Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sweet Valley Twins #22: Out of Place

Ms. Waldron is one of the teachers at the twins’ school and she’s fairly well liked by everyone else. Except Ellen Riteman, who’s pissed off that the teacher gave her a bad grade. Ms. Waldron’s niece Ginny Lu Culpepper is coming to live with her for awhile. Her mom and Waldron had a bad childhood and she wants her niece to have more opportunities.

Ginny Lu randomly arrives in town early and stops by the school, interrupting the first class she finds. She’s described as having red hair in braids, wearing a worn dress and raggedy boots. Of course she has a horribly stereotypical accent. Ellen makes fun of her and Ginny Lu turns it around, saying that they’re laughing at her because her slip is showing.

Ms. Waldron decides to take her niece to the mall and pick out some new clothes, so she’ll fit in better with the other kids. I think she needs a lot more help than that. Ellen pops up and offers to help, since the teacher doesn’t know what those crazy kids are wearing. