October 16, 2012

BSC #108, Don’t Give Up, Mallory: Don’t Ask Me, I’m Just a Girl

Posted in books tagged , , at 8:50 pm by Jenn

Bravo, cover artist – these kids actually look 11

Summary: Mallory takes a class about children’s literature, which she’s really excited about…until it starts. The teacher, Mr. Cobb, grades only based on participation, then doesn’t call on the girls as much on the boys. When he does call on the girls, he only gives them a few seconds to get their thoughts together, then moves on to a boy. And half the time, he just lets the boys call out answers and ignores the girls raising their hands. Mallory doesn’t want to say anything, though, since the other kids are already teasing her about having good grades and she doesn’t want to rock the boat with anyone.

The sixth grade is also working on a big fundraiser, which Mallory gets to help plan as sixth-grade secretary. While looking through old records to get an idea of something to donate to the school, she learns that a previous class tried to give money for a student lounge, but no lounge exists. After some more digging, Mallory finds out that the money was used to make some repairs to the building instead. The principal agrees to let the sixth-graders fundraise for a lounge, promising to match the money if they make over $1,000.

Mallory becomes a major part of the fundraising activities, and the class raises more than $1,300 through things like selling flowers and running a dunk-the-teacher booth. The praise she gets for her leadership makes her decide to confront Mr. Cobb about favoring the boys. He blows her off because he thinks he’s an awesome teacher and isn’t going to let some shy little girl upset about her grade tell him what to do. Mallory also tells one of her classmates, Sandra, who tries to make herself look more feminine so boys will like her, to stop being an airhead, which is pretty awesome of her. Mr. Cobb winds up thinking about what Mal said and apologizing to the class for his actions.

B-plot: Buddy Barrett wants to march in the Memorial Day parade, but he’s not part of a group, so he can’t. He lies to the parade organizers, saying he’s in a marching band, and the BSC girls decide to make their own band for all the kids who want to be in the parade. They make their own instruments, which don’t play anything, but Mallory comes up with the idea of putting kazoos in the instruments. Then it gets boring.

Thoughts: Mallory is actually pretty cool in this book, at least once she grows a backbone.

“Guys don’t like girls who act too brainy.” Well, then I guess you don’t have too many boy problems, Sandra, because you’re a moron.

“I think we should do some dancing in this parade.” Jessi, don’t make me tell you to shut up.

If the girls are so annoyed with Mr. Cobb for not calling on them when they raise their hands, and for letting the boys call out answers, why don’t they just stop raising their hands and call out answers?

The day of the parade, a bunch of parents drop their kids off with Kristy without talking to her or even making sure she knows she needs to look after them. Because if there’s any chance to get away from their children, Stoneybrook parents will take it.

November 1, 2010

BSC Super Special #9, Starring the Baby-sitters Club!: Jessi Ramsey is Better Than You. At Everything. EVERYTHING

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , at 10:45 pm by Jenn

Is it just me, or does Stacey look like a dude?

Summary: Stoneybrook Elementary, Middle, and High Schools put on a production of Peter Pan, and some of the BSC girls, their siblings, and their charges try out. And then there’s drama. Lots of drama.

Jessi thinks she’s a shoe-in for the role of Peter, since she’s a dancer and has tons of stage experience. She is wrong. Kristy winds up with the role, and Jessi is told by the director, Mr. Cheney, that even though she’s a good dancer, she’s no better at singing or acting than Kristy. Jessi is, to put it mildly, murderous with rage over the turn of events, and when she’s cast as an Indian, she withdraws from the show. She’s further disappointed when the other BSC girls, especially Kristy, refuse to put up with her crap. (It’s awesome.)

Jessi becomes the assistant choreographer, but then gets mad when Mr. Cheney won’t recognize that she’s basically his righthand gal and he would cease to exist without her help. On opening night, Pete Black, who’s supposed to be playing Nana and the crocodile, breaks his nose and can’t play his parts, so Jessi agrees to fill in for him. I’m sure she wishes she’d thought of breaking Kristy’s nose so she could take her place.

