Monday, October 8, 2012

“We shouldn’t let things like this get in the way of our club – or our friendships – ever again”…….BSC # 120: Mary Anne and the Playground Fight

Memory Reaction
This was way after I stopped reading…

Revisited Reaction
We’re told on the cover that the “fight” is between the BSC members, not the kids, which I thought sounded good.  But the fight’s nowhere close to how bitchy other fight books have been. And I find it interesting that the biggest fights I can think of are all Mary Anne books.

Anyway, it’s the end of the school year and two announcements are made.  The first is that there’s going to be a trip to Europe at ridiculously discounted prices, just like the one to Hawaii “last year.”  This is all a set up for the next Super Special. The other announcement is that there’s going to be a “playground camp” at the elementary school over the summer, and they’re looking to hire six middle school students to work there.  All the regular BSC members apply, plus Logan and Dawn (who’s visiting for the summer).  There are also a lot of other applicants from non-BSCers, but they’re clearly irrelevant. This means the girls are competing with each other and things get a little tense as they work on their applications.

When Dawn gets to Stoneybrook, Mary Anne tells her about the Europe trip.  But Dawn surprises her by saying she doesn’t want to go since she’s not in Stoneybrook that much and wants to spend her time there.   Logan also decides not to go on the trip.  Then the extremely independent thinking Mary Anne decides she doesn’t want to go either. 

The girls realize that the trip is happening in the right in the middle of the camp session, and while they’re told they still have a shot, they’re not totally sure if they can do both.  Claudia decides she won’t go on the trip if she gets the camp job. Mallory and Jessi are cut from the application process because their books apparently don’t sell as well as the others, and they stopped getting screen time in the later books.  Or maybe it’s because of their age.  It’s not really important.  Anyway, Stacey, Kristy, and Abby are the only ones applying with a conflict.  The three of them try and downplay this in their interviews, but are apparently not very successful.  After the interview, the girls snap at each other a little bit, Kristy calls Claudia insecure and Claudia calls Kristy a bully. 

Meanwhile, Victoria, that princess from awhile back, is apparently still in town, but about to go back to London.  She’s not happy about that and we get a couple chapters of her “saying goodbye” to the town/her friends.  But the BSC makes plans to visit her when they’re in Europe.  At Victoria’s official going away party, the BSCers aren’t really talking to each other and argue once in front of Charlotte Johanssan.  But nothing too exciting, I think it was over who was scooping ice cream better. After that, they find out that Mary Anne, Dawn, Claudia, and Logan got jobs at the camp, and the others did not.  They decide it must have been because of the trip, and they all make up.

