April 17, 2013
BSC #116, Abby and the Best Kid Ever: The Kids Aren’t All Right
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.