When I was little I was in the fan club, and I read that Sea City, where the Pikes go on vacation in this book was based on places Ann M. Martin went as a kid - Avalon, NJ and some other Jersey Shore town. Since, I used to go to Avalon every summer, this thrilled me to death so I automatically loved any Sea City book. Never mind that the town she describes is nothing like Avalon, so it is clearly based 90% off whatever that other town was.
Stacey and Mary Anne are mother’s helpers and get to go with the Pikes to Sea City for two weeks. When they get there, Stacey gets a crush on a lifeguard (excuse me, she falls in “luv”) and decides he is in “luv” with her too, even though he is 18 and only talks to her if he wants someone to get him a drink/snack. Regardless, Stacey completely blows off her job. The Pikes are too busy blowing off their own children to notice this. Eventually, Stacey sees the lifeguard making out with some other girl and is heartbroken for about 36 hours. Meanwhile, Alex, some guy mother’s helper, has been hanging out with Mary Anne, while she actually does her job and watches the kids. Stacey meets his cousin Toby and immediately falls in “luv” with him. Not that she is a flake or anything. Anyway, Mary Anne and Stacey go out on a double date with Alex and Toby and both really like the guys. Mary Anne and Alex exchange engraved rings and Toby gives Stacey her first kiss.
§ This is right after Kristy’s mom got married, and Stacey is all nervous about going to a “mansion” for a goodbye party the BSC is having. So, she “dresses up” in “this new pink shirt…big, bright green and yellow birds were splashed all over it. I put it on with a pair of baggy shorts, looped a wide green belt around my middle, and hunted up some jewelry.”
§ When they go to the part at Kristy’s, Claudia, Mary Anne, and Stacey drive over together and make Dawn go herself. That is a little bitchy.
§ The back of the book makes it sound like this is a Mary Anne book. It talks about how Stacey is in “luv” with someone who is too old, and how can Mary Anne tell her? It makes the conflict seem like Mary Anne’s. That is not very good writing/marketing.
§ Stacey points out that they will be helping Mr. Pike too, and should be called “parents’ helpers.” How fair and modern of her to notice.
§ Stacey starts packing for a two-week trip the day before she leaves.
§ The house they rent sounds gorgeous and huge. It is also right on the beach. I want to know how the Pikes afford such a sweet rental every year, because unless Sea City is not as nice a town as it sounds, that is not easy to get.
§ Bikini outfit time: Stacey’s was “skimpy (and we’re talking very skimpy) and yellow, with tiny bows at the sides on the bottom part.” She brags (to us) about how well she fills it out.
§ Mary Anne is almost too embarrassed to wear her bikini in public. It was “a pale blue bikini with white stripes running across it.” Stacey makes sure to tell us the top isn’t as filled out as hers.
§ When you type the word “bikini” a lot, it starts to look really funny.
§ The lifeguard’s name is Scott Foley.
§ Mary Anne doesn’t put any lotion and gets sunburn. After that, Stacey keeps talking about what extreme lengths Mary Anne is going to stay covered up. The crazy cover up talk, and Mary Anne’s tendency to get sun burned will continue in every book where Mary Anne goes outside from now until the end of the series. I wonder if she ever actually tries being outside with lotion on?
§ Stacey keeps offering Scott sodas and just getting them from the Pikes kitchen. I wonder if she pays them back for that stuff.
§ Miniature golfing with the Pikes sounds like hell. They also don’t seem to know the rules. Don’t most courses have a maximum stroke limit? And if not, you don’t just let a five-year-old hit the ball thirty times on every hole. And you certainly don’t have ten people play on one course at the same time and torture the people behind you.
§ Back at home, Karen and Andrew wash Watson’s old car with steel wool, and take all the paint off. Watson decides it is an excuse to paint the car purple. I can’t decide if he is joking or not.
§ Kristy actually asks her vet if she makes house calls. I THINK she is humoring David Michael though.
§ Stacey’s date outfit: “A white cotton vest over a pink cotton sundress and [I] tied a big white bow in my hair so that it flopped over the side of my head.”
§ Mary Anne’s date outfit: “Yellow pedal pushers, a yellow and white striped tank top, and a oversized white jacket.” She borrowed it from Stacey, but if she really doesn’t fill out her bikini as nicely as Stacey, how does she fit in her clothes?
§ Toby gets a full description: “His brown hair was sort of waved back from his face. It was held out of his eyes with a blue headband…his eyes were a beautiful deep brown…his shirt was amazing – tan with silly pictures of cowboy boots and cactuses over it. And his sunglasses – black bands with narrow slits from side to side to see through. Totally cool.”
§ When they get back, Mary Anne apologizes to Stacey for getting angry that she wasn’t pulling her weight. She says it is because she understands how she felt about Scott. And Stacey is all, “I guess I wasn’t pulling my weight.” But SHE never apologizes for making Mary Anne do all the extra work. Lame. Mary Anne really needs to work on that.
§ This book is dedicate to June and Ward Cleaver. No, seriously. It does say under that they are an alias for someone names Noel and Steve. But it is still weird.