This is another one I never read as a kid….
This is a sitting job-heavy plot, which is usually a bad sign. Claudia has a sitting job for the Braddocks, and when she got there, Mrs. Braddock says to make sure Haley does her homework. Haley shows Claudia some book report as proof that it’s done, and she’s allowed to watch TV. When the Braddocks get home, Claudia says, “Well, Haley finished her report on The Great Brain.” Only, Mrs. Braddock knows that the book report was from last month, and Haley ends up grounded.
Haley blames Claudia, and starts telling her friends that the BSC members are spies who report bad behavior to kids’ parents. At first, only some kids listen to her. Then, in an amazing coincidence, Claudia has several more sitting jobs for the Braddocks. Haley uses this to try to make Claudia look bad, and she ends up getting in more trouble. But this actually helps her convince other kids that the BSC is out to get them. At the time, Haley’s playing on a girls basketball team that Kristy’s coaching, and this turns into a forum to spread her complaints.
The BSC decides they need to solve the problem, and they call the Braddocks asking to do a "role play" with Haley. I’m sure Mr. and Mrs. Braddock were glad to get that call, because otherwise they wouldn’t have had any idea how to help their daughter. Anyway, the role play gets Haley to admit that she lied about homework because she was having trouble in school, her parents decide to get her a tutor, blah, blah, blah. At the end, Haley tries to lie to a ref at the team’s first basketball game. But after a look from Kristy, she admits the truth. And the team wins! Happy endings all around.
The subplot’s somewhat more interesting than all the Haley drama. Claudia’s currently dating a guy named Josh, who she met while being temporarily sent back to seventh grade. Apparently she had been dating another seventh-grade guy, but dumped him for Josh. She has a lot in common with Josh, and he’s generally a nice guy – he even helps her design and sew uniforms that Claud’s making for Kristy’s basketball team. The problem’s that Claudia’s just not feeling the chemistry. While, they have kissed, Claudia just doesn’t have a huge desire to do it often.
Claud’s afraid to say anything, because she doesn’t want to ruin the friendship. But eventually they talk, and she finds out Josh feels the same way about her. They decide to try just being friends, and since they do hang out together at the end, it may actually happen.
- Now, I may be stating the obvious, but isn’t one of the reasons for having a baby-sitter so that the parents know the kid doesn’t get in trouble? I mean, the sitter doesn’t have to tell the parents everything, but she isn’t there on a play date.
- I’m guessing this isn’t the first time Claudia will meet a guy who can help her design clothes, but doesn’t want to kiss her. This is especially true if she gets a job in fashion. Of course, Claudia getting a job in fashion may be a sign of the apocalypse, so I try not to think about it too much.
- Claudia tells Josh that she can’t go out on Saturday because it’s her dad’s birthday. So, on Saturday she goes to wish him happy birthday, and he tells her it’s not for another week. That seems like a pretty hard mistake to make.
- I wouldn’t have expected Becca and Charlotte to join a basketball team, but they’re both players on Kristy’s team. So are Vanessa and Haley (who only wanted to be Krushers’ cheerleaders). I’m not saying that interest in softball has to equal interest in basketball, I was just surprised to see it.
- One of the jobs for Haley and Matt’s when Mr. and Mrs. Braddock go to the elementary school for a meeting about the spring dance. But since when do elementary schools have dances? And what other dance would they be planning? It just seems weird.
- While Abby’s sitting at the Rodowskis’, the kids make a reference to Noah Seger living next store, which is a reference to this lovely book. I was happy to see this, because if you’re going to have crazy-unrealistic books, you should at least have continuity.
- Claudia doesn’t know a lot of sign language, so Haley translates for Matt. She tells Claud that Matt needs poster paint for a school assignment, but doesn’t have any. Claudia says she has some at home, and she calls Stacey to get it for her. Mrs. McGill actually drives Stacey to Claudia’s house, waits while Stacey goes in and gets the paint, and then drives her to the Braddocks. It ends up being a fool’s errand, cause Haley was lying about it. But even if it wasn’t, this seems like a lot of effort for a second-grader’s homework.
- Also, taking advantage of your brother’s handicap to trick your baby-sitter seems a bit bitchy.
- I really want to get my hands on the books where Claudia’s temporarily sent back to seventh grade. They sound like they’d be fun to recap.
- Claudia calls the Pikes because Matt wants to borrow a book from Nicky (and can’t use the phone himself for obvious reasons). Mrs. Pike says Mr. Pike took the kids to a movie. Now, this is on a Wednesday night. It seems odd that elementary school kids would be going to the movie on a school night.
- I guess Haley’s rumors are effective, because Charlotte, who has shown Stacey her diary in the past, won’t show her a random school assignment.
- Stacey uses the word “composition” to describe something Charlotte was writing. Does anyone actually use that word? Especially kids?
- When did Mary Anne go to counseling? Because even though I didn’t read this book as a kid, I remember it being in referenced in other books I DID read. But I never read the book where it first happened.
- Of course, when Haley starts bitching to other kids in town, Kristy’s paranoid that the BSC’s doomed. She even worries that the Ramseys (who have a daughter IN the club) would stop using them. Her paranoia’s getting a bit old.
- Stacey says that she and Robert are friends now, even though it took a lot of time after their breakup to get to that point. I feel like that must have happened in a book I never read, and it makes me want to find it.
- Claudia says that Mary Anne has never gotten a complaint about scheduling jobs/her role as secretary. But, haven’t there been entire books about fights over jobs? Maybe the complaints weren’t specifically about Mary Anne, but they still happened.
- We keep hearing about how Haley’s “lies” include her using the phone when she’s supposed to be studying, and then pretending she was asking someone about homework. Now….didn't Mary Anne do this all the time in the early books? Because her dad wouldn’t let her use the phone otherwise, right? So, are they saying Mary Anne was “acting out” when she did that?