This is one I read so many times, that even though I probably have the book memorized, I probably don’t remember what I really thought of it as a kid. I always loved it though. It seemed like a slightly more “mature” plot, and was one of the books that made being thirteen seem like it was going to be like the greatest year of my life. Maybe if I had gotten to do it over and over again like Mary Anne, I would have eventually done it better.
This is one of the books that highlights how bitchy 13-year-old girls are. In other words, it is one of the more realistic portrayals of teenagers. At least, it is when you are comparing it to books about 13-year-olds who like to throw parties for little kids. The drama starts when Mary Anne sees a picture of a short haircut that she likes and the rest of the BSC laughs in her face. But, in a rare moment of boldness, she decides she wants to surprise everyone with the cut anyway. She gets the cut, plus some make up and new clothes and everyone (minus the BSC) tells her she looks great.
Then, all her really awesome friends find out she dared to cut her hair without their permission and tell her they hate it. Not in so many words, but they tell her not to worry, it will grow back, and ask her what she was thinking getting it cut when they told her not to. Mary Anne doesn’t really want to deal with their bitchiness, so she starts hanging out with Logan a lot and even stops going to BSC meetings. THEN the girls get pissy with her for spending time with her boyfriend over people who are treating her like shit.
Throughout all this, we keep hearing about how there are all these rumors going around school that some random high school likes Mary Anne and wants to go to a dance with her. She thinks the BSC started them, and meanwhile the BSC believes them and thinks less of her, once again proving what horrible friends they are. The rumors turn out to have been started by Sabrina Bouvier, who actually ends up at the dance with the guy. I think this is all in there because Mary Anne said early on Sabrina was being nicer to her that Dawn and Kristy, so when she finds out Sabrina was spreading rumors about her, it was to show how great the BSC is. Even though they were just as bitchy. But anyway, the girls all make up at the end, although Mary Anne is the one who has to basically grovel for their forgiveness. She actually apologizes to them for getting her hair cut.
The lame subplot is about how Carolyn Arnold is trying to build a time machine and is taking money from kids to send them on trips. But she ends up giving them the money back and everyone has fun pretending, so it is all good. And they get in some good Back to the Future references, so those chapters aren’t totally a waste. Actually, who am I kidding? I love any time travel stories, even pretend time travel ones in the BSC.
- This doesn’t seem like a (pre-makeover) Mary Anne outfit: “teal-colored stirrup pants and a bulky ski sweater with a colorful snowflake print, over a pink turtleneck.” It does, however, sound like something I would have worn in fifth or sixth grade. Man, that is embarrassing to admit.
- Claudia apparently can look good in weird combinations, like “A slouch hat, a sequenced vest, an oversized button-down shirt, stirrup pants, and lace up boots.”
- The dress Mary Anne wears to the dance: “A fiery red, off-the-shoulder crepe dress, with shirred sleeves, a fitted bodice, and a skirt that flared to mid-calf.” Would you think less of me if I said I wanted that dress?
- Other post makeover clothes include: “An oversized, indigo cable-knit sweater; and a pair of floral print Lycra leggings with a French terry top.”
- Dawn’s first words when she sees Mary Anne’s hair (a good ten minutes after Sharon tells her it looks good), “I can’t believe you got your hair cut.” Then she tells Logan about it after Mary Anne specifically says she wants to surprise him. Bitch.
- Seriously, who tells someone who just got a haircut, “well, it will grow out” unless that person doesn’t like it themselves. Unless, it just looks so hideous that you have to tell them. And since Cokie Mason tells Mary Anne her hair looks “fantastic,” I think we have to believe it does.
- Ha. When Claudia writes in the club notebook after sitting for Carolyn, she says, “I don’t understand time travel. Can someone explain it for me in easy terms?” Idiot.
- Mary Anne has a mean streak. She finally confronts Dawn, who tells her she has a boy hair cut and clown makeup. So Mary Anne tells her to “go choke on an alfalfa sprout.”
- Dawn’s dress for the dance: “It was made of black velvet, with a sheet bodice trimmed with beading and lace, and a flared, above knees skirt.”
- Dawn goes to the dance with Pete Black. So, now he has dated Claudia, Stacey, and Dawn? Am I missing anyone?
- The boys all wear tuxes to the dance. In 8th grade? Really? I guess it is possible they have a formal, but you would think that would be at the end of the year or around the holidays (that was when my school had our biggest dances). This book takes place in January.
- There is this weird thing at the end, where Mary Anne is describing what people are wearing to the dance and she starts using last names. Like, “Kristy Thomas took off her heels,” and “Claudia Kishi was wearing a lame outfit,” and “Stacey McGill had a slinky gown.” What other Kristy, Claudia, and Stacey would she be talking about?
- Logan is lame. If he could use a time machine, he would go back to the first time he saw Mary Anne because “he liked that feeling.” Okay, that is sweet, but what thirteen-year-old boy says that?
- Dawn says one of the reasons she was upset about the haircut, is Mary Anne went to the mall with her dad, and Dawn misses her dad. And Mary Anne apologizes. It is not her problem if Dawn misses her dad, SHE shouldn’t not spend time with her own father because of how Dawn feels.
- After weeks of not talking, Kristy and Dawn finally tell Mary Anne they like her hair. Great friends. I can see why Mary Anne was so eager to make up with them.