March 6, 2013
Summary: It’s Christmas! Again! Mary Anne spends a ton of money on presents, which she can only do because her father lets her use his credit card, on the promise that she’ll pay back whatever she spends. She goes way overboard. I mean, I wouldn’t spend this amount of money, and I have an actual job, one that doesn’t require changing diapers for $4 an hour. Anyway, Mary Anne knows she won’t be able to make the money she needs by babysitting. She also only has two weeks to make it since that’s when Richard will be paying his bill, and he plans to charge interest.
Mary Anne learns that Winter World at the mall is hiring, so she goes to apply for a job. Yes, I know she’s only 13. Yes, I know Stoneybrook has a lax view of child labor. But before anyone can call BS, Mary Anne chats with another girl (Angela) who’s applying for a job, and is advised to say she’s 16. Mary Anne decides she doesn’t want to lie, but Angela turns in her application anyway. Both of them get hired to be Santa’s elves and wear hideous costumes. Mary Anne decides not to tell anyone about her job, since a) she lied to get it and b) it’s embarrassing.
Of course, Mary Anne is awesome at her job, and the kids love her, blah blah blah, but she keeps getting paranoid that someone will recognize her. Even though she’s wearing a giant elf head. Yeah. She also becomes friends with Angela, who it turns out was kicked out by her parents (because of her “lifestyle” – she never gives details on that, but she probably, like, kissed a boy and her parents thought she was “a fast girl”). Angela’s trying to make money to go out to California and live with some friends. Also, her parents are monsters, because at one point she tries to call them collect and they won’t accept the charges.
Basically the book goes on and on with Mary Anne working at the mall and trying to keep her secret. One day Logan and Dawn (oh, yeah, Dawn’s in Stoneybrook for Christmas) show up with Logan’s brother and sister, and Mary Anne practically has a heart attack. Dawn and Logan remain oblivious, but somehow, Logan’s brother Hunter figures out Mary Anne’s an elf. I really have no idea how.
Ultimately the truth comes out because Mary Anne and Dawn have a fight. Dawn has been distant and a little snobby since her arrival in Stoneybrook; her school in California is 8th-12th grades, so she feels all special that she gets to go to school with high schoolers. She suddenly thinks middle schoolers are babies and that she’s all sophisticated and stuff. She’s not. It’s annoying. Mary Anne calls her on it, and Dawn blasts her for being gone all the time and keeping secrets. Mary Anne confesses that she took a job at the mall, and Dawn convinces her to come clean to everyone, including Richard. He wants to punish her, but Sharon points out that it’s Christmas, so he lets it go.
The B-plot is so dumb that at one point it only gets a five-page chapter. The local hospital can’t afford to give toys to the kids hospitalized over Christmas, so Kristy organizes a big Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa extravaganza. People bring toys to a fair, and the BSC girls donate those toys, plus use the proceeds from the fair to buy more.
Thoughts: In this book, Hanukkah comes after Christmas. I don’t think that’s possible.
Richard charging Mary Anne interest seems mean to me. She’s basically just borrowing his money and will pay him back later – why should she have to pay extra? He’s not losing anything.
Kristy wants to use canned-food donations to make refreshments for “Santa-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa Town.” First of all, why Santa and not Christmas? Second of all, that sounds like a Top Chef challenge. Enjoy your tuna and lima bean casserole, everyone!
I guess Winter World doesn’t run background checks on employees, or they would find out Mary Anne’s real age. It’s good to know a program using people around kids is so concerned with their safety.
December 27, 2012
Summary: Granny and Pop-Pop (Dawn’s grandparents) go on an anniversary cruise, and while they’re gone, their house floods. Sharon and Mary Anne head up the clean-up effort, with some help from the other BSC girls. Mary Anne finds a music box that plays “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and contains a picture of a sailor. The box is also wrapped in paper that warns of a curse. No one in the family claims to know anything about it, so Mary Anne thinks it belonged to Lydia, a girl who used to live in the house. But there are initials inside saying the box is from H.I.W. to L.S., and the BSC girls can’t find anyone with those initials.
Mary Anne finds some letters Granny wrote to her cousin about Lydia, who was in love with a boy named Johnny, who her father hated. She thinks Johnny gave Lydia the music box. Granny lived next door and would write about how Lydia would sneak out to see Johnny. There’s also something about Lydia’s father possibly embezzling from the bank where he worked, and maybe burying the money in the yard. One of the plumbers working on the house grew up in the neighborhood, and the girls see him looking around suspiciously, so they think he’s looking for the money.
