Tuesday, September 29, 2009

“Novels. Fiction. I suggest you look up the definition of those words in the dictionary before you go about hurling accusations”….. BSC # 80: Mallory

Memory Reaction

This book makes me think of an episode of Hey Arnold! So, my memories might actually be about that show, not the book. Although, honestly, they may have the same plot. I don’t think writers for either were that original.

But anyway, the basic story I am thinking of is that Mal meets her favorite author and is disappointed by her. But then Mal acts all spunky or cute or whatever and wins the heart of said author. Like I said, not that original.

Revisited Reaction

Mal has a new favorite author, Henrietta Hayes (HH, for the rest of this post). By sheer coincidence, HH lives in Stoneybrook. Since Mal needs to do a school assignment on something connected to her dream career, she comes up with this project where she’ll interview HH to write about her life. Then Mal will write a play herself, that kids will perform.

Mallory tries sending letters to Henrietta, but keeps getting form letters back. She finally decides to go to HH’s house and knock on the door. Mal tells HH she was inspired to do this by the character in her books. This succeeds in not only getting an interview, but a part time job as her assistant. This is not as outlandish as it seems, Mal is just performing random tasks at HHs house, not working in an office or anything.

Anyway, Mal has decided that all writers must write things that are true about their lives. I don’t know why, since she has demonstrated writing talent in the past, but she has. And this causes two problems:

The first is that she is crushed when she finds out about HH’s real life – mainly that she grew up in foster care and had a child who died – because this means Mal’s favorite books are all “lies.” When HH tells her she is an idiot and that there is a difference between novels and biographies, Mal storms out.

The second problem is that Mal is writing her own play based on her family, and chooses to highlight the most annoying traits of her brothers and sisters. Since the Kids’ Club from the elementary school is performing it, her siblings end up hearing about the play and get pissed off. Mal is convinced that she can’t change it, because writers have to tell the truth. Finally, her mother convinces her to change it.

Mal talks to HH again who explains the concept of fiction to Mal. She tells her that good writers can write about true emotions without literally only writing about things that really happened. And during the whole experience, Mal inspired HH to write a “reunion” novel about characters from her previous books.


  • Mal’s assignment is 80% of her English grade for the marking period. That seems like a really high percentage for the type of project it is.
  • Awe, poor Mal really has no self-esteem. She says she might not put an author picture in her (future, potentially published) books so she won’t spoil the book for kids.
  • Vanessa Pike has a Skip-It. I really wanted one of those as a kid.
  • So, Henrietta Hayes does not exist (at least not as a writer). But, I wonder if she is supposed to be representative of a real author. Ann M. Martin seemed to like mentioning real books and writers when possible.
  • Mal says Mary Anne and Dawn didn’t have a lot in common when they met….but they sorta did, didn’t they? That was why they bonded so fast.
  • Mal is like the kid in a Christmas Story….she thinks that her teacher will say her proposal for the project is the greatest he’s every heard, and he thinks it sucks. Or, he thinks it needs revisions.
  • Weren’t Mal’s siblings in Kids Club? In this one they aren’t, but hear about the play through their friends. But I swear Vanessa and Nicky were in the club.
  • Ms. Hayes is actually much nicer than I remembered her. She only gets bitchy when Mal starts asking questions about her dead child. Which, is pretty much an acceptable time to be bitchy.
  • When Mallory shows up at HH’s house, the woman just lets her in. Would an author just let in some strange kid? Has she ever hear of stalkers?
  • And Mal just goes inside a strangers house? Just because she is a published author doesn’t mean she is safe.
  • Mal thinks it is cool that Ms. Hayes uses a teapot to boil water and not a microwave like in her house. It seems like a random detail to throw out.
  • Even the other girls in the BSC tell her that her play is unfair to her siblings.
  • I know Mal is easy to make fun of, but she has always been shown to be reasonably intelligent. At least in terms of school. However, she seems to have lost all her brains in this one. Besides the whole “writing the truth” thing, she thinks she can write about Henrietta Hayes’s life based soley on the interview. When her teacher tells her to do research, Mallory is all, “but why wouldn’t she just tell me everything I need to know?”
  • It is weird, because Mal is all upset that HH’s books aren’t true, but when her siblings complain that she is making them look bad in her play, she claims artistic license. It is sort of a contradiction.
  • Mal is horrible at the whole directing kids in a play. Seriously. She changes her mind every two seconds about what she wants the characters to do, and she can’t seem to keep any semblance of order. Which again, is unlike Mal, who usually can handle baby-sitting a lot of kids.
  • Mallory actually says, “What would Ernest Hemmingway think of Henrietta Hayes?” As though Ms. Hayes did this incredibly awful thing by writing something that wasn’t a mirror image of her real life. I mean, really. It is not like she claimed it was a memoir.
  • Mal is a bit insensitive… Danielle Roberts has to start missing rehearsals cause she has doctor appointments (because she has cancer), and Mal is all, “Oh, I knew we shouldn’t have given the lead to the sick girl.”
  • In the revised version of the play, Danielle does get to perform. To play Mal she wears, “a bright red corduroy jumper with a white blouse underneath.” Do you think that is an intentional callback to her outfit in this book?
  • When she is told she can’t write only the truth, she says she doesn’t know what to write. Again, really?
  • Even when Danielle does perform, Mallory makes a point of saying she looks pretty, “despite the dark circles under her eyes.” Nice.
  • Mal gets a mention on the acknowledgements page of Ms. Hayes book….but she is looking at manuscript of the first three chapters of the book. Rough draft manuscript. Who includes acknowledgements there?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