Kristy actually wanted to be Nana and the crocodile, so she’s really surprised when she lands the lead. Her plot mainly involves her struggling to memorize her lines, and having to deal with Cokie and her issues. (Cokie’s playing Tiger Lily.) Kristy wins this round, singing all of Cokie’s solo lines with her.

Dawn is cast as Wendy and takes it upon herself to modernize the play, since she finds it sexist. No one puts up with her crap either.

Stacey is Mrs. Darling, and Sam is cast as her husband. He keeps joking around, which drives her crazy, and he finally admits that he was just trying to show his friends how much fun he has with Stacey, since they’ve been teasing him about dating a middle-schooler. They actually solve their problems through communication, which is amazing.

Mary Anne becomes the “backstage babysitter,” looking after all the kids in the play. Mallory is working on costumes but finds herself bored a lot, so she tries to impinge on Mary Anne’s territory. Mary Anne awesomely stands up to her, getting her to back off.

Claudia helps design the sets. That’s it.

Jackie Rodowsky is Michael Darling, and he inadvertently causes all sorts of problems by complaining that they’re not allowed to really fly and by being scared of Pete in the crocodile costume. He gets straightened out with a good talking-to from Mr. Cheney, and he overcomes his herpetophobia when he finds out Jessi will be in the costume.

Karen whines her way into the role of Tinker Bell and is generally a little gnat who never shuts up.

The play goes well. Happy ending!

Thoughts: This was one of my favorite Super Specials when I was a kid – I was big into theater, especially musicals, and I loved books about people putting on plays. I also watched the Mary Martin version of Peter Pan numerous times when I was younger. (Hey, just like Squirt!)

Why is Jessi, not Mallory, writing for the school paper?

Do we really have to call the play a “musical extravaganza”? It’s…not really that exciting.

I’m surprised Dawn wants to play Tiger lily, considering the unPC-ness of the role.

Stacey sings “Mack the Knife” at her audition. I’m going to need a ruling from Simon Cowell. What’s that, Simon? Boring, old-fashioned, and forgettable? I agree.

Why would Dawn waltz at her audition? I haven’t seen Peter Pan for a little while, but I’m pretty sure Tiger Lily doesn’t waltz.

Uh, Cokie and I watch the same soap opera. I bet Carly is her favorite character.

You know why Karen’s so annoying? Because people keep enabling her. Mr. Cheney should have ignored her and not given in to her demands to be Tinker Bell. Let her learn at an early age that life isn’t fair. (Though points to him for giving her a non-speaking role.)

So they cast a bunch of elementary-school kids in the play but don’t get anyone to look after them? This seems like a top-notch production.

Mary Anne: “Peter promised her and her brothers an adventure, didn’t he?” Dawn: “Oh, that’s just like a man. They always say stuff like that.” Dawn. You’re 13. The only man you know is your father, and his promises all involve Disneyland. On the other hand, I don’t exactly appreciate Mary Anne saying, “So what if the play is sexist?” Uh, you should, actually. Anyway, if Dawn has such a problem with the play, why did she audition in the first place?

The actors are expected to start memorizing their lines after about two rehearsals. Seriously?

I love how they skip over all the boring stuff and suddenly it’s, like, a week before the show opens. Makes sense to me.

Aw, my high school choir director/theater teacher said, “Sing out, Louise,” too. I miss him.

Dawn’s dad can’t come to the play, so Richard tapes it for him and gives her flowers. Aw, Richard’s all right.

