All I can think of about this book is how horrified I felt. I have always hated to watch other people embarrass themselves. And Stacey does that so many times in this book. I know the joke is about Stacey always being in love, but usually she seems relatively level-headed. And I remember thinking how crazy Stacey was…not for having a crush on her teacher, but for thinking they had a chance. And even more importantly, for telling him all this.
This is yet another story about Stacey falling in “luv” with someone. This time, it is Wes, the 22 year-old student teacher of her math class. Wes is apparently gorgeous, and Stacey looses her mind about five seconds after she sees him. The other girls in the BSC tell her the age difference is too much, but Stacey doesn’t seem to care.
Stacey keeps volunteering to help Wes out after class. And I guess Wes is too naïve to realize that having a 13-year-old girl around all the time could be a bad idea, and so he keeps asking her for favors and complimenting her work in class. He even gives her a ride to a BSC meeting, because Stacey had stayed late helping him. And through all this, Stacey seems to really think he might be into her as well. She keeps thinking he’s going to ask her out or something.
And then, only a week after she meets him, Stacey makes me cringe in embarrassment, because she spends hours writing a supposed love poem, and then gives it to him. He pretty much runs out of the room and ignores her for a week. And then, Stacey makes me cringe even more because she goes to explain to him that she gave him the poem because she loves him. She thinks he must have misunderstood the poem. Wes clearly has no idea how to react to this, because he basically stands there in silence until Stacey runs away.
Wes’s student teaching position ends soon after that, but he is conveniently going to chaperone the school’s spring dance. Stacey goes to the dance alone (she had turned Sam Thomas down, because she thought Wes would want to take her), and spends most of it staring at Wes. She asks him to dance, and he says yes, because he’s an idiot. However, he dances with other people as well (students and teachers). Stacey asks him to dance again, when it’s a slow song, and he suggests they wait for the next one. When Stacey says she WANTS it to be a slow dance, he explains that he is actually not that into her, and that there is too big an age difference between them. Stacey feels like an idiot, but overall she takes it pretty well.
The subplot involves Mary Anne and Dawn goat-sitting for their neighbors who have a farm. Of course, Mary Anne and Dawn bring the goat on all their sitting jobs, which creates all sorts of chaos.
- When describing her parents’ divorce, Stacey makes a point of telling us that her dad pays alimony and child support. Do they usually give that detail? It seems a bit out of place.
- Before she sees him, Stacey thinks Wes is going to be a nerd because his full name is “Wesley Ellenburg.” That’s a bit judgmental from someone’s whose real name is Anastasia.
- When Mrs. Stone (the goat owner) asks Mary Anne and Dawn to goat-sit, Stacey keeps thinking that they are talking about a human-being who eats garbage and needs to be tied up to a barn. Then she feels like an idiot. I think it is supposed to be funny, but really it is so obvious that it is supposed to be a joke that it isn’t funny.
- On Wes’s first day of teaching, Stacey walks into her math class and thinks, “Tom Cruise is in my class.” Remember when Tom Cruise was synonymous with hot, instead of crazy?
- All the other girls think Wes is good-looking, and some of them get pissed that Stacey keeps stealing time with him. I can’t ever remembering having a teacher that was so hot I wanted to help him out of class, or when anyone else did. But this happens all the time on TV shows and in books.
- I can understand Stacey thinking her teacher is hot. But, the whole thing where she seriously believes he is going to ask her out, is ridiculous. She keeps rationalizing her behavior too. Like, “oh, he must have been uncomfortable when I said I loved him because we were at school. If I talk to him later he would have said how he felt.” I mean, really? She honestly thinks they have a chance?
- One thing I do like, is that to impress Wes, Stacey keeps spending extra time on her homework and trying to turn in perfect work. It’s much nicer than hearing about girls who pretend to be stupid to get a guy.
- The BSC makes me feel old by talking about how old a 22-year-old is.
- According to my cousin, the rule when dating a younger man/woman is to take half your age, and add 7. So, Wes, who is 22, should only date someone between the ages of 18 and 30. Stacey, who is 13, should really only date people her own age.
- Stacey is such a little stalker. She spends all her time between class walking the halls trying to spot Wes. If this book took place today, she would probably have made his Facebook page the home screen on her computer.
- Wes makes a point of announcing to the whole class that Stacey was the only one to score a 100 on her homework assignment. (This is on his second day, so he doesn’t realize she’s a stalker yet). Even though she is pleased he is happy, she feels embarrassed. At least that is one normal reaction. But I think most teachers would have left the student’s name out of an announcement like that.
- Some guy in the class goes, “big whopp” when he hears about Stacey’s grade. So, then Stacey explains to us, “That’s ‘whoop’” as in “’whoopee.’” What other “whoop” would it have been?
