I remember a scene in this one where Abby’s mom catches her eating at a pizza place during school hours, by seeing her through the window. Only, her mom’s not catching her cutting school, she’s finding out that Abby was suspended. I think it stuck in my head so much because these girls were usually pretty “good,” and Abby getting suspended seemed like a big deal. That may also be because I was a total goody-goody as a kid…..I was always fascinated to hear exactly what happened to people who were tough enough to break the rules.
Abby’s Bat Mitzvah’s coming up, so she’s busy studying to get ready for it. Or, she should be studying for it, but has been procrastinating. She also somehow forgot about a math test that will be 25% of her grade, until the day before. She’s freaking out about it, then is relieved when some guy offers to sell her a “study guide.” She’s a bit desperate, so she buys it without thinking that this guide may not be on the up-and-up.
Anyway, the next day Abby comes in prepared to take the test and is shocked to see that the test has the exact same questions as her study guide. Imagine that! But she isn’t sure what to do about it, so she takes the test and gets a 98. The two points off were something that was wrong on the study guide, and when five students make this same mistake (and only that mistake), the teacher realizes something’s up. She suspends all of them for three days. Abby tries to explain what happened, but when Abby says she doesn’t know the name of the guy who sold her the test, the teacher doesn’t buy it.
Abby manages to keep this from her mother by deleting the voicemail and taking the letter out of the mail. It’s especially hard though, because her mom took off from work to get ready for the Bat Mitvah party. She ends up hanging out in the town library all day, trying to catch up on school and study the Torah passage she needs to read at the Bat Mitzvah. But on the last day, she decides to go shopping and her mother sees her through the window of the pizza place. The whole story comes out and her mom’s pissed, but lets her off relatively easy.
When she’s back in school, Abby sees the same guy selling a study guide to Mary Anne….Abby goes over and tells Mary Anne what happened. Then they go to talk to the teacher, who believes them this time because Mary Anne can give the guys name. I’m sure the fact that Mary Anne’s a good student played a role as well. The teacher offers to give Abby a re-take of the test, so the whole thing’s settled before Mrs. Stevenson can talk to the teacher herself. And the whole thing inspires Abby for the speech she needs to give for her Bat Mitzvah.
The subplot’s that the parents in Stoneybrook have decided that their kids are watching too much TV, so they institute a ban. The kids are all complaining when the girls go to sit for them. But, when the kids are venting to each other, they start putting on a show that’s their version of some TV show they like. Kind of like a pre-internet fan fiction. They’re having so much fun that when the parents tell them they can watch more TV, the kids don’t watch as much as before.
- Claudia outfit: “Leopard-print tights, black ankle boots with fuzzy yellow slouch socks, black bicycle shorts, a yellow leotard, and this teeny, tiny fuzzy sweater with cap sleeves that was black with big yellow buttons. Her earrings were leopards: on one side a leopard looked as if it was coming through her earlobe toward you. On the other side, you could see only the back of the leopard, disappearing into her earlobe, as if her earlobes were these weird leopard cat doors. She’d crinkle-braided strands of her black hair, and tied the crinkled parts at the top with knots of yellow ribbon.” Is it weird that after that whole description, all I can think about is what earring she wore in her third hole?
- Abby tells us that in the BSC record book Mary Anne had blocked out the entire day of her Bat Mitzvah, so everyone could attend. It’s weird….it seems like Kristy usually freaks out if one person isn’t going to be available to sit, but they never bring the issue up when they all go on vacation together.
- It’s a pretty big deal to forget a test that counts as 25% of your grade. When I was in middle school, our teachers would remind us about something like that constantly. Are we supposed to believe Abby was spacing out THAT much in class?
- Abby thinks that Leave it to Beaver was one of the weirdest TV shows there is, which I think is supposed to be showing Ann Martin’s feminism.
- The guy sells his study guides for $3. That seems crazy low.
- Also, we’re supposed to believe that neither Abby nor Mary Anne realized what they were buying? This isn’t Claudia we’re talking about.
- At least the other kids in Abby’s class who bought the study guide seemed to know they were actually buying the test.
- It may seem like the teacher is a bit of a bitch to not believe Abby, or to not even consider giving her a yearbook and telling her to point to the guy who sold the study guide. Because, really, why would Abby make that up after she was “caught.” But there’s backstory about Mrs. Stevenson yelling at the teacher for not giving Abby an extension on a quiz when she was sick (based on what Abby says), but Abby also tells us she wasn’t being completely honest with her mom. So, I don’t totally blame the teacher for being annoyed.
- I can’t believe that the school doesn’t insist on talking to a parent about a suspension. Abby just deleted the voicemail and took the letter from the mailbox (which is the same thing Mallory did in the book about hating volleyball). I would think a suspension would warrant confirmation.
- One afternoon, a bunch of the sitters get together with their charges. We’re told that Kristy and Shannon are there with Karen and others, because they’d come to that side of town to play. No reason’s actually given.
- Abby hides out at the library during her suspension, and talks about seeing college students. Wouldn’t they have their own library on campus? Because doesn’t Janine sometimes talk about going to the college library?
- Abby gets grounded for lying, but is still allowed to baby-sit and go to all after-school activities. That seems…lenient.
- Stacey’s surprised on a sitting job to see that kids have put togethera show, and Kristy’s all, “didn’t you read the notebook?” So, I liked them showing that these girls sometimes slacked off about annoying stuff like that.
- Another Claudia outfit: “A long skirt, lace socks peeking out above her black Doc Martens, and a tunic top with a belt she’d made herself out of twists of lace and a silver buckle.”
- So at the Bat Mitzvah, the twins are supposed to give a speech. Anna plays her violin, because she’s better at playing music than words, but it seems a bit unfair. Especially since she and Abby each had their own topic to speak about.
- Because we need to cram in as much baby-sitting as possible, Claudia, Mary Anne, and Kristy take a job sitting for some of Abby’s relatives that are in town for the Bat Mitzvah.
- The “show” the kids put on, is like five minutes long. At first it seems like they’re making the story up as they go along, and are just doing it for each other. But when they invite parents to come see it, they only do a little bit, and say it’s continued. If you’re going to the trouble of inviting people to watch, I’d think you’d do more than a few minutes.