Monday, February 22, 2010

“What’s the big deal if we’re five minutes late?”…..BSC # 68: Jessi and the Bad Baby-sitter

Memory Reaction

As a kid, I wasn’t sure if we were going to get a new character to replace Dawn when she moved to California (the first time). At first, I thought this book was really introducing a new character, which was an idea I sort of like and sort of hated. But I think I was a little relieved that the potential new member introduced in this book didn’t become permanent. What’s weird is I can’t remember if I liked her or not. I know she was all “rebellious” at least for a BSC member. Part of me thinks that I agreed with her points about Kristy overreacting to a little lateness. But that may have just been an opinion that formed when I reread the book a few years later.

Revisited Reaction

This book picks up soon after Dawn leaves for her “six-month” visit to California. Because the BSC’s now one member short, they’re super busy. On top of that, Mallory has been feeling tired, because the ghostwriters are setting up the next book where she gets Mono. This means she isn’t around to sit as much either. So, Jessi suggests they ask a new friend of hers, Wendy, to join. Wendy attends one meeting, which is so insanely busy the other girls don’t really have time to ask her any questions, or to tell her how the club works. But she does get to go along with Jessi on a sitting job for an audition. She’s great with the kids, so the girls make her a member.

However, it seems Wendy’s a pretty laid back person. Meaning, she doesn’t think it’s a big deal to get to a club meeting 20 minutes late or to take a job sitting for her neighbor without telling the BSC. She even shows up for a sitting job late (because it was at the Pikes and she was only the second sitter). Kristy tries to yell at her for these criminal offenses, but Wendy doesn’t particularly care and thinks that only her parents and teachers can tell her what to do. She ends up quitting the club and walking out of a meeting. Later, she and Jessi agree to stay friends, but I don’t think she’s ever mentioned again. Meanwhile, Shannon suddenly has extra free time so she agrees to be a regular member until Dawn comes back.

Subplot: The Barrett kids miss Dawn, and they come up with an idea to make a video for her with some other neighborhood kids. They end up doing a skit that’s a combination of Snow White and Captain Planet. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I actually think they come up with a kinda cute story. By sheer coincidence, Dawn gets the idea to make a video with some of the kids in California. Then, the book seriously dates itself by having both sets of girls create a VHS that they snail mail across the country.

The second subplot is that Margo Pike is suddenly a shoplifter. She steals a pack of gum and a troll ring. Jessi catches her, and eventually tells Mallory, who makes Margo fess up to her parents. And they totally let her get away with it. Mrs. Pike makes Margo tell the store manager what she did, who just takes the stuff back (and money for the gum). And that’s it. No mention of another punishment.