- Wes’s student teaching takes place over three weeks, which seems incredibly short. I remember having student teachers that observed for a little while, than taught while the regular teacher was there, and THEN got to teach by themselves.
- Elvira (the goat) keeps eating people’s garbage, including Mary Anne and Dawn’s (where she is staying). So, Richard goes out and gets garbage cans with locks on them. Why would he buy all new garbage cans when the goat is only staying there a couple weeks? Why not just put the garbage where the goat can’t reach it?
- Most of the parents in BSC-land are okay with this random goat coming on sitting jobs. Mrs. Newton is a little hesitant, but decides it is fine. However, Mary Anne can’t bring the goat to the Prezzioso’s because that family is “fussy.” Because only unreasonably fussy people wouldn’t want a goat at their house.
- I’m not sure why, but Stacey decides Wes likes skirts better than pants (on her). So, on her second day in his class she wears a dress whose description I remember well: “A short rayon challis tank dress [her] mom had ordered for [her]. It was navy with white polka dots. The fitted top tapered down into a flared skirt, with white buttons down the front.” It is strange how familiar some of the outfits are. When I was younger, I didn’t think that would be the thing that stuck with me.
- The back of the book says that Wes is Stacey’s substitute math teacher. But a substitute is different than a student teacher.
- Wes lets Stacey help fill out his W4 form, so she gets to find out his Social Security Number, birthday, height, weight, and blood type (although I’ve never seen those last three on any W4). And Stacey just finds it all soooo fascinating.
- Wes also lets Stacey help with his grading, by folding over people’s names in the grade book, and having her average out test scores. Again, I’m not sure how appropriate that is. Stacey was able to figure out which grades were hers, and I’m sure she could’ve figured out other peoples’.
- When Wes is giving her a ride, he moves his hand to shift gears and accidentally brushes Stacey’s. She thinks he didn’t even need to shift, he was just trying to touch her.
- Stacey thinks Wes is a good teacher, and he does seem to be good at interacting with the class as a whole. But he seems a little clueless/scatterbrained to me. He doesn’t know he had to return paperwork the school gave him (like the W4), he doesn’t realize he had to fill out progress reports, etc. And he doesn’t seem to know how to handle Stacey’s inappropriate crush. I guess it is because he is inexperienced, or because we are seeing him through Stacey’s eyes, but I feel like they could have made him a bit smarter about it.
- Sam Thomas calls Stacey to ask her to the upcoming dance, and Mrs. McGill tells her there is a boy on the phone. When Stacey asks if it's a boy or a man, her mom just laughs. Shouldn’t she be wondering what “man” Stacey is expecting to get a call from?
- Sam is actually pretty sweet, because the dance was at the middle school, but he found out about it (from Kristy) and wanted to tell Stacey he’d take her – I think he thought she was worried about asking him, and wanted to put her at ease.
- Apparently, some other girl asks Sam, but I don’t understand where she would know him from. He goes to a different school and they don’t live in the same neighborhood.
- Charlotte Johnasson has her own crush on a boy in her class. She writes him a poem, and in her case is successful at attracting the boy. But then she gets annoyed because he starts running after her reciting his own poems. My favorite is, “Roses are red, red’s the same as scarlet. Sugar is sweet, and so as Charlotte.”
- The owner of Elvira tells Mary Anne and Dawn that they should keep her in a pen or tethered to the garage. Mary Anne and Dawn keep her on a long tether, so she can wonder around the yard. But then they complain about her getting into the garbage cans.
- When Dawn brings Elvira to the Newtons, the goat gets away and eats garbage from a couple down the street (the Goldmans). Stacey tells us they were robbed last year, and I think that is a reference to “Claudia and the Phantom Phone Caller.” Which is great continuity.
- Stacey’s dress for the dance: “A calf-length silk/cotton dress with pastel floral print, a scoop neck, and a shirred skirt that was split to above the knee on one side.”
- Kristy also dances with a teacher, Mr. Fiske. I swear there was a Mrs. Fiske in another book, but I could be mixing that name up with someone else. But more importantly, I don’t buy any students dancing with teachers like that in 8th grade.
- Another dance outfit: “Jessi looked sensational, in an indigo blue unitard with a matching open-mesh oversized cardigan.” I don’t think the word “sensational” should ever be used in the same sentence as “unitard.”
- Wes wears a tux to chaperone the dance. Um…why? Based on Stacey and Jessi’s outfits, it’s not a formal dance or anything. I'd expect middle school kids to make fun of a teacher for that.
- And, for a final note, here's Stacey’s poem. One note – she originally had the last line read "two young lovers," not "people." But she decided that was too much.
I see two stars in summer’s night.
Hovering, lost in blinding light,
Each so dull, in heavens net,
So each remains, as yet unmet.
But Fortune moves in strangest ways;
It lengthens nights, it shortens days.
May this night end, and day begin
And bring two young people back again.