July 10, 2013

BSC #120, Mary Anne and the Playground Fight: Counselors in Need of Counseling

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 8:36 pm by Jenn

This didn't happen, but whatever, I don't care anymore

This didn’t happen, but whatever, I don’t care anymore

Summary: It’s almost summer (yes, again), and SMS is offering another big trip like the one they organized to Hawaii. This time, however, Mary Anne isn’t sure she wants to go since Dawn will be spending the summer in Stoneybrook, and Mary Anne wants to hang out with her. There’s also a big playground day camp being held all summer, and the BSC girls all want to get jobs there. The trip, which turns out to be to Paris and London, will take place at the same time as the camp, so the girls are worried that the people who go on the trip will be disqualified from the job, since they’ll have to miss a few days of work.

Mary Anne and Dawn decide not to go to Europe, but the other girls find non-babysitting ways to raise half their plane fare, like gardening and holding a stuffed animal sale. Everyone goes out for the playground camp jobs except Mallory and Jessi, who are cut from the process for being too young. Things get super-competitive, especially with Kristy, who turns into a big ol’ bossypants, so much so that people finally start calling her on it. There are only a few open slots at the camp, and the BSC girls want them so badly that some even lie a little on their job applications and in their interviews to try to get an advantage.

Things get so bad that while at a going-away party for Victoria Kent (see the B-plot), some of the girls start acting like they did at Jamie’s birthday party way back in book 4. They realize they’re being dumb and work things out, with Kristy genuinely apologizing and possibly learning a lesson. Ha ha! Probably not. Mary Anne, Dawn, Claudia, and Logan end up getting jobs at the camp.

In the B-plot, Victoria’s going back to England, as I said, and she really doesn’t want to leave America. She becomes a huge brat and whines a lot about moving. There’s no real turning point; she just kind of deals with having to leave America, while taking in as much American culture as she can while still in the States. She also invites the girls going on the Europe trip to come visit her while they’re in London.

Thoughts: I think this is the first book to mention that Dawn’s father and stepmother now have a baby.

This is also probably the first BSC book to use the word “sucks.” And an eight-year-old says it!

“If all your friends are going to Europe, you have to want to go.” Y’all, now Kristy is trying to control Mary Anne’s thoughts.

The idea of Mr. Spier having a van is really weird.

Logan’s welcome-home present for Dawn is a bottle of juice. Way to break a five, Logan.

Someone named a stuffed poodle Demitasse. Weird.

“‘But I believe for a true barbecue, you need a grill of some sort, don’t you?’ Lady Kent asked. ‘You need a barbecue,’ Mal said helpfully.” That cracked me up.

May 12, 2012

SVH Magna Edition, Return of the Evil Twin: The Girl With the Gemini Tattoo

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:43 pm by Jenn

Insert evil laughter here

Summary: It’s Christmas! But first we have to be reminded of the events of “last year,” when Margo terrorized the twins and supposedly died. “Supposedly” because she somehow survived a huge piece of glass to the jugular, overpowered the paramedics in the ambulance carting her off, killed them, and escaped. Oh, and it turns out she has her own identical twin, Nora. Margo was evil even as a child, and the twins’ stepmother made their father give Margo away. Now their father is dead, and the stepmother is kicking Nora out. Nora finds out about Margo and sets off to reunite with her. And yes, Nora is also crazy (girl can see smells).

In Sweet Valley, school’s out, and the twins and their friends are having a caroling party at Secca Lake. Todd and Jessica are both late, and Todd winds up crashing his car, which almost falls off a cliff. Jessica saves him and goes to the hospital with him. He’s not badly injured, but he’s definitely enough in shock to suddenly consider Jessica the greatest person on the planet, since she saved his life. Elizabeth isn’t happy about it, especially when the newspaper does an article on the story and calls Jessica Todd’s girlfriend.

Elizabeth is already on edge from dreams she’s having that are similar to the ones she had last year, about seeing a girl who looks like the twins but seems to want to kill them. Also, New Year’s Eve is approaching, which means the anniversary of Margo’s attempts on Liz’s life are, too. Todd keeps fawning all over Jessica, which just gets Elizabeth more and more frustrated. However, she doesn’t want to be fighting with Jessica on Christmas like she was last year, so the girls make up on Christmas Eve.

