I’m changing my format up a bit, because the whole memory/revisited thing doesn’t work when I never read the book to begin with.
This book switches from Kristy, Mary Anne, Stacey, and Claudia’s point of view. It’s told all in letters between Kristy and Mary Anne, journal entries by Kristy and Mary Anne, and letters/emails between Stacey and Claudia. The girls are apart for the summer – Kristy’s back at Camp Mohawk, Stacey’s in NYC, Claudia’s on a month-long vacation with her family, and Mary Anne’s in Stoneybrook. Mary Anne was supposed to go to camp too, but backed out because she was worried about leaving town so soon after the fire, when she doesn’t know if her family’s moving or not.
Stacey’s in New York to see her dad, but is looking forward to spending time with her boyfriend Ethan as well. Unfortunately, her dad sees 15-year-old Ethan standing outside some club and decides he’s too old for her and a bad influence. We don’t know if Ethan was actually in the club or not, but it doesn’t seem to matter to Mr. McGill. He tells Stacey she can only see him 2 hours a day, or a total of 14 hours a week. So, Stacey’s mad at her dad and gets even more annoyed when he tells her his girlfriend Samantha may move in with him. Ethan convinces Stacey to be more open to this, which makes her Mr. McGill relent about Stacey spending time with him.
Claudia’s on a little island in Maine for a month. She and her family are doing a thing where they don’t have a phone, TV, computers, etc. Claudia’s bored at first, but she ends up loving it because there are a lot of artists on the island and she bonds with them. She thinks it beautiful and is inspired by it all as an artist and all sorts of cliché stuff. She even talks about wanting to live there someday. Then she catches Janine using her laptop (that she snuck in) to check email (the house has phone service, the Kishis just had the physical phones removed). Janine lets Claud use the computer for email in exchange for keeping quiet. Claudia also finds her mom reading some trashy romance novel and her dad watching some game on their neighbors TV. And she promises to keep all their secrets, so feels like she scored some points all around.
Mary Anne’s staying in some tiny rental house in Stoneybrook that the insurance company’s paying for because of the fire. Her grandmother comes to visit, which Mary Anne’s nervous about at first, but it ends up being a good visit. She brings Mary Anne some things that used to belong to her mom, so Mary Anne feels better about everything she lost. Meanwhile, she’s annoyed at Logan because he keeps asking her if she’s okay/treating her like she’ll break. She finally tells him how she feels and he stops talking to her. He’s a very mature 13-year-old, huh? The whole thing doesn’t really get resolved. But Mr. Spier decides not to take the job in Philidelphia, and the family decides to renovate the barn on their property to a new house. In the meantime, they’ll be renting a house from the Goldbergs, this couple that live next-door to Claudia, but are moving to Florida, but don’t want to sell the house yet.
Kristy loves being at camp. She and Abby are co-CITs in the same cabin, and Kristy can’t stop talking about how much fun they’re having together. It’s almost weird how much she talks about it, actually. Then Abby says she’s quitting the club so she has more time to play sports/relax. Kristy’s pissed, but eventually forgives her/says she understands. I think it was particularly hard because Logan and Jessi had already quit. Logan so that he’d have more time for sports and Jessi because she got into some awesome new dance school and won’t have time to sit. By the end of the book, Shannon also tells Kristy she won’t have time to do much sitting. Since Mallory’s already in boarding school, this leaves the original four members of the club. They talk and decide they want more free time too. They will still keep the club running, but may cut back on jobs and only have 1-2 meetings a week.
The whole thing seemed very fan fiction-y to me. It felt a bit weird to have the girls seem so willing to cut back on sitting, when they were still very on board with the whole thing in the last couple books. Especially with Kristy’s whole essay about how valuable and rewarding it is. That may just be them wanting to end the old series on a high note, but set up the revamped series in this one.
- In her journal, Kristy says she should ask Jessi and Mal to visit Mrs. McGill while Stacey’s gone, because she’ll miss having Stacey around. That seems….overly nice of her.
- Stacey takes 4 suitcases with her to NY. She says her mom helped her get them on the train, but now I’m wondering how she got them off the train. Because she had to walk out of the train to find her dad. That’s a lot to carry.
- Claud says how she’s never been stuck on an island before so she doesn’t know what the trip will be like. Now….really? I’ve never been shipwrecked, but I have a feeling it’s not something I’d forget.
- I could have sworn that Mary Anne finds her mom’s necklace after the fire, but in this book she says she didn’t find a single thing that belonged to her mom. I guess they have different people ghostwriting the Friends Forever books?
- So, they’re renovating the barn on Mary Anne’s property. I always pictured the barn as a little bigger than a garage or something. I’m surprised they can revamp it into an actual house. They acknowledge that it’s the same amount of work as rebuilding their old house, so I don’t totally get the thinking.
- The island Claudia’s family’s on is bigger than the one Stacey was at in her autobiography. It has stores and a couple restaurants and stuff. But I guess Ann M. Martin has a thing for islands in Maine.
- One thing I thought was odd. In the book where Mary Anne’s house burns down, Richard says how Sharon couldn’t take the classes she wanted in Stoneybrook. But when he announces that he’s not taking the job, she’s just all, “oh, I can probably take them in Stamford, or go into NY a couple days a week.” Which just seems weird to backtrack like that.
- Also, I thought it was weird that Richard told Mary Anne about the job at the same time he told Sharon. I would have thought he’d let his wife know and get her input before telling Mary Anne.
- Since this is told in mostly letters, we have to deal with Claudia’s spelling and grammar mistakes in every page of her chapters not just the handwritten intro. Even the emails where she had access to spell checker (in theory). But on the plus side, everything was typed so I didn’t have to read that awful handwriting of hers.
- Ethan’s uncomfortable being with Stacey when she goes to the bra section of a store they were in. He was sitting around waiting for her, but when Stacey got to bras he went back and insisted on sitting in a different section. Wouldn’t a 15-year-old boy be into that? Or maybe it was weird for him because he was with Stacey?
- What I am surprised about, is that Stacey had no issue picking out bras in front of Ethan. She wasn’t trying them on in front of him or anything, but still.
- Ethan’s friend Tomas is 17 and has a party while his parents are out of town. Stacey and Ethan go and they all sit around drinking coffee and reading poetry. Those party animals. Mr. McGill’s right to be worried.
- The other thing that made me laugh is that Stacey thought the coffee/poetry reading was really boring.
- Kristy keeps using the initial “A” to describe Abby. Actually she used initials for everyone, but the A one was the most noticeable, because it keeps making me think of Pretty Little Liars. Which I obviously don’t watch since I am way too old for a show like that.
- I don’t really get the use of initials? Was she being lazy? Trying to get more to fit on a journal page or something?
- When Stacey’s dad wants to talk to her, he sends her a fax from work insisting on a “meeting” (this is to the fax in his apartment). So, when he gets home Stacey has set out notebooks and bottles of water for them, which is kind of funny. It’s kind of immature though. Her dad’s 15 minutes late, so when she tells him the meeting’s half over he gets annoyed. But she has a valid point there. Lateness annoys me.
- Claudia says that when she caught Janine on the computer, Janine added her to her email account. Which suggests she didn’t have an email address before. So why does she know Stacey’s email address? You’d think there would be no reason to have it if you don’t have any way place to use it.
- Also, I want to know how Stacey managed to get the email address “NYCGirl” with no numbers or anything after it. She must have been an early adopter to whatever service they’re supposed to be using (which they don’t tell us).
- Claudia eats lobster every day of her trip (in Maine). But she has to leave the room when her mom cooks them, because it’s cruel to watch them die. She knows that happened to every one she ate, right?
- The new dance school Jessi gets into is in Stamford and “on par with the American Ballet School in NYC.” I don’t know much about ballet at that level, but I have a hard time believing some new school in CT would just suddenly appear and be at that level off-the-bat. This was one of the things that made the book seem fan-fiction-y. But whatever.
- I am happy for Jessi though, because the main reason she didn’t stay at that school in NYC was because it would have required moving away from her family and friends. This way, she gets the same level of instruction, but gets to live at home. And Mal already skipped town, so that’s less of a factor.
- Kristy lists out all the moves/marriages/etc that have happened during the series. It’s almost a full page, and sounds ridiculous when you read them all together like that.
- Mary Anne calls Logan, asks to have dinner together. When they meet, she’s surprised Logan brings flowers and thinks it’s a date. It made me laugh, because she tells us about her phone call with Logan, then says isn’t it weird Logan thought it was supposed to be a date? But she called her boyfriend and asked if he wanted to go out to dinner with her. I think that’s the definition of a date.
- Claudia takes Janine to an art class that one of the artists on the island is giving. Janine’s all nervous and insecure about what to do, but eventually manages to have fun. I thought it was a cute scene.
- Kristy says she’s been looking forward to going back to camp for a long time. I guess she means since the first time. She’s certainly had plenty of summer vacations since then, it must have been ages ago.