Monday, April 11, 2011

“Aren’t we all supposed to get leis?”……BSC Super Special # 13: Aloha, Baby-sitters!”

Memory Reaction

I didn’t read this book as a kid, but I do have a memory of seeing it in the store. I was flipping through it and was tempted to buy it, but decided not to. I think I was trying to go cold-turkey since I was too old to still be buying them. The specific thing I remember is Abby being in a commercial. I can’t remember if I thought it was unbelievable or not? Let's just say I thought it was unrealistic, just cause I like to think I wasn’t a total idiot as a child.

Also, and this is a little embarrassing, but I went to Hawaii a couple years ago…..and I remember thinking that the trip would give me an interesting perspective for reviewing this book. I know, it’s sad.

Revisited Reaction

Most of the BSC’s going to Hawaii on the most ridiculous school trip ever. It’s summer and Stoneybrook Middle School’s organizing a trip with 50 kids and 6 teacher chaperones. Most of the BSC parents agreed the kids could go if they paid for half. And for some reason, Dawn gets to go too, even though this is after she moved to California for good. The only BSC members not going are Shannon, cause she’s at summer camp and doesn’t go to SMS anyway, Kristy, who’s already going to Hawaii with her family later in the summer, and Mallory, who can’t have good things happen to her. And whose parents can’t afford it.

The framework of this Super Special’s that they’re making a trip journal for Mallory so she gets to experience what she’s missing. Overall, it’s kind of a boring trip. No one even falls in LUV which is usually somewhat of a given in a Super Special/Vacation book. Stacey and Mary Anne have some issues with Robert and Logan, but that’s not as interesting as a new boy.

Stacey and Robert are part of a small group that spend several days in Maui (everyone else stays on Oahu the whole time). Stacey’s been annoyed at him because some girl was flirting with him on the plane ride out. Then the helicopter she’s on (for a tour) crashes and no one knows where she is for about a day. She ends up in the hospital for a few hours because of her blood sugar, and her feet get sore since she wasn’t wearing the best shoes, but that’s pretty much the extent of the damage. Robert all worried, and they make up after Stacey’s found.

Mary Anne spends the trip trying to make a point of not being attached to Logan’s hip, because her friends had been telling her she spent too much time with him. She also takes a baby-sitting job on her vacation, because she wants to meet a “real Hawaiian” family. Then she feels a bit embarrassed because they are just like people back in Stoneybrook.

Claudia goes to Pearl Harbor, and starts to feel ashamed of the fact that she’s Japanese, and her “ancestors” were responsible for the attack. She’s worried that people will dislike her because of it. She also worries about the fact that Mimi was living in Japan at the time, and wonders what she thought of the attack. It’s actually the most interesting storyline in the book.

Other key plots: Abby talks her way into a commercial for sun lotion that’s being filmed on the beach. Dawn finds a beach that’s full of garbage and cleans it up, and gets some local kids to agree to keep it clean. Jessi barely gets any chapters herself, even though she’s the one who’s supposed to be leading the efforts in Mallory’s book. She just spends the whole time taking pictures/notes.

We also get to hear about Kristy and Mallory back in Stoneybrook, which sort of takes you out of the rest of the story. They’re both helping at some “farm camp” to help that woman in town that has a farm. It’s that’s so boring it’s barely worth mentioning. However, on a separate sitting job for Jenny Prezzioso, Mrs. P tells Mallory that she’s decided to start using discipline on Jenny. If Jenny has a tantrum, Mallory should just let her cry/scream until she stops herself. This happens at the park and some random woman tells Mallory she’s neglecting Jenny. She even calls the BSC to complain about it. But then Mallory sees the woman at the park, and her own kid has a tantrum. And the woman becomes a BSC client. Of course.