“It turned out that I didn’t have any learning disabilities”….BSC # 63: Claudia’s (Freind) Friend”

Memory Reaction

I am pretty sure that this book is what got me to remember the difference between “its” and “it’s.” There is some scene where Stacey is correcting Claudia’s writing and she explains it. For ages, I would very briefly think of that scene when I was writing something.

Revisited Reaction

The plot of this book is that Claudia is dumb. Sorry. I mean that Claudia is smart, but does really, really bad in school. It’s totally not her fault!

Regardless, she is in danger of failing English. Her teacher tells her she needs to do really well on an upcoming English test to pass for the year. Claud decides to buckle down and study, and the BSC agrees to help tutor her. This is because if she flunks, she won’t be able to baby-sit, and then they lose out on a meeting spot (and free junk food). Stacey ends up doing most of the tutoring, and Claudia gets pissed because she thinks Stacey is being too strict. They fight, they make up, etc. And Claud does well on her test.

Meanwhile, Shea Rodowsky is having some school trouble of his own – he was just diagnosed with dyslexia. Mrs. Rodowsky asks the BSC to help tutor him, because she thinks a bunch of girls will do better than the trained tutors at school. Claudia, obviously, does not plan to tutor anyone over the age of two. However, she does have a sitting job for the Rodowskys, and she ends up helping Shea study. Shea is inspired working with Claud (I guess, because he sees he is really not the dumbest person in town), so Claud ends up tutoring him anyway. They bond over how much they hate school.

Subplot: Someone is sending anonymous notes to the BSC saying things like, “You’re nice” and “you’re great.” Each girl thinks it is some guy working up the nerve to ask her to a dance at Stoneybrook’s Community Center. The dance is here and not the school so that Bart (Kristy’s date) and Sam (Stacey’s date) can be candidates for the mystery admirer. It turns out that the notes are from the Rodowsky boys, Matt and Haley Braddock, and the Arnold twins, who just wanted to thank the girls for being awesome sitters.

