Tuesday, August 13, 2013

“I totally mind. I can’t believe you would betray me like this”……BSC FF # 2: Stacey vs. Claudia

I have to say right off, I liked this a lot more than the first Friends Forever book (which I didn’t dislike, it was just a bit different in tone).  Early on Stacey gets annoyed because Ethan (still her current boyfriend) signed up for some art class on Sundays.  Since he lives in NYC, the weekend’s the only time the two can see each other, so the class limits that.
Then Stacey notices a new guy at school – Jeremy who she thinks is totally cute, cool, etc.  So does Claudia.  At first Stacey’s encouraging Claud, since she still has a boyfriend (even though she’s very into Jeremy).  Then she and Ethan have another fight because he has to work on the next Saturday and won’t be able to see her.  They end that call by saying they should “cool things down.”  Stacey asks if this means they are breaking up, and Ethan says no they’re just changing things.  But Stacey still thinks of it as a breakup.  Anyway, she decides that she still needs to be a good friend and support Claudia’s interest in Jeremy.  She even helps arrange a “date” by inviting Jeremy and Claudia to go to the mall with her (as a group) to introduce Jeremy to the area.  Only then she “gets sick” and can’t go with them.  Claudia has a great time and is even more interested in Jeremy.  She keeps drawing him/sculpting him (without his knowledge, obviously).
However, Jeremy shows up at Stacey’s house the next day to see how she is.  He says he’s only into Claudia as a friend and wants to go out with Stacey.  She says she has to talk to Claud first.  She actually writes out note cards about how much she values Claudia’s friendship, to make sure she gets this across to Claud when talking to her.  Her logic is that Jeremy isn’t going to be dating Claudia no matter what, so why shouldn’t SHE date him.  However, when she delivers the news to Claud she skips all the friendship crap and just spits out the news that Jeremy asked her out.  Then she asks if Claudia minds if she says yes.  Claudia says, yes, she does mind and says Stacey is betraying her.  They get into a huge fight about it, and Stacey decides she’ll say yes to Jeremy anyway.
They keep fighting for the rest of the book….after Stacey and Jeremy have a successful date, Claudia mentions Ethan to Jeremy. He gets upset at Stacey for not mentioning she had a boyfriend.  Stacey insists she and Ethan are over and she and Jeremy arrange to go out again.  That night, Ethan shows up at her house right before Jeremy’s supposed to be there.  (Since he apparently meant it when he said cooling things down wasn’t the same as a break up).  But he and Stacey really break up and she goes out with Jeremy.   The book ends without Stacey and Claudia resolving their fight, which is realistic, but a bit surprising.
They only real subplot is that some girl named Rachel moved back to Stoneybrook, after moving away in fifth grade.  Apparently, Rachel didn’t get along with Kristy, Claudia, or Mary Anne back then.  Claudia used to hide from her because Rachel called her a wimp and taunted her into climbing a tree….that she then got stuck in.  But Stacey likes Rachel and they bond and become friendly.  Rachel even gives her some advice about Jeremy. I kept thinking that we were going to find out Rachel was purposely encouraging Stacey to hook up with Jeremy to hurt Claudia, but that didn’t happen.  I also thought we were going to find out Rachel and Jeremy were step-siblings, because it seemed weird that there would be two new kids at the exact same time.  But that didn’t happen either.  The book ends with Stacey and Rachel on good terms.