The girls basically set up a sting, pretending they found something in the yard, then waiting for someone to make a move to find out what it was. They’re surprised to learn that an older man who’s been hanging around is the plumber’s father, and he does indeed want the buried money. Except there’s no money, just papers. Womp womp.
Mary Anne keeps trying to find out what’s going on with the music box, especially after she starts having dreams about the sailor. She realizes that H.I.W. stands for “how I wonder” and L.S. is “little star,” from “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Then Mary Anne borrows a bracelet from Sharon and realizes it was in the picture with the sailor, having almost been cropped out. Sharon tells her the bracelet belonged to Granny. Mary Anne puts things together and figures out that the music box was Granny’s after all. When Granny comes home, she confirms that she was L.S., and H.I.W. was her first love, the sailor, who died in the war. There’s no curse, there’s no money, and really, there’s no big mystery. Just a boring book.
The B-plot is even more boring. The Barrett/DeWitt family is finishing building an addition to their house. Everything comes out great. Thrilling, yes?
Thoughts: You know what’s really fun to read about? Construction.
I like that Dawn’s grandparents treat Mary Anne like she’s their own granddaughter. I wish we’d heard more about their relationship before this book, though.
Stacey uses the word “bodacious,” and not ironically. Shut up, Stacey.
November 1, 2012
Summary: Out of the blue and for no apparent reason, Logan’s father wants to send him to boarding school and a wilderness-survival adventure. Oh, noes! Mary Anne is sad, but Logan’s a wimp and won’t try to talk to his parents about the decision. And honestly, he doesn’t seem that sad about the possibility of never seeing Mary Anne again, so maybe she should take a hint.
In the midst of this crisis, the BSC girls decide to take a first-aid course, inspired by Mary Anne and Dawn (yes, she’s in this book – she’s in Stoneybrook for summer vacation) watching Sharon save a guy from choking. The class is pretty intense, with tests and visits to an ER and the very real possibility that Kristy will murder fellow student Alan because he WON’T SHUT UP. The students also get to participate in a disaster drill, pretending to be victims of a car accident.
Even after all the training, Mary Anne still feels like she would be unprepared for an emergency. Then one afternoon she and Dawn are babysitting for a bunch of kids swimming in the Kormans’ pool. There’s a neighbor there to keep an eye on everyone, but when he goes into the house for a few minutes, Timmy Hsu almost drowns. Mary Anne pulls him out of the water, gives him CPR, and saves his life.
Suddenly Mary Anne is emboldened! She tells Logan to suck it up already and talk to his parents if he doesn’t want to boarding school or the wilderness trek. He needs to fight for what he wants. She points out that when she stood up to her father about having to dress like a kid, things worked out. So Logan has an actual conversation with his parents and gets to stay in Stoneybrook. Where he will continue to be a big wuss, I guess.
Thoughts: I wish Mary Anne could be like this all the time. The shy, meek thing is so tiresome.
The girls pride themselves on being pros, so why haven’t they taken a first-aid class before now?
When Mary Anne learns about the wilderness-survival thing, which he thinks is to build character, she asks what happens if the kids run into a wild animal. Logan: “You punch them in the nose, I guess, because you have so much character by then.” Heh.
I think this is the first book in the series to mention email.
The disaster drill sounds awesome. I want to do one! A friend of mine got to do a plane-crash drill – they put bruise makeup on her and everything.
Timmy’s brother Scott mentions that Timmy can’t swim. Maybe their parents should have told Mary Anne and Dawn that. Or not let him play in a pool without floaties. Oh, right, Stoneybrook parents hate their children.
Logan should have agreed to do the survival thing instead of saying he didn’t want to do it or go to boarding school. It’s called negotiating, son.
The 11-year-old who owned this book before me wrote in the diary pages in the back that Logan “can be a nuisance.” Rock on, 11-year-old.
June 18, 2012
Summary: A family called the Kents, who are somehow related to the royal family, buy a house in Stoneybrook while the parents work at the United Nations (just go with it). They have an eight-year-old daughter, Victoria, and want her to hang out with Americans, so they hire Mary Anne to be her “companion.” I don’t know why they don’t just have her make a bunch of friends, but whatever. Victoria’s kind of a brat, but not horribly so; she’s just spoiled and is used to having her way. But she takes to Mary Anne and calms down a little.
There’s a random trip to New York, which involves Mary Anne, Stacey, Kristy, and Victoria ditching the girl’s nanny in a very out-of-character-for-the-BSC-girls move. Victoria’s parents make an appearance but don’t spend much time with her, which makes her understandably upset. Mary Anne realizes that she also hasn’t made any friends in Stoneybrook and doesn’t even seem to like hanging out with kids her own age. Sharon guesses it’s because she doesn’t want to get close to anyone, since people in her life are always leaving.
Mary Anne invites Victoria, her nanny, and their driver over for Thanksgiving, but Victoria’s upset by her parents’ absence. She winds up breaking down and having a talk with Mary Anne about her fears that her parents don’t really love her. Mary Anne has been experiencing a little separation anxiety of her own, as her father’s on a business trip, but she gets Victoria to see that her parents will always love her and come back to her. She also talks Victoria into trying to make some friends.
The B-plot parallels the main plot a little: Sharon misses Dawn and has kind of been using Mary Anne as a substitute daughter. She’s even started calling Mary Anne her daughter instead of her stepdaughter. Fortunately, nothing is over the top, and Sharon just admits that she misses Dawn but doesn’t see Mary Anne as a replacement. Also fortunately (for Sharon, at least), Dawn has planned a surprise visit and asked Mary Anne and Richard to keep it quiet. So Dawn shows up on Thanksgiving and Sharon has a great holiday.
Thoughts: Mary Anne finds a tie on a bookcase and a loaf of bread behind a pillow. Has Sharon been checked for mental illnesses?
There’s a chapter where Victoria goes to a middle school football game, and there are a bunch of BSC sitting charges there, including Becca, who’s become obsessed with royalty. At the beginning of the chapter, there’s a scene at the Ramseys’ house where everyone’s teasing her a little about wanting to be a princess. It made me realize that of all the BSC girls’ families, I’d most want to be a part of Jessi’s. Her mom is sweet, her dad is funny, and Becca seems like a fun little sister to have. I could take or leave Cecelia, though.
That said, I might like to hang out with Richard and Sharon (as long as Dawn and Jeff weren’t around). Sharon’s fun, and somewhere along the way, Richard picked up a pretty good sense of humor.
Do a lot of eight-year-olds know what David Letterman looks like? What about British eight-year-olds?
March 5, 2012
Summary: The club starts sitting for a new family, the Martinezes, whose previous sitter quit unexpectedly. The kids are mostly great, but the boy, Luke, who’s eight, acts like he doesn’t trust his sitters. That may or may not be connected to the recent fire that took place at the house. The BSC girls suspect that the fire may have something to do with a developer named Reginald Fowler who wants to tear down some houses to build an office complex. The Martinezes won’t budge, so Fowler may have set the fire to scare them.
Luke seems to know something, but he’s not talking. One day when Mary Anne’s at the house, someone writes “don’t tell” on a window, which freaks Luke out. He’s also keeping some secret with his best friend, Steig, who happens to be Cary Retlin’s little brother.
Mary Anne goes looking for Luke in the woods while she’s sitting one day, and instead sees a teenage boy with a brick with green paint on it. He’s talking to Fowler, but Mary Anne doesn’t hear much of the conversation. A cop sees her when she picks up the brick, and Mary Anne is taken to the police station for vandalism. The only reason this plot point is important is that it allows her to learn from the police that Fowler isn’t even in Stoneybrook.
Time for reasearch – to the library! The BSC girls discover that Fowler was born the same day as twins named Samuel and John Wolfer, and decide that he’s actually one of them (since Wolfer is an anagram of Fowler). Him being a twin would explain why Mary Anne saw him in Stoneybrook while the police said he was away. They think Fowler started the fire at the Martinezes’ house, believes Luke knows it was him, and is threatening Luke to keep him quiet about it.
In their attempts to find out the truth, the girls get in touch with Allie, the Martinezes’ former babysitter. She’s with her boyfriend, Beau, when they find her, and Mary Anne recognizes him as the boy she saw talking to Fowler. The two teens come clean: Beau accidentally set the fire at the house with a cigarette, and Allie kept quiet to protect him, then quit because she felt guilty. But the two mysteries are connected: Fowler was blackmailing Beau, making him commit vandalism to threaten people so they’d sell their houses. Beau was also the person threatening Luke to keep quiet.