  • I have this vague memory of a book where the BSC’s raising money for the trip and where Dawn’s on a waiting list to go (since she isn’t a SMS student). I thought that this was from some summary of the book, but I guess it was actually another book that I did read.
  • The thing that’s weird, is that this must take place before the book where Stacey and Robert break up. That was the last BSC book I read as a kid, so I can’t understand how I missed the Super Special.
  • I would have hated to be on the plane with the SMS group. There are fifty kids and they spend the whole trip switching seats so they can talk to each other.
  • I do appreciate that they don’t have these kids staying in some resort right on the beach, and that they mention taking public buses. They don’t mention a cost for this trip, but if the BSC was able to raise half the cost, we can’t be talking about 5 star resorts.
  • At one point they’re talking about food, and Claudia says she gave Dawn 3 of her Doritos. But since when does Dawn eat Doritos?
  • At first I thought all the Stacey/Robert fighting was foreshadowing to the book where they break up, but Robert was apparently crying when Stacey’s helicopter went down, so I guess they didn’t want him to seem too dickish yet.
  • Jessi took 13 rolls of film on the trip, and she mentions as least some of them having 36 exposures. That seems like a hell of a lot of film. I tend to take a lot of pictures, but that’s with digital camera. All that film and developing would get pretty expensive.
  • I get that they wanted to have some baby-sitting in this book, but having these girls take sitting jobs on their vacation is really ridiculous.
  • Dawn acknowledges the ridiculous-ness of coming to Stoneybrook over the summer, only to go to Hawaii. It would have been hilarious if she came back for a visit, only to see all her friends leave town.
  • Mary Anne and Logan decide they both hated not spending all their time together, and decide to not listen to their friends about things like that. So….what message are we trying to send to young girls?
  • Kristy gets everyone shirts that say “Baby-Sitters Club” with Claud’s phone number on them. And people actually wear them. Not just in Stoneybrook, but in Hawaii too. Good thing they don’t solve any crimes in this book, or else the culprits would have been able to stalk them.
  • I was impressed to see that Claudia’s description of visiting Pearl Harbor was actually pretty accurate, at least compared to my experience.
  • This must be the most boring trip to Hawaii ever. Maybe helicopter crashes make some things interesting, but not this.
  • Karen’s attending the farm camp with a friend of hers that’s visiting from Nebraska. I remember the friend from a Little Sister book where Karen went to Nebraska, so I feel like this must overlap with another Little Sister book….it’s too random otherwise.
  • Abby being in a commercial’s the most ludicrous thing ever. They’re filming some people playing a beach volleyball game, and are missing an actor. She just walks over and is all, “hey, I can play volleyball. And I’m totally 18.” And they just let her do it. They don’t even ask for proof of her age.
  • We hear about these girls needing to ask permission from their chaperones more than we’ve ever heard about them asking their parents’ permission for stuff in other books.
  • If you were Mallory and couldn’t go on vacation with all your friends, would having every minute of the trip documented make you feel better?
  • At one point, a little boy gets lost in the hotel they’re staying at. And Mary Anne decides to just stay at the hotel to help look for him/watch his sisters while his parents look. And of course she finds him and saves the day.
  • When Mary Anne asks one of the chaperones about whether she can baby-sit, the teacher’s all, “you want to baby-sit on vacation”? Now, she clearly has a point, but this is coming from someone who’s chaperoning her students on her summer vacation.
  • The beach that Dawn cleans up has a for sale sign, meaning it’s private property. So, she’s encouraging these kids to keep on trespassing? It also says “swim at your own risk,” so it seems like a bad idea to be letting those kids swim there anyway.
  • Stacey has bad luck in Super Specials, doesn’t she? In this book she’s in a helicopter crash, in the blizzard super special she gets stranded in the storm, and in the camp super special she spends half the time in the infirmary.
  • At one point Dawn gives Logan a surfing lesson, but I’m kind of surprised they didn’t do any more of a surfing plot….Dawn’s all into it, and Stacey liked it the first time she tried it.
  • Mallory’s surprised to find out that the judgmental woman from the park has kids. But why does she think this random person was hanging out at the playground anyway? Also, I don’t understand why her kid having a tantrum makes her understand what Mal was doing. Her whole point was about Mal’s reaction to the tantrum, not the fact that a kid was having one.
  • This book seems a little weird, because everyone’s chapters are not evenly spaced out. Abby has chapters 2, 7, and 10, while Stacey has 11, 16, and 21.


Anonymous said...

Jessi was so wrapped up in writing and picture-taking for the book she's making for Mallory, she didn't savor the fact she's visiting the Hawaiian islands. At one point, she thinks "At least Mallory would know how our vacation really felt. I could always ask her." In SS #15, after Mallory learns William Shakespeare is one of her ancestors, she starts writing a story and can hardly put it down to enjoy sightseeing in Paris. Eventually Jessi tells her "Girl, have you forgotten something? We're in Paris. You may never get a chance to see this place again." Jessi, you could have told her you understood because you were so involved in making her book of the BSC Hawaiian trip, you blew your opportunity to get the most out of that trip. But we never find out if Jessi told her that.