  • Foreshadowing for the next book, where Mary Anne and Logan breakup (again) - when Stacey’s checking out Jeremy in the hall, she talks to Mary Anne about how cute he is.  Mary Anne says she has been noticing cute guys more and more lately.  She and Stacey decide it’s totally cool for them to notice other guys while having a boyfriend, but then get weirded out about the idea of the guys noticing other girls.
  • Jeremy introduces himself by saying he is “Jeremy. Rudolph.”  Which of course he means his first name is Jeremy and his last name is Rudolph.  But Stacey and Claudia get all confused by this.  Apparently they think someone might actually give their child a first name of “Rudolph.”
  • They also get confused when he says he’s from Olympia.  Which….really?  It’s not that small a town, is it?
  • Kristy’s description of Rachel: “She’s like Lucy Van Pelt, HelgaPataki, and Angelica Pickles rolled into one.”  The pop-culture side of me is ashamed that I could not figure out who she meant at first. Especially considering I once interned for Nickelodeon.
  • Stacey writes Claudia a note because she won’t get a chance to talk to her before lunch.  Only when she passes Claud the note in the hall, she stands there while Claudia reads it, then Claudia says how she’s sorry (about the Ethan breakup).  Why not just tell her?  My friends and I passed notes in the hall sometimes, but we didn’t stand in front of each other and read them.  The point was that you didn’t have time to wait while the person read it.  Especially if that person has Claudia’s reading skills.
  • In this book we do hear about the girls having BSC meetings and baby-sitting.  We just don’t get full chapters devoted to the jobs. Stacey just mentions that after school she sat for the Rodowskys then went on with her angsting about Jeremy.  It makes it feel more similar to the original series, but it concentrated on the more interesting stuff.
  • Has there ever been a book that had two of the girls’ names in the title?  I wasn’t sure who the narrator was until I opened it.
  • Even before the fight, Stacey gets annoyed at all the spelling errors in Claudia’s note.  I think this is the first time anyone has complained about her spelling.   
  • When Kristy tells the girls about Rachel being back, she says how her looks have changed and she’s not a “butterball” anymore.  She adds that she looks better than you’d have expected her to turn out.  Which is totally bitchy, but SO something a 13-year-old would say.
  • The girls are all at Claud’s house before 5:30, and Kristy just says, “Well, as long as we’re all here, we might as well get started early.”  It’s kind of hard to believe she loosened up about things that much.  In theory, it’s only a couple books since she would stare at the clock doing a countdown.
  • Ethan keeps leaving Stacey messages and she just ignores them cause she figures they are done and she no longer cares.  Which is kind of bitchy of her….it seems like she just used the no time together thing as an excuse to go after Jeremy.
  • Part of me wants to say it’s good for Stacey to be nice with Rachel, because you shouldn’t be a bitch to someone just because your friend didn’t like them a few years ago.  But isn’t it also a bit disloyal to befriend someone who was actively mean to your BFF?  I’m not saying she should freeze Rachel out, but it seems like there should be more of a balance. 
  • Apparently, Claudia and her ex, Josh, are actually doing a good job at staying friends.  They said it a couple times, so I’m wondering if it will become important.
  • Claudia and Stacey’s fight is pretty vicious.  Stacey calls Claudia brainless for not being able to spell and says that her artwork isn’t that great.  She also calls Claud a loser, and tells her that no matter how much Claudia follows Jeremy around, he’ll never want to date her.  THEN she says they should stop before they say anything they regret.
  • Claudia gets in some mean things as well, but I don’t think they’re as bad as what Stacey says to her.  Especially considering, she’s really the wronged one in this situation. But she says Stacey’s just stringing multiple guys along, that she’s stuck up, and  that 10 million people live in NYC, so Stacey should stop acting like it’s some big claim to fame. (Actually, I think that last part is more hilarious than mean).
  • Stacey’s date outfit: “The blue thermal-knit shirt with the tow of small white buttons up the front….it was great with jeans.” Kind of boring.
  • Abby’s around in this one…she’s at the lunch table with the other girls every day, which makes a lot of sense.  This may sound silly, but I’m glad they’re all still friends.
  • We do get some additional BSC talk – they’re talking about how they want to schedule free time so they don’t all end up with jobs all weekend.  But since they still have people calling, they are still sometimes calling Logan as a backup sitter.  Which actually makes sense.  I’m surprised they wouldn’t still ask Abby to be a backup every once in a while too. 
  • I don’t think Stacey’s behavior would be so bad except that she was encouraging Claudia to go after Jeremy.  If she said right off that she was interested in him, then things would have been different.  But she basically set Claudia up for pain.
  • Stacey says how she and Ethan didn’t make time for each other over the summer.  Which is totally not what happened in Everything Changes.  But maybe there was another summer since then? You never know in BSC-land.