Beau feels bad, so he agrees to help the BSC girls with a sting operation. They send him to meet Fowler and arrange for his twin to show up. The truth comes out and the ever-helpful Sgt. Johnson hears it all. The final nail in Fowler’s coffin is Luke’s other secret: He found a map of Fowler’s plans for the town, which shows more industrialization than he claimed he wanted. This sinks Fowler’s plans and makes Luke and the BSC girls heroes. More Luke, really, but it’s not his series, is it?
Thoughts: Fowler and Beau are both stupid villains. Luke isn’t actually threatened with anything. I mean, if you’re going to scare a kid, you have to tell him you’ll get him in trouble with his parents or hurt them or something. Just saying “don’t tell” won’t accomplish anything.
And while I appreciate that the twist in the story is that most of the plot is a red herring, all the town-development stuff is boring.
Cary has two brothers, Steig and Benson. Okay, two things: 1) Steig? I didn’t think there were any Americans named Steig. 2) Benson Retlin? Do his parents hate him?
How has Kristy not run Allie out of town?
January 9, 2012
Summary: Mary Anne is doing a group project on Shakespeare, and she and the other group members are really excited. They also get along really well, so they have fun working together. Mary Anne’s friends with one of the other girls, Amelia, and is happy to get to know her better. But the day after the group gets together to work, everyone learns that Amelia’s family was in a car accident and she didn’t survive.
SMS is hit hard by the tragedy, with Kristy taking it especially badly. Mary Anne’s surprised and a little scared that the tough girl is so broken; Kristy didn’t even know Amelia that well. She’s mostly mad that the driver who killed Amelia was drunk and this wasn’t his first driving offense. Kristy gets the idea to start a chapter of Students Against Drunk Driving at SMS, and suddenly she bounces back, now that she has a way to give Amelia’s death some meaning.
Mary Anne, on the other hand, sinks into depression and anxiety. It’s especially bad the day of Amelia’s funeral, when she worries about how to act. She goes to see a grief counselor who’s been brought to the school and learns that her feelings are normal and she should let herself grieve. The students at SMS keep coming up with ways to honor Amelia’s memory, but Mary Anne wants to do more. After learning of the garden Dawn is helping to plant in a vacant lot in California, Mary Anne comes up with the idea to create a memory garden for Amelia. She finally feels like she’s making sure no one will ever forget her.
Thoughts: This book always hit home for me. When I was in the fifth grade, two girls I knew (one a year older than me, the other a couple years younger) were killed in a car accident, along with their father. I’d spent an evening with them just a few weeks earlier and had felt like I was getting to be friends with them. The next year, another girl I’d spent some time with recently was killed in a bus crash. Even though I didn’t know any of the girls all that well, they were semi-friends. So I could always relate to how Mary Anne felt in this book.
Specifically, I could relate to Mary Anne in the scene where the SMS students hear that a 13-year-old girl has died but they don’t know who it is. Mary Anne realizes that she hasn’t seen Kristy in school that day and she starts worrying that she’s the one who died. My senior year of high school, one of my classmates died suddenly; I hadn’t known him well, but he was a really nice guy and everyone was shocked and saddened by his death. A good friend of mine was out sick that day, and when the seniors were called to the auditorium to hear the news and the principal announced that one of our classmates had died, I was sure it was her. The horror of those few moments before hearing the real news made me feel sick.
I’ve mentioned before that I feel like the series handles death well for the age group it’s targeted towards. The same applies here. And the events of the day when everyone finds out about Amelia’s death are realistic – and eerily similar to what happened when my high school classmate died. Classes were canceled, students were allowed to go home if they felt they needed to, grief counselors were brought in, and we spent most of the day talking and comforting each other.
Mary Anne and her group’s project actually sounds pretty cool. They’re supposed to do something about the world Shakespeare lived in, so they decide to publish a newspaper with theater reviews, world news, and even a classified section. They call their project William Tells All.
Speaking of school projects, Claudia gets to make a Rube Goldberg decive for a class. I want to go to SMS.
