Saturday, July 31, 2010

“If I was going to hand in the fascinating story of my life on time, I had to work on it all weekend”…….BSC Portrait Collection: Kristy’s Book

Memory Reaction

I never read this book when I was younger, so a memory doesn’t really apply. I do remember wanting to read Kristy’s autobiography, but by the time they got to Kristy I had given up the series. I think my reason for wanting to read Kristy’s was that I wanted it to talk more about when her father left. In the memory super special we saw Stacey getting diabetes and Dawn’s parents getting divorced, but nothing about Kristy’s dad.

Revisited Reaction

Kristy’s autobiography follows the same format as the others, but her early years summary has some more detailed stories than the others, starting with her birth: Kristy’s parents were at a baseball game at Yankee Stadium when her mom started having contractions. Her father tells Mrs. Thomas it will be awhile until they really have to go to the hospital, and they should stay and watch the game. Later in the game, he finally agrees. Kristy thinks this may have to do with her liking sports. I think it should have been a sign for Kristy’s mom that she married an asshole. But I guess both could apply.

When Kristy was five, she hated that her older brothers didn’t like to play with her, and that they were allowed to do things she wasn’t (walk to friends houses alone, stay up late, etc). One day, she finds out that Sam and Charlie are going to watch a baseball game at the park, and then go to the movies with some friends. She tells her mom she’s going to Claudia’s house, but actually walks to the park and tells the boys her mom said it was okay to go with them. When Mrs. Thomas finds out she’s not at Claud’s, she gets worried and finds out what happened from Mary Anne. She goes to the theater and actually gets the place to stop the movie, so she can go in and find Kristy. She takes her (and Sam and Charlie) home. Kristy’s brothers are furious with her, but they are allowed to go back and see the end of the movie. Kristy isn’t allowed to do this, but she convinces them to tell her everything that happens.

When Kristy was six, her father walked out, which we all know. He literally just left for work one day and never came back. Her mom called his boss, who said that Mr. Thomas quit and said he was moving west. Six months later, he’s still gone and Mrs. Thomas has found a job. She sends David Michael to day care, but decides that Charlie, Sam, and Kristy can handle being home alone after school (at ages 10, 8, and 6). But the Baby-Sitters Club didn’t exist then, so she really had no choice. For the first week, the kids eat junk food, have friends over, etc. Then Louie (the dog) gets sprayed by a skunk, and Kristy, her brothers, Mary Anne, and Claudia get locked in the bathroom when trying to clean him with tomato juice. They also make a huge mess, which is a predictable result of little kids using tomato juice. After Mrs. Thomas sees this, she decides the kids need some structure. She makes them each do certain chores every day, which they complain about at first, but ultimately decide isn’t so bad. Things go well for the next six or seven years, and Mrs. Thomas eventually finds a decent (and rich) guy.

When Kristy was ten she went to a sports-themed camp for girls. This is bullshit, because in Super Special 2, she said she hadn’t been to camp before. But whatever. Kristy’s in one of two softball cabins – they play each other for intra-camp games, but also come together to play other camps in the area. The two cabins have a bit of a rivalry and play pranks on each other, which get pretty bitter over the course of the summer. After awhile, the rivalry makes them lose games with other camps, their coach gets pissed and “quits,” which encourages the girls to make up. The coach agrees to come back and they all have fun for the rest of the camp session.