As an FYI - I'm leaving on vacation tomorrow, so it'll be a couple weeks until the next update.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

“He has some…some important news for you”…..BSC FF #1” Kristy’s Big News

One night Kristy’s dad (Patrick) calls and he asks to speak to Charlie, Sam, and Kristy.  He says he’s getting married and wants them to come to the wedding.  Charlie hangs up after Patrick asks if they’re going to congratulate him. (Cause it’s kinda a douchey thing to say to the kids you abandoned). Sam and Kristy feel a bit weird about the whole thing, but both agree to go. 
After they get off the call, Charlie says he’s not going.  David Michael (who Patrick didn’t even both to say hello to) WANTS to go, but Kristy’s mom tells him he’s too young.  What I think she really mean is, he’s too young to hear, “you’re father’s a dick who doesn’t care about you. “ Eventually Kristy’s mom tells Charlie that if he doesn’t go, Sam and Kristy can’t, so Charlie takes one for the team and goes. They get to California (Sausalito) where Patrick lives and find out that he and his fiancĂ© (Zoey) live in some huge house and work together at a restaurant she owns. Apparently, Patrick gave up sports writing to become chef there.  This surprises Kristy and her brothers because they always thought his leaving had to do with him being so dedicated to his job as a sportswriter.
They’re there a few days before the wedding and things are kind of awkward.  Charlie keeps insulting Patrick, while Sam and Kristy try to be nicer.  Patrick asks Charlie and Sam to be his best men, but only Sam agrees to it.  Zoey tries to get them to do some family bonding, but Charlie keeps throwing out bitter-ish comments.  Kristy spends a lot of time with Zoey, who keeps thinking Kristy will be into fashion issues and other “girl” stuff, which is clearly not true.  But this it’s okay, because Kristy actually really likes Zoey – Sam and Charlie seem to as well. Kristy’s problem comes in when she hears that Patrick and Zoey are planning on having kids.  For obvious reasons, this upsets her, but she still tries to act like she’s okay with things.
The night of the rehearsal dinner, Patrick finally asks Charlie to stop insulting him and act like a “good son.”  Charlie sort of goes off about that and talks about how Patrick’s leaving impacted them.  When Patrick tries to defend himself, Kristy comes to Charlie’s defense.  Charlie says he isn’t going to the dinner and Sam and Kristy stay with him.  But after Patrick leaves they start talking about good memories from when they were kids and how when you grow up you lower your expectations, and they decide to go to the dinner after all.
The wedding goes well and I guess Kristy ends up happy for her dad.  Back in Stoneybrook, she tells her mom about the wedding, who says she wants the best for Patrick.  Which I guess is easy to do after you’ve married a really generous millionaire.  No matter how annoying his kid is.  Kristy also talks to Claudia, Stacey, and Mary Anne about her dad and how she doesn’t know how she really feels about him.