Anonymous said...

Stacey's bad luck with modes of transportation in the Super Specials is incredible. She was also in a car crash in SS #5.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

William Shakespeare is one of of Mallory's ancestors? Really? I think I need to track down that book.

Anonymous said...

I normally don't make these kind of corrections, but you mentioned the BSC taking 'pubic buses'. I just wanted to let you know to spare you from further embarrassment.

Apart from that, great post. Please, please keep them coming!

Molly said...

I never got the whole tantrum thing either. Like...the woman thought Mallory was handling it badly, not that Jenny was a brat for freaking out. Not that it makes her less of a bitch, but still

Rachel said...

I originally thought this plot was ridiculous, but my primary school took a class of a 11 year olds to France for 5 days (from the UK, that's not too far away). The trip cost about £250 (back in 2002) and we were actually learning German, not French, so it was totally useless. Apparently they went to Belgium and bought chocolate and went to a famous theme park, and drank hot chocolate and ate crossiants for breakfast everyday at the hotel. And...that's it. My parents didn't let me go because it was too expensive (being a normal kid, I still had my own babysitter at this stage so couldn't earn half the money :P) and they pointed out how useless it was to go to France when our class were meant to be learning German. I kicked up a massive fuss at the time, but it didn't seem like my friends did anything out of the ordinary!

Lexie said...

@Rachel: Oddly in 7th grade my friend's French class randomly went to Spain. Apparently the Spanish class teacher had reserved the trip, but not enough of her kids signed up for it so she offered it to the French teacher as a joint trip. Which, didn't think French/Spanish is that similar but okay...

I remember this book well! I bought it thinking 'Since I never go anywhere for vacation this will be great!'

So totally wasn't XD

Paigealicious! said...

LOL I laughed at "pubic buses" too...

Also kind of DIDN'T think it was unbelievable about the commercial thing, or you DID?

Elise said...

I think this is one of the Super Specials I missed too, I somehow have most of the other ones. Love that they actually wore BSC tshirts, esp in Hawaii, most useless promo ever... :)

maria said...

I guess I'd have to read the book, but I didn't think Abby's coming out as an extra in a commercial was too unrealistic.
And yes, Stacey definitely has terrible luck on SS. California Girls has her running with a "fast" crowd that causes a car accident.
And poor Mallory. I don't see how her parents can't afford to pay for half when they can afford to pay for extra babysitters on a cruise (SS #1).
And Dawn going on that trip is absolutely ludicrous. I can't stand her.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree that it's kind of mean to document every great moment of a trip that Mallory didn't get to take. It's like "look at all the fun you didn't get to have.". And they should totally have added a vacation romance. It may be unrealistic for them to meet a " boyfriend" everywhere thee go, but everything else is also unrealistic.

Betsy Ray said...

I was so looking forward to your review of this one... I remember I especially liked it back in the day. Then, I remembered exactly how absurd it was. Thanks for the review-- especially great!

By the way, if you're looking for a copy of the European Super Special, I recently got it off Paperback Swap. (I realized it was the only one I had read). It is pretty epic. I'd be happy to send it to you (just email me at betsy.ray at gmx dot com)

dolly said...

At one point they’re talking about food, and Claudia says she gave Dawn 3 of her Doritos. But since when does Dawn eat Doritos?

Claudia gave Kristy the damn Doritos.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

I'm not sure Claudia (who was in Hawaii) could have given Kristy (who was in Connecticut) any Doritos. But it's an interesting theory.

Dawn asks Claudia how she could be hungry after eating the Doritos, and Claudia very specifically responds to her by saying, "I gave YOU three of them."

Anonymous said...

It's Dawn and Too Many Sitters that talks about them signing up for the trip. If my memory serves, it was $500 and each girl agreed to pay half of the cost themselves. $500 for a week in Hawaii, even in the 90's? Including a flight from Connecticut, hotel, food, and day trips? I doubt it.

Stephie said...

I seem to recall they also mention it in the Euro trip one (but I don't think Dawn goes?)....except that's obviously not where you read it!

Stephie said...

I also wanted to add that foot problems can be very serious for diabetics, so it was pretty realistic that Stacey was taking her sore feet so seriously (not that she ever seemed to see a podiatrist in other books).

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