After I stopped reading the books, I would occasionally walk by the kids’ section of a bookstore where they were on display, just to get a quick sense of any interesting plot developments. So, my memory of this book is of doing that, and not actually reading it. I remember skimming through it and seeing a scene where Jessi’s being interviewed and talks about how it’s hard to be the only black girl in her group of friends, and that it’s hard to be the youngest person in the BSC, especially with Mallory gone. Then she starts talking about how she has friends in NYC that are Latino and African American, and she’s more relaxed with them. I just remember wondering what book she met them in, since it was definitely after I stopped reading. I think it is the one where she takes a special ballet class in the city.
Also, I few years ago I read a bunch of BSC fan fiction, and one of the better stories actually referenced this book. It was about Stacey and Emily Bernstein being friends in high school, and Stacey remembering how well Emily interviewed people in this book.
It’s time for another book about SMS’s cool Short Takes classes. And I’m being serious…I really think they’re cool. This time there are a variety of classes being taught by teachers from the “real world.” Stacey takes the movie class, because she apparently loves movies. I don’t remember hearing her talk about that before, but I’ll go with it.
She ends up in a group with Emily, Pete Black, and Erica Blumberg, who have all been mentioned occasionally in the books. At first they try to do a horror-type movie that involves zombie-students coming out of lockers and chasing the main character. But, after they film their first scene, they decide that that’s harder than it sounds, and that what they’ve shot's horrible. So, they move to a documentary about what kids at SMS think. They interview most of the BSC members and a bunch of other kids. Emily, who’s on the school paper, ends up being a pretty good interviewer…she gets everyone to open up and reveal something they probably wouldn’t ordinarily admit.
When Mary Anne’s interviewed, she’s in a bit of a bad mood because (we find out later) she got in an argument with Sharon that morning (about Sharon forgetting to pick up some dry-cleaning). And Mary Anne ends up saying that she hates her mother for dying. She also makes it seem like she doesn’t think of Sharon as her mother. Afterwards, Mary Anne regrets what she said and asks Stacey to remove her part from the film. Stacey tries to convince her group, but they all think it’s too good an interview to leave out. Then, when it’s Stacey’s turn to be interviewed, she ends up talking about how she sometimes cried in bed, holding her hands over her ears because of her parents fighting. She wants that part cut as well, but her group thinks this is also a good interview to include. Anyway, she ends up recording a second interview with Mary Anne, and a second one of herself, trying to explain what they each meant. Those do end up in the final documentary, so I guess it’s a relatively happy ending.
Kristy’s also in the class and is in a group with Logan, Anna, and Alan Gray. She’s having a hard time because Alan’s the director, and Kristy doesn’t do well when other people are in charge. The fact that it’s Alan probably exasperates the problem. Their movie’s about funny kids, so of course they film the BSC clients. But it actually sounds kind of boring. Stacey claims the final product is funny, but based on what we see of their shooting, that’s kind of hard to believe.
- At the beginning, Stacey’s so excited about the idea of a movie class that she launches into a faux announcer style introduction of herself as the hot and gorgeous new director. And apparently everyone around her heard her….they react much nicer than people I went to school with would have.
- Since when has Stacey been so into movies? I remember that her favorite movie was Mary Poppins, but not about being “fascinated” by them. If she was so into them, shouldn’t it get mentioned in her bio given in every book?
- Stacey does mention that she’s loved movies ever since her parents took her to see Cinderella when she was 5, which actually matches a story from her autobiography. Although if I’m remembering that correctly, it was an obsession with Cinderella herself, not movies.
- Claudia outfit: “She was wearing a tie-dyed T-Shirt (that she’d dyed herself) under a pair of white overall shorts. But these weren’t ordinary overalls. She’d painted a rain forest scene over the entire fabric. It made her look like a walking mural. The forest canopy was up by the straps, and mushrooms, rocks, and little lizards sat at the hems.” Is it weird that I don’t think this is SO bad? Depending on the color of the tie-dyed T-shirt, that is.
- Claudia takes architecture, and even claims she doesn’t care math is involved, cause she’ll get Stacey to help her.
- In case you care, Mary Anne takes Egyptology and Abby and Jessi take Athletic Physiology.
- The movie teacher asks the kids to pick which jobs they want (director, producer, writer, etc), then makes them all change to get out of their comfort zone. Which actually seems like a smart way to teach a class like that.
- Kristy becomes a bit of a bitch in this one. When filming at the Rodowsky’s, she keeps the camera trained on Jackie, since he’s such a klutz and all. But Jackie is apparently smarter than he normally gets credit for, and tells Stacey that he knows Kristy’s just waiting for him to do something stupid, and that he doesn’t want to be in the film. Then Kristy tries to keep taping him anyway….Stacey has to physically stop her.
- When they’re trying to shoot the zombie scene, Erika and Emily convince a bunch of students to leave their lockers open, then have other students get in them before starting the scene. Now, I’m having a hard time believing that so many kids could fit into lockers. I was one of the smallest people in my class and I don’t think I would have fit in mine.
- It’s kind of annoying that they have Stacey feel upset when Jessi interviews that it’s hard being the only black girl in the club, but then have absolutely no follow up about it.
- The classes are all taught by real professionals who work in the field the classes are about. But what kind of person guest teaches at a middle school? I can buy that for a high school class, but not middle school.
- Maybe they just weren’t showing all the people they interviewed, but it seems like it is all Stacey’s friends (BSC members), plus Alan Gray and Cokie Mason. I get why that’s what we see, but I would think that they’d need to interview more people than that to make a decent documentary. They could have at least mentioned talking to other people.
- When they interview Cokie, she tells Stacey how she has the “right look” to hang out with her group of friends. And she claims that the BSC thinking they’re better than Cokie’s no different than Cokie thinking she’s better than the BSC. Except the BSC never initiated letters/bad luckcharms threatening Cokie, never tried to steal anyone’s boyfriend, and never made the rest of the group do all the work in a school project.