  • In Stoneybrook, Kristy’s amused that Andrew made a nest for his peas out of mashed potatoes before eating them.  Apparently, Charlie taught him to do this.  She’s even more amused (as am I) when she sees Charlie still does the same thing. 
  • The first time Kristy mentions the BSC is on page 20.  She’s like, “I have mentioned the BSC, right.”?  But she hadn’t.  It felt weird.
  • This book’s very light on any BSC members other than Kristy.  She talks to Mary Anne a bit before she leaves, and then mentions a BSC meeting at the end, but that’s about it.  I hope the other Friends Forever books aren’t the same, I like the girls interacting.
  • Patrick and Zoey can’t pick the kids up from the airport, so they leave their car there and mail Charlie a key and directions to the house.  But how busy could they be, they both seem off work that week?
  • I find it interesting, that they have Patrick and Zoey living together before they get married.  Now, I don’t have an issue with this, but it surprised me for a BSC book.
  • I was happy to see that we do get some outfits in this book.  They’re not nearly as awful as some of the old-school ones though.
  • Here’s Claudia: “Cutoff jeans over bicycle shorts, and suspenders she’d decorated with buttons.  Beneath that she was wearing a paint-splattered T-shirt, which she called her tribute to Jackson Pollock.”  It wouldn’t seem so bad if the book wasn’t taking place in 1999.
  • So, the backstory chapter’s pretty much gone in this book.  Which I expected to be happy about, but it actually was a little disappointing. I guess I’m just not a big fan of change. We do get some background on all the members of Kristy’s family though.  And I didn’t notice this until after I finished, but the inside front cover has mini-bios of Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, and Stacey.
  • The back of the book refers to Kristy being a bridesmaid, but this is never actually mentioned in the book.
  • Kristy does get a new dress for the wedding: “It was velvety…colored a deep burgundy…with [a] regular neckline, right at [her] collarbone, and short sleeves.”
  • One thing I thought was weird was that the day after Patrick calls, Kristy goes to see Mary Anne because she “needs her friends.”  But in Everything Changes, Kristy kept talking about how close she and Abby were getting.  And now she has a crisis and doesn’t even mention her?  I mean, obviously, the series is now just concentrating on the original 4.  And maybe Kristy wanted to talk to someone who knew her when her dad was around.  But it still felt a bit odd.
  • Kristy says that Charlie took care of David Michael most of the time when Patrick left, but doesn’t that contradict her autobiography?  It said David Michael was in day care and Charlie took care of Sam and Kristy.
  • Patrick keeps trying to yell at Charlie for being rude.  That’s pretty nervy of him.  I can’t believe he doesn’t EXPECT all his kids to be a bit angry with him.
  • When Zoey suggests Kristy get a slip dress, Kristy’s worried she’ll look like she’s going around in her underwear like “last year’s rock star.”  Do you think she was being specific?  I can’t remember a musician doing that in the late 90s.
  • Kristy also gets caught in a dress when trying it on.  It would be really amusing if this was a TV show or movie and we actually got to see it, but here it fell a bit flat.
  • Claudia supposedly calls Princess Diana, “The late fashion-great.”  It always feels weird to hear the BSC refer to things that happened after I stopped reading. 
  • Maybe there’s a rule about ugly clothes showing up in every BSC book.  Because Patrick and Sam pick out AWFUL tuxedos for the wedding: “They were a sort of unnatural yellow-orange…and [had] ruffled shirts with matching yellow-orange edging.” Even Kristy can tell they’re ugly, and Charlie, Kristy, and Zoey make Patrick exchange them. 
  • The night before the wedding, Zoey sleeps in the room Kristy’s staying in, because of the whole curse thing.  That’s when Kristy tells Zoey how things went down with Patrick leaving her mom.  Zoey admits she knows, partially from Patrick, but also based on the fact that he had no pictures of the kids or stories about them that weren’t at least six years old.  But she’s still in love with him.
  • At the rehearsal dinner, Kristy stands in for Zoey because it’s apparently bad luck for the bride to participate in the rehearsal.  Has anyone heard that one before?
  • Apparently Patrick had a falling out with his brother and hasn’t spoken to him since.  He wrote back to the wedding invitation with “best wishes, but no way.”  Patrick’s sounding more and more like a winner. 
  • After Charlie tells Patrick he never acted like a good father, Patrick’s all, “Well, I didn’t have a chance, did I? You didn’t exactly stay in touch.”  That’s his actual quote.  Which…really? I don’t even know where to start with that.
  • Zoey’s father has been married 4 times, so we have all these scenes that (I think) are supposed to be comic relief with them all at the wedding not getting along.
  • At one point, Patrick says that one reason he didn’t visit was because of Kristy’s mom, and suggests she would have made things hard if he tried to visit.  Yes, I’m sure the single mother of 4 children would have hated if someone offered to take them off her hands for an afternoon.
  • Now, I should clarify, I don’t have a problem with Patrick deciding he wanted a divorce.  I don’t even have a problem with him wanting to move to California.  But this guy just moved out and never even told his wife he was going.  I really can’t see any excuse for that.
  • At the end, there’s a scene where Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, and Mary Anne are looking at pictures of the wedding, and it reminded me of a scene at the end of the book where Kristy’s mom married Watson.  I doubt it was intentional, but it would be cool if it was.
  • The other thing that bothers me about Patrick is how he tries to act like nothing happened.  Everyone makes mistakes in life, and I think they should be able to redeem themselves. However, they need to acknowledge that they did something wrong and apologize for it.
  • Zoey says she knows Patrick has changed, but I would still have a hard time marrying (and having kids with) someone who had walked out on their family like that.