Tuesday, October 18, 2011

“Had they all bought the bogus study guides too?”…..BSC # 96: Abby’s Lucky Thirteen

Memory Reaction

I remember a scene in this one where Abby’s mom catches her eating at a pizza place during school hours, by seeing her through the window. Only, her mom’s not catching her cutting school, she’s finding out that Abby was suspended. I think it stuck in my head so much because these girls were usually pretty “good,” and Abby getting suspended seemed like a big deal. That may also be because I was a total goody-goody as a kid…..I was always fascinated to hear exactly what happened to people who were tough enough to break the rules.

Revisited Reaction

Abby’s Bat Mitzvah’s coming up, so she’s busy studying to get ready for it. Or, she should be studying for it, but has been procrastinating. She also somehow forgot about a math test that will be 25% of her grade, until the day before. She’s freaking out about it, then is relieved when some guy offers to sell her a “study guide.” She’s a bit desperate, so she buys it without thinking that this guide may not be on the up-and-up.

Anyway, the next day Abby comes in prepared to take the test and is shocked to see that the test has the exact same questions as her study guide. Imagine that! But she isn’t sure what to do about it, so she takes the test and gets a 98. The two points off were something that was wrong on the study guide, and when five students make this same mistake (and only that mistake), the teacher realizes something’s up. She suspends all of them for three days. Abby tries to explain what happened, but when Abby says she doesn’t know the name of the guy who sold her the test, the teacher doesn’t buy it.

Abby manages to keep this from her mother by deleting the voicemail and taking the letter out of the mail. It’s especially hard though, because her mom took off from work to get ready for the Bat Mitvah party. She ends up hanging out in the town library all day, trying to catch up on school and study the Torah passage she needs to read at the Bat Mitzvah. But on the last day, she decides to go shopping and her mother sees her through the window of the pizza place. The whole story comes out and her mom’s pissed, but lets her off relatively easy.

When she’s back in school, Abby sees the same guy selling a study guide to Mary Anne….Abby goes over and tells Mary Anne what happened. Then they go to talk to the teacher, who believes them this time because Mary Anne can give the guys name. I’m sure the fact that Mary Anne’s a good student played a role as well. The teacher offers to give Abby a re-take of the test, so the whole thing’s settled before Mrs. Stevenson can talk to the teacher herself. And the whole thing inspires Abby for the speech she needs to give for her Bat Mitzvah.

The subplot’s that the parents in Stoneybrook have decided that their kids are watching too much TV, so they institute a ban. The kids are all complaining when the girls go to sit for them. But, when the kids are venting to each other, they start putting on a show that’s their version of some TV show they like. Kind of like a pre-internet fan fiction. They’re having so much fun that when the parents tell them they can watch more TV, the kids don’t watch as much as before.


  • Claudia outfit: “Leopard-print tights, black ankle boots with fuzzy yellow slouch socks, black bicycle shorts, a yellow leotard, and this teeny, tiny fuzzy sweater with cap sleeves that was black with big yellow buttons. Her earrings were leopards: on one side a leopard looked as if it was coming through her earlobe toward you. On the other side, you could see only the back of the leopard, disappearing into her earlobe, as if her earlobes were these weird leopard cat doors. She’d crinkle-braided strands of her black hair, and tied the crinkled parts at the top with knots of yellow ribbon.” Is it weird that after that whole description, all I can think about is what earring she wore in her third hole?
  • Abby tells us that in the BSC record book Mary Anne had blocked out the entire day of her Bat Mitzvah, so everyone could attend. It’s weird….it seems like Kristy usually freaks out if one person isn’t going to be available to sit, but they never bring the issue up when they all go on vacation together.
  • It’s a pretty big deal to forget a test that counts as 25% of your grade. When I was in middle school, our teachers would remind us about something like that constantly. Are we supposed to believe Abby was spacing out THAT much in class?
  • Abby thinks that Leave it to Beaver was one of the weirdest TV shows there is, which I think is supposed to be showing Ann Martin’s feminism.
  • The guy sells his study guides for $3. That seems crazy low.
  • Also, we’re supposed to believe that neither Abby nor Mary Anne realized what they were buying? This isn’t Claudia we’re talking about.
  • At least the other kids in Abby’s class who bought the study guide seemed to know they were actually buying the test.
  • It may seem like the teacher is a bit of a bitch to not believe Abby, or to not even consider giving her a yearbook and telling her to point to the guy who sold the study guide. Because, really, why would Abby make that up after she was “caught.” But there’s backstory about Mrs. Stevenson yelling at the teacher for not giving Abby an extension on a quiz when she was sick (based on what Abby says), but Abby also tells us she wasn’t being completely honest with her mom. So, I don’t totally blame the teacher for being annoyed.
  • I can’t believe that the school doesn’t insist on talking to a parent about a suspension. Abby just deleted the voicemail and took the letter from the mailbox (which is the same thing Mallory did in the book about hating volleyball). I would think a suspension would warrant confirmation.
  • One afternoon, a bunch of the sitters get together with their charges. We’re told that Kristy and Shannon are there with Karen and others, because they’d come to that side of town to play. No reason’s actually given.
  • Abby hides out at the library during her suspension, and talks about seeing college students. Wouldn’t they have their own library on campus? Because doesn’t Janine sometimes talk about going to the college library?
  • Abby gets grounded for lying, but is still allowed to baby-sit and go to all after-school activities. That seems…lenient.
  • Stacey’s surprised on a sitting job to see that kids have put togethera show, and Kristy’s all, “didn’t you read the notebook?” So, I liked them showing that these girls sometimes slacked off about annoying stuff like that.
  • Another Claudia outfit: “A long skirt, lace socks peeking out above her black Doc Martens, and a tunic top with a belt she’d made herself out of twists of lace and a silver buckle.”
  • So at the Bat Mitzvah, the twins are supposed to give a speech. Anna plays her violin, because she’s better at playing music than words, but it seems a bit unfair. Especially since she and Abby each had their own topic to speak about.
  • Because we need to cram in as much baby-sitting as possible, Claudia, Mary Anne, and Kristy take a job sitting for some of Abby’s relatives that are in town for the Bat Mitzvah.
  • The “show” the kids put on, is like five minutes long. At first it seems like they’re making the story up as they go along, and are just doing it for each other. But when they invite parents to come see it, they only do a little bit, and say it’s continued. If you’re going to the trouble of inviting people to watch, I’d think you’d do more than a few minutes.


