I really liked this book as a kid because I liked Mary Anne and Logan getting back together. I was a bit of a romantic back then. Looking back, I think it would have been nice if they let Mary Anne be single a little while longer, but as a kid I was into the happy ending concept. I also really hated Cokie and thought it was kind of weird for Logan to be going out with her throughout this book. Cokie tried to scare the BSC in a graveyard and she sent Kristy threatening notes…..I thought Logan wouldn’t have gotten involved with her because of that.
Now, my main memory of this book was the end. Mary Anne and Logan basically get back together and go out to dinner. Mary Anne wears a somewhat atypical outfit – red and blue tights and baggy T-shirt. It’s so weird how some of the outfits are still so clear in my head.
It’s been five books since Mary Anne and Logan broke up, and she has started to miss him.
Meanwhile, the real story’s that all the eighth-graders at SMS are doing a big English project. They’re assigned to teams out of the entire grade, and are given a young-adult author to study. Mary Anne’s all stressed out about the horrible people she could be assigned to work with, but she doesn’t expect to be assigned to work with Logan. But she is, and she is clearly unhappy. On top of that, Cokie Mason sweet-talks her way into the group. She makes it clear right away that her only contribution to the project is to get Logan into her clutches.
Unfortunately for Mary Anne, Logan falls into Cokie’s spell and goes out on a few dates with her. So many dates that Mary Anne and Pete Black (the fourth member of their group) doubt that Logan and Cokie are doing their portions of the paper. She and Pete decide to write the whole thing themselves.
Then they find out that the Megan Rinehart, the (fictional) author they’re studying, is coming to the school for some Author Day event, and Mary Anne’s group has to present their paper to the entire school (and Megan herself). Mary Anne freaks out of course. But then Logan calls her to say he HAS been doing his work, and wants to meet with her to make sure it’s good enough for the presentation. The two of them work with Pete to get everything ready, and don’t bother to include Cokie. The presentation goes well for Pete, Logan, and Mary Anne, and Cokie looks like the idiot that she is. Logan invites Mary Anne to dinner to “thank her,” at which point he tells her Cokie’s fun, but means nothing to her. This sets the stage for them getting back together, which remains the case for the rest of the series (I don’t count the Friends Forever books).
The baby-sitting plot revolves around the Kormons, the people who moved into the Delanys’ house (across from Kristy). The kids, Melody and Bill, make up the idea of a “toilet monster” and then start believing in it. They insist on running to their beds after flushing the toilet – if they make it before the toilet stops running, they’re safe. By the end of the book, Kristy has sort of convinced them they don’t need to worry. Mary Anne doesn’t believe it will last, and I’m pretty sure this comes up in later books, so I guess she’s right.
- The schools in Stoneybrook have a hell of a lot of big projects.
- When the girls are discussing all the cool authors they might study, they go through this whole list of real-life authors (Judy Blume, Lois Lowry, Madeleine L’Engle, etc), then just randomly throw in the name of the one fake author Mary Anne ends up studying. It’s kind of distracting.
- Kristy starts laughing at the possibility of Alan Gray studying Judy Blume, because of all the “bra stuff” in “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” Now, I see her point, but I would think the period “stuff” in the book would be a more awkward topic for Alan. But it doesn’t get mentioned at all.
- Apparently one of Claudia’s regular accessories is slap-wrist bracelets…..I remember when those were super-popular, and then there were stories about one killing some kid, and they went away. I have no idea if that was a true story though.
- Dawn tells Mary Anne how she overheard Grace Blume talking about how Cokie only asked to switch groups because she wanted to hook up with Logan. But isn’t it kind of insensitive of her to just drop that news on Mary Anne?
- At all the sitting jobs for the Kormons, the kids make a point of saying how they know they’re having hot dogs for dinner because that’s what they always have when baby-sitters are there. Is it sad that I remember that showing up in other books?
- Mary Anne’s mad that Cokie’s going after Logan now that he’s “available,” because Logan was hers once and she wanted him back. And while I understand she misses him, and that Cokie’s a bitch, it isn’t really fair to be upset at someone for wanting to date a guy she broke up with. Though I guess it’s realistic.
- So, until this book, I had thought that Cokie was a bitch, but a somewhat intelligent one. But everything she says during the author project changes that. When the group decides to read four of Megan Rinehart’s books in two weeks, Cokie says how “once” she read four little books (Peter Rabbit and some similar ones) when she was ten. She makes it seem like such an accomplishment that she comes off as a total airhead.
- The girl in Mary Anne’s group originally (who ends up switching), hates Pete Black because in seventh grade he snapped her bra, which broke the strap, forcing her to take it off and carry it around in her purse. That makes it kind of hard to like Pete later on.
- The group meets at Cokie’s house for one of their meetings. At the end, they arrange their next meeting. So, two chapters later, Mary Anne tells us, “the next meeting was the first one since the one at the Mason house…” But isn’t that a totally redundant sentience? And a really repetitive line? And an unnecessarily long thing to say?
- Supposedly the kids aren’t allowed to switch groups. But Cokie manages to convince her teacher to let her into Logan’s group because (she claims) she’s such a big fan of Megan Rinehart. Since Cokie sucks at English, Mary Anne figures the teacher was so happy to see Cokie excited and decided to accommodate her. Only right after this, Cokie starts calling the author Marie Rinehard. And she doesn’t believe Mary Anne about the correct name, she waits for Logan to say it. So, how did she convince a teacher she cared?
- After Mary Anne’s group takes the time to each read (or re-read) four books by Megan Rinehart, Pete asks if the paper’s supposed to be about the author or her books. And Mary Anne’s all, “hmmm, I don’t know.” Shouldn’t that have been one of the first things the teacher told them about the project?
- Kristy’s notebook entry for her sitting job at the Kormons’ is really obnoxious. She writes how even though it was her first job for them since the monster was invented, she was able to solve the problem right away.
- Mary Anne got her father to agree to her wearing leggings and an oversized shirt, but pointing out it’s less revealing than a bathing suit. Since it sounds like a pretty tame outfit to begin with, I guess that’s believable.
- I don’t really understand why some parents in BSC-land (like the Pikes) don’t want their kid to wear leggings and baggy T-shirts. It isn’t the worst thing a kid could want to wear.
- I like that Logan acknowledges that he hurt Cokie by basically dating her then suddenly stopped talking to her and started cozying up to Mary Anne again. And possibly for letting her look like an idiot in front of the whole school. But I’m not sure Cokie’s smart enough to realize she looked like an idiot.
- Now, I would like Logan more if he actually SAID something to Cokie about the whole thing….but he’s a 13-year-old boy, so I know that’s not realistic.