Nora traces Margo’s journey to Sweet Valley, learning about the twins along the way. She decides to finish what Margo started and take them out. On Christmas Eve, she visits Margo’s grave but instead finds Margo herself. The girls decide to kill both twins and take their place. It would be easier if they get Liz and Jess mad at each other first, so they can’t tell each other about any suspicions they might have, so Nora poses as Jessica posing as Elizabeth (got that?), goes on a date with Todd to a movie Liz is seeing with Enid, and makes sure Elizabeth sees them making out. It works, and Liz is furious with Jessica, who’s incredibly confused, since she was with Ken the whole time.

Elizabeth is mad at Jessica all week, but on New Year’s Eve, the twins are helping put on a fundraising carnival, so they have to be at the same place. Jessica winds up going to the House of Mirrors by herself and isn’t seen for a little while. Nora and Margo have been fighting over which of them gets to be Jessica once the twins are dead, with Margo showing herself to be alpha twin. She was Elizabeth last year, and now she wants to be Jessica. Plus, Nora has a tattoo on her arm of the Gemini sign, which Ned and Alice would be more likely to buy as something Jessica would get.

Nora is growing crazier and crazier, now hearing Margo talking to her in her head. She decides to make a move herself. In the early hours of New Year’s Day, she sneaks into the Wakefields’ house to stab Jessica, remove her body, and take her place. But Elizabeth wakes up and catches Nora going out the window, then sees Jessica dead in the bed.

Liz is traumatized, understandably (and it’s actually genuinely sad, sort of), and keeps telling people that Margo killed Jessica. Of course, everyone thinks Margo is dead, even though her body was never recovered, so they write off Elizabeth’s accusations as crazy talk. She has dreams about Jessica telling her she’s still alive and Liz has to save her, which doesn’t help her try to convince people she’s sane. Speaking of insanity, Margo has disappeared, and Nora is paranoid that she’s going to get revenge for Nora’s botched plan. She decides to kill Margo, then Elizabeth, and live out the rest of her life as Liz.

The Wakefields hold a memorial service for Jessica at the school, and Elizabeth thinks she can feel Jessica’s presence there. She figures out that Todd wasn’t with Jessica at the movies, but Margo (close, but no cigar), which just adds to her theory that Margo isn’t dead. Then Elizabeth has a dream about two Margos and starts to think Margo had her own twin. She’s pretty sure Jessica is still alive. When the police come by to ask her more about the night of Jessica’s murder, Elizabeth excuses herself, steals a cop’s gun, and heads to the school.

Nora’s also on her way there, thinking that’s where Margo’s lying in wait to finish her off. Also there? Jessica, who Margo kidnapped in the House of Mirrors. Nora tries to stab Jessica, who grabs the knife from her and fights her off. When Elizabeth arrives, she sees two girls who look exactly alike and can’t figure out which is the real Jessica. She decides which one is the fake, turns the gun on her, and gets her to spill that she’s Nora. That means she killed Margo, not Jessica, in Jess’ bed. So Nora is taken away and the Wakefields get Jessica back. She asks Liz how she decided which girl was which, and Elizabeth explains that, on top of her “twin’s intuition,” she knew Jessica didn’t have a Gemini tattoo.

Thoughts: So Margo was presumed dead and her body was never found, but someone made a headstone for her, dug a grave, and buried an empty coffin? Seems like overkill. Um, so to speak.

The twins have had some pretty terrible ideas, but renting out a carnival for a New Year’s Eve benefit is pretty awesome.

First he breaks his ankle, then he breaks his wrist. The ghostwriter must really hate Todd.

Trivia: Ned drives an LTD.

It’s pretty bad that Todd can’t tell the difference between Elizabeth and Nora when he kisses them.

If I were a cop investigating the murder of a girl who’d just had a huge fight with her sister, and that sister was trying to blame someone presumed to be dead, I’d probably suspect the sister. But when has anyone in Sweet Valley used logic?

October 27, 2011

BSC #88, Farewell, Dawn: West Coast Represent

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 6:44 pm by Jenn

"This time it's for good." Promise?

Summary: After hearing in the last book that Sunny’s mom has cancer, Dawn decides she really wants to move back to California – for good. School is about to start up, so she has to go quickly, which means she only has a couple of weeks left in Stoneybrook. While she’s trying to figure out how to break the news to Mary Anne, Dawn tells Kristy, in case she needs to get a move on replacing her in the BSC. Kristy tells Claudia, Claudia tells Stacey, Stacey tells Robert, Robert tells Logan, and Logan tells Mary Anne, who’s understandably ticked about not hearing the news straight from Dawn.