September 18, 2010

BSC #56, Keep Out, Claudia!: Claudia Gets All the Serious Books

Posted in books tagged , , , at 3:49 pm by Jenn

Children of the Corn! Except it's Claudia, so...Children of the Candy Corn

Summary: The BSC girls start sitting for a family named the Lowells, whose three children are kind of weird. When Claudia takes a job for the family, Mrs. Lowell is cold toward her, and the kids act strangely around her. Then when Jessi goes over to sit, Mrs. Lowell won’t even let her in the house. Kristy figures out that the Lowells are racist, which especially hits home since the girls are helping a bunch of their charges form a multicultural band called All the Children (gag), which will perform songs from Fiddler on the Roof. By the way, the band was Jackie Rodowsky’s idea (as he keeps telling everyone), so he’s the Kristy of the sitting charges, I guess.

Kristy’s realization leads to a Very Serious Conversation at a BSC meeting, in which the ghostwriter schools the readers about centuries of wrongs done to people because of their races and religions. Just as we’re all getting sufficiently bummed out, Mrs. Lowell inadvertently makes things funny by calling to request a blonde-haired, blue-eyed sitter. They should send Jessi over again just for laughs. Kristy proceeds to tell Mrs. Lowell that she has an Asian sister, which freaks the woman out. She then notes to the other girls that all of the club members have family situations that wouldn’t suit the Lowells  – Dawn and Stacey are blonde but have divorced parents, Mary Anne has a stepfamily, Logan’s a boy, and there are just too dang many Pikes. Shannon gets no mention because she’s the exception that proves the rule.

The kids put on their concert (and the band is never mentioned again), which the Lowell kids show up to, most likely against their parents’ wishes (Mrs. Lowell didn’t want them in the band because, you know, there are non-white kids there). The BSC girls are sad that they had to deal with bigots but hope the kids don’t grow up believing what their parents do. They want to get revenge on the Lowells but decide that would make them no better than bigots, or something, so they decide to just brush them off if they ever call for a sitter. Which, why would they if they might get a non-Aryan?

Thoughts: Trivia tidbit #1: Kristy and Jessi hoard their money, according to Claudia. But wouldn’t Jessi spend a lot of hers on ballet stuff?

Kristy admonishes Claudia for not saying anything about her bad experience with the Lowells, and Claudia says she wrote about it in the club notebook. So Kristy didn’t read the notebook! I wonder if she has to punish herself.

Trivia tidbit #2: Jamie Newton is part Native American.

Jackie, upon being hugged by Claudia: “Do not hug me. You are a girl! I hope Nicky didn’t see that.” Love it!

June 15, 2010

BSC #45, Kristy and the Baby Parade: Failure to Communicate, and Other Failures

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 9:52 pm by Jenn

I bet Emily Michelle is age-delayed in waving, too

Summary: The BSC girls take a class in infant care, then decide to enter a bunch of kids in a baby parade. Things go badly. They decide on a theme of the nursery rhyme about the old woman who lives in a shoe, which is, granted, a good idea for a float that involves lots of kids. But the float looks nothing like a shoe, it’s orange while the kids’ outfits are pink, and hanging out with a bunch of babies isn’t most people’s idea of a good time. Also, the girls aren’t really speaking to each other because they had a big blow-up over the parade, thanks to their inability to talk to each other about things like colors and…I don’t know, the proper way to build a shoe out of chicken wire. Of course, they all make up, but that doesn’t change the fact that the whole book is a waste of paper and my time.

Thoughts: This book is SO BORING. Maybe 12-year-olds like reading about taking care of babies, but it’s just not that exciting to this 28-year-old. And I like babies!

Her older kid may be a brat, but Mrs. Prezzioso’s doing something right: Before she lets any of the girls sit for her new baby, she wants them all to take an infant-care class (and she offers to pay the tuition).

Claudia dresses like a watermelon, in a red shirt with black buttons, and green and white leggings. Kill me now.