When Kristy was 13, her father reappeared in her life, which is what happened in the BSC movie. I can’t decide if I like that for continuity’s sake or think it’s lame for lack of originality. But it does make me a little curious about who owns the copyright of that story. The book keeps the general idea of the story the same, but change the details. Like the movie, she tells Mary Anne, but no one in her family, and her dad has no interest in seeing any of her brothers, which I think is a little weird. Also like the movie, Kristy tries to pretend that his asking her to keep his presence a secret isn’t a bad sign. Now, different from the movie, Watson realizes Kristy was lying about being on a baby-sitting job (so she could see her dad). He doesn’t know why Kristy lied, but he does keep it a secret. Then Kristy’s dad gives her a baseball glove to “make up for all the missed birthdays.” But it is a right-handed glove, and Kristy’s left-handed. Kristy’s upset, but rationalizes it by thinking he may have just not noticed. She decides to take it to a sporting goods store to try and exchange it. The store points out that the glove was personalized with a note revealing it was a gift at some sportswriters’ dinner. Then her dad just doesn’t show up the next time they are supposed to meet, and he has checked out of his hotel. Kristy finally tells her mom, who’s pretty sympathetic about it, but doesn’t seem to angry with her ex. I guess once you marry a millionaire, you lose some of the bitterness about your jerk of an ex-husband. Anyway, Watson gives Kristy a left-handed glove, because he’s actually a decent guy, so the story ends well.


  • Isn’t Karen (and maybe Andrew) a Krusher? Kristy has Sam fill in for her at a Krusher practice so that she can work on her autobiography. But Karen is still around to annoy her.
  • Kristy apparently ran her first step. She had pulled herself up with a bench while she was watching her brothers play catch. The ball rolled away from them, and she “ran” over to it and picked it up. I don’t know if it’s realistic for a baby to do that, but I think it’s kind of a cute story regardless.
  • Kristy had her first great idea at age four. She, Mary Anne, and Claudia were building a snowman, when a neighbor complimented their work, and said how she misses having kids at home to do things like that. The girls decide to build one in her yard. The neighbor loves it and gives them each a dollar. Kristy says they should use it to give Mimi a birthday present and when the neighbor hears that, she gives them each another dollar. One thing leads to another, and the girls end up making snowmen for a bunch of other neighbors. They give Mimi a scarf that she wears ever winter until she dies.
  • The movie Kristy tries to see as a kid is called “car man,” about a guy who can turn into cars to fight crime. That seems….really lame.
  • To get Sam and Charlie to tell her how the movie ends, Kristy gets Mary Anne and Claudia to play with some toy cars with her. When her brothers get home, the girls start acting out their own version of the movie, which gets Sam and Charlie to tell them what actually happened. I think that’s actually a pretty smart idea for a five-year-old.
  • Another sign you’re married to an asshole: He thinks it’s funny that you spent part of the afternoon thinking your five-year-old was missing.
  • How old was Louie? Cause Kristy says they got him when David Michael was born, but that means he would have only been about seven when he died. Which doesn’t seem too old for a dog. And since he died before Stoneybrook went into a time warp, it really was only seven years.
  • Even at age six, Claudia had an “endless supply” of junk food. Now, really, how are we supposed to believe that? Where would a six-year-old with no money get access to so much candy?
  • The camp Kristy goes to is in Connecticut, so at least that part is consistent with what she says in Super Special 1 about never being out of the state.
  • Wouldn’t you wash off your skunk-sprayed dog outside?
  • Didn’t Kristy say her most vivid memory was her first real sitting job? Which supposedly happened at age ten? But if Mrs. Thomas let Charlie be in charge of Sam and Kristy at age ten, why would she be so worried about Kristy doing the same thing?
  • Kristy had to apply for a scholarship to go to this camp. She says she wrote about how much she liked baseball, plus how hard her mom has to work because her dad left. I’m still trying to decide if we’re supposed to think she ended up getting a scholarship out of sympathy.
  • Kristy was the second string shortstop on the camp softball team. So, in the games against other camps, she only played in the outfield for a couple innings. This sort of surprises me. These are ten-year-old kids at a summer camp, who are paying to play softball. I would think they’d make a point of giving people equal time. When I was that age I played basketball in a recreation league, and the coaches made a point of letting everyone play. It wasn’t until high school, or maybe eighth grade that the competitive-ness started.
  • So, of course, Kristy and the first-string shortstop have their own rivalry going on, and yet end up great friends by the end.
  • I can’t decide what movie/book the summer camp plot sounds like, cause it sure as hell isn’t original. I’m thinking the beginning of The Parent Trap, before the twins find out they are related. The part about the coach quitting sounds familiar as well, but that must be from something else.
  • The camp had a counselor-in-training. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of these outside the BSC, but I guess they exist. I went to camp once as a kid, but am certainly not an expert, so I really have no idea.
  • Her dad signs his cards to Kristy with a “P” (for Patrick). That seems kind of weird, but probably in character for the guy.
  • Did we know Kristy was left-handed? I feel like it must have been mentioned before, but I could be making that up.
  • When Kristy’s father was younger (it doesn’t say how young), he put itching powder inside his friend’s pants before he went on a date. Classy.
  • Kristy talks to her mom about her dad, and finds out that he used to say things like, “I’d be better off without you and the kids.” I think it’s pretty clear by this point that Kristy’s father’s an asshole.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