September 20, 2011
Summary: It’s summertime, and the BSC girls decide to hold a day camp since there are a few weeks between school getting out and other day camps starting. They call it Camp BSC (so original) and decide on a circus theme. Speaking of circuses, that’s what the Schafer/Spier house has turned into: Richard’s out of town for two weeks, and Sharon and Dawn are going overboard in their bachelorette pad. They order in every night, don’t clean up, and basically exemplify the saying, “When the cat’s away, the mice will play.”
Mary Anne is nowhere near as happy as her stepmother and -sister are. She misses her father, to the point where she can’t be bothered to do anything fun. It’s 141 pages of Mary Anne moping, basically. Then she sprains her ankle and mopes some more, mostly because she asks Richard to come home early and he doesn’t.
Alicia, a four-year-old camper, is also moping, as she’s not used to being away from her mother so much. She won’t go to the playground with the other kids because she’s afraid her mother will come back and not be able to find her. Mary Anne’s fine with staying back with her, babying her and letting her do whatever she wants. Eventually, Alicia realizes that everyone’s having fun without her, so she decides to let go of her separation anxiety. Mary Anne realizes that the four-year-old is better adjusted than she is, and she needs to let herself have fun, too.
The not-really-B-plot (because both plots get about equal time) is that Karen and some other kids have gone to a real circus camp, and they keep complaining that Camp BSC isn’t as good. Karen pretty much leads an anti-lameness brigade, and somehow, the BSC girls manage to refrain from locking her in a closet all day. Ultimately, while putting on an end-of-camp circus, the anti-lameness kids realize that they don’t have any idea how to put on a real circus, so they should just shut up.
Thoughts: Mary Anne’s sadness strikes me as a little weird. We know she’s a daddy’s girl, but she’s been away from home before, and she’s usually pretty mature.
I understand leaving your kids with 11- and 13-year-olds for a few hours, but all day? I don’t know about that.
The girls also mention that campers can attend for a full day or a half day, but we don’t hear about anyone only attending for half a day. Why didn’t Alicia’s mom try that out for her until she got more comfortable? Eight hours is a LONG day for a four-year-old.
Sharon really does order take-out every night. I guess the Schafer-Spiers are made of money.
Dawn makes the girls get turkey hot dogs for a camp cookout. So remember, kids, if you hate your dinner, blame Dawn. Who would never eat turkey, so whatever, ghostwriter.
People aren’t sawed in half at circuses, Karen. That’s magic shows. Go sit in the corner.
August 27, 2011
Summary: SMS teams up with a local zoo for a project in which the eighth graders observe animals. They’re split into groups of three, and the group with the best report gets extra credit and a trip to a water park. The timing is great, since there are two gorillas, James and Mojo, on loan, and there’s a lot of hype surrounding their visit. There are also a bunch of protesters hanging out around the zoo.
Mary Anne’s in a group with Alan and a guy named Howie (previously mentioned as a friend of Claudia and Stacey’s), while Logan’s in a group with Dawn and Claudia. Kristy’s placed with Stacey and wants nothing to do with her, so their group studies their own pets (Stacey doesn’t have one, so she studies the Johanssens’ dog). So Mary Anne, Dawn, Claudia, Logan, Alan, and Howie go to the zoo a lot; Logan, Dawn, and Claudia observe the gorillas while Mary Anne, Alan, and Howie watch an emu, bears, and seals. Alan and Logan really want to beat each other, so they get all macho and competitive.
One day the emu escapes from her cage, and when Mary Anne goes to take a look after the emu’s return, she sees that the fence is intact. There are also some stains that look like berry juice from a nearby bush. She decides that the emu didn’t really escape but was let out. Oh, and the director, Ms. Wofsey, has lost her master key that opens all the cages. It happens to look like all the keys the SMS students were given to access info at different exhibits.
This is, of course, a case for the BSC. They decide that the protesters are obviously suspects, but they’ve also seen a couple in matching sweatsuits observing all the animals. Not long after that, a giraffe is let out of its cage. Mary Anne again sees berry stains nearby. Knowing that one of the gorillas, Mojo, knows sign language and can see the emu’s cage from hers, the BSC girls bring Matt Braddock to the zoo to communicate with Mojo. However, Mojo will only sign “food,” so the girls think she’s hungry, since Mr. Chester, a zoo employee, is bringing her lunch.