The BSC girls’ lousy float ideas:

Kristy – Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Claudia – Babies from outer space

Mary Anne – Three Little Kittens

Stacey – New York, New York

Dawn – Surfin’ USA

MalloryMisty of Chincoteague

Jessi – none, which makes her the winner

Squirt’s favorite Sesame Street character is “this little guy, Elmo, who isn’t on very often.” So Squirt can say he was into Elmo before Elmo hit the big time.

For the love of bunnies, Kristy, BURP THE DANG BABY. I’m sick of reading about her spitting up every ten pages.

June 12, 2010

BSC #44, Dawn and the Big Sleepover: Kids are Awesome

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 8:08 pm by Jenn

See what happens when you do nice things? You get smacked in the head with a pillow

Summary: A bunch of the BSC girls’ clients are pen pals with a group of Zuni kids in New Mexico. The Zunis’ school burns down and the fire damages the homes of some of the families in the area. Dawn is stricken by the news and decides that she, the BSC girls, and the kids need to mobilize to help out. They organize food and clothes drives, and the kids do various other things to raise money, like holding a mini-carnival (the Pike kids) and telling fortunes (the awesome Haley Braddock). The reward for everyone’s hard work is a big sleepover, also organized by the BSC girls (but headed up by Dawn). They raise a ton of money, enjoy their reward, and are proud of themselves for being so helpful.

Thoughts: I find it hard to snark on this book because, embarrassingly enough, I find it pretty touching. Dawn’s only 13 and she basically takes on this huge task all by herself. With the exception of a few teachers and parents who help out, everyone who raises money is a kid or teenager. You guys, it’s heartwarming! And the book has a good message – kids can help other kids, even by doing just a few little things.

The Pike triplets’ “secret language” is Pig Latin? Man, they’re not trying at all, are they?

Is there a rule in the club bylaws (and you just know there are bylaws) that Kristy has to call every unscheduled meeting an emergency club meeting?

The Rodowskys give their kids permission to have a yard sale, then hire Claudia to organize it. Lazy!

Once again, Haley rocks, bilking Alan Gray and his friends out of $2 for 25-cent fortunes. Kristy must be very proud.

January 22, 2010

BSC #26, Claudia and the Sad Good-bye: I Totally Did Not Cry While Reading This Book, Part 2

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 8:03 pm by Jenn

Is it getting dusty in here or is it just me?

Summary: Claudia’s grandmother, Mimi, who’s been sick for some time, is getting worse. Just as she seems to be improving, she dies suddenly, traumatizing everyone (including the readers – seriously, did Ann M. Martin have to kill off the nicest character?). Claudia tries to come to grips with what happen and her feelings of abandonment, making this one of the deeper books in the series. Her family also tries to move on without one of its most important members.

The B plot also involves Claudia – she’s teaching art classes for a bunch of kids the club sits for. One of the students is Corrie Addison, a girl whose parents seem to spend no time with their kids. Claudia is actually the person who brings this up to Corrie’s mom, making her realize that she needs to, you know, be a mom.

Thoughts: Seriously, too sad. I never liked this book. But it deals with death in a way that young readers can grasp, reminding them that death is a part of life and everyone has to deal with it sooner or later. It’s also realistic, in that teenagers lose their grandparents all the time, and though Mimi’s death isn’t exactly enjoyable, it’s almost inevitable.

There’s some foreshadowing of Stacey’s parents’ split and her and her mom’s return to Stoneybrook, which reminds me how much I always liked Welcome Home, Stacey! It also cut the sadness a little for me.

I don’t have much snark for this book, but I have to mention one spectacular Claudia outfit: Lavender plaid cuffed pants with suspenders over a green buttoned shirt, a lavender beret, fleece-lined sneakers, and blinking Christmas-tree-light earrings. Purple and green? Bad call, Claud. I could totally go for some fleece-lined sneakers, though.