“Dance mania at Stoneybrook Middle School was in full swing”…..BSC # 127: Abby’s Un-Valentine

Memory Reaction

I didn’t read this book as a kid, but I did read it a couple years ago, before I started this blog. My reaction at the time was, “so, I guess this is why there’s BSC fan fiction with Abby and Kristy as a lesbian couple.” Not because I think that a 13-year-old liking sports or not being interested in boys is gay. I just think others might use that as a basis for fan fiction. I actually think it’s good that the ghostwriters had characters not interested in dating – people develop at different rates, and it seems like a better example than having a character claim to not be interested in boys, only to reveal that she only says that because she thinks no one likes her.

Revisited Reaction

It's almost Valentine's Day in Stoneybrook (again). While Claudia, Stacey, and Mary Anne are all planning to go to the school dance with various dates, Abby couldn’t be less interested – she doesn’t like any boys at school and doesn't want a boyfriend period. Now unfortunately, a boy’s interested in her. Ross Brown, who I know has been mentioned before, but can't remember the context, has been hanging around Abby a lot and asks her to the dance.

Abby says no, and her friends and sister can’t believe it. Ross keeps persuing her, leaving flowers or other gifts by her locker, stopping at her house, etc. Claudia and Stacey think Abby’s just nervous because she hasn’t had a boyfriend before, and they encourage her to go to the dance with Ross. Abby tells them off about this, and it makes for a couple of tense BSC meetings. The only BSC member who sympathizes with Abby is Kristy (Mallory has left and poor Jessi just tries to play peacekeeper - she gets even less face time than usual).

It occurs to Abby that Anna (her sister) might like Ross, and that they seem to have similar interests. Abby invites Ross over, thinking she'll leave Anna and Ross alone, with the hope that things will progress naturally from there. When Ross gets there he confuses Anna for Abby. The girls aren't sure how to handle it, so they don’t say anything at first. However, their mother comes home and calls them by the correct names. Ross realizes his mistake and thinks the girls were tricking him. He leaves and refuses to talk to them the next day in school, so Abby and Anna go to his house to apologize and explain in person. He forgives them and asks Anna to go with him to a concert at the community center the next afternoon. That goes well enough for him to ask Anna to the dance that night. Meanwhile Abby and Kristy go to see some horror movies on Valentine's Day night.

Subplot: Apparently Kristy's family has been training a puppy to be a guide dog. However, now the dog has gotten old enough to go to guide dog school, so she’s leaving. This is a problem because Andrew, has grown particularly attached to the dog. He pouts about this a bunch and has a temper tantrum or two, but the dog still leaves, and it could not be more boring.