  • How often do these girls read that stupid club notebook? They sometimes mention the girls reading it at meetings, but they all can’t read all of it then. But all the girls know that Shea has “been having trouble in school” when Mrs. Rodowsky calls.
  • Claudia tells her parents about being in trouble in school, because she wants to be responsible. However, I am surprised the teacher wouldn’t call as well. I would think most teachers wouldn’t expect a kid to do that.
  • Oh, I totally remember this. Stacey teaches Claud the word “Kvetching.”
  • Claudia says she was tested for dyslexia before and doesn’t have it. So, was she just dropped on her head as a baby?
  • Why would Mary Anne think Logan was sending her anonymous letters? I think they have moved past that.
  • Also, Kristy thinks writing notes “isn’t something Bart would do.” Even though…..he did it before.
  • When Claudia is sitting for the Rodowskys, she makes a point of saying Archie is not a Krusher yet. But it is not like he would be waiting to meet an age limit, so it seems like a weird thing to say.
  • Shea is doing his homework, and writes, “qut a timer on the hot watter tack.” Then Claudia looks at it and corrects his spelling. I’m not even sure Claudia could write a sentence with that few errors. How does she correct Shea’s work?
  • Claudia is the last one to arrive at a BSC meeting, which we have seen before. But a few minutes later she tells the other girls that her parents and sister aren’t home. So…Kristy and everyone got into her empty house?
  • Stacey is kind of a bitch when she tutors Claud. She makes Claudia keep a diary so she can practice writing/grammar. And Claudia ends up keeping a second one where she can bitch about how annoying Stacey is being. And, I bet you would be shocked to hear that Stacey accidentally reads the second journal, right?
  • Later in the book, we are told that Kristy and Bart’s “more than friendship” started with anonymous letters. But….it didn’t really. Weren’t they already more than friends in the mystery admirer book?
  • This is another random inconsistency. Claudia and Stacey are studying, and when someone comes in at 5:29, they know it must be Kristy. BUT, isn’t she always already in place staring at the clock then?
  • When Claudia is baby-sitting and helps Shea with his homework, he ends up helping her too. Which is no big deal. But, later, when she is actually being paid to tutor him, she asks him to help her again. And that…..seems not right.
  • Claudia is all impressed with how Shea has dealt with his dyslexia by figuring out rules to help him. Like, “I before e, except after C…” Yup, that Shea is a genius.
  • Since there is a lack of outfits, I’ll give you Nannie’s: “A pink silk dress with a wide twisted silver and pink sash, sparkly silver earrings, and these really cool flat pale silver slippers.”
  • The notes finally tell the BSC to show up at some restaurant, and the girls decide that they are actually from Cokie. They think that she wants them to think the notes are from a guy and get all dressed up, so she can laugh at them. So, they decide to wear crappy clothes and bring joke items (like a joy buzzer and a water pistol).
  • Claudia’s attempt at a BAD outfit is ripped jeans, and “a big, old lime green shirt with a bleach spot on the front.” She also wears Kelly green socks and aqua sneakers. Which, I agree is an awful combination, but….this is different from her usual clothes, how?
  • Claudia and Shea bonding about not being able to spell makes me think of this.
  • When they realize it is kids who actually like them, the girls all make a quick effort to clean themselves up.
  • Here are some real outfits – Claudia: “A giant blue-and-white striped shirt and socks with blue spots, over blue bike shirts that matched the stripes and the spots.” That is actually not so bad. Especially, for early nineties.
  • Stacey: “Black jeans and black Doc Marten’s, and a big golden yellow shirt with round black buttons.”
  • So, Claud gets a B on the test, and does especially well on spelling. But, she obviously doesn’t keep it up. So, what is the point of this book? It is like the Saved By the Bell episode where Mr. Belding tells Zach if he cuts class one more time he’ll get suspended. And Zach manages to get through cut day, but you know hell cut again sometime soon and just get suspended then.
  • Awe, Shea dances with Claud at the dance. That is a secondary reason the dance is at the community center - kids can be there.
  • It is too bad they never acknowledge those two having some kind of special relationship like they do with Stacey/Charlotte, Kristy/Karen, Dawn/The Barretts, Jessi/The Braddocks, etc.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

“I like Jake too. But that’s not the point. I’m talking about damage control”…BSC # 79: Mary Anne Breaks the Rules

Memory Reaction

This is one of those books where the title is much more exciting than the actual book. I remember being disappointed in the lack of drama. Mary Anne doesn’t really do anything bad, more like misguided. She invites Logan over (innocently) when she is baby-sitting and forgets to ask. Or something. But really, the ones where the end is obvious from the title are annoying, because everything that happens seems like anvils rather than plot points.

Revisited Reaction

Mary Anne has been sitting for the Kuhns, and notices that Jake has been acting a little unhappy. Mary Anne determines that the reason for this is that his parents got divorced and his dad moved to Texas. This is especially a problem because Mrs. Barrett is getting married, and Jake’s best friend is Buddy Barrett (so Buddy is getting a new dad and brothers, while Jake isn’t).

Mary Anne convinces Logan to drop by while she is sitting, so he can play sports with Jake and be a “male role model.” This seems to help, and everyone is happy. However, Mary Anne never got around to mentioning these visits to Mrs. Kuhn. One day, Mrs. Kuhn comes home early and sees Logan there, so she gets pissed, thinking Mary Anne is sneaking visits with her boyfriend. Logan runs home without explaining, and Mary Anne doesn’t bother saying why Logan was really coming by – because she didn’t want Mrs. Kuhn to think she was meddling – so Mrs. Kuhn stays pissed off.

Mrs. Kuhn calls Kristy to complain because that is what parents in Stoneybrook do. Mary Anne explains what happened, but the rest of the girls are all, “well, you should have asked permission for Logan to visit. Now, the BSC’s reputation will be ruined forever!” Because that is what baby-sitters in Stoneybrook do.

After a few days with everyone annoyed at Mary Anne, Mrs. Kuhn and Jake stop by her house. Mrs. Kuhn tells her that Jake explained Logan was only coming over to play ball with him. And since this made Jake so happy, Mrs. Kuhn thinks Logan should continue to come visit. And so, the book teaches a valuable lesson about how when you have a problem, you should sit around and brood for a few days until it works itself out.

  • Mallory’s brothers like to do “food checks” – yelling “food check” at the table, and making everyone open their mouth to show what they are chewing. I think the Pikes need to stop being so strict with Mallory, their one child who actually behaves, and teach their other children manners.
  • What season do the Krushers play in? This book takes place in October and Mary Anne says that their season had been over for months. But, in other books they are still playing in October.
  • Buddy and Jake get into a fight and call each other, “Cruddy Carrot” and “Fake Prune.” Those are so lame, they made me laugh.
  • Stacey and Robert get all dressed up to go to Chez Maurice (that fancy restaurant in Stoneybrook) with some other couple. But they get too grossed out at whatever dish someone ordered and end up at the pizza place. Cause all teenagers love to get dressed up and go to fancy restaurants. I think most of them would know they don’t really want any of that food and just go straight for the pizza.
  • Stacey’s outfit for the dinner: “stunning black double-breasted tuxedo-style suit with a satiny white tank underneath.”
  • Mary Anne doesn’t want to tell Mrs. Kuhn the reason she invited Logan over because she she’s afraid Mrs. Kuhn will think she’s meddling. Well, Mary Anne. If you don’t want people to think you’re meddling, maybe you should try not meddling.
  • Logan had told Jake he might go to his soccer game. But then, Mary Anne and Logan talk about it and decide he probably shouldn’t go, since Mrs. Kuhn will be there. Then when Jake gets upset Logan didn’t come, Logan is all, “You should have let me go, Mary Anne.” Yeah, what a catch.
  • The Papadakises tell Shannon that they will be calling the BSC a lot soon. The reason is that relatives that had been staying with them for a few weeks finally left, and now they really need a few nights out on their own. Gotta love those dedicated parents.
  • And of course, Mrs. Kuhn calls Kristy, again, when she finds out Mary Anne didn’t do anything wrong.
  • I’m trying not to read too much into this, because Ann Martin is usually pretty good at avoiding sexism. But, this caught my attention: Mrs. Kuhn says that Jake never was interested in sports before (even though he has been on the Krushers since it started), but since hanging out with a “great male role model like Logan,” he plays ball non-stop. I might be being too sensitive, but it sounds like she is saying it is good that Jake (a boy) is finally into sports like he should be.
  • I love how all the parents in Stoneybrook hire the BSC to take their kids trick-or-treating.
  • Mrs. Arnold loses a contact lens on Halloween and calls the BSC to take the twins trick-or-treating while she goes to the eye-doctor. Does she really have to do it that day? She has a pair of glasses, so she isn’t totally blind. What’s the rush?
  • While trick-or-treating, someone mentions running into Todd Masters. Is that just a typo? Cause I would think we would hear about it if the Masterses were in town. Especially, if the girls are talking about business being slow.
  • First we are told that Jamie Newton doesn’t want to go trick-or-treating because last year he dressed as Peter Pan and everyone thought he was Robin Hood. Then, when the Arnold twins go out as Tweedledee and Tweedledum, everyone calls them Munchkins. Did that ever actually happen to anyone? I remember people asking what I was, but not guessing the wrong thing.
  • Shannon’s sister Tiffany dresses as Tinker Bell on Halloween. Doesn’t that seem….out of character? At least based on the little we know about her?
  • Alan Gray ends up helping Vanessa Pike and Matt and Haley Braddock make a haunted house. The explanation is, Mallory told Vanessa he was an expert on disgusting. I can’t really imagine a 13-year-old guy agreeing to help a bunch of kids like that. I mean, he doesn’t even know them like the BSC does.
  • Heh. Jessi apparently runs like a “ballet dancer” (in a good way, if there is such a thing). Logan tries to imitate her, and Jessi ends up trying to convince him to take dance lessons.
  • At one meeting, Claudia tells Mrs. Kuhn she will “confer with her cohorts” then call back. She thinks it sounds professional. It is odd phrasing, especially for someone like Claudia.
  • Mary Anne outfit: “A brand new pair of rust-corduroy slacks, a blue button-down shirt, and a floral-patterned white cotton sweater.”
  • Stacey comments to Logan that he has a lot of energy, and asks where he gets it. So, Logan says, “I have rechargeable batteries,” and starts unbuttoning his shirt. Which makes Stacey blush. The whole scene seems very un-BSC.
  • Well, Mrs. Kuhn actually thinks Mary Anne was being sweet. Then she lets Logan keep coming by when Mary Anne was sitting. But they don’t explain how this will work…will it be like a sitting job where he gets paid? Or is Logan just willing to keep giving up all his free time?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

“I had no choice. Can you image if I’d asked permission to cut school and fly to Connecticut”…..BSC #72: Dawn and the Love Kids Club

Memory Reaction

I remember thinking Dawn was unreasonable in this one as a kid, so I am sure it will seem even worse now. I was about twelve when this book came out and thought all her logic was ridiculous. Maybe Ann Martin thought she needed to talk down to her audience, but Dawn really seemed more immature than she should be at thirteen. Of course, I guess Dawn’s always like that.

Also, I was always such a goody-goody that whenever I read a book, or saw a TV show, where someone did something “bad” I was fascinated by them/it. And in this one, Dawn runs away from home (in a plane), which I could never imagine doing.

Revisited Reaction

Dawn is out in California where everything is perfect and wonderful. She is part of the We Love Kids Club, which is the relaxed “California” version of the BSC that her friend Sunny started. We Love Kids doesn’t have as many clients as the BSC, but Dawn likes it anyway. Then, some local paper writes a story about the club (as part of a series on “enterprising youth”). A local TV station is impressed with the story and interviews Dawn and her friends for a spot on the news. After this, the club’s business sky-rockets and they have trouble keeping up with the jobs. Dawn finally convinces them to start being more organized.

Meanwhile, the real story (although not the one in the title) is about her Dad and his girlfriend Carol. Dawn still doesn’t like the woman, even though she promised to give her a chance. When they announce their engagement, Dawn freaks out because she came to California to spend time with her dad, and now he is spending time with Carol. I mean, how dare he do something like that? She actually says, “how dare he?”

Then, Dawn does the only reasonable thing…she steals her dad’s credit card number, buys a plane ticket to Connecticut, and takes off without telling anyone. Then, she is shocked when her parents are pissed at her and mad that they make her fly back to California. Of course, this whole drama makes Mr. Schafer and Carol argue about his priorities and how he has bratty kids and an ex-wife, etc. This leads them to break up. However, they (spoiler alert!) do get married in a later Super Special, so I am sure this isn’t really the end of things.


  • Did you know that California is so awesome that they don’t have “obnoxious school bells?”
  • Dawn is annoyed that Carol uses the word, “bodacious.” Well, Dawn, I am sure Carol is annoyed that you use words like, “dibble.” But you don’t see her flying across the country because of it.
  • Real-life book mention: Mary Anne is reading “Julie of the Wolves.” I remember reading that as a kid, but I have no recollection of what it was about.
  • I’m not sure Kristy can claim credit for inventing a club record book. She just decided the BSC should use one.
  • Sunny is so “laid back” that she doesn’t even know she has last year’s calendar on her wall. I am going to assume for her sake that this book takes place in January and not December. (All we are told is that it’s winter).
  • The day the We Love Kids interview is on the news, Carol gives Dawn a director’s chair with a star and the name “Dawn” written on it. Cause Dawn doesn’t already think she is the center of the universe?
  • Kristy is jealous that We Love Kids got so much media attention, so she is trying to get the BSC some publicity. She actually calls some TV station and is told to “send a tape” (aka, get lost). Then the rest of the girls are annoyed she contacted a station without telling them. This leads to the most illogical conversation ever:
Stacey: “Remember when Mary Anne got her haircut?..we felt a little hurt she didn’t tell us in advance that she was doing that.”
Kristy: “Well that was dumb of us...we agreed.”
Stacey: “But this isn’t.”

Seriously? If you are going to cite an example, it should be one that applies.
  • Dawn can be a little slow. I remember in the flashback Super-Special, she didn’t realize her parents were going to get divorced when they had a “family meeting” after fighting bitterly for weeks/months. And when her Dad and Carol have an announcement to make, she thinks it is just going to be about her dad getting a promotion.
  • Claudia gets the words “telegenic” and “telepathic” mixed up. Not the spelling, the meanings. I would think someone that is so into art and fashion would know what “telegenic” means.
  • Dawn gets mad at Carol for wiping up Jeff’s spilled glass of water. Not only because it is wasting the paper, but because Jeff is capable of cleaning it up himself. Honestly, Dawn, she was being nice. I am capable of cooking for myself, but I still enjoy if someone else does. It is not like Carol was enabling him in being a slacker. She was just being helpful.
  • Maggie, one of Dawn’s CA friends has had dinner with Keanu Reeves. That is only a semi-dated pop-culture reference.
  • This is how the reporter describes We Love Kids:
Dawn: “A silken-haired beauty with a laugh like pealing bells.”
Sunny: “An aptly named fireball of boundless enthusiasm.
Maggie: “Savy, hip, and just this side of au courant.”
Jill: “Warm and nurturing, the calming force of the group.”
All I can say is, WTF?
  • Apparently, Mr. Schafer getting engaged means that he doesn’t want Dawn to live with him. I mean, in Dawn’s “all about me” head. And actually, maybe in reality, (assuming her dad has some sense).
  • Sunny had double-booked a sitting job, and gets Dawn to cover. Somehow, the parents get the idea that she is canceling the sitting job…then they get pissed when she actually shows up. If Sunny got someone to cover the second job, why would she even tell the parents she double booked the job?
  • Jeff wants to be a comedian, so we are treated to many horrible jokes every time he appears in a scene. For example, “What do you call a Smurf in math class….a Smurfboard.” Hysterical stuff.
  • Dawn is sitting a lot for Stephie…the girl who Mary Anne bonded with when she was in California. Stephie asks her what “hunk” means and gets bored halfway through Dawn’s answer. I am trying to figure out what Dawn could have said that was that long and boring. Wouldn’t you just say, “a good-looking man?”
  • The ghostwriters also decide to give Mary Anne’s entire storyline from that Super-Special to Dawn. In this book, Stephie is so happy to have Dawn sit for her, that her asthma improves. Of course.
  • Dawn is surprised at how much a flight costs, but decides that she is saving money because her parents would have eventually had to buy her a ticket, and prices always go up. You know when else they go up? When you buy a ticket the day that you fly.
  • Dawn is also surprised that her father calls her mom to tell her she is coming. Really, Dawn? You thought he would sit back and let you surprise her with a phone call when you land?
  • Halfway across the country, Dawn does have the sense to realize it might have been a stupid idea, and that people might get pissed at her.
  • Dawn complains that she couldn’t get a vegetarian meal and had to share her flight with an “overcooked chick carcass.” Considering Dawn almost always eats chicken and fish (her only problem is red meat) that seems a bit dramatic.
  • When she is in Stoneybrook, which is only the span of a day, Dawn is not allowed to call any of her friends. What a rare show of parental discipline.
  • Her parents make her pay them back for her ticket to Stoneybrook, plus a ticket back to CA. I kind of hope they booked her on the most expensive flight possible.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