January 18, 2010

BSC Super Special #2, Baby-sitters’ Summer Vacation: Drink Every Time Charlotte Cries

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 5:41 pm by Jenn

Lamest kickline ever

Summary: The BSC girls all go to summer camp to serve as counselors in training (CITs), except for Mallory and Jessi, who are too young. All of the obligatory kids-at-summer-camp plots are included: Someone falls in luv, someone gets poison ivy, someone goes on a camping trip, there’s a food fight and a dance, and there’s a whole subplot about…racism? Geez, let’s make things extra-serious, why don’t we?

Since it’s a Super Special, that means everyone gets a plot:

Stacey becomes a hypochondriac and thinks she has Lyme disease, when she really has poison ivy, a ton of mosquito bites, and a couple other minor ailments. She lands in the infirmary for a few days and then recovers. Thrilling, huh?

Dawn deals with a girl in her cabin who’s quiet and doesn’t want to hang out with the other girls. When the group goes on an overnight camping trip with an inept counselor and they all get lost, the quiet girl takes charge and gets everyone back to camp safely.

Jessi and Mallory are taunted by their cabinmates for, basically, being new and not both being white. They also are put in charge of teaching a group of eight-year-olds a dance for a talent show. They transform their foes through THE POWER OF DANCE, and everything’s good in the end, except one girl still won’t talk to them, but who wants to be friends with a racist anyway?

Claudia falls in luv at first sight with a guy named Will from the boys’ camp, and spends the book either trying to find out who he is or hanging out with him. This is pretty much because every BSC book involving a trip has to involve a love connection of some kind.

Kristy deals with problems similar to Mary Anne’s, in that her co-CITs want to change her. She also has to put up with Charlotte Johannsen, who spends pretty much the entire book crying because she’s homesick.

Mary Anne tries to prove to her co-CITs that she’s cool and sophisticated (and also that Logan, who’s at the boys’ camp across the lake, actually exists). She tries to sneak around the lake to deliver a hideous love letter to Logan (more on that below) and even tells her co-CITs they can pierce her ears so they’ll see her as cool. Everyone chills out when they realize that Logan isn’t a figment of Mary Anne’s imagination after all.

Logan puts up with his annoying co-CITs who tease him about Mary Anne’s love letter (trust me – you would, too) until they meet her and see that she’s not a complete wreck. Sort of.

Thoughts: I think I enjoyed this book so much as a kid because I never went to overnight camp. (If I had, I would have been the Charlotte of the group.) Taken separately, the individual plots are pretty dull, but together, they’re not horrible. They’re still pretty predictable and generic, though.

It always bugged me that in this book, we’re told that Jessi’s father’s name is Alex when it should be John, since Squirt’s real name, as we’re told in every book, is John Philip Ramsey, Jr. Oops!

Dawn says of a camper, “She reminded me an awful lot of Mallory. Only in a good way.” I think if I were Mallory, I’d be insulted. Doesn’t that imply that you can be like Mallory in a bad way?

What kind of 11-year-old calls another 11-year-old an Oreo? Kindly remove yourself from civilization until you can actually be civil, Maureen.

The exchange between Kristy and Tansy, her co-CIT, upon their first meeting cracks me up:

Tansy: “My name’s Tansy. I know it’s a weird name. It means someone who’s tenacious. In Middle Latin. I mean, it’s the Middle Latin word for tenacious. So I don’t mind the name at all. It’s an important one.”

Kristy: “I looked my name up in a book once and I couldn’t find it.”

Tansy: “I need new nail polish.”

Once again, Claudia’s the funniest girl in the club. Boys unexpectedly show up at her cabin and people freak out.

Leann: “I’m changing!”

Vanessa: “I’m naked!”

Claudia: “I’m Claudia.”

She also puts an inchworm on her co-CIT’s pillow “to see how she’d react.” Four pages later, we get this: “‘There’s a worm on my bed!’ she cried, and darted across the cabin, out of worm’s way. (Oh, so that’s what would happen if Sally found an inchworm on her pillow.)” Hee.

So here’s Mary Anne’s letter to Logan in its entirety. She actually writes it as a joke, hoping her co-CIT will find it and see how sophisticated she is. Yeah, tell me if this sounds sophisticated:

Dear Logan,

I miss you so much! I am counting the days until next Wednesday. This next week will seem like a year. I think of you and want to swon swoon. Oh, to feel your arms around me at the dance! It has been too long since our last kiss.

I will be wearing the formal teepee wear, of course, and a yellow ribbon in my hair. What of you, my love? Will you wear your after-shave? If you were to bring me a yellow flower to match my ribbon, I would melt in your arms.

Love forever, kisses and hugs,

Your love-bunny,

Mary Anne XXOO

The love-bunny also calls Lake Dekanawida, which no one can pronounce or spell correctly, Lake Dukakis. Heh.

Is getting your ears pierced at camp, like, a thing? It happens in The Parent Trap, too. And why does Mary Anne’s co-CIT have a big needle with her at camp? Just in case this sort of situation arose?

January 10, 2010

BSC #24, Kristy and the Mother’s Day Surprise: It May Be Mother’s Day, But It’s Still All About the BSC

Posted in books tagged , , at 7:25 pm by Jenn

Nice hair, child I assume is Becca

Summary: Kristy and the other BSC girls (well, the ones with mothers – sorry, Mary Anne) want to do something nice for their moms for Mother’s Day, and they decide to incorporate that with helping some of the kids they sit for do nice things for their moms. They decide to take a bunch of kids to a carnival and a playground for the day so their mothers can have some alone time. It works, everyone has fun, etc., etc. Also, Stacey comes to help.

Kristy’s mom and stepfather are being really secretive, and also talking about adding another child to the family, so everyone thinks they’re trying to get pregnant. They’re not, but they’re trying to adopt, and in the final pages of the book, they announce that they’ve adopted a two-year-old girl from Vietnam named Emily Michelle. (No, the use of both her first and middle names is never explained, but then again, neither is the use of David Michael’s first and middle names.)

Thoughts: As cheesy as it is to say, I like the way this book presents families. Growing up, I was the only person I knew with half siblings, and this book reinforces the idea that a family can have any kind of structure. Andrew and Karen are Kristy’s stepbrother and -sister, but she sometimes just calls them her brother and sister. And though it’s obvious that Emily Michelle is adopted, Kristy just calls her her sister. Yay, BSC, for being realistic and not just containing a bunch of families with two parents and some kids.

I don’t get why Watson and Mrs. Thomas wait until the adoption papers are signed before telling the kids about Emily Michelle. That just seems like a horrible idea.

Dawn wears a necklace that says “I’m awesome.” Ug.

Jessi says, “Becca might be shy, but she always likes a good field trip.” What the heck do those two things have in common?

Why would Jamie’s parents put up a flier in their house for a carnival they’ve told him they can’t take him to? Do they enjoy torturing their four-year-old?

Mr. Pike has been pretty awesome in the past, but he reaches his peak of awesomeness here by playing the Barrett kids’ father for the day. No wonder Mrs. Pike had eight kids with this guy.

This book foreshadows both Stacey’s parents divorce and Mimi’s death, which just makes me dread rereading Claudia and the Sad Goodbye more than I already was.

December 27, 2009

BSC #20, Kristy and the Walking Disaster: Count the ’80s Sports Movie Clichés

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 9:24 pm by Jenn

But they're supposed to have matching shirts and mismatched hats! Sigh

Summary: Kristy starts a softball team called Kristy’s Krushers, comprised of kids who are too young/not talented enough for Little League.  The team also consists of Jackie Rodowsky, the walking disaster, as we’re reminded at least 30 times. He’s a klutz, but the kid can hit a baseball, so shut up, Kristy. You put a two-and-a-half-year-old on your team and you’re worried about Jackie?