  • Abby says her family moved to Connecticut because her mom couldn’t handle the long commute on the Long Island Railroad. It’s a good thing they found a place SO much closer to the city. I mean, commuting from Connecticut to NYC is MUCH more reasonable. It’s not like Stacey ever had to move to NYC because her father refused do such a long commute.
  • Claudia Outfit: “She was dressed in…a woolly sweater, long black tights with thick blue socks, and hiking boots…[Her] sweater was blue, white, and gray with a snowflake-patterned yoke. It was enormous, stretching almost to her knees.” That seems sort of un-Claudia to me.
  • Stacey Outfit: “She was wearing a short, dark brown leather skirt over pale stockings. She had on these cool boots that came to just above her knees. Her sweater was the color of butter, and it looked unbelievably soft.” That actually sounds really nice.
  • In this book, Abby describes Dawn's wardrobe as "beach casual" instead of "California casual." I’m still not sure what that’s supposed to mean, but it’s a nice change in pace.
  • Stacey's boyfriend Ethan lives in New York, so he sent her a romantic email in days leading up to Valentine's Day. This leads Abby to say that email and romance don't belong in the same sentence. I feel the same way about the BSC and email. These girls should be frozen in the eighties/early nineties.
  • Another thought: Why does Abby say that about email and romance? She has already said she hates romance and all that “mushy stuff.” So, does she like email and not want it tainted with romance?
  • Mary Anne wants to make birdfeeders out of pinecones during a sitting job for Kristy's siblings, and she calls Mrs. Brewer to ask her to buy the right ingredients. It seems a bit rude to be hired to baby-sit, and then ask for the parents to go out of their way to help you.
  • So, I guess Andrew spent the last few months living in Chicago with his mother and step-father, but it doesn’t mention Karen doing this. I suspect this was the plot of a Little Sister book, (and Wikipedia seems to confirm it).
  • The book descriptions from that link make Karen sound like a really, really, annoying brat. Her bio page is way too nice, however. (And why does she get her own entry, when the members of the BSC are all combined in one general BSC entry.)
  • Abby goes over to Kristy's house to hang out with a Valentine's Day hater, and the two of them decide to sit on the stairs because it’s away from the animals making Abby sneeze, but close enough to watch the kids in the other room. Now, they aren’t baby-sitting. They just decide to do this because they’re so responsible, they can’t help but watch children.
  • Watson’s old cat, Boo-Boo died at some point, so the family has a new kitten named Pumpkin. According to David Michael and Andrew, Pumpkin likes Karen best, so she's “her cat.” This makes the Andrew problem and Karen’s brattiness worse.
  • Kristy tells Abby she only ever went to dances with Bart was because it was easy, but she knew she wasn't really into him "that way." I wonder why she thought she was "in love" then? Granted, she ultimately changed her mind, but she did consider the possibility.
  • Abby's English class is doing a whole study on romantic poems that lasts for over a week leading up to Valentine's Day. Which, really? The teacher has time to do a whole unit centered around one silly holiday?
  • Abby tries to read an “unromantic” poem in her English class (to counter the “mushiness”). She says she got the idea from an episode of My So-Called Life. Is it wrong that I tried to figure out which episode she could be talking about?
  • At this point, Nannie has her own catering business out of the house. I don’t know when that happened, but good for her.
  • Stacey actually gives Ross tips on what to give Abby to win her over. Which is really kind of mean since she knew Abby wasn’t interested.
  • Jessi announces that she’s going to the dance with a bunch of kids in her grade. I hope that means she has some other friends at school. I kind of felt bad for her when she stopped getting storylines/books and Mallory went off to boarding school. According to the list in the back of the book, Jessi had three books above # 80, and the series went to # 131.
  • I have no idea if this is true to life, but supposedly the Brewer/Thomases will be able to visit Scout (the dog) in a year, after she’s finished guide dog school (assuming his owner agrees). Now, I am certainly not in a position of having a guide dog, but I don’t think I would want strangers coming to visit the dog that’s supposed to be helping me.
  • Karen mentions that she would visit Scout (the dog) even if he ends up in Australia. And Nannie adds that she’d really like to go to Australia. I think I would go to Australia with Nannie, she seems like a fairly cool grandmother.

Friday, July 16, 2010

“By the time I’d finished writing that section of my autobiography I realized it was a funny story”…BSC Portrait Collection: Mary Anne’s Book

Memory Reaction

The main thing I remember about this one, is that I really liked how we got to see more about what happened when Mary Anne visited her grandmother in Mary Anne and the Secret in the Attic. There was a whole chunk of time we only got to hear about through letters Mary Anne wrote during the trip. Here, we get the full story.

I also remember being a little surprised about the portrayal of Mary Anne’s father (and I know I made a similar comment about the Prequel). But in the early books, Mary Anne’s father was always portrayed as strict and (at least to me) a bit distant. But, based on her autobiography, he was very understanding and they had a close relationship.

Revisited Reaction

It’s Mary Anne’s turn for her autobiography. Like the others, hers is split into four mini-stories. The first is from when she was six, and her class was having a Mother’s Day Tea Party. The teacher tells the class that if someone doesn’t have a mother, or whose mother can’t come, they can invite another adult in their lives. So, Mary Anne invites her dad. However, when she tells the rest of the class this, they laugh at her for taking a man to a Mother’s Day tea party (they don’t realize her mother’s dead). So, Mary Anne invites Mimi, and thinks if she doesn’t mention it to her dad again, he’ll forget. But of course, this doesn’t happen. Richard and Mimi both show up, and Mary Anne’s afraid that her teacher will yell at her, and that her dad will be mad she asked Mimi. But, since most teachers won’t yell at a six-year-old with a dead parent, she’s nice about it, and Richard tells Mary Anne he doesn’t mind that she thought a woman should go.

Next, we jump to the summer after second grade. Kristy’s mom had signed her up for a camp-like thing for the summer, where the kids take swimming or art lessons every morning. Because there weren’t spots open in the “cool” classes, Kristy gets stuck in ballet. She talks Claudia into signing up as well, and gets Mrs. Thomas to call Richard and sign up Mary Anne. Mary Anne’s too shy to want to dance in front of other people, but she’s afraid to tell her dad, because he seemed happy that the classes helped with child care issues. So, Mary Anne’s miserable, but makes it through. But, at the end of the session, they have to put on a recital. Mary Anne totally freaks out. The morning of the recital she throws up because of how nervous she is. Her dad tells her that if she’s really that upset about dancing in front of people, she doesn’t have to do it.

In fourth grade, Mary Anne’s at least slightly less shy. She makes friends with a new girl in school named April. April wears red glasses that Mary Anne likes and thinks would look good on her. When the school gives a vision test, she fails on purpose, hoping they’ll give her a pair. However, her dad has to take her to the eye doctor first, and Mary Anne’s worried she won’t be able to fool him. Then when she looks at the glasses the doctor has on display, she decides she doesn’t want glasses after all, and plans to pass the test. But, it turns out she really did need glasses, but only for reading. She’s a little upset, but after everyone tells her she looks good in glasses, she decides she doesn’t mind much.

The last story’s sort of like a deleted scene from Mary Anne and the Secret in the Attic. It starts out with a quick summary of that book, and then goes in-depth on what actually happened during Mary Anne’s visit with her grandmother. The first couple days were very awkward. Mary Anne’s grandmother kept talking about when Mary Anne was a baby, and asking her if she remembered her grandfather (who had just died). Mary Anne’s all, I was a year old, of course I don’t remember. Her grandmother also keeps making digs at Richard, and about how he “took” Mary Anne away from them. Mary Anne finally snaps and yells at her, which ultimately leads to them talking things through. They spend the rest of the trip bonding and talking about Mary Anne’s mother. When she gets home, Mary Anne tells her dad she loved her grandmother, but definitely wants to keep living with him.