Next the gibbons’ cage is opened (they don’t escape), and Mary Anne and Logan think the matching-sweatsuit couple is responsible, since they’ve been observing the gibbons. The couple has been writing down prices, and Mary Anne and Logan think they want to steal a gibbon and sell it. As she’s doing more observation for the project, Mary Anne realizes that she no longer has her own key – she has Ms. Wofsey’s skeleton key. She knows she hasn’t had it the whole time, and the only time she could have accidentally swapped her key with someone else’s was when she, Alan, and Howie were taking things out of their bags to look for change.
Mary Anne confronts Alan, accusing him of freeing the animals to better observe them for the project (though why would he free animals he wasn’t observing)? Alan admits that he’s been doing research for the project, which was supposed to only be based on observation and the info from the exhibits, but has no idea what she’s talking about regarding the key. They both realize that Howie must have had Ms. Wofsey’s key. He confesses that he found it in the bushes and used it to open the emu’s cage, but she didn’t escape until after he left; obviously he didn’t secure the cage well enough. Howie also says that he didn’t free any other animals, and he has to be telling the truth since Mary Anne had Ms. Wofsey’s key by that point.
Logan and Mary Anne remember Mr. Chester saying he was late to an event because he was feeding the seals, but he wasn’t, since they’d just been with the seals. With a couple of more pieces of potential evidence, the BSC girls (and Logan) tell Ms. Wofsey their suspicions. Ms. Wofsey thinks Mr. Chester was trying to get her in trouble because he’s mad that she got the job he wanted. She knows that Mr. Chester’s big move will be trying to free Mojo and James, so the zoo sets up a sting operation involving people in gorilla suits. It works (yeah, I bet), and Mr. Chester is done for. Later, the girls realize that Mojo was probably signing “food” because Mr. Chester fed all the animals. Also, the matching-sweatsuit couple was looking for an animal to buy for some rich guy.
The B-plot involves a baby elephant being displayed at the mall until a home can be found for it. (Maybe this is crazy, but couldn’t they take it to…THE ZOO?) The BSC girls and their charges decide to hold a walkathon to raise money to relocate the elephant. They call it an Elephant Walk and make buttons and other swag for it. There’s some drama because on the day of the walkathon, the girls don’t have a stereo to play “Baby Elephant Walk,” and Claudia suggests that they borrow one from Stacey. Stacey agrees to loan it to them, but only if she can participate. Kristy’s ticked but doesn’t have time to do anything about it. Anyway, the walkathon is a success, and contributes to getting the elephant relocated.
Thoughts: This mystery is actually structured plenty well, with some good red herrings. Bravo, ghostwriter.
Mary Anne shares a soda with Alan and Howie. That’s kind of gross. And I’m sure Logan wouldn’t appreciate it. Mary Anne probably told him about it, too. I bet they’re like Marshall and Lily from How I Met Your Mother, telling each other every single detail of their days.
Like Stacey would ever let Charlotte wear a matching kitty headband and backpack.
Mary Anne is much less of a mouse than usual in this book. When Logan’s insults toward Alan bug her, she asks him to stop – without crying. I’m impressed.
Logan: “Do gorillas like chocolate cake?” Mary Anne: “Everybody likes chocolate cake.” For some reason, I thought that was really funny.
I think something was moved around here. Matt signs to Mojo, and then a few pages later Jessi asks if anyone who knows sign language can talk to Mojo. Then Matt signs the same questions he’d already asked her. Why would Jessi ask that if she knew Matt had already signed with Mojo?
Speaking of that, Matt signing with the gorilla was the only part of the book I remembered. I always thought that was really cool.
Recurring character Erica Blumberg makes a good point: “How would a gorilla know what an emu is?”
I love that Alan cheats on a class assignment by doing extra work.
May 28, 2011
Summary: Mary Anne sits for the Kuhn kids and notices that Jake is sad because he doesn’t get to see his father very often. He also has two sisters, so he doesn’t have a steady male presence in his life. Mary Anne suggests that Logan come over to play with Jake while she’s sitting, and when he does, Jake is thrilled. Logan comes over a few more times but Mary Anne never mentions it to Mrs. Kuhn. (She thinks it’ll come off as a critique of Mrs. Kuhn’s parenting, which is really stupid.)
Of course, Mrs. Kuhn comes home early one day, finds Logan at the house, and assumes that he’s come by the mack on Mary Anne. As we all know, Mary Anne is never able to speak up for herself, so she doesn’t explain what’s really going on. Oh, and Logan bails to let her fend for herself, because he’s a jerk.
