I never read this book when I was a kid, but I do remember seeing it in the store a while after I stopped reading the BSC. I think I even flipped through it to see if Mal really went to boarding school or if she went back to Stoneybrook in the end.
This is all about Mal and her new boarding school. I guess all the details about her applying and deciding to go were dealt with in earlier books, because this book starts two days before Mallory leaves town. The place seems to be right up Mal’s alley – it is all girls and it has an emphasis on writing and the arts. She has a full scholarship, so we don’t have to ask how a family with eight kids could afford this.
Anyway, she gets to the school makes friends pretty easily, loves her new classes, thinks it is great, etc. The only problem is she has a crappy roommate, Alexis, and makes the problem worse by being passive-aggressive and not standing up for herself. But since Alexis is an actual psycho and not just a bitch, she does some physical damage to the room and the dean let Mallory switch to a new roommate. And with that Mal rides off into the sunset, never to be heard from again, I guess.
Meanwhile, at home there is tons of conflict at the Pike house because they all miss Mal so much. Just kidding! Obviously they don’t miss Mal. The conflict is that Mal going away leaves Vanessa in her own room. Vanessa loves this, but the other kids think it is not fair. Mr. and Mrs. Pike actively choose not to deal with it (seriously, they actually SAY they are not dealing with it), but the BSC steps in and come up with a solution. Byron and Nicky get one room, Jordan and Adam get another, and the remaining girls in a (presumably larger) third room.
• So, after her last BSC meeting, Mal is upset that everyone just casually says good-bye and runs out. But, they were just messing with her, they were going to set up her surprise party.
• Mal is allowed one trunk and one suitcase for ALL her stuff. She will be there a good four months, that doesn’t seem like much space. You are allowed as much stuff as you can cram into a dorm room in college.
• There is a chapter early on where the BSC reminisce about a bunch of the old Mallory books, like when she first joined or when she helped with some Arnold twins issue. It is all stuff that really happens, which means the ghostwriters must have done some actual research. Good for them.
• Mallory has her own e-mail address at school. It seems so wrong for the BSC to use e-mail.
• Even worse, instead of handwritten postcards/notebook entries at the beginning of each chapter, there are typed e-mails.
• Claire thinks that her parents are moving to Massachusetts with Mal. When she finds out they are coming home, she stops caring that Mal won’t be. Ha!
• Mallory is starting school in the middle of the year, so when she gets there her roommate already has her stuff everywhere. Instead of asking Alexis to move it, Mal just sets her stuff up in the tiny areas that are left over. THEN gets all upset about not having enough space.
• Alexis just starts making “room rules” like they will sleep with the window open, they won’t wear shoes in the room, and they will only study at certain times. Again, Mallory just says okay, than bitches about it later. Speak up, girl! And be grateful that you are only in sixth grade and don’t have to worry about getting “sexed out” of a room.
• Mallory still sucks at gym.
• Since Mallory hates Alexis, she starts avoiding her room whenever possible. Then doesn’t understand why Alexis is offended by her behavior.
• Mallory is really the only BSC member in this book, so all the outfits are her new boarding school friends/roommate. For instance, Alexis wears “her blonde hair was cut short and spiked with hair gel…she wore a black sweater, a shirt black skirt, and high-tops.”
• Alexis wants to lend Mallory a lime green turtleneck to wear instead of a navy blue sweater. Even Mal knows she is being called boring. But, I would think Mal would also be thrilled to wear something “cool” now that her parents aren’t watching what she puts on every day.
• Mallory’s new friend Sarah is an actress and dresses in “flowing purple clothes – a long skirt and a silky shirt that seemed to shimmer when she moved.”
• Mal also thinks Alexis is cool because she has a purple comforter. What is with the color purple symbolizing cool? The Sweet-Valley Twins did that too (the middle school version).
• All the buildings at Mal’s new school are names after famous females – Sojourner Truth, Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie. I actually think that is kind of cool.
• This school is pretty progressive, the classes are small, things are taught interdisciplinary-style, the teachers let students call them by their first names, etc. Again, I think it would have been pretty cool to go to a school like that.
• Okay, so even though Mal makes the roommate problem worse, Alexis is quite bitchy. She reads Mallory’s journal and then walks around quoting it.
• Alexis had been through two roommates before Mal showed up at the school in January. The teachers/heads knew she was a bitch to live with but stuck Mal with her anyway because she had a big family and they thought she could deal with it better than anyone else. I would be pissed if I knew the school had done that, but Mal just takes it.
• Mal has to do community service as a student of the school, and guess what she gets assigned? Yup, helping in the children’s room at the town public library.
• Hmmm, if Claudia is sending an e-mail to Mallory she has no excuse for spelling errors. It is called spell check. They even had it in the early nineties.
• Alexis gets mad and draws mustaches and devils horns on all of Mal’s pictures of the BSC. I kind of want to see that.
• This book really had no plot.
• I guess it is also the last we hear of Mal, which sucks for her. Even Dawn got books/appearances after she left for California.
4 years ago