“The answer is no. Absolutely not. I am not buying a diamond ring for you.”…..BSC Mystery # 1: Stacey and the Missing Ring

Memory Reaction

I remember being so excited when I saw this in the store. Back in the “olden days” there was no Internet, so I didn’t really know ahead of time that the mystery line was coming out. (There may have been an ad in the back of one of the regular series books, but it wouldn’t have had detailed information). I used to read the books really fast – usually in one sitting right after I got them. So, having mysteries come out meant that they would last longer.

This book also made me never want to baby-sit. I was always a little afraid of animals and hated going to my friends’ houses if they had pets. So, I was terrified of taking a sitting job and having to play with someone’s cat or dog all night.

Revisited Reaction

Stacey tells her mom she wants a birthstone ring. This wouldn’t be a big deal, except her birthday is in April, which makes her birthstone a diamond. And obviously, diamonds are not exactly an every day gift. When her mom tells her no, Stacey complains to her friends, who pretty much agree with her mom.

Soon after, Stacey gets a sitting job for the Gardella’s, a new client. They are a little weird, and spend more time telling her how to take care of their cat and dog than their baby. I think they are supposed to be wealthy, although they don’t live in Kristy’s neighborhood, so I guess they are not quite millionaires. The day after the job, Mrs. Gardella calls Stacey to say her diamond ring is missing. Stacey says she didn’t take it, and Mrs. McGill tells Mrs. Gardella her daughter would never steal. But the Gardellas don’t really believe this, and threaten to tell the whole neighborhood the BSC members are thieves.

This of course leads to an “emergency meeting,” where the girls all worry about what might happen to the BSC. And predictable they enter a slow period, and think it is because no one wants to use them anymore. But eventually, Stacey offers to sit for Mrs. Gardella for free to “pay off” the missing ring, and Kristy attends as some kind of security guard. When Stacey and Kristy are playing with the cat, they find that the cat has been hiding things under a desk, and they find the ring. So, Stacey’s name is cleared. We also find out the Gardella’s hadn’t spread the news too much, and they were really just in a slow period.