Mary Anne turns into a big baby, acting like a jerk to Dawn and refusing to help the other BSC girls plan her goodbye party. Of course, it’s just because she’s so upset, but talk about handling it badly. Though, to be fair, everyone else handles the news of Dawn moving across the country a little too well. Maybe they’re as sick of her as I am. Anyway, long story short, Dawn goes back to California, rarely to be heard from again.

In the B plot, James Hobart breaks his leg, so the BSC girls and a bunch of kids decide to put on Christmas in the summer to make him feel better. It’s sweet but boring.

Thoughts: There are actually some nice moments in this book, and Dawn is much less annoying than usual. Jessi writes her a nice letter saying how much she looks up to Dawn and admires her for standing up for what she believes in. There’s also a scene where Dawn and Stacey talk about changes and how it can be hard to make people understand what you want when they’re not ready for a change. And while I’m not a Dawn fan, I did feel a little bad for her, feeling torn between her two homes, and her friends who want her to stay but also want her to be happy.

Interesting that, despite being on probation, Stacey has been reinstated as treasurer. Maybe Shannon just really sucks with money.

Jessi tells the kids not to buy James a gun that shoots sparks because Dawn doesn’t like guns. Who gives a crap what Dawn doesn’t like if the present isn’t for her? If I were the kids wanting to buy it, I’d say, “Dawn’s moving across the country. I can buy whatever the heck I want.”

Why does Dawn write Sunny a letter when she’s going to see her in two days?

August 15, 2011

BSC #84, Dawn and the School Spirit War: Smells Like Teen Spirit

Posted in books tagged , , , at 10:50 pm by Jenn

I bet those socks are made from hemp

Summary: It’s School Spirit Month at SMS, which means lots of theme days, like Pajama Day and Clean Up Your School Day. The month is supposed to drum up support for the undefeated baseball team. At most schools, students would have fun with this, other would roll their eyes and decline to participate, and no one would really care much either way. But since Dawn is involved, School Spirit Month has to become A Thing.

It starts when Mary Anne admits that she doesn’t want to participate. She really, really doesn’t want to wear her pajamas to school. Instead of telling her to either suck up and do it or shut up and not do it, Dawn lets her keep whining. On the day when the students are supposed to wear yellow, Dawn forgets, only putting on yellow socks at the last minute. A local reporter comes to the school to cover the event (uh, as if) and makes Dawn look foolish.

Mary Anne realizes that she’ll have to wear pajamas on Pajama Day or risk being a social pariah, or some nonsense like that. Instead of, again, either sucking it up and going along or shutting up and not participating, Dawn and Mary Anne decide to circulate a petition to get Spirit Month canceled. This turns the event into an all-out war that divides the school, as well as the club. (Kristy, Claudia, and Jessi are pro-Spirit Month; Dawn, Mary Anne, and Mallory are anti-. Stacey’s not in the club but is anti- as well.)

Things get out of control, with lockers getting glued shut, parents screaming at each other at meetings about Spirit Month, and Dawn getting phone calls telling her to go back to California. (All in due time, my dears. All in due time.) The school decides to cancel Spirit Month, which is probably a good idea if the students aren’t mature enough to handle it without attacking each other. Dawn, however, has realized that things have gotten way out of control. She decides that she didn’t want to get the event canceled after all, so she and Mary Anne write up a proposal to get it reinstated, with the stipulation that participation be voluntary. Which…it…was in the first place. Shut up, Dawn.

In the B-plot, the Barretts and DeWitts are having trouble surviving in their crowded house. They decide to put an addition on the house to make more room, but the kids just want two big rooms to share. Yeah, that’s realistic.

Thoughts: I love how Dawn is all, “We have to stand up for what we believe in!” but when she actually gets Spirit Month canceled, she’s all, “Uh, just kidding.” I mean, I get her and Mary Anne wanting to stand up for their beliefs, but they’re really overreacting here. Save the protests for something political, not yellow socks. They act like they’re the Rosa Parks of SMS.

Shawna Riverson also forgets to wear yellow on Color Day. Probably because the girl has brain damage.

The girls get 300 signatures on their anti-Spirit Month petition. How big is SMS? Are we really supposed to think that’s half the school? Because that means SMS has 600 students, and I just don’t think there are that many people in Stoneybrook.

