I’ll admit, that I remember being sad at the end of this one. I’m not really a big fan of change, and the idea of Dawn leaving permanently seemed like the end of an era or something. I probably would have doubted that she was really leaving for good, if it weren’t for the fact that they had advertised a “name the new baby-sitter” contest for a couple months beforehand. And I admit, I submitted multiple entries for that contest. I think it was actually a contest to name the new sitter and her twin….but I’m not sure if I thought they would both be in the club or not.
I was also somewhat cynical, because I was very aware that they were having Dawn leave, in the book immediately following the one where Stacey rejoins the club. It almost seemed like they only brought Stacey back so she would fill the hole when Dawn left.
So, Dawn’s missing California. Which is pretty much the equivalent of Dawn breathing. But it’s worse than usual, partially because her friend Sunny’s mother has cancer, and Dawn wants to be there for Sunny. Whatever the reason, she decides she wants to go back to California permanently. And she’s going to do it soon, so that she can get there before the school year starts.
Dawn wants to tell Mary Anne about the decision herself, but she’s having trouble figuring out how to do it. She does tell Kristy, because she’s BSC President and that’s what a responsible baby-sitter does. Kristy agrees not to tell anyone, but tells Claudia anyway, who tells Stacey, who tells Robert, who tells Logan…who tells Mary Anne. So, Mary Anne’s pissed that Dawn didn’t tell her, and she’s upset that Dawn’s leaving. Mary Anne’s upset, not just because Dawn’s leaving, but because she heard about it from Logan. She ends up acting really cold around Dawn – not angry, just cold. Dawn thinks Mary Anne’s just waiting for her good-bye party to make a big gesture. But, it turns out Mary Anne barely helps plan it. Finally, right before Dawn leaves, Mary Anne cries and tells Dawn how much she’ll miss her. They bond, cry, and make a promise to think of each other when brushing their teeth. The usual stuff.
Meanwhile, James Hobart breaks his leg while playing with his brothers and some of the Pike kids. It sucks for him, because it’s the middle of summer, and for an eight-year-old that means spending time outside running around or swimming. So, the BSC and some of their clients arrange a “Christmas in the Summer” party to cheer him up. They have to do this, because Dawn’s good-bye party’s NOT for little kids. So, they can’t have the sub-plot chapters be about kids planning that, they needed another reason.
The last chapter’s letters between Dawn and the rest of the BSC revealing that she gets there, they all miss her, etc.
- The cover of this book's hysterical, because you have Dawn and Mary Anne looking like they are about to start crying, and Kristy looking like she can't wait for Dawn to leave. I thought they got over that jealousy plot ages ago?
- What exactly do you think Janine does on her computer all the time? Shannon says she looked at the screen and couldn’t understand the program Janine was writing. I always pictured Janine typing stuff, reading, searching for porn, or something. But I guess she was programming?
- I like that Dawn’s decision got out to Mary Anne via a gossip train, it’s very realistic for 13-year-olds.
- However, are Logan and Robert supposed to be friends? They seem to run in different circles.
- Dawn’s excuse for not telling Mary Anne’s sort of weak…she claims she wanted to find the right way to tell her, but she really was just afraid to have the confrontation.
- It’s amazing but the going away party they have for Dawn, does NOT include kids. Stacey actually says that she doesn’t want to end up baby-sitting during the party. Which is realistic (for a change), but kind of bold of Stacey, since she’s still on “probation.”
- Dawn says that her mother feels at home in Stoneybrook because she grew up there. But Dawn grew up in California, so that feels like home to her. Way to send a positive message to all the girls reading who’ve moved somewhere and are trying to adjust.
- The whole “Christmas in the Summer” plot’s a bit contrived. The BSC recruits all their charges to help plan it, make food, decorate, and pick out “gifts” (cheap stuff). But, I don’t think all those people are his friends. I mean, the group includes Jenny Prezzioso. Just because they live in the same neighborhood doesn’t mean they’re friends.
- Dawn cooks dinner for Mary Anne to try and mend fences a bit. So, she tells us that she’s making a dish called “eggplant roll-ups.” Then a half page later, she tells Mary Anne that she made “eggplant rollitini.” I guess both names could apply to that dish, but it seems weird.
- Watson drives the entire BSC to the airport to say good-bye to Dawn. He’s really very nice, isn’t he? He invites those girls on vacations, he drives them places….The only other description I could come up with is creepy, but thinking about that just seems wrong.
- It’s so self-centered of Dawn to assume Mary Anne’s planning something special for her going away party. I think she was the same way the other time she moved back to California. But just because Mary Anne says she wants to say good-bye “her own way,” doesn’t mean she’s planning a big gesture.
- When they surprise James, he gets all confused and thinks it really is Christmas. Or something. Because in Australia, Christmas happens when it’s warm out. That’s the cultural awareness message in this book.
- Dawn’s father MAILS her plane ticket to her. I guess that’s how people did things before e-tickets. But, what really surprised me was that he sends it to arrive on Friday, for a Saturday flight. Wouldn’t it be better to have a bit more time? Some things get lost in the mail.
- It struck me that Jessi’s a really good letter writer. I remember her being good about it in other books, and in this one, she mails a letter out to Dawn before she even leaves, so it will be there waiting for her.
- There’s a nice bonding moment, where Dawn and Stacey talk about the various changes in their lives. It’s too short to actually say anything meaningful, but I appreciate the effort.
- In the photo slide show, we hear about a few past events like the Mini-Olympics and the Snow White/Captain Planet video. I always like the shout outs to other books….I still do actually. It’s like a pay off for all the hours I once spent reading these books.
- The photo slide show also has pictures of the Little Miss Stoneybrook pageant. Everyone remembers that one, right? The one where Jeff moves back to California and Dawn calls him a brat for hurting their mom? And swears that even though she misses California she would never do something as selfish as moving back?