  • Jessi claims that Squirt’s two. When did he have a birthday? He’s always been one-and-a-half. It’s especially annoying, since in the next book preview in the back of the book, it says he’s one-and-a-half.
  • Jessi’s sitting for her siblings when Wendy calls her. And she just invites Wendy to come over and hang out while she’s sitting. That seems like she’s breaking some kind of sitting rule.
  • The cover of this book made me laugh, because it shows Wendy sitting at a BSC meeting, chewing gum. And the tag line is “This is Dawn’s replacement?” As though chewing gum at a meeting makes her a horrible person.
  • Claudia: “She was wearing an oversized white shirt under a black vest covered with a design of shiny beads. (She had sewn the beads on it herself). She wore neon green leggings and black ballet slippers (on which she’d sewn a matching bead design). From one of her pierced ears hung a dangling earring made from the same beads and on the other ear she wore a green hoop earring.” I guess the ghostwriter didn’t know Claudia has three holes.
  • Mallory outfit: “She was wearing a faded lavender sweat out-fit, her blue terrycloth robe thrown over it.”
  • I remember this scene so vividly – Vanessa Pike gets a curler stuck in her hair, and Jessi has to cut it out. Then she makes a little braid out of the cut section. I sometimes tried to imitate that (although, not the actual hair cutting).
  • Now speaking of Vanessa, she was doing her hair for a birthday party she was going to at 5:30 on a Thursday. That seems like a strange time for a party, especially for a fourth-grader.
  • I don’t really buy how busy the club is with Dawn gone. She was one person, and she likely wasn’t sitting more than once a day. So, each girl would be taking on one more job a week. But supposedly they’re all twice as busy as before?
  • They also talk about how meetings are much busier without Dawn, supposedly they are getting a lot of phone calls. But they only have one line, so it’s not like an additional person can answer more calls.
  • Mallory falls asleep while reading Claire The Three Bears. And Claire is all, “I don’t blame her. It’s a really boring book.” That made me laugh, which is rare for Claire.
  • The Margo shoplifting plot totally comes out of nowhere. There’s no build up for it at all. Unless it’s supposed to be a sign of how screwed up the Pike kids will be one day.
  • When the girls are shopping for props/costumes for their video, they see an aisle in the store full of trolls. Now, THAT’s a flashback. I totally had a troll collection back in 4rth-5th grade.
  • Good continuity alert: Dawn’s video shows Stephie (from the California Super Special) and mentions her friend Margie, who I’m sure was mentioned in another book.
  • The day she quits, Wendy’s all annoyed because she was beating her friends in a Super Mario Brothers tournament, but had to leave to come to the meeting.
  • Considering how rigid the BSC is sometimes, they don’t even bother to explain how the club works to Wendy.
  • I guess Wendy was supposed to be a bit of a bitch, but she really just acted like a normal middle schooler.
  • I wonder if this book was being planned when the previous book (where Dawn leaves) was written. In that one, Shannon says she doesn’t have time to be a full time BSCer. But by the end of this book, she suddenly has plenty of free time.
  • There’s a scene at the end where the girls all go rollerblading, and they make a big deal out of describing not just Claudia and Stacey’s outfits, but their helmets and safety pads. I remember thinking how it was such a lame attempt to preach to kids about skating/biking safety.
  • Claudia’s skating outfit: “Hot pink stirrup pants and a fuzzy pink sweater that made a nice contrast with her neon green pads and helmet.”
  • Stacey’s: “Cool as ever in jeans and a short brown leather jacket. Her helmet was black with silver streaks.”
  • The BSC members all go out to pizza and apparently “everyone” agreed on having a pepperoni pizza. And they decided the “one good thing” about Dawn being gone is that they don’t have to order a portion of the pie with no meat. BUT, from my recollection, Dawn was never the only person to get plain. She would usually want vegetables or plain, and everyone else wanted various different combinations. I remember one book where they ordered like 3 pies, with each half different.

Monday, February 15, 2010

“Summer in California is California to the max”…….BSC # 77: Dawn and Whitney, Friends Forever”

Memory Reaction

Thinking about this book kind of makes me cringe, because it’s one of those books that portrayed an “issue,” and I don’t remember it doing so very well. The plot involves Dawn sitting for a girl with Down’s Syndrome. Now, I don’t think the book does anything OFFENSIVE in its portrayal of Down’s Syndrome. I just remember it seeming kind of awkward because they try so hard to make it politically correct and lectur-y, that it was almost offensive anyway.

This was also when I started realizing how screwed up time was in BSC land. I mean, I always knew they had multiple summer vacations in one year, but that I could accept. However, this book takes place during Dawn’s “six-month” stay in California. Only she left for that in the fall, and this one takes place in the summer. So, clearly it’s been more than six months. I can take some flexibility, but don’t give timelines if you’re going to blatantly break them. Just say “a few months.”

Revisited Reaction

Dawn gets a "sitting job" for Whitney Carter, who’s twelve, but has Down's Syndrome. Whitney's parents want to lie to her and say that Dawn’s just a "friend." To give her some credit, Dawn questions this, but ends up going along with the Carters. Which makes sense, since they are the ones paying her. Whitney thinks they really are friends and seems to like Dawn a lot. But, one day, Dawn slips and refers to herself as Whitney's baby-sitter. This causes all sorts of issues – Whitney’s not only mad at Dawn, she’s hurt that her parents thought she needed a sitter. She ends up trying to prove herself by taking Dawn’s sitting charges, Clover and Daffodil, to a carnival. So, this is yet another time that Dawn lost children she’s sitting for. Of course, they find Whitney with the girls and it’s all okay. And Dawn makes Whitney an honorary member of We Love Kids.

