To set the scene for this book - Claudia and Stacey are still fighting, and Claudia’s still upset about her dating Jeremy. These Friends Forever books are pretty soapy so far, I’m a fan.
A sitting job comes up for the Pikes and Stacey and Claudia are the only ones free. Stacey claims she can’t do it and suggests they call Erica Blumberg and see if she can help out. She can, and agrees to sit. Claudia and Erica get along great, and Claudia feels like she has a new friend. They start hanging out and spending more time together. Even though Erica hates shopping, she goes along with Claud and seems to have fun. But Claudia can’t stop talking about Stacey and even calls Erica, “Stace.” Eventually Erica snaps about it and tells her off.
Claudia keeps running into Jeremy in the hall at school and he keeps chatting with her and saying he wants to be friends. Stacey’s obviously not happy with this, and ends up confronting Claudia at school and telling her to “stay away.” This makes Claudia even madder, which I think is what happens whenever someone’s told to stay away from someone. She ignores the order, of course. At one point, Jeremy talks about how it’s hard to be friends with Claud because Stacey’s definitely still his girlfriend and he wants to be loyal to her. But he also says how he still does want to be friends. And he gets switched into Claudia’s English class at the end, which suggests they’ll still be talking. Or that he’s really dumb and needs to be in the slower class.
Then Claudia and Stacey both end up having to sit for the Pikes together and the kids try and get them to make up. Stacey gives Claudia this whole talk about how she misses Claud and forgives her for telling Jeremy about Ethan, and she’s happy Claudia has taken her order about not talking to Jeremy. Claudia says she misses her too, but she can’t get past the boyfriend stealing and the mean things Stacey said. Later, she decides Erica’s a better friend and apologizes to her.
Meanwhile, Thanksgiving’s coming up and Claudia has been spending time with her Aunt Peaches who has an old friend coming to town. Peaches tells her how she and this woman were best friends, even though they haven’t seen each other in years. But she says that in college they fought over a guy before and got past it, so Claudia and Stacey might be able to as well. Peaches is still nervous about seeing the friend because she’s so successful in her career, but it ends up going fine. And of course the woman’s all impressed that Peaches has a great family and all that. I think the point’s to get Claudia thinking about friendship. And maybe to say that women having kids is just as valid a choice as choosing a career? (Although that seems slightly less feminist than what Ann M. Martin usually goes with).
- It’s kind of random how when they need an extra sitter they just randomly decide to call Erica. Claudia makes a comment that she’s not a “regular dues paying member,” which I think is weird cause it suggests she’s connected to them somehow. I would think that’s how they’d describe Abby or Jessi or someone who used to be in the club.
- Claudia says that she overslept one day, and didn’t realize until she got to school that she was wearing one orange sock and one brown one. I am pretty confident that Claudia wore mismatched socks on purpose many times so I’m not sure what the issue is.
- Janine keeps making fun of Claudia’s clothes. I didn’t think she was fashionable enough to know when someone looked ridiculous. I guess she really is a genius though.
- Of course, Janine did once ask Claudia for fashionadvice. But that was due to the influence of a guy, and I guess even geniuses make mistakes when it’s a matter of teenage love.
- Claudia says she didn’t always love shopping, it was only Stacey who got her so into it. I guess we can’t prove that false because we didn’t know Claudia before she knew Stacey, but it seemed like Claudia was already into fashion and buying crazy outfits back in book 1. That suggests she would have been into shopping.
- When Claudia keeps babbling about Stacey, she mentions that Stacey likes pigs. Which I like, because I love mentions of random facts from old books.
- When Claudia and Erica go shopping we get a mention of Macy’s and Old Navy. Don’t they usually use non-real store names when the girls are shopping? Unless they’re talking about Stacey shopping in fancy NYC stores. You know Claudia didn’t buy Ms. Frizzle clothes at Old Navy.
- Erica tells Claudia that she’s adopted, and Claudia tells her all about her own adoption paranoia. Which again, I like because of the old book reference.
- Since Mallory’s in town for Thanksgiving, the girls have a BSC reunion with her, Abby, and Jessi. Only they have two separate ones, one with Stacey and one with Claud. But we only see the one with Claudia, since she’s narrating this book. It’s rather tame.
- Claudia starts sitting with Erica at lunch, and Stacey has apparently been sitting with Jeremy. And Claud mentions that she hasn’t seen Abby in a while, so I guess she has been sitting elsewhere too. It feels a little sad to see the girls splitting up like that, but it’s certainly realistic.
- The Peaches plotline’s kind of boring, but we do get to hear about her meet cute story with Russ. In college, she had a crush on some guy but hadn’t told anyone. The guy ends up hitting on Molly (her friend) who was pretty happy about it. By the time Molly finds out that Peaches liked him, she’s already into the guy and doesn’t want to give him up. They get in a fight at the library and when the student librarian comes to tell them to shut up, Molly leaves, and Peaches starts to cry. The librarian takes her out for coffee and turns out to be Russ, her future husband.
- The Molly/Peaches fight about the guy doesn’t really work as a comparison, since there’s a difference between going out with a guy you had no idea your friend liked and encouraging a friend to go after a guy, then turning around and going out with him yourself.
- Peaches makes some comment about how she gave up a successful career to have children, but didn’t she have a baby within the last year? It’s not like she has been away from the work world forever and couldn’t go back.
- Erica seems pretty creative and has a lot of fun in an art store with Claudia (a lot more than in the clothing/accessory stores). So she and Claudia do make a good pair. We never really get to see Claudia working with others on art projects, unless you count when Ashley first showed up.
- Also, ages ago I read a fan fiction story that took place when the girls were in 12th grade. It had Claudia being BFFs with Erica, which makes so much more sense now. It was actually a really good story that focused on Mary Anne and Stacey as BFFs, but Claudia made some appearances.
- Stacey’s really pretty self-involved and bitchy if she thinks she should be the one forgiving Claudia and not the other way around. They both said mean things, but Stacey made the first offense. AND what she said was a lot meaner, at least IMO.
- Jordan Pike gets a crush on Erica, so after the initial sitting job, Mrs. Pike requests her and Claudia come back to sit. And Claudia just says okay, without even talking to the other club members. I get that they decided to be more laid back about the club, but it’s weird to see them just randomly change behavior and not have any issues with the new way of doing things.
- Claudia mentions how on Thanksgiving the TV stays on all day because of the parade and football, but that she usually doesn’t watch TV. Which, I never really thought about, but none of the girls seem to. Which seems strange to me, cause I’ve always watched a ton of TV. But I guess they didn’t want to have pop culture references that were dated by mentioning specific shows. As if anything in a BSC book could be dated.