Monday, September 1, 2014

“She really knows how serious it is”…….California Diaries # 9: Amalia Diary Two

Amalia reads an article in some teen magazine about how to tell if your friend has an eating disorder.  Which of course makes her think of Maggie and she starts to worry about her.  Apparently seeing her not eat for months wasn’t enough for Amalia to notice this.  I guess she didn’t see that very special episode of Full House where DJ had anorexia for three days. Anyway she tries to talk to Maggie a couple times and Maggie does admit that she thinks she has a problem, and that she feels too much pressure to be perfect all the time.  Maggie says she can’t talk to her parents about all this because her mom’s a drunk and her dad’s pretty much the cause of much of the pressure.  Amalia does convince her to tell Dawn though, who seems more supportive about this problem than she is about Sunny’sproblems.  We don’t really see much Dawn/Maggie interaction though, since this book’s all Amalia’s POV.

Amalia does get Maggie to agree to see some therapist that her mom (apparently a social worker, though I don’t think that was mentioned in the first book) knows.  Maggie goes and makes Amalia come with her for support.  Things seem to go well with the doctor and Maggie goes back, they’re apparently working with a nutritionist to help Maggie start eating better again.  She admits it’s hard, but does seem to be trying.

Meanwhile, Amalia’s still manager of Maggie’s band Vanish.  Some girl organizing the school’s Homecoming Bash asks for the band to play.  Amalia agrees and convinces the girl to pay them $500.  So, the whole band’s really excited, except for Maggie who’s really nervous.  In the rehearsals leading up to the event, Maggie keeps messing up and can’t get through a song.  But she has a good rehearsal after Justin tells her to just feel the music.  So later when Maggie’s freaking out at the “Bash,” Amalia tells her the same thing.  And while the first song’s a bit rocky, Maggie eventually gets into it and everyone loves her/them.

We do get a little bit of plot in this book that’s actually about Amalia’s drama.  Some new guy in school’s acting interested in her, but she’s kind of hostile to him at first.  They do become friendly though, and Amalia realizes she’s acting like that because of what happened with James (who is still sending her some creepy notes).  Amalia decides she likes new guy, and when he brings her a flower at the homecoming party they end up dancing and seemingly become a thing.

  • There’s not a single mention of grade level in this book.  Or of the fact that 8th graders are now in the high school.
  • We get pages and pages of notes Amalia makes about eating disorders.  I feel like I am back in middle school health class. 
  • The new guy Amalia likes is from Short Hills, NJ. Which is about ten minutes from where I grew up, so I thought that was cool.
  • Everyone says something about why the new guy is starting a few weeks into the school year (it’s late September).  I feel like this comes up in a lot of BSC books, but it doesn’t seem that odd to me.  Maybe they just couldn’t get in their new place by then.
  • There’s no Sunny in this book.  We just hear how she’s been acting difficult lately.  I can’t wait to get back to that though, her angst is much more interesting than the other girls.
  • When Amalia sits in on Maggie’s therapist appointment, she’s disappointed when the doctor comments that it seems like Maggie has a great life. This is after Maggie tells her about her rich family.  Amalia thinks that the doctor doesn’t get it.  But then it becomes clear to her that the doctor was saying that to get Maggie to really open up and talk about the bad things in her life (which was obvious to me right away).
  • Amalia gets a note in her locker that says “Yukon Run But Yukon Tied – U No Who.”  She says it takes her all day to figure out it meant “You can run, but you can’t hide.”  I’m starting to think Amalia is not the smartest girl in these books.
  • I was going to complain that there’s no way a 13-year-old could just go to a therapist on her own and not have her parents find out (because of money, insurance, etc). But, it turns out she did tell her dad she was seeing one and he agreed to pay. 
  • Her dad didn’t ask why she was going and I can’t decide if that’s a good move (because he knows Maggie needs help, but won’t talk to him), or a really bad move (because he doesn’t really care).
  • Amalia sees James dancing with some other girl and is relieved that it means he may leave her alone, but is nervous for the girl.  She decides to tell her about what she went through.  I can’t imagine that going well.  Which is why it would have been much more interesting to include in the book then more anorexia angst.
  • Amalia still calls her diary Nbook.  It’s still really annoying.
  • I think this book kind of sends a bad message with regard to Maggie.  She’s talking about how she feels so much pressure and can’t even think of what would happen if she wasn’t perfect.  Then at her big performance….everyone loves her.  Wouldn’t it have been better if she messed up but realized she was still okay?
  • Amalia makes some image entries that are sort of comic-book style.  It’s annoying to read because her handwriting kind of sucks, and is even worse once it’s crammed into tiny dialogue bubbles.