Mrs. Kuhn is ticked and calls Kristy to complain, which in turn makes the other BSC girls ticked, especially Kristy. They’re worried that news of Mary Anne’s irresponsibility will spread and ruin the BSC. Fortunately, Jake does Mary Anne’s job for her, explaining things to his mother, who has no problem with Logan dropping by to play with Jake. So basically, if Mary Anne hadn’t been such a chicken, there wouldn’t have been a problem, and I wouldn’t have had to read this boring book.
The B-plot is even more boring: It’s Halloween, and some of the kids in Stoneybrook want to run a haunted house. There’s a fight, the girls break off to do their own house, and…I don’t know, it goes well? It’s not exactly important.
Thoughts: Jamie wants to go trick-or-treating as a shopping bag so people will put candy right into his mouth. Maybe Jamie’s smarter than we all thought….
Mr. Pike has a black light. Yeah, with all those kids, he probably smokes a lot of pot to relax.
Who hires a sitter to take their kids trick-or-treating? Take your own dang kids trick-or-treating!
Isn’t Tiffany, who’s 11, too old to dress up as Tinker Bell?
Vanessa wants to make the girls’ haunted house “gross and disgusting,” so Mallory tells her to call Alan Gray, since he’s an expert. Point to Mallory.
March 12, 2011
Summary: Mrs. Prezzioso needs a sitter pretty much every day of the week, but only for Jenny. Mary Anne takes most of the jobs and soon learns that Mrs. Prezzioso has been taking Andrea to auditions for print and TV ads. For the first few days, Jenny has gone back to her super-prissy self – only to the extreme. She’s verging on obsessive-compulsive. Mrs. P. lets Mary Anne and Jenny come along on one of Andrea’s auditions, and Jenny decides she wants to be as pretty and beloved as her baby sister, so she asks to go on auditions, too.
Jenny actually does well following directions, but she’s not as naturally talented as Andrea (though…how talented can a baby be?), so she still doesn’t get quite as much attention. This makes her go to the other extreme, making huge messes of herself and the house. Mary Anne brings the issue up to the BSC girls, and they encourage her to mention it to Mrs. P., because the BSC girls never pass up an opportunity to tell parents what they’re doing wrong. Mrs. P., however, already knows something’s up, she just doesn’t know how to deal with it.
The problem gets kind of solved when Jenny and Andrea both land a job, and though Jenny does well, she realizes she doesn’t really want to be a model. She’d rather play kickball, and wear normal-kid clothes. In fact, when Jenny doesn’t land a later job, she’s happy because it means she can go play kickball. (And she invites the practically-invisible Mr. P. to come watch the game, and he goes, which is really sweet.) Problem solved! And it probably would have been solved without Mary Anne being there, so ha!
In the B-plot, the Pike triplets have decided that they’re too old to need sitters, so their parents give them a little more independence. The boys want to start a kickball team, but there are too many cooks, none of whom know which recipe to use, so games quickly dissolve into chaos. The BSC girls really want to get involved, but they also want the triplets to work things out themselves, so they wait until the boys have run out of ideas and offer some advice. The triplets actually listen and come up with ideas that make everyone happy.
As part of the B-plot, Mallory has become her parents’ slave: since she’s not allowed to do anything but go to school, she’s always at home, which means she’s always available to sit for her brothers and sisters. She’s actually doing more sitting than she was before she got sick. And yet her parents still won’t let her go back to the BSC. Mal gets some advice from the BSC girls (shocker) and talks to her parents, who realize that she’s well enough to resume her normal activities. So I guess it’s back to the minor leagues with Shannon.
Thoughts: What the–? Didn’t I just read a Mary Anne book? This one is really boring, by the way. I hate how the girls are always trying to solve families’ problems. Just watch the kid, mention any major issues to the parents, and stop trying to psychoanalyze four-year-olds.
Also, stop cleaning up her messes. Same with Mallory, who keeps cleaning up after the other Pike kids. Unless the kid is a baby, he or she is old enough to clean up a mess he or she made. And at the Pike house, there are seven kids to be used for manual labor. Stop whining, pick up a magazine, and let your parents yell at the kids for messing up the house.
“Would you believe that I, shy Mary Anne, helped to catch an arsonist who was setting fires with books?” Why do the ghostwriters always think shy people are good at nothing? I’m not entirely sure they know what the word “shy” means.