Someone calls Sharon an unfit mother because she supports Dawn and Mary Anne, and I’m kind of surprise Sharon doesn’t take her out. Sharon strikes me as the sort of person who would cut you if you looked at one of her children funny.

July 27, 2011

BSC #83, Stacey vs. the BSC: You’re Fired

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 9:58 pm by Jenn

Geez, Kristy, were you born in a barn?

Summary: Stacey has been spending a lot of time with Robert and his friends (which is why she kept missing meetings and jobs in Jessi and the Troublemaker), and the BSC girls don’t like it. Stacey’s started to feel more mature than the other girls and wonders if she’s outgrowing them and the club. She gets so caught up with her new friends that she misses more jobs, keeps showing up late to meetings, and complains (to herself) about the BSC girls’ perceived immaturity.

Admittedly, the girls are being a bit childish, especially Dawn and Mary Anne, who are basically spying on Stacey. They show up at her house while she’s throwing a party for a bunch of her new friends; the only BSC girl she invited was Claudia, who felt strange not telling the other girls about the party. The girls are helping their charges put on a talent show, and Stacey skips out on it so she doesn’t have to see them, which upsets Charlotte, who was nervous about playing the piano there.

This is the last straw for the BSC girls, who lay out everything Stacey’s been doing lately. They’re especially mad at her for hurting Charlotte (which I agree was a pretty rotten move for her to make). Stacey announces that she’s tired of Kristy being bossy, of having to come to meetings three times a week, and of the BSC girls’ immaturity. She quits, and Kristy tries to save face by firing her, but either way, Stacey’s out of the club. The final scene is her going to Charlotte’s piano recital at 5:30 on a Friday.

Thoughts: I remember being so shocked by this book when I first read it. People don’t leave the BSC! It’s like the mob – the only way you get out is when you die!

“Kristy reported that Melody did not live up to her name.” Ha!

Why would Dawn agree to go to a place called Burger Town? And why would Kristy and Mary Anne take her there? They’re just asking for a night full of whining.

Charlotte knows how to correctly use an apostrophe. Charlotte is smarter than most American adults.

Stacey calls Mallory meek, but I wouldn’t say that’s true at all. Dorky, yes; meek, no. Mary Anne’s the meek one.

Kristy, I don’t think you can fire someone from a club. Nice try, though.

July 10, 2011

SVH Magna Edition, A Night to Remember: Welcome to the Jungle

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:40 pm by Jenn

This cover could use a lot more jungle

Summary: It’s Jungle Prom, b%$@#&^.

The twins (mostly Elizabeth) decide that Sweet Valley needs to have a prom, specifically one with a jungle theme. They’ll team up with an environmental organization and donate the prom’s proceeds to them. The organization later decides to give the prom queen a trip to Brazil and the job of spokesperson for their organization. Elizabeth has recently decided that she needs to a) loosen up and b) stop worrying about Jessica and worry more about herself. She figures going for prom queen is a good place to start. Of course, Jessica also wants to be queen.

The twins put together a prom committee, but Jessica skips most of the meetings and does little to no work. She and Elizabeth learn of each other’s desires to be prom queen, and things get tenser and tenser between them. To make matters worse, Elizabeth is mad that Jessica keeps shirking her responsibilities, and Jessica is mad because she thinks Elizabeth is taking over the committee and will be a shoo-in for queen. Jessica tries to make sure she’s a front-runner, giving herself a cheerleading solo at a pep rally and handing out buttons promoting the prom.

Elizabeth is coming unglued, getting more and more obsessed with the prom and becoming queen, to the point where Todd is, like, “Whoa. Chill.” A magazine wants to do an interview with the twins, and when Jessica doesn’t show up, Elizabeth does the interview on her own. So of course Jessica thinks Liz set things up so she’d be excluded. Elizabeth also gets worked up about a school rivalry with Big Mesa (more on that later), and even though she’s been saying the whole book that the Oracle shouldn’t retaliate against all of Big Mesa’s newspapers’ propaganda against them, she writes a scathing article that again has Todd going, “Whoa. Chill.” Liz also taunts Enid about dating a guy from Big Mesa, so now Enid’s, like, “Whoa. Chill.”

By the time the prom comes around, the twins aren’t speaking to each other. Jessica has realized that Todd will most likely be elected king, and since the king’s election comes before the queen’s (I don’t know why they do them separately; I’ve never heard of that being done before), she’s sure Elizabeth will be everyone’s natural choice for queen. As predicted, Todd wins king, and while he’s doing something with raffle tickets, Elizabeth starts dancing with Sam. This is the last straw for Jessica, who finds out a Big Mesa guy has brought in some alcohol and decides to spike Elizabeth’s drink with it. She doesn’t realize that Elizabeth shares some of it with Sam.

Drunk Elizabeth and drunk Sam have a great time dancing, and Elizabeth decides that she doesn’t care anymore about being prom queen. She withdraws her name, saying Jessica should win. So Jess gets the crown, but she hears that Elizabeth dropped out and can’t feel happy about her victory. A bunch of Big Mesa kids show up and create a riot, during which Sam and Elizabeth go out to the twins’ Jeep. Jessica grabs Todd, tells him Elizabeth’s in trouble, and gets him to go after them. She tells Todd that Liz is drunk but doesn’t mention that she spiked her sister’s drink. They head off to Secca Lake, coming across a bad car accident and realizing it involved the Jeep. The police have already arrived, and someone remarks that there’s no way anyone could have survived the crash.

While all this is going on, Lila’s in counseling because she’s still struggling with the John Pfeifer incident. Her counselor, Nathan, is both a guidance counselor at SVH and a volunteer at Project Youth. At first Lila hates having to meet with him, but some comments from Jessica about his hotness and niceness make Lila develop a crush. At the prom, when the riot begins, Nathan finds Lila and takes her to a classroom to get away from the madness. But she starts to think his motives aren’t genuine and that he’s going to attack her. She starts screaming, and when the cops arrive to break up the riot, she tells them Nathan tried to attack her.

Bruce is at the forefront of the SVH/Big Mesa rivalry, basically getting Club X back together to bust heads. He’s also stringing Andrea Slade along and trying to get over Regina. When the prom riot moves to the football field, Bruce gets smacked with a baseball bat and is this close to being finished off when a girl tells his attacker to leave him alone. Bruce is so out of it that at first he thinks the girl is Regina. She starts to help him up, but he gets knocked out.

To be continued on all counts…

Thoughts: This book is SO MUCH BETTER than any of the previous books in the series. It’s like the ghostwriter woke up one morning and realized, “I’ve been writing crap! I need to at least write some soapy, entertaining crap!”

So there was no prom scheduled for SVH until Elizabeth thought it up? Weird, no?

Trivia: Lila loved The Catcher in the Rye.

Hey, it’s Jeffrey! Hi, Jeffrey! Yeah, don’t get too comfortable. You’re not staying.

“Here’s something that might interest you – I know you’re a big fan of my biceps.” I miss you already, Sam.

The prom committee discusses whether they should allow Big Mesa students to buy tickets, which makes no sense to me. If it’s an SVH dance, it should only be open to SVH students and their dates. The Big Mesa students can have their own prom.

Hey, A.J.’s in this book, too! It’s like a big ol’ reunion.

If the chaperones thought Elizabeth was drunk but knew she would never drink, why wouldn’t they suspect that someone spiked the punch?

Lila, taunting Bruce for not having a prom date: “Did your inflatable doll pop when you pinned on her corsage?” Lila for president!

April 19, 2011

BSC #76, Stacey’s Lie: Apparently Stacey’s Dad Has Got It Going On, Too

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , at 9:39 pm by Jenn

There is a surprising lack of fire on Fire Island

Summary: Stacey’s dad wants to take her on vacation, and she asks to go to Fire Island, where her boyfriend Robert is working for the summer. She decides not to tell her dad or Claudia, who’s also coming. Claudia finds out about Robert’s presence on the island soon after they arrive, and Stacey tells her she didn’t say anything because she didn’t think Claudia would want to come if she knew she’d wind up as a fifth wheel. Stacey’s dad is, unsurprisingly, never around, so Claudia’s the only person Stacey has to tell where she’s going. Claudia keeps her mouth shut but is obviously not happy to have her vacation with her best friend interrupted.

Stacey rushes a girls’ night with Claudia so she can be with Robert, and Claudia decides that’s the last straw. They stop talking, and when Kristy, Mary Anne, and Shannon come visit for a weekend, Claudia turns them against Stacey. She also leaves early because she can’t stand to be in the same house with Stacey.