  • Dawn’s stepmother just had a baby named Grace.  Mary Anne tells us they call her “Gracie” for short.  I know it’s an expression, but it made me laugh because Gracie’s actually longer than Grace.
  • Mary Anne mentions hanging out near the beautiful lighthouse in Stoneybrook.  I guess that’s a reference to this? 
  • Claudia outfit: “On this day she was wearing an oversized black jumpsuit over a white T-shirt with the sleeves rolled up, plus white socks and black high-top sneakers with silver laces. The laces matched her silver nail polish, silver earrings, and the rings she wore on ever finger, even her thumb.”  I don’t have a real problem with the outfit, but who the hell says “on this day?”
  • The trip to Europe (London and Paris) costs $400 a person.  It’s apparently less than the trip to Hawaii because the airfare’s lower.  Now, when I’ve gone to Europe my plane tickets were a lot more than when I went to Hawaii.  But, this book was written in 1998 and flying rates jump around a lot, so I’ll let that go.  But $400 for 9-10 days in Europe?  That’s crazy cheap, even back in the 90s. 
  • Since Mary Anne was originally a regular sitter for Victoria, they’re close.  So, it’s not surprising that Victoria requests her on a sitting job.  But what is surprising is that this isn’t a big deal to any of the other girls.  That usually led to good fights.
  • I actually think it’s mature of Dawn to not run off to Europe when she’s supposed to be visiting her mother.  However, Mary Anne not going because of that?  Is ridiculous.  Especially considering how excited she was when she first heard about the trip.  She can’t miss a week or so of time with Dawn?  It’s not like Dawn ever changes her travel plans to spend time with Mary Anne.
  • One of the girls’ teachers (the school’s running the camp) calls the BSC at a meeting and tells them they should apply for the camp jobs.  But I don’t see why they bothered, considering how many people applied regardless.  Do they really think the BSC’s that much better with kids?
  • The girls who are going to Europe need to raise the money to pay for half, the same deal as when they went to Hawaii.  They decide to have a “junk sale” to try and make money and sell a whole bunch of old stuffed animals/books/toys/etc.  It includes both their old stuff and things they get from others.  Which is a good idea, but I think it seems weird to make money off someone else’s stuff….they should give them a cut or something.
  • They raise a total of $500 at their junk sale including refreshments and “donations” from parents.  But why would they be getting donations?  It’s not a charity or anything.
  • It’s kind of confusing, because they talk about the whole trip being $400, but then they only refer to paying for half their airfare.  And they say this is the same as Hawaii, but in Super Special #13, they had to pay half the total price.
  • This book has a very misleading title. The girls are competitive about the job, but it’s not like they stop speaking for weeks or anything like that.  
  • I actually like that they have the girls planning for the Europe trip in this book.  It used to be that we’d just have these random stand-alone Super Specials and you couldn’t tell where in the lineup they fell.  Especially with the first one, where it basically established an additional summer between the 7th grade books and the first 8th grade book.  Having a lead in feels more natural.
  • I’m actually glad that Kristy didn’t get the job.  Her whole attitude about it was a bit entitled, as though she thought she was automatically getting it and that no one would care if she needed to take a week off.  When Kristy heard Claudia say that she wouldn’t go on the trip if she got the job, she considered saying the same thing…even though in her case it would be a lie.  She figured she could just say she changed her mind later. Mary Anne talks her out of doing this.
  • At the job Interviews, everyone who made the first cut gets called in at once, then they sit there while candidates are called into small rooms one-by-one.  That doesn’t seem like the best way to do things.  I can see how having multiple people come in at once would save time, especially if several people are doing the interviewing.  But it least split them into half hour groups or something.  Why have more teenagers than necessary hanging out making noise?
  • Now that I think about it, Kristy considering lying on her application (about not going to Europe) seems a bit out of character.
  • Victoria mentions that Toy Story is one of her favorite American movies.  Wow, these books lasted longer than I thought.  Or, I’m just getting old and Toy Story’s just that old of a movie.
  • This is going to sound weird, but I noticed that this book had several references to people using the bathroom.  When Mary Anne arrives at a meeting, Claudia is out of the room in the bathroom, once Dawn leaves the meeting to use it, etc.  I just don’t remember them mentioning that in any other books.
  • I don’t know if Victoria showed up in any books between her first appearance and here, but the whole thing is a set up for the BSC visiting her in London on their trip.  They do point out that Victoria stayed longer than originally planned, which makes sense, since it was supposed to be a few months, and this is the second summer vacation since her original book.
  • They also make a point of saying Abby and Victoria started to bond at the going away party…I guess because Mary Anne isn’t going to London, and the ghostwriters wanted to set up another relationship for the Super Special.  But I always hated when they just changed who had “special relationships” with who.
  • It seems like a cop out to have the decisions about who to hire come down to who’s going on vacation. 


Unknown said...

I just found your blog. I always used to read the BSC books when I was a kid, I think I had almost every book. I stopped reading before this book though, so its interesting to see what happened next. Its also interesting to look at these books from an adult point of view. I can't wait to see your next review!

HelenB said...

The books which were just kind of "setup" books, or which just had "setup" storylines always annoyed me as a kid - I felt like I was being duped out of the full story!

SJSiff said...

I totally agree that Kristy was acting entitled. The whole "I can do both and should be allowed to" bugged me.

SAHM said...

Just out of curiosity, where do you get all the books you didn't read as a kid? Our local library doesn't carry them and really don't want to spend money on them...

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

SAHM - I've only found some of them at my library, so I've gathered a lot of them from ebay, there are sometimes people selling a bundle of them at what ends up being a really cheap per book price. The ones I couldn't find on ebay I got on Amazon.

SAHM said...


Dana said...

Wow I wish my trip to Europe had been that cheap. Course I went to3 countries and it was 2 weeks

Sara919 said...

I believe Dawn's new sister name is Elizabeth Grace, so Gracie is shorter...but why not just call her Beth? ::shrug:::

I also noticed that they used the bathroom in this book! When Dawn announced she had to use the bathroom, I was like...nobody has ever gotten up to use the bathroom at BSC meeting. Of course, they are only half an hour long and I figured if they had to go, it would be after the meeting and it was just never mentioned. But, yeah, I totally noticed that too!

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