By the time I first read this book, I was starting to notice more about the inconsistencies than about what I liked. don’t really remember details about the plot, other than the basics. I THINK that I thought the mother of the kids sits for was a bit of a bitch and over the top. But I could just be projecting my current opinion onto the parts of the character I do remember.
The big takeaway I had as a kid, was how annoying it was that the book was not doing a good job portraying diabetes. It was actually a problem I had with all the Stacey books, but this one focused on it a little more. My complaints were based on my one family member being a diabetic. So, I suppose, it might be a realistic portrayal of some people’s experience with the disease. But through my tween-eyes, it was annoying.
Stacey finds out that Robert’s not a fan of the city, and amazingly, has never been to a Broadway play. She can't handle this, so she decides that for Robert's birthday she will take him to a Broadway show and get him to love the city. Coincidentally, immediately after deciding this, a new client calls the BSC. This woman, Mrs. Chaplin, wants someone to take care of her kids every day and do some housework too (for extra money). Stacey is eager to take the job so she can afford to give Robert the tickets. Mrs. Cheplin's hesitant about hiring someone as young as Stacey, particularly because her eight-year-old daughter was just diagnosed with diabetes. When Stacey tells Mrs. Cheplin about her own diabetes (another amazing coincidence!), she gets offered the job, but on a trial basis. The pay’s apparently way more than Stacey normally earns, but we don't find out what it was, probably to avoid dating the book even more than the wardrobe does.
The first couple weeks are no problem, Stacey does all the chores, helps the kids with their homework and keeps them happy. Mrs. Cheplin agrees to extend the trial for another two weeks. Then, she starts increasing the list of stuff Stacey’s supposed to get done. She increases Stacey’s pay, but she also ups the bitchiness. For example, she gets mad at Stacey for not starting dinner, when the plumber was there and had turned off the water.
As she works harder, Stacey starts to let other areas of her life slide. She ends up rushing through a paper for school, and then has to cancel plans with Robert and Claudia because she’s behind/exhausted. Then Mrs. Cheplin agrees to extend the trial for ANOTHER two weeks, because she wants Stacey to keep working so hard to “prove herself” and do excessive amounts of work. Stacey quits and points out that Mrs. Cheplin wants more than a 13-year-old can handle. She also says the issue isn’t being immature, it’s not having time. But of course the BSC agrees to cover the jobs until Mrs. Cheplin finds a replacement.
Meanwhile Robert's all, "oh, if it's that important to you, I'll give the city a try." He doesn’t even get mad that she forgot Valentines Day….And that brings us to the subplot of the book: Logan asks Kristy to help pick out a ring to give Mary Anne for V-Day, and Becca and Vanessa witness them shopping (without knowing the backstory). So, all the kids of Stoneybrook think Logan’s cheating on Mary Anne with Kristy and send them hate mail (they refer to Kristy as “Crusty Toenails”). Then they confront Logan (with Mary Anne there). When they find out the real story, they make a Valentines Day dinner for them to make it up to them. It's kind of cute, honestly.
- The job for the Cheplins goes until 5:30 every day. So, of course, Kristy’s all annoyed that Stacey won’t be able to get to meetings on time. But do you really buy that parents of Stoneybrook, who need the BSC to travel with them, do all sorts of projects with the kids, and even plan their wedding, have never needed a sitter between 5:30 and 6:00 on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday?
- Stacey’s father tells her about a Broadway show that he went to, and says if she wants, he’ll go again and take her. So, she agrees. Then later, when her mother mentions the cost of tickets, she’s amazed at how high it is. But it doesn’t occur to her that her father’s spending hundreds of dollars on her every weekend by taking her to these shows.
- Stacey says that since Abby’s from Long Island, she has the"big city attitude" her city friends have. But which friends? She and Laine no longer talk, and she admitted back in Welcome Back Stacey that the other kids in school were really only friendly with her because of Laine.
- This is one of the books that has a little note from Ann M. Martin in the back about where she got the idea for the story (this was in most of the later books). It’s all about how kids have written her letters asking for baby-sitting tips. That must be a sign of how all the original fans (who were once 8-10-ish) had gotten older and were now sitting.
- Awe, Mary Anne refers to her father and Sharon as her parentS. Mallory says her parents wouldn’t let her have a daily sitting job and Mary Anne says “either would MINE”, as opposed to “neither would my Dad.”