Robert and Stacey run into Stacey’s dad and a woman named Samantha, and he reveals that he arranged for Samantha to stay on the island so they could see each other during their vacation. He’s upset with Stacey for lying about her reasons for wanting to come to Fire Island, and they stop talking as well. Even though he brought his girlfriend along and lied about it. Jerk.

Robert doesn’t like how Stacey acted toward her father and best friend, so he dumps her. She finds out that Claudia was selling some photos in a shop on the island, and she’s upset that Claudia didn’t feel she could tell her about it. She realizes that she made a huge mistake and makes up with her dad. She also realizes that she needs to work through her issues about her dad dating someone. And then, almost as an afterthought, Stacey also patches things up with Claudia and Robert.

In the B-plot, Mallory and Jessi are working at a day camp, which Haley and Vanessa are attending. They wear the same bathing suit one day and for some reason it leads to a huge fight. They spend the whole book terrorizing each other until Jessi and Mallory make them work together. Snore.

Thoughts: Stacey wears black jean shorts over blue tights. Shudder.

I have the British version of this book, and when Stacey wonders if Claudia will feel like a fifth wheel to her and Robert, it says, “She might think she’d be a gooseberry.” I’m totally saying that from now on. Other Britishisms: “holiday” for vacation, “subs” for dues, and “vice chairman” for vice president.

There’s a house on Fire Island that a doctor rents called Bedside Manor. That’s awesome.

Another Stacey outfit: She wears a sleeveless denim shirt and green leggings. The horror.

December 26, 2010

BSC #64, Dawn’s Family Feud: Shut Up, Jeff

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , at 3:12 pm by Jenn

Everyone needs to CHILL OUT

Summary: Jeff comes to visit, and the Schafers/Spiers take a trip to Boston. Jeff is being a spoiled brat and trying to avoid Richard, who just wants to do guy stuff with him, and this makes Mary Anne mad, which in turn makes Dawn mad. So the three kids are all bickering and avoiding each other, and the Schafers end up doing different things from the Spiers on vacation. For some reason, Richard and Sharon let this continue, even though they’re obviously not happy. Finally, they tell the kids that they’re going to have to get along because they’re not having separate vacations anymore.

Back home, things are still tense, but Sharon and Richard want everyone to have a family portrait taken together. During the photo session, Dawn and Mary Anne realize how angry they look with each other, which makes them laugh, and everyone apologizes to everyone else. And hopefully Jeff gets grounded or gets half his Christmas presents taken away or something, because he was a total brat through the whole book.

In the B plot, Mrs. Barrett is dating a guy named Franklin DeWitt, who has four kids. The Barrett and DeWitt kids, like the Schafer and Spier kids, can’t stand each other, and every time they’re together, they fight. Claudia and Shannon (yes, Shannon) finally get them to call a truce by pointing out that they can’t play games that need lots of people unless they all get along. Yep.

Thoughts: Dear ghostwriter, it’s the Air and Space Museum, not the Aerospace Museum. Try some research next time.

Mrs. Barrett and Franklin need to take a sitter along on a family picnic? Really?

The Schafers/Spiers sing on long car trips. We must destroy them.

The family gets two hotel rooms, one for Sharon and Richard, and one for Mary Anne, Dawn, and Jeff. Why is a ten-year-old boy sharing a room with 13-year-old girls?? Also, how much does Sharon hate Mary Anne for insisting on staying in her and Richard’s room? You just know Sharon can’t stand how much of a daddy’s girl Mary Anne is.

There is not one chance Mary Anne doesn’t know what the Boston tea Party is, so shut up, ghostwriter.

I thought the BSC girls’ postcard-writing was out of control before, but Dawn writing to Kristy from the car ON THE WAY HOME takes the (sugar-free) cake.

December 11, 2010

BSC #63, Claudia’s -Freind- Friend: Me Fail English? That’s Unpossible!

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 12:34 pm by Jenn

Why don't we ever get to see Claudia's truly crazy outfits?

Summary: Claudia’s failing English, and she dreads returning to the resource room, where she can get one-on-one attention from an actual teacher, so her parents let the BSC girls tutor her. Except it turns into just Stacey tutoring her, and Stacey’s kind of a bitca about it. Basically, Stacey should never be a teacher. She makes Claudia keep a diary to get her in the habit of writing and to use some of her vocab words from class, but Claudia also keeps a diary complaining about Stacey. After the two girls get in a huge fight, Stacey winds up seeing the secret diary (of course), but it helps her realize that she was too hard on Claudia.

