I never read this as a kid. I think the bookstore in my town must not have carried it, because if I had seen it I would have gotten it. Anyway, it’s not really a book, so I can’t do my normal format. It’s more like a collection of letters that are supposed to tell a story. The set-up’s that Kristy’s appendix bursts and she’s in the hospital, at the same time that the rest of the club’s on vacation. Stacey and Claudia are in NYC, Jessi and Mallory are with the Pikes in Sea City, and Dawn and Mary Anne are in California. Kristy was supposed to be in California as well, so she’s obviously not happy in the hospital.
Kristy’s cousin Robin (who has been mentioned before, so yay continuity) sends her this chain letter where you are supposed to send a letter to one person telling them a secret you’ve never told anyone. Then that person does the same thing to someone else. So, Kristy starts the chain by writing to Stacey, and we hear a bunch of (mostly lame) secrets.
- Kristy tells Stacey she hates her father and sometimes wishes he was dead. She thinks this may make her a bad person, but Stacey responds that it doesn’t.
- Stacey tells Mallory that when she first moved to Stoneybrook she dyed red, but thought it looked terrible and dyed it back before anyone saw.
- Mallory tells Jessi that once in school she totally blanked out on a test and she ended up copying Jessi’s answers, so they both got As. Jessi responds that she already knew and was mad at first but got over it.
- Jessi tells Mary Anne that once when she was baby-sitting for her siblings, she suggested playing pirates with Becca. They were trying to make a treasure map and have it look old by burning the edges. But they dropped the match and burned a hole in the carpet. They moved a chair to cover it, so when her parents eventually saw it they thought it was friends of theirs that smoked.
- Mary Anne tells Claudia that she was seeing a therapist for a while. Which is probably the most interesting secret, only I already knew about it from later books. Where I was annoyed I missed hearing it directly.
- Claudia tells Dawn she once stole a dollar from Mimi’s purse so she could buy Twinkies.
- Dawn tells Shannon that on their flight to California she told Mary Anne that she saw Cam Geary on the plane, in first class. The flight attendant closed the curtain, so Mary Anne spent the whole time trying to get a look up there and missing him. But Dawn made the whole thing up.
- We don’t see who Shannon sends it too. But her secret would probably be about flunking a test on purpose.
- Claud steals the money from Mimi when she was 12. Wasn’t she baby-sitting by then? Wouldn’t she be able to buy a freaking Twinkie?
- Jessi’s parents don’t think very highly of their friends do they? Did they let the friends in their house alone? Cause if it was dinner party or something, wouldn’t the Ramseys have noticed a fire in their living room.
- I don’t believe Mallory would cheat on a test.
- I REALLY don’t believe Jessi would be lighting matches in the middle of her living room while baby-sitting.
- I don’t know when this was released chronologically, but Kristy tells Stacey that Sam cried when their dad didn’t call on his last birthday. If Sam and Stacey were still dating at that point that seems it seems a bit too personal for Kristy to tell Stacey. But maybe that’s why you don’t want to date your friends’ siblings.
- I like that Mary Anne sent her secret to Claud, because it’s a Claudia book where this is referenced later on.
- Stacey’s note back to Kristy about not being a bad person’s pretty nice. Only she sends this on a postcard. Which anyone could read. Nice way to respond about a SECRET Stacey. She doesn’t spell out what Kristy said, but you can get the idea.
- Stacey tells Mallory that her hair dying incident was why she stayed so calm when Mallory needed to dye her hair back to red in California. I don’t remember Stacey being especially calm, but whatever.
- Mary Anne writes to Cam Geary about how she was on his plane and gets a signed picture.
- Karen sends Kristy a get-well card because we have to insert her into every book.
- Logan writers to Mary Anne and Dawn from his trip in Kentucky and his cousin Lewis jumps in with a bunch of random comments.
- Dawn’s writes a random postcard to Claudia about going to Disney Land with Mary Anne. She has a PS asking “if you kissed a boy while you were riding around in [the teacups] would your braces lock together”? I guess it’s supposed to be a joke, but it seems weird.
- Her postcard is a picture of the Hollywood sign, not a picture of Disney Land. Maybe it would have cost more money for Scholastic to use a Disney pic?
- Also, Dawn has to point out that she practically “grew up” in Disney Land but was willing to go back for Mary Anne’s sake. How big of her. And do people in California really go to Disney Land all the time?
- Margo writes to Stacey to say she saw Toby in Sea City with some girl who was ugly. She also calls Toby ugly. Mallory says it isn’t nice for Margo to do this, but I think Margo’s actually being nice to Stacey. She didn’t call Toby ugly to his face.
- Jessi and Mal send a bunch of letters trying to organize a surprise reunion party for when they all get home and Kristy’s out of the hospital.
- Claudia’s answering machine’s broken and we get a bunch of random notes where she asks Janine to check it, where Mrs. Kishi says people are calling her line, and where Claudia asks Kristy if she knows where it can get fixed, etc.
- It’s implied that the girls all tell each other the secrets, and that Jessi even tells her parents. But we don’t get any discussion on them, which would be the most interesting part of the whole thing.