Now, this book takes place soon after Dawn acted like a selfish brat and broke her father and Carol (his then fiancé) up. So, Dawn's father is dating a bunch of women, and keeps making Dawn and Jeff go on "family" dates, to meet them. And they all pretty much suck. In fact, they suck so much I'm surprised Mr. Schafer even deemed them worthy of meeting his kids. Were they really THAT much different on the earlier dates? One was condescending to Dawn and Jeff, one was super uptight and treated a waitress like crap (which says a lot about a person), one was a bitch to Whitney, and one had a daughter Dawn goes to school with (and the two girls hate each other). So, at this point, her dad starts to limit the dating. Meanwhile, Jeff and Dawn start to think Carol may not have been so bad. So, when Dawn runs into Carol, she actually feels good about it, and tells her dad to call her. And he and Carol end up engaged.

Back in Stoneybrook, Mrs. Barrett announces her engagement to Franklin DeWitt, this guy with four kids of his own. Their kids, who had finally started getting along, start to fight, because the Barretts feel like the DeWitt kids will be taking over their house. However, Mrs. Barrett and Franklin decide to get a new house together, and they take the kids house hunting with them (with a BSC member, of course). The kids bond over picking out which house has the best tree house potential and end up happy about the new family. And this, along with Mr. Schafer and Carol’s engagement, set up a future Super Special.

  • One night Dawn and Sunny are hanging out at Dawn’s, and are outside playing soccer with Jeff. They come inside when it gets dark, and then soon after Jeff goes to bed. At this point, Dawn says it’s still early enough to call Mary Anne in CT. Now…I would say early enough for a thirteen-year-old (in the summer) is before 10? Maybe 11, since it’s her mother’s house. So, are we supposed to think a ten-year-old went to bed at 7 or 8 o’clock? I don’t even think it would be dark by then.
  • Dawn’s friend Maggie has purple raccoon streaks in her hair. I think I would have thought that was cool when I was thirteen.
  • Here’s a pop-culture reference for you. When We Love Kids finds out about Whitney having Down's Syndrome, they ask, “like, Corky? On that TV Show."
  • How is three-cheese macaroni considered health food?
  • Whitney likes Keanu Reaves. Going by the copyright year, this book takes place around the same time Speed came out, so I guess it’s appropriate. But it makes me feel a little old.
  • If your friend moved to California, would you waste time writing letters to her about your baby-sitting jobs?
  • One of the women Mr. Schafer dates calls him "Richard." Which, is a bit awkward considering his name is Jack.
  • When Claudia and Stacey are sitting for the Barretts and their soon to be step-siblings, they pack up all this food for dinner and walk to the park to have a picnic. That seems really, really, ambitious. Most of those kids are 6 and under, and they are packing so much stuff that they need a wagon to carry it all. Why not just eat in the backyard? Or go to the park after dinner?
  • At the carnival, Jeff wants to ride the scrambler, and Dawn says it’s too wild for her. Now, this is coming from a girl who thought Space Mountain at Disney World was no big deal. Granted, in that book she did almost get sick, but that was described as an outlier – she’s been shown as a roller-coaster fan at several other points. So not going on a relatively tame ride seems a bit out of character.
  • The date-of-the-evening DOES go on the scrambler, and promptly throws up. I really don’t buy that. The scrambler’s really not THAT wild a ride. And if someone is that sensitive to rides, they would know it by adulthood and try to avoid them.
  • Franklin proposes to Mrs. Barrett at a “business” cocktail party. Who proposes at a work event? Or are we supposed to think it wasn’t really business, and the adults just said that to have a romantic evening?
  • Mrs. Barrett doesn’t tell the BSC she’s engaged until a few days after the party. But shouldn't Mrs. Barrett have had the ring on when she got home that night? I guess maybe she wanted to tell the kids in her own way, but would Buddy and Suzi have known what a ring meant?
  • Mary Anne volunteers the BSC to help with the wedding, because the girls get WAY too involved with their clients.
  • Dawn’s really a pretty terrible sitter. The Carters tell her that Whitney is prone to ear infections, and she has to wear earplugs when swimming or going in water. But when Whitney’s getting ready to play in the sprinklers, Whitney’s the one to bring her earplugs, and Dawn has to ask her what they are.
  • Shouldn't the Carters have given Dawn some leeway as a sitter if they didn't want Whitney to know she being sat for? I mean, how’s Dawn supposed to control what Whitney eats and still pretend to just be her friend?
  • One of the dates is with the mother of a girl Dawn goes to school with. They don’t get along and according to Dawn have nothing in common. Then she calls the other girl and her friends part of the "brain trust" group. So is she saying she isn’t smart?
  • Dawn describes her and her friends’ own motto as "study hard, work hard (and be great baby-sitters), play hard, and don't forget to surf.”
  • Dawn finds it weird when the woman’s daughter calls her father “Jack,” as if it is too casual for her to not use “Mr. Schafer.” But, Dawn has been calling all these women by their first name, so it’s really a bit hypocritical.
  • One of the family dates the Schafers go on is to an outdoor concert, where they bring a picnic dinner. They bring, like, three kinds of sandwiches plus side dishes and desserts…for four people. I know they have a housekeeper to help out, and Mr. Schafer’s probably going all out since it’s an early date, but it still seems over the top.
  • One of the women Dawn’s father dates criticizes her bra. In front of her dad and Jeff. The first time they met. That’s a bit awkward. I remember being so embarrassed about that stuff in middle school.
  • Of course, when Dawn loses the girls she’s sitting for she can’t reach the mother, because she’s at some crafts fair. All the times where they can't reach someone like that totally dates the story, because now, everyone would just pull out a cell phone. It’s like watching Seinfeld reruns…it’s amazing how many episodes wouldn’t have happened with cell phones).

Monday, February 8, 2010

“I’m going on like this, telling you about me, not because I’m conceited”…..BSC Portrait Collection: Stacey’s Book

Memory Reaction
This was the first “Autobiography” book, and I was really excited about it. I had really liked the memory Super Special because we got to see the girls as kids, which seemed cool at the time. However, I remember being a little disappointed because this book didn’t have much interaction between the other girls (since Stacey didn’t meet them until the series started). So, it wasn’t my favorite of the “Portrait Collection.”

I also remember feeling so inferior to Stacey, because she talked about how she and Laine would watch MTV while they were playing with dolls as little kids, and how they would get up and dance to all the good songs (which clearly dates the book). I was never that cool. When my friends and I played with dolls, we just played dolls. Or we’d sit around reading together.

Revisited Reaction

All the 8th Graders at SMS have to write their autobiography. This lets the ghostwriters do additional books without having to do a Mal and Jessi one. Anyway, Stacey gets the first one. Basically, the first chapter of the book is Stacey’s personal intro, and then the rest is supposed to be us reading her actual bio. It’s split into a few little stories about her life.

The first takes place at age five, when Stacey was obsessed with Cinderella. Her mother works at Macy’s, so Stacey gets to be in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, on a Cinderella float. She’s super excited and tells everyone in her class to watch her on TV. Then, during the parade, Cinderella’s crown blows off, and Stacey bends over to pick it up – moving out of camera range when she should have been on TV. But she gets to keep the crown, so she’s happy.

When Stacey was eight, she and Laine thought they were all grown up and wanted to be independent. Their parents sign them up for ballroom dancing lessons, which Laine and Stacey don’t want to attend. So, the try ditching the classes, and for awhile they get away with walking around the city during the class (going to get ice cream, to a toy store, etc). Then one day they try to take the bus to FAO Schwarz, and don’t get back in time. So, they get in a lot of trouble and have to take the classes anyway.

At age ten, Stacey’s parents drag her to some isolated island in Maine for vacation. And by isolated, I mean there are three families that live there and no other structures or phones. She’s bored out of her mind, and the only kid on the island hates her, because Stacey keeps going on and on about how boring the island is. Then Stacey’s dad breaks her ankle, and the girl helps get him to the mainland to see a doctor. So, she and Stacey bond and end up friends.

For the age “twelve” story, Stacey’s living back in NY and Claudia comes to visit for a weekend. If you’re wondering how she could be twelve when this happens, considering she didn’t move back to New York until she was thirteen…..well, join the club. I guess maybe the story about Stacey learning to time travel got left out. Anyway, at this point in her life, Stacey’s secretly miserable because Laine’s her only real friend. The other girls she hangs out with just put up with her because of Laine. Claudia’s bitchy at first, because seeing Stacey happy in NY reminds her that she’s not in Stoneybrook. But, they talk and Stacey admits how much she misses Stoneybrook. Then they have a nice day together before Claud leaves.

And then the rest of Stacey’s life – moving back to Stoneybrook, etc. – is summarized in one sentence. And we find out she gets an A on the assignment.

  • It’s interesting how Stacey completely leaves out her most vivid memory from her autobiography.
  • The real flaw in the concept of this book, is that if these girls were actually writing their autobiographies, they’d spend a lot more time on their middle school years. But clearly, they can’t use a story that already exists in a book. They probably should have pretended we were only reading segments of the biography.
  • On Stacey’s 4th birthday, her parents take her to the Plaza for lunch, because she is a fan of Eloise. And when the waiters bring out a cake a sing, other customers join in, including Pavarotti, who just happens to be there. That seems to be a little over the top.
  • I don’t think I ever read Eloise. Right now the name is just making me think of Lost.
  • Stacey describes Laine as “cool” and “sophisticated” at age five. It seems a bit clichĂ© to have a young version of Laine be a mini version of herself at 13. Why not have her be a normal kid then, who changed to the “cool” person she supposedly was at 13?
  • In Kindergarten, the teacher asks anyone in class to raise their hand if they know the story of Cinderella. Stacey isn’t sure, so she only puts it up half way, but then Laine tells her to put it all the way up, and she does. Nice independent thinking.
  • Everyone in Stacey’s class believes her when she explains why she wasn’t on TV during the parade, even before she shows them the crown she got. I find that a little hard to believe. Granted, she was telling the truth, but still.
  • Does Cinderella have red hair? Stacey keeps describing her that way, and the “Cinderella” in the parade wears a red wig. But I always thought she was blonde.
  • Oooh, super-sophisticated Stacey gets to go to a movie premiere at age five. It’s for a re-release of Cinderella. Of course she does. She lives in NYC and does all sorts of “sophisticated” things that make her better than normal teens.
  • I like that they made her mom work at Macy’s when Stacey was little, since it fits with the job she gets later on.
  • Stacey complains about how she and Laine weren’t allowed to walk anywhere by themselves at age 8, and I can’t tell if she’s explaining how she felt then, or if she still actually thinks her parents were overprotective at that point.
  • Isn’t third grade a little too young for ballroom dancing?
  • The teacher of these dancing lessons never bothers to take attendance, which is how Stacey and Laine get away with skipping them at first. But presumably, people paid to take these classes, so I would think the teacher would at least take attendance on the first day.
  • Stacey totally enables her father’s workaholic ways by hiding his briefcase in her suitcase when they go on vacation – he didn’t want her mom to know he was going to do any work. It’s kind of jerky of him to use his daughter like that.
  • Who does go to an island THAT secluded for vacation? I’ve heard of people who go to little islands in the Caribbean, but at least those are owned by resort-type companies that provide food, etc to people living there. The McGills are just alone in the middle of nowhere.
  • Stacey and the kid she meets exchange addresses, but Stacey acknowledges that they didn’t really stay in touch, and she says she wishes they had. I like that she actually says this, since these girls were always meeting people on vacations that they agree to write to, but never mention again.
  • Mara, the girl Stacey befriends on vacation, can apparently tell the time by sun and moon. That part made me roll my eyes.
  • The whole storyline where Stacey isn’t happy with her friends back in New York seems to be a bit shoehorned in. When she was deciding where to live, she never mentioned any of that. She said she was closer to the BSC than Laine and others, but she didn’t claim to be unhappy.
  • Claudia’s reason for being annoyed at Stacey is really lame.
  • We get some outfits, because clearly the clothing that you and your best friends wear is an important enough details to go in your autobiography.
  • Stacey: “Black tights, a pink-and-black striped oversized sweat shirt, and pink high-top sneakers.”
  • Stacey at ten: “Jeans, [her] red high-top sneakers, and a long-sleeved blue polo shirt. Over that [she wore her] white denim jacket.” Which seems like a more normal outfit than what she wears as a teenager.
  • Laine: A black lycra mini-dress.
  • Claudia: “A purple jacket, black tights, and red cowboy boots. Her hair was half piled on her head and half down her back, so the brightly colored three-hoop earrings she’d made for herself showed off nicely.”
  • Claudia buys a pair of black-and-lime-green-striped leggings. I hope she’s planning to use them as a dust rag and not actual clothing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

“I might have to move to Maynard, Iowa!”……BSC Mystery # 5: Mary Anne and the Secret in the Attic

Memory Reaction

When I was a kid I had never heard the term “RetCon,” but if I had, I would have known this book fits that definition perfectly. Because in this book Mary Anne suddenly has a whole history that none of us had ever heard of, where she lived with her grandparents. And I just thought it was so unbelievable that such a “secret” existing when we had never heard a single hint about it in the past.

But I was still totally jealous of her. Just because it seemed like it would be so cool to have a secret about my past to discover (even if it was a “bad” secret). I guess I was at the stage where I was old enough to think the BSC was unrealistic/silly, but still young enough to want to be like them.

Revisited Reaction

Mary Anne has been thinking about her mom a lot. Or, more accurately, she’s been thinking about her lack of a mom. This gets worse because Stoneybrook’s having a “Heritage Day” for the town historical society to raise money. Because of this, all the kids in town are working on projects that relate to their family or to Stoneybook history. Mary Anne sits for Charlotte, who’s really into her project on her ancestors. Charlotte shows Mary Anne all sorts of photos of her great-great grandparents (or something like that), which inspires Mary Anne to look in her own attic for pictures of her mom. What she ends up finding is letters and photos that suggest she (Mary Anne) lived with her maternal grandparents in Iowa soon after her mom died. This is a bit of a shock, since she didn’t even know she had living grandparents.

Mary Anne gets it in her head this means her dad gave her away as a baby, and that he never wanted her. She doesn’t want to ask him about this, and instead, just lets it eat her up inside. She even worries that she might have to go back to her grandparents. Then, in a coincidence that is WAY to convenient, her grandmother calls Richard for the first time in years. Mary Anne accidentally picks up the phone, so she hears that her grandfather died. Grandma (whose name we don’t know) wants Mary Anne to come for a visit, but Richard doesn’t want to let her go. However, Mary Anne only hears part of the call, and thinks her grandma wants (and could get) custody. She’s scared to tell anyone and kind of freaks out about it. She eventually goes back to the attic and reads the rest of the letters she found. She learns that after a few months her dad asked for Mary Anne to come home to him, but her grandparents refused. She doesn’t find any more letters, but obviously she knows she ended up back with her dad. However, she’s still upset and worried that her grandmother could get custody.

Finally, she breaks down and tells her friends. They encourage her to talk to her dad, and he explains that he was not in a good place after her mom died, and he agreed to let Mary Anne stay with her grandparents. After a few months, he asked for her back and pushed to make it happen. The grandparents said it would be easier for them to make a clean break, and broke off all contact. Nice people. But now, Grandma thinks that was a mistake, and she’s mad that her husband didn’t see Mary Anne again before he died. Once she hears all this, Mary Anne decides she would like to go for a visit. The last chapter ends with a bunch of letters being exchanged while she’s visiting…where everything is all hunky-dory. And after this book, there was always an extra sentence or two in the traditional Chapter 2 about Mary Anne’s grandparents, and how Richard was strict because he’s trying to prove something to them.


