kristy’s house is left alone, but the family gets a note calling them “nice.”
A rake is found at one of the houses, which is weird since it’s winter and keeps snowing, so obvious no one’s doing yardwork. Speaking of yardwork, the only thing the break-in families have in common (other than their neighborhood) is that they’ve all recently fired their gardener. The Thomas/Brewers and the Stevensons still employ him. Dawn figures out that the gardener is the burglar, and that the rake fell off his truck, which has been spotted in the neighborhood. The Thomas/Brewers set up a sting with the police (including, of course, Sgt. Johnson), and he’s arrested.
The other Stoneybrook mystery involves a pregnant woman Mallory and Jessi run into who doesn’t know who she is. No one in town knows her and she doesn’t know how she got there. Because she’s pregnant around Christmas, she’s nicknamed Mary Doe. The Pikes invite her to stay with them so she won’t be alone over the holidays.
Mallory manages to figure out what the police can’t: Mary’s wedding ring is unique, probably custom-made, and her sweater came from a store in California. She picks a jewelry store in the same town in California and sends them a picture of the ring. The owner recognizes it: Her nephew had it made for his wife, Lisa.
Once it’s determined that Mary is Lisa, the real story comes out: She was visiting family on the East Coast, started to take the train back, and decided to stop in Boston to visit friends. When the train stopped in Stoneybrook, she got off and most likely had her purse stolen, suffering a concussion in the process. Because no one knew when she was getting back to California, no one knew she was missing. And her husband was out of the country on business, so he didn’t know he needed to be worried. Somehow, going into labor jogs Lisa’s memory, so she’ll be fine.
The third mystery involves Stacey and Claudia, who are visiting Stacey’s dad in New York. They spend a lot of time with Stacey’s boyfriend, Ethan, who keeps staring at Stacey and is possibly following the girls. He also won’t let the girls see certain parts of his apartment. Then the girls start getting notes and seeing fake blood in the elevator and near Stacey’s dad’s apartment. The doorman says no one has come into the building who could have left anything, so the culprit appears to live there.
The girls are summoned to the basement one afternoon, after being stuck in the elevator, which they thought they had to take since the stairs were roped off. It turns out there was nothing wrong with the stairs, which makes things weirder. Stacey asks Ethan about the note, and he admits that he used to date a girl in her building, Cybil, and she’s, shall we say, unstable. She’s the one who’s been following the girls and doing weird stuff to them. Ethan’s only been staring at Stacey because he’s sculpting her; the sculpture is the reason he doesn’t want the girls in his room.
The three decide to go to the basement at the allotted time, and sure enough, Cybil shows up. She starts ranting about how Ethan likes her, not Stacey. She’s turned off the lights, so no one knows what she’s planning to do. Claudia knocks her down and Ethan grabs her, though it doesn’t seem like she was going to do anything dangerous. Cybil’s parents agree that she needs help, and everything’s okay between Stacey and Ethan again.
Thoughts: Once again, we have continuity problems. The last book took place around Christmas and included a visit from Dawn. This book takes place around Christmas and starts with Dawn arriving in Stoneybrook. Stacey and Claudia go to New York in this book, but they were in Stoneybrook for the last one. Plus, Logan mentions at the end of this book that he was out of town, but he was in Stoneybrook in the last one. Arg.
Claudia, re: Ethan: “He had staring spells, sort of like the ones Mary Anne’s kitten, Tigger, gets.” That cracked me up.
Anna suggests that the burglar is using a fake delivery truck to case the neighborhood. When I inevitably turn to a life of crime, that’s what I’m going to do. Thanks for the idea, Anna!
Claudia notes that if the elevator she and Stacey are stuck in were to drop, she and Stacey could become “big dead pancakes.” Then she thinks that sounds like a good name for a punk band. I call it! Mine!
Mallory sometimes uses her dad’s briefcase instead of a backpack. Mal, this is why people make fun of you. (Though I’m sure if Claudia did this, it would be oh-so-cool and fashion-forward.)