Shea Rodowsky is also having trouble in school – he’s just been diagnosed with dyslexia, and also needs help with his English work. The BSC girls are enlisted to tutor him as well, but Claudia, of all people, is the one who connects with him the most, as they’re able to help each other. Each helps the other feel less dumb, and they come up with some creative ways to learn and remember certain spelling rules.

In a sort of B plot, the girls are receiving notes from a secret admirer. At first they think the notes are for one girl from one guy, but after getting a whiff of some of Cokie’s perfume on a note, they decide that she’s pulling the same trick she pulled in Mary Anne’s Bad Luck Mystery, only with nice notes instead of threatening ones. They put on their ugliest clothes to meet the note-writer at a restaurant…and then find out that the notes are from a bunch of the kids they sit for. Jackie Rodowsky organized the outing to show appreciation for the girls. Fortunately, the kids don’t seem to notice how bad the girls look, and they all have a good time.

Thoughts: I don’t get why the Rodowskys don’t just hire Mallory to tutor Shea, since she was so awesome with Buddy Barrett.

Non-sports-lover Mary Anne knows Jackie Robinson played for the Dodgers? Doubtful.

So Claudia’s failing English, her parents and Janine apparently don’t help her with her homework anymore, and they let 13-year-olds tutor her. They really don’t care, do they? They’ve already put all their eggs in Janine’s basket.

Why does Shea ask Claudia to help him with his spelling right after she tells him she’s bad at it? I think he should also ask for help with listening.

November 7, 2010

BSC #60, Mary Anne’s Makeover: Don’t Ever Change

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 4:47 pm by Jenn

I think Mary Anne and Claudia switched outfits

Summary: Mary Anne makes a New Year’s resolution to be the best Mary Anne she can be (she would watch Oprah, wouldn’t she?), and she starts with a short haircut and trendier clothes. Dawn, Kristy, Claudia, and Stacey don’t like the changes (Mallory and Jessi barely appear in the book and never really say anything), and they make snide comments about Mary Anne’s haircut and generally acting like little snots. Mary Anne spends more and more time with Logan because she doesn’t want to be with the mean girls, and for some reason that makes them even snottier.

Other people at school are paying more attention to Mary Anne, probably because she no longer seems so timid. But then a rumor spreads that a high school guy named Carlos likes her, so people think she’s cheating on Logan. And the BSC girls aren’t talking to her. Sick of everyone talking about her behind her back and/or being nasty to her face, Mary Anne skips a couple of BSC meetings (no repurcussions, amazingly) and keeps dressing the way she wants to dress.

Mary Anne and Dawn get into a fight, in which Dawn is a complete bitca, and Mary Anne decides that she hasn’t been the nicest person either, though I maintain she did nothing wrong, and in fact had more self-control than I would have if I knew Dawn in real life. Mary Anne finally gets Dawn to talk about what her issues her, and apologize for being such a jerk. Eventually the BSC girls follow suit and everything’s peachy again.

In the B plot, Carolyn Arnold builds a time machine. It doesn’t work.

Thoughts: Of course Carolyn’s time machine doesn’t work. She can’t even spell “time machine” correctly. Or “broken.” Or “blanket.” Yet she can spell “curtain.” Shut up, ghostwriter.

“[Richard] can be very conservative, but he knows jazz.” Conservative people don’t listen to jazz? Really, Mary Anne? Really?

Richard lets Mary Anne get a “fiery red, off-the-shoulder crepe dress, with shirred sleeves, a fitted bodice, and a skirt that flared to mid-calf.” I know this series has been going on for a while, but she’s still 13, right? If I say I think that dress is too grown-up for her, does that make me conservative? I mean, I don’t really listen to jazz…

Carolyn: “Noooooo!” Claudia: “I think she means no.” Once again, Claudia brings the funny.

Either Sabrina Bouvier suddenly aged seven years or there are two of them. Or, more likely, the ghostwriter screwed up.

Logan thinks it’s “extreme” for Mary Anne not to go to BSC meetings until the other girls apologize. Maybe, but not as extreme as being mean to someone because she got a haircut.

Not only does Mary Anne have to put up with all her friends’ crap, she also has to read A Separate Peace. Poor girl.

“Oh, go choke on an alfalfa sprout.” New Mary Anne is AWESOME.

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