Kait W. said...

Yeah, gotta agree, it's weird they don't talk to a parent when she's suspended. My high school used to send a letter via certified mail if you exceeded the absence limit.

SJSiff said...

So, she's grounded but can still do after-school activities and baby-sit...meaning she doesn't have to quit soccer or she can still hang with friends? Because the latter's not grounded at all.

Marian said...

1. I love your blog! 2. I always thought it was sad how Abby's sister never got involved with the bsc or anything. I thought it would be cool if they had twins in the club. And 3. If you're going to put your ass on the line by selling a study guide, you should at least try to make a steep profit! haha

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

Yeah, I don't see how it was grounded. Her mom also said she couldn't use the phone, but that doesn't really say "grounded" to me. Not being able to do what she wants after school would be "grounded."

SJSiff said...

Yeah, I can see her mom not punishing her soccer team by still allowing her to play in games and maybe it would make sense to let her keep whatever jobs she already booked with the BSC, but that's as far as would make any glimmer of sense. No BSC meetings, no new jobs, no soccer practice.

booboobrewer said...

"Abby hides out at the library during her suspension, and talks about seeing college students. Wouldn’t they have their own library on campus? Because doesn’t Janine sometimes talk about going to the college library?"

Is it that much of a stretch to think some may go to both? Maybe the students Abby saw at the public one lived right next to it or something.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

Yeah, that could be true. I was just thinking of my local library as a kid, and it didn't have much that would be helpful for college-level work.

Elise said...

This book actually sounds familiar...Guess I was still reading then! The first Claudia outfit sounds hideous, but the second one I can picture as being...passable... :)

MsJess said...

I was suprised by how low key the twins' Bat Mitvah was. I've been to a few Bat Mitvahs (especially those thrown by New Yorkers) where they spent a small fortune to throw a party.

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Anonymous said...

Plus, teachers can't hand out suspensions. That is an administrative action. I think three days is a little harsh, especially for a student who hasn't gotten into trouble before. However, let's say that it does stand. I'm thinking that if you are a principal, you are doing everything in your power to contact the parent(s) for a suspension that lengthy. You're going to want to talk to them in person. That was pretty weak.

Anonymous said...

I remember this book...I bought it somewhere and then I lost it, which really annoyed me. I couldn't even find it when I moved bedrooms. It still annoys me today, actually.

Nixxi6 said...

I'm wondering why we don't hear anything more about Claudia having to unscrew the door (That she breaks causing it to fall down -That could have REALLY hurt someone) to get to Jenny who is locked in her parents bedroom watching a BLARING TV!

Wouldn't Jenny's mom be like, Royally pissed off? I'd REALLY like to have heard more about THAT! haha

Also there's the fact that this book seems to only have 14 Chapters in it instead of the normal 15....

metamorphstorm said...

Nixxi6: My copy of the book has 15 chapters, even though the fifteenth chapter is all of three pages long or something . . . and my copy of "Mary Anne Saves the Day" has 16 chapters. Anyone else?

Anonymous said...

About the library comment, I've definitely used both the university library and the public library as well. I'm actually closer to the public library, so sometimes I'd just go there to work on papers if I didn't feel like taking the bus to the other side of the city where campus is. The book selections DO suck, but it was mostly for the quiet areas that had a few tables- I had access to the databases through the university anyway.

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