  • Stacey’s mom shows her a picture from her sixteenth birthday party, and Stacey laughs at the horrible fashion and hair. Kind of ironic to think that now, we (the readers) are laughing at Stacey’s horrible fashion and hair.
  • Stacey gets a little bitchy in this one. When her mom says she’ll only give her ten dollars toward a ring, Stacey is all, “Dad would buy it for me!” And really, who offers ten dollars towards a diamond ring. Why not just say you’ll give none?
  • Also, hasn't Stacey been described as not spoiled?
  • I actually had a birthstone ring in eighth grade, but my birthstone is not a diamond. Good thing too, since I lost the ring. That is probably one reason why a thirteen-year-old should not have too much expensive jewelry.
  • Claudia outfit: “Black leggings, red high-top sneakers, and an oversized red sweater. She was carrying a red plastic lunch box as a purse.” Apparently it is her favorite “mall outfit.” I can’t believe Claudia really has a favorite outfit; she seems like the type who would never wear the same thing twice. And secondly, a lunch box as a purse doesn’t seem very convenient for shopping. You can’t put it on your shoulder while you are looking for things.
  • Claudia gets a new pair of sneakers: They are pink hightops with “lace-and-sequence.” Apparently, she has such a huge collection that she could wear a different pair every day for a month. Which is just more evidence she wouldn’t wear the same thing several times.
  • Was Mary Anne always presented as so….lame? (I guess that is the word I am looking for). When they go to the mall the other girls want to shop for clothes and Mary Anne wants to go to the pet store and get stuff for Tiger.
  • The Gardellas are not the first BSC client who has been pet-obsessed. Do you think this is a common thing in real life? I know people who have a lot of pets, or who are really into them, but I can’t see anyone acting quite as into them as the Gardellas.
  • The Prezziosos are pretty cool in this one. Claudia is sitting for them, while they are at a dinner party. They come home early because they ran into the Gardellas, who told them Stacey is a thief. But the reason they left was not because they believed it, but because they know the BSC is trustworthy and didn’t like hearing someone else badmouth them.
  • Of course, when Mary Anne sits for the Prezziosos some friend of Jenny’s runs a hose into the living room and floods the whole thing. No wonder they want to stick with a sitter who can stand them.
  • The girls reminisce about the time they had such a big fight, they couldn’t even attend meetings together. They claim that they don’t remember what they fought about until Dawn reminds them. But they manage to laugh about it.
  • Jessi gets to sit for her siblings because Aunt Cecelia has plans. Stacey tells us how Aunt Cecelia would like to always sit for Becca and Squirt. That seems kind of sad.
  • Jessi hears about some potential thief being at-large in the neighborhood and gets all nervous about it. So, she makes her siblings go to sleep all the lights in the house on. That almost seems like an overreaction. It is not like she heard someone outside. Why not just leave on one or two lights? I don’t mean to say that eleven-year-olds shouldn’t worry about break-ins, but aren’t Jessi and Mal complaining that they can’t sit at night? Maybe reactions like this are why.
  • Oh, and of course, Jessi thinks that the thief may have taken Mrs. Gardella’s ring.
  • I don’t really get why Stacey wants to sit for the Gardellas again. It is not going to stop her from telling other people she is a thief and certainly won’t convince Mrs. Gardella she is innocent.
  • Claudia gets all bitchy because she hasn’t had a lot of sitting jobs and can’t buy as many clothes as she likes. So, she actually shows up at Stacey’s and tries to look for a ring (by pretending to check out her jewelry).
  • Wow, Claudia's spelling is just atrocious. I think they started making her notebook entries even worse as the series went on. And how does she spell "Jenny" wrong?
  • If Mrs. Gardella really thought Stacey was a thief, why would she agree to let her sit again, even if it was for free? And why does Kristy going with her make it okay? Just because she is President of the BSC? She is still just a kid who is friends with the potential thief.
  • Claudia calls Stacey to apologize for suspecting her before she hears that the ring had been found. Which, I guess, makes it okay that she accused her best-friend of stealing.
  • If the Gardellas know that their cat hides things, you would think they would look for the ring a little harder before accusing someone. I can understand them not finding it, but Mrs. Gardella says it didn’t even occur to check. I would think they’ve run into this before.
  • Ha, even Stacey says that Claudia tries to never wear the same outfit twice in a school year. So, how can she have a favorite “mall outfit” in an earlier chapter?