- Stacey and Robert have a double date with Mary Anne and Logan where they go bowling. Which is a nice nod to the fact that they do that in the first book Robert appeared in. Or just a coincidence.
- I kind of wish I had read more books after Abby joined the series. She shows up to a meeting at 5:33, and when Kristy tells her she’s late, Abby says she should call Greenwich to make sure the BSC clock’s really correct.
- When Mrs. Cheplin first interviews Stacey, she keeps saying how she thought she needed someone in high school. So, why didn’t she ask Stacey how old she was before she interviewed her?
- Stacey outfit: "After I pulled on a pair of blue leggings and a long, bright pink sweater, I sat on my bed and put on my new black leather ankle boots.” It’s the only real outfit we get in this book, and it’s kind of a boring one.
- Originally, Logan asks Stacey to help pick out a ring. She can’t do it (because of the job), so she suggests asking Kristy because she knows Mary Anne’s taste. Really? Because I didn’t think Kristy paid enough attention to that stuff to be that helpful.
- Stacey has to pick up the kids at the bus stop, and on her first day, she just tells the bus driver who she’s picking up. And the driver’s all, “oh, yeah, Mrs. Cheplin mentioned a new sitter would be doing that.” But really, Stacey could have been ANYONE.
- The reason the kids think Logan’s cheating’s because they see him in the store putting a ring on Kristy’s hand. But why would he need to go that far? He really needs to see it on a finger to decide if it’s okay?
- Here are the hate mail poems the kids send Kristy:
"Crusty is a girl we know/she looks like Pinocchio/When she comes down the street/you can smell her dirty feet./When she runs around the house/she looks like a scrawny mouse/Crusty's clothes are never clean/she's ugly and she's really mean."
"Logan is no friend of mine/He looks like Frankenstein/When he comes down the street/you can smell his dirty feet./Logan is a dirty bum and he is/a great big crumb.”
- Dana, the Cheplin kid who has diabetes, keeps saying she feels “weak,” but when Stacey tests her blood sugar, it’s normal. Stacey thinks Dana’s faking, particularly because this happens when she’s asked to do something she doesn’t want to do. But this isn't resolved because for the first time in history, the BSC doesn't solve a kid’s problem.
- This is the second book where Stacey realizes she’s a lot like her father…previously because she avoids confrontation, and in this case, because she’s becoming a “work-aholic” and spending all her energy at the Cheplins because she wants to make more money. I wonder if that is supposed to be on purpose, in an attempt to make the characters deeper, or, if it is just recycling a storyline?
- The plans Stacey breaks with Claudia are to go to some Valentines craft fair. Claudia tries to make business cards to give to people who want a Valentines Day outfit like hers. Because Claudia’s outfits are SO awesome, seeing them will make people lose control of their senses and try to imitate them?
- Sadly, the only description we get of Claud’s outfit is that she decorated sweats with hearts and lace.
- Once, when Stacey’s at the Cheplins, Dana’s blood sugar actually is really low, and Stacey freaks out. She gives Dana an orange, and when that doesn’t do anything she gets a neighbor to drive them to Dr. Jonhansson’s house (because when she called Dana’s doctor she got no answer). So, now I have to rant a bit about how badly these books portray diabetes.
- First, if Dana’s blood sugar was really that low, Stacey should have given her something with real sugar. The whole reason a diabetic can’t eat sugar, is because it would make their sugar level high. So, if it’s low, they eat something sugar-y to get it to normal range. Eating a piece of fruit, won’t have much affect.
- Second, what kind of doctor is Dr. Johansson supposed to be? I know Stacey’s close with her and all, but if Dana was THAT sick shouldn’t she have gone to the hospital? I doubt Dr. Johansson keeps her house stocked with the various medications/supplies that may have been needed.
- However, I’m also not sure how realistic it’s that a kid would need to rush to the doctor just for having low blood sugar. Granted, Stacey was baby-sitting and was probably being extra careful. But still, from my understanding sometimes your blood sugar isn’t normal, no matter how well you were eating. Learning how to react to it and do something to balance it out is part of controlling the disease. For all the talk about how horrible Stacey’s disease was, she seemed to have it under awesome control.