  • Mary Anne has a dream early in the book, where she’s on a farm with an elderly couple – and later realizes it’s really a memory. It’s a bit coincidental that she suddenly has this dream.
  • Mary Anne: “That day I was wearing a pink sweater and chinos, with these cute little boots I’d just bought. I guess you could say that my style is basically pretty preppy.” I think Mary Anne may be the only one who’s outfits always seem normal.
  • Claudia: “For example, that day she was wearing a lacy white top over a solid white bodysuit, a black mini skirt with white polka dots on it, lacy white leggings, and red high-tops. Plus some really outrageous back-and-white jewelry…that she’d made herself.” That sounds like it wouldn’t be TOO bad, if it weren’t for all the lace.
  • All the kids in town have different projects for Heritage Day. For example, Vanessa Pike’s class is reciting a poem about Stoneybrook that Vanessa is writing. That seems like a really unfair assignment. Vanessa has to write a poem (a really long one, apparently), and the other kids just read it? Shouldn’t they have all written something, and the teacher picked a couple to read? Or something else that’s more balanced.
  • Mary Anne can’t find her mom’s grave at the cemetery, and she starts to look for graves with her mother’s maiden name (since her mom is buried near relatives). But if her family is from Iowa, why are they buried in Stoneybrook?
  • Does Mary Anne really think her grandparents (who she hasn’t seen in years) have a chance of getting custody of her over her Dad (who’s raised her for years)?
  • Mary Anne doesn’t tell anyone what she’s found for a while, but people can tell she’s upset. Dawn keeps telling people Mary Anne must have had a fight with Logan. She even refuses to let Logan talk to Mary Anne when he calls. It’s really rather condescending.
  • So of COURSE the BSC ends up involved with Heritage Day…they make cut outs of “famous” Stoneybrook-ites from history, so people can pose with them in pictures.
  • One of the cut-outs is of Sophie, the “ghost” in Stacey’s attic. The model the cut-out of Sophie off the “picture of her they found in the attic.” And I wouldn’t remember this if I hadn’t just read the other book, but the portrait was of her mother.
  • Dr. and Mr. Johansson have to work the day of some Elementary School parent-child picnic, so they call the BSC. Which is so ridiculous.
  • Mary Anne doesn’t take money for taking Charlotte to the picnic, which is actually really nice of her.
  • What are the chances that Grandma calls out of the blue at the exact same time Mary Anne is uncovering all this?
  • When they are painting the cut outs, the BSC gets into a “paint fight” and Logan gets paint on his shirt. He ends up taking it off, and Mary Anne gets so embarrassed over it.
  • A woman shows up at the house asking if it’s the “Spier-Schafer” house. Now, who asks for a house like that? I’ve lived with relatives where we didn’t share a last name, and people are always assigning the wrong name to the wrong people. And that is after years. The Spiers-Schafers have only been merged for a few months at this point.
  • Mary Anne thinks this woman is a social worker, and that she’ll get a bad impression (because the girls were having a paint fight, playing music, and Logan had no shirt on). Now, Mary Anne was super-worked up, so I’ll let her get away with that assumption. But, we find out later the woman was a “census taker.” But what is this woman doing taking the census in 1992? Would it be so hard to come up with a more realistic reason?
  • Mary Anne says that Claud’s spelling was “a little off” in the sign she made. It read: “POSE WITH STONNEYBROOKs SELEBRITYs.” If that’s what Mary Anne calls a little off, I’d hate to see what she calls horrible.
  • There’s a scene when Dawn talks about how heritage day makes her want to find out more about Jared Mullray. Richard is all, who? And Dawn answers, “the guy who haunts our secret passage?” Then Richard is all, “oh. That Jared Mullray.” For some reason that scene totally made me think of Jack Bristow.
  • Just like in the book where Richard gets married, Richard gives Mary Anne a letter that her mom wrote before she died. She wanted Mary Anne to have it when she turned 16, but Richard decides to give it to her early because she is “so mature” for her age. It seems so arbitrary that her mom would pick the age 16, but not want Mary Anne to have anything before that.
  • This book’s weird, because it definitely takes place during the school year, but Mary Anne ends up on this extended vacation in Iowa. They don’t say how long she’s there, but the last chapter is full of letters between her and the rest of the BSC, and it seems like she’s there for weeks.