Anyway, the kids aren’t the best players, but they try really hard, which makes Kristy really proud of them. The team plays Bart’s Bashers, made up of kids who are a little older and a little more talented, and coached by a guy named Bart Taylor, who Kristy develops a crush on. In the end, the Krushers lose, but Kristy gets the guy. Like I said, ’80s sports movie clichés abound.

Thoughts: Other than her constant referrals to Jackie as a walking disaster when the poor kid is really just a klutz with bad luck, Kristy’s not too bad in this book. She’s really patient with the kids when she’s coaching them, and she turns out to be a natural. I think she’s found a calling.

Though she’s dumb enough to let Jackie mix up pink lemonade by himself, so she gets what she deserves there.

Mallory says Claire only has baseball-related tantrums. I know some grown-ups like that. I’m pretty sure she becomes an equal-opportunity tantrum-thrower as the series progresses, though.

Claudia pulls out one of Jackie’s loose teeth. EWWWWWWWW.

Bart has a rottweiler named Twinkle. What’s the point of having a big dog like a rottweiler if you’re going to give it a Disney name like Twinkle?

This is a weird moment: “Thanks to me, Jessi really did have an easy sitting job. But I’m not complaining.” Do you usually complain when one of your friends has a good day, Kristy? I guess not, or you probably wouldn’t have as many friends as you do.

Karen refuses to spell Krushers with a K because it’s wrong. Part of me admires her refusal to use improper spelling, but the rest of me wants her to shut up.

So Marnie is two and still considered a baby (also, the girl never talks, which is weird), but Gabbie is two-and-a-half and basically considered a preschooler? Should I stop looking for logic in Stoneybrook?

No way would Kristy let Bart be the umpire at their first game. Doesn’t the ump have to be, I don’t know, impartial?

A kid calls Matt Braddock a dummy and his sister Haley responds, “If you call him a dummy one more time, I will personally rearrange your face.” How did I forget how awesome Haley is? If only every kid in this series could be that cool.

Kristy says that Dawn’s notebook entry is “pretty meaty.” Hee hee.

December 19, 2009

BSC #18, Stacey’s Mistake: I’ve Made a Huge Tiny Mistake

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 8:42 pm by Jenn

Don't glare at her, she's adorable

Summary: Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, and Dawn all go to New York City to visit Stacey and help her sit for a bunch of kids while their parents attend a meeting about helping homeless people. The visit brings out everyone’s bad side: Stacey is embarrassed by all of her friends’ touristy behaviors, Claudia and Laine go all mean girl on each other, Dawn is afraid of everything in the city, Mary Anne is a walking guidebook, and Kristy is Kristy, only more so. They manage to set everything aside during their big sitting extravaganza, and then they just make up and that’s it. Because Ann M. Martin has never been able to solve a conflict in an interesting way.

Thoughts: Not only do Claudia, Kristy, Dawn, and Mary Anne’s parents let them take a train to New York City by themselves, but Stacey’s parents let her take a cab to Grand Central Station, get the other girls, and take them around the city unsupervised. Um, NO. They’re 13. I know they’re responsible and everything, but they’re still barely teenagers.

Kristy orders filet mignon at the Hard Rock Café. Shut up, Kristy. Though at least she has something of a grasp on how annoying she can be. Stacey asks the BSC girls not to mention something and notes that Kristy “usually assumes that people mean her when they say not to mention something.”

Claudia’s usually a nice person, but man, she’s a brat to Laine and Kristy in this book. Not that Laine is any better. And Mary Anne is a jerk to Dawn, which is really out of character for her. Maybe they should stay far away from New York.

Why do the girls send postcards home from New York? They’re only there for two days. Dawn even writes one to Jessi on the train ride home. (Way to make Jessi an afterthought, Dawn. It’s because she’s black, isn’t it? I bet Dawn’s excuse is that that’s how they treat black people in California.)

Mary Anne tells Logan that “limo” is short for “limousine.” She probably thinks he wouldn’t know since he’s from Kentucky.

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