  • Mary Anne mentions being fascinated by Janine as a kid, because she could read while she was walking, just like Belle in Beauty and the Beast. I think she’s the wrong age to be referencing the most recent Disney movie, but I guess she heard the story elsewhere. I do think it’s cool to see the point of view of someone who doesn’t hate Janine.
  • When Mary Anne first says she’s going to invite her dad to the tea party, Alan Gray’s the one leading the laughter. Kristy gets right up to punch him in the middle of class, but the teacher yells at them and is to distracted to tell Mary Anne it was okay to invite her dad.
  • Now, I would think the teacher would know about Mary Anne’s mother (from parent-teacher conferences and all), so you would think she would make a point of reassuring Mary Anne about who to bring. And the fact that Kristy and Alan’s fight’s what distracted her doesn’t really make sense. The whole reason Kristy got up was because of Alan’s reaction to Mary Anne.
  • When Mary Anne was younger, her father took her to a restaurant every Sunday night, to teach her how to “behave properly in public.” Which seems ambitious of him.
  • When they’re kids, Mary Anne complains about her horrible baby-sitter, and she, Kristy, and Claudia say that someday they will baby-sit and be GREAT. Which seems a bit unrealistic. I mean, the only time I ever thought about baby-sitting at that age was when I wanted to be like the girls in the BSC.
  • In the eyeglasses story, Mary Anne says fourth grade’s the first time she, Kristy, and Claudia aren’t in the same class. But in Claud’s autobiography, Claudia says fourth grade’s the first time since first grade that she’s been in the same class as Kristy.
  • For someone usually so shy, Mary Anne made friends with April quickly.
  • This book really shows the difference between Claudia and Mary Anne…When Mary Anne tried to fail the vision test, she made a point of finding out what the test was, and she came up with a system for getting it wrong, without looking obvious (such as saying an “E” is a “B” instead of “T” or something that looks nothing like an “E”). Meanwhile, when Claudia failed at trying to fail a test.
  • I can identify with Mary Anne, because I always wanted glasses as a kid. I thought they would make me look older (I always looked young for my age).
  • By the end of the eyeglass section, Mary Anne, Kristy, and Claudia all seem like pretty good friends with April. But, was there ever any reference to an SMS student named April? I know she could have moved again, and that people don’t always stay friends, but it would have been cooler if they made the character Emily Bernstein or someone else who isn’t in the BSC, but that we’ve seen.
  • When Mary Anne goes to the eye doctor, she’s all worried that the doctor will find out she failed the school vision test on purpose and report her to “school authorities.”
  • I probably said this back when I wrote about the original book, but it was really, really, crappy of Mary Anne’s grandparents to say that if Mary Anne didn’t live with them full time, they didn’t want to see her.
  • We get to read a portion of a letter we only hear about in Mary Anne and the Secret in the Attic, one that Mary Anne’s mother wrote her before she died. It goes on about how she hopes Mary Anne loves the farm her parents live on and how knowing Mary Anne will have them (as well as Richard) makes her feel better about dying. Which is kind of sad, and makes her grandparents look even worse.
  • When Mary Anne asks her dad about visiting her grandmother, she says she wants to go soon, “before school starts.” And there’s a picture of a plane ticket dated in August. But, school was definitely in session in the book where this was supposed to have happened. The whole thing started because the kids of Stoneybrook were researching their backgrounds.
  • Mary Anne’s plane ticket has her flying out of Stamford and into Des Moines. But would she have really flown out of there? I think I’ve mentioned this before, but it seems odd that with all the BSC travels, they wouldn’t be flying out of one of the big NY airports.
  • Does Mary Anne’s grandmother really expect her to remember things that happened when she was a year old?
  • Here’s what we learn about Mary Anne’s mom: She got straight A’s, hated cooking, but liked sewing, and attended a Rolling Stones concert.
  • So, Mary Anne’s mother was almost twenty-five when she died….which seems really young and sad.
  • Mary Anne gets an A+ on her project, which puts her above all the other BSC autobiographies (so far). She also turned in early, because she’s the type of person who would do something like that (and I don’t mean that in a bad way).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Nice idea, Stacey, but have you checked out the price of a ticket lately?"….BSC #94 Stacey, McGill, Super Sitter”

Memory Reaction

By the time I first read this book, I was starting to notice more about the inconsistencies than about what I liked. don’t really remember details about the plot, other than the basics. I THINK that I thought the mother of the kids sits for was a bit of a bitch and over the top. But I could just be projecting my current opinion onto the parts of the character I do remember.

The big takeaway I had as a kid, was how annoying it was that the book was not doing a good job portraying diabetes. It was actually a problem I had with all the Stacey books, but this one focused on it a little more. My complaints were based on my one family member being a diabetic. So, I suppose, it might be a realistic portrayal of some people’s experience with the disease. But through my tween-eyes, it was annoying.

