I am pretty sure that this book is what got me to remember the difference between “its” and “it’s.” There is some scene where Stacey is correcting Claudia’s writing and she explains it. For ages, I would very briefly think of that scene when I was writing something.
The plot of this book is that Claudia is dumb. Sorry. I mean that Claudia is smart, but does really, really bad in school. It’s totally not her fault!
Regardless, she is in danger of failing English. Her teacher tells her she needs to do really well on an upcoming English test to pass for the year. Claud decides to buckle down and study, and the BSC agrees to help tutor her. This is because if she flunks, she won’t be able to baby-sit, and then they lose out on a meeting spot (and free junk food). Stacey ends up doing most of the tutoring, and Claudia gets pissed because she thinks Stacey is being too strict. They fight, they make up, etc. And Claud does well on her test.
Meanwhile, Shea Rodowsky is having some school trouble of his own – he was just diagnosed with dyslexia. Mrs. Rodowsky asks the BSC to help tutor him, because she thinks a bunch of girls will do better than the trained tutors at school. Claudia, obviously, does not plan to tutor anyone over the age of two. However, she does have a sitting job for the Rodowskys, and she ends up helping Shea study. Shea is inspired working with Claud (I guess, because he sees he is really not the dumbest person in town), so Claud ends up tutoring him anyway. They bond over how much they hate school.
Subplot: Someone is sending anonymous notes to the BSC saying things like, “You’re nice” and “you’re great.” Each girl thinks it is some guy working up the nerve to ask her to a dance at Stoneybrook’s Community Center. The dance is here and not the school so that Bart (Kristy’s date) and Sam (Stacey’s date) can be candidates for the mystery admirer. It turns out that the notes are from the Rodowsky boys, Matt and Haley Braddock, and the Arnold twins, who just wanted to thank the girls for being awesome sitters.
- How often do these girls read that stupid club notebook? They sometimes mention the girls reading it at meetings, but they all can’t read all of it then. But all the girls know that Shea has “been having trouble in school” when Mrs. Rodowsky calls.
- Claudia tells her parents about being in trouble in school, because she wants to be responsible. However, I am surprised the teacher wouldn’t call as well. I would think most teachers wouldn’t expect a kid to do that.
- Oh, I totally remember this. Stacey teaches Claud the word “Kvetching.”
- Claudia says she was tested for dyslexia before and doesn’t have it. So, was she just dropped on her head as a baby?
- Why would Mary Anne think Logan was sending her anonymous letters? I think they have moved past that.
- Also, Kristy thinks writing notes “isn’t something Bart would do.” Even though…..he did it before.
- When Claudia is sitting for the Rodowskys, she makes a point of saying Archie is not a Krusher yet. But it is not like he would be waiting to meet an age limit, so it seems like a weird thing to say.
- Shea is doing his homework, and writes, “qut a timer on the hot watter tack.” Then Claudia looks at it and corrects his spelling. I’m not even sure Claudia could write a sentence with that few errors. How does she correct Shea’s work?
- Claudia is the last one to arrive at a BSC meeting, which we have seen before. But a few minutes later she tells the other girls that her parents and sister aren’t home. So…Kristy and everyone got into her empty house?
- Stacey is kind of a bitch when she tutors Claud. She makes Claudia keep a diary so she can practice writing/grammar. And Claudia ends up keeping a second one where she can bitch about how annoying Stacey is being. And, I bet you would be shocked to hear that Stacey accidentally reads the second journal, right?
- How does one misspell Jello? Didn’t Claudia ever see those Bill Cosby commercials?
- Later in the book, we are told that Kristy and Bart’s “more than friendship” started with anonymous letters. But….it didn’t really. Weren’t they already more than friends in the mystery admirer book?
- This is another random inconsistency. Claudia and Stacey are studying, and when someone comes in at 5:29, they know it must be Kristy. BUT, isn’t she always already in place staring at the clock then?
- When Claudia is baby-sitting and helps Shea with his homework, he ends up helping her too. Which is no big deal. But, later, when she is actually being paid to tutor him, she asks him to help her again. And that…..seems not right.
- Claudia is all impressed with how Shea has dealt with his dyslexia by figuring out rules to help him. Like, “I before e, except after C…” Yup, that Shea is a genius.
- Since there is a lack of outfits, I’ll give you Nannie’s: “A pink silk dress with a wide twisted silver and pink sash, sparkly silver earrings, and these really cool flat pale silver slippers.”
- The notes finally tell the BSC to show up at some restaurant, and the girls decide that they are actually from Cokie. They think that she wants them to think the notes are from a guy and get all dressed up, so she can laugh at them. So, they decide to wear crappy clothes and bring joke items (like a joy buzzer and a water pistol).
- Claudia’s attempt at a BAD outfit is ripped jeans, and “a big, old lime green shirt with a bleach spot on the front.” She also wears Kelly green socks and aqua sneakers. Which, I agree is an awful combination, but….this is different from her usual clothes, how?
- Claudia and Shea bonding about not being able to spell makes me think of this.
- When they realize it is kids who actually like them, the girls all make a quick effort to clean themselves up.
- Here are some real outfits – Claudia: “A giant blue-and-white striped shirt and socks with blue spots, over blue bike shirts that matched the stripes and the spots.” That is actually not so bad. Especially, for early nineties.
- Stacey: “Black jeans and black Doc Marten’s, and a big golden yellow shirt with round black buttons.”
- So, Claud gets a B on the test, and does especially well on spelling. But, she obviously doesn’t keep it up. So, what is the point of this book? It is like the Saved By the Bell episode where Mr. Belding tells Zach if he cuts class one more time he’ll get suspended. And Zach manages to get through cut day, but you know hell cut again sometime soon and just get suspended then.
- Awe, Shea dances with Claud at the dance. That is a secondary reason the dance is at the community center - kids can be there.
- It is too bad they never acknowledge those two having some kind of special relationship like they do with Stacey/Charlotte, Kristy/Karen, Dawn/The Barretts, Jessi/The Braddocks, etc.