Revisited Reaction

Stacey finds out that Robert’s not a fan of the city, and amazingly, has never been to a Broadway play. She can't handle this, so she decides that for Robert's birthday she will take him to a Broadway show and get him to love the city. Coincidentally, immediately after deciding this, a new client calls the BSC. This woman, Mrs. Chaplin, wants someone to take care of her kids every day and do some housework too (for extra money). Stacey is eager to take the job so she can afford to give Robert the tickets. Mrs. Cheplin's hesitant about hiring someone as young as Stacey, particularly because her eight-year-old daughter was just diagnosed with diabetes. When Stacey tells Mrs. Cheplin about her own diabetes (another amazing coincidence!), she gets offered the job, but on a trial basis. The pay’s apparently way more than Stacey normally earns, but we don't find out what it was, probably to avoid dating the book even more than the wardrobe does.

The first couple weeks are no problem, Stacey does all the chores, helps the kids with their homework and keeps them happy. Mrs. Cheplin agrees to extend the trial for another two weeks. Then, she starts increasing the list of stuff Stacey’s supposed to get done. She increases Stacey’s pay, but she also ups the bitchiness. For example, she gets mad at Stacey for not starting dinner, when the plumber was there and had turned off the water.

As she works harder, Stacey starts to let other areas of her life slide. She ends up rushing through a paper for school, and then has to cancel plans with Robert and Claudia because she’s behind/exhausted. Then Mrs. Cheplin agrees to extend the trial for ANOTHER two weeks, because she wants Stacey to keep working so hard to “prove herself” and do excessive amounts of work. Stacey quits and points out that Mrs. Cheplin wants more than a 13-year-old can handle. She also says the issue isn’t being immature, it’s not having time. But of course the BSC agrees to cover the jobs until Mrs. Cheplin finds a replacement.

Meanwhile Robert's all, "oh, if it's that important to you, I'll give the city a try." He doesn’t even get mad that she forgot Valentines Day….And that brings us to the subplot of the book: Logan asks Kristy to help pick out a ring to give Mary Anne for V-Day, and Becca and Vanessa witness them shopping (without knowing the backstory). So, all the kids of Stoneybrook think Logan’s cheating on Mary Anne with Kristy and send them hate mail (they refer to Kristy as “Crusty Toenails”). Then they confront Logan (with Mary Anne there). When they find out the real story, they make a Valentines Day dinner for them to make it up to them. It's kind of cute, honestly.


  • The job for the Cheplins goes until 5:30 every day. So, of course, Kristy’s all annoyed that Stacey won’t be able to get to meetings on time. But do you really buy that parents of Stoneybrook, who need the BSC to travel with them, do all sorts of projects with the kids, and even plan their wedding, have never needed a sitter between 5:30 and 6:00 on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday?
  • Stacey’s father tells her about a Broadway show that he went to, and says if she wants, he’ll go again and take her. So, she agrees. Then later, when her mother mentions the cost of tickets, she’s amazed at how high it is. But it doesn’t occur to her that her father’s spending hundreds of dollars on her every weekend by taking her to these shows.
  • Stacey says that since Abby’s from Long Island, she has the"big city attitude" her city friends have. But which friends? She and Laine no longer talk, and she admitted back in Welcome Back Stacey that the other kids in school were really only friendly with her because of Laine.
  • This is one of the books that has a little note from Ann M. Martin in the back about where she got the idea for the story (this was in most of the later books). It’s all about how kids have written her letters asking for baby-sitting tips. That must be a sign of how all the original fans (who were once 8-10-ish) had gotten older and were now sitting.
  • Awe, Mary Anne refers to her father and Sharon as her parentS. Mallory says her parents wouldn’t let her have a daily sitting job and Mary Anne says “either would MINE”, as opposed to “neither would my Dad.”
  • Stacey and Robert have a double date with Mary Anne and Logan where they go bowling. Which is a nice nod to the fact that they do that in the first book Robert appeared in. Or just a coincidence.
  • I kind of wish I had read more books after Abby joined the series. She shows up to a meeting at 5:33, and when Kristy tells her she’s late, Abby says she should call Greenwich to make sure the BSC clock’s really correct.
  • When Mrs. Cheplin first interviews Stacey, she keeps saying how she thought she needed someone in high school. So, why didn’t she ask Stacey how old she was before she interviewed her?
  • Stacey outfit: "After I pulled on a pair of blue leggings and a long, bright pink sweater, I sat on my bed and put on my new black leather ankle boots.” It’s the only real outfit we get in this book, and it’s kind of a boring one.
  • Originally, Logan asks Stacey to help pick out a ring. She can’t do it (because of the job), so she suggests asking Kristy because she knows Mary Anne’s taste. Really? Because I didn’t think Kristy paid enough attention to that stuff to be that helpful.
  • Stacey has to pick up the kids at the bus stop, and on her first day, she just tells the bus driver who she’s picking up. And the driver’s all, “oh, yeah, Mrs. Cheplin mentioned a new sitter would be doing that.” But really, Stacey could have been ANYONE.
  • The reason the kids think Logan’s cheating’s because they see him in the store putting a ring on Kristy’s hand. But why would he need to go that far? He really needs to see it on a finger to decide if it’s okay?
  • Here are the hate mail poems the kids send Kristy:
"Crusty is a girl we know/she looks like Pinocchio/When she comes down the street/you can smell her dirty feet./When she runs around the house/she looks like a scrawny mouse/Crusty's clothes are never clean/she's ugly and she's really mean."

And Logan:

"Logan is no friend of mine/He looks like Frankenstein/When he comes down the street/you can smell his dirty feet./Logan is a dirty bum and he is/a great big crumb.”
  • Dana, the Cheplin kid who has diabetes, keeps saying she feels “weak,” but when Stacey tests her blood sugar, it’s normal. Stacey thinks Dana’s faking, particularly because this happens when she’s asked to do something she doesn’t want to do. But this isn't resolved because for the first time in history, the BSC doesn't solve a kid’s problem.
  • This is the second book where Stacey realizes she’s a lot like her father…previously because she avoids confrontation, and in this case, because she’s becoming a “work-aholic” and spending all her energy at the Cheplins because she wants to make more money. I wonder if that is supposed to be on purpose, in an attempt to make the characters deeper, or, if it is just recycling a storyline?
  • The plans Stacey breaks with Claudia are to go to some Valentines craft fair. Claudia tries to make business cards to give to people who want a Valentines Day outfit like hers. Because Claudia’s outfits are SO awesome, seeing them will make people lose control of their senses and try to imitate them?
  • Sadly, the only description we get of Claud’s outfit is that she decorated sweats with hearts and lace.
  • Once, when Stacey’s at the Cheplins, Dana’s blood sugar actually is really low, and Stacey freaks out. She gives Dana an orange, and when that doesn’t do anything she gets a neighbor to drive them to Dr. Jonhansson’s house (because when she called Dana’s doctor she got no answer). So, now I have to rant a bit about how badly these books portray diabetes.
  • First, if Dana’s blood sugar was really that low, Stacey should have given her something with real sugar. The whole reason a diabetic can’t eat sugar, is because it would make their sugar level high. So, if it’s low, they eat something sugar-y to get it to normal range. Eating a piece of fruit, won’t have much affect.
  • Second, what kind of doctor is Dr. Johansson supposed to be? I know Stacey’s close with her and all, but if Dana was THAT sick shouldn’t she have gone to the hospital? I doubt Dr. Johansson keeps her house stocked with the various medications/supplies that may have been needed.
  • However, I’m also not sure how realistic it’s that a kid would need to rush to the doctor just for having low blood sugar. Granted, Stacey was baby-sitting and was probably being extra careful. But still, from my understanding sometimes your blood sugar isn’t normal, no matter how well you were eating. Learning how to react to it and do something to balance it out is part of controlling the disease. For all the talk about how horrible Stacey’s disease was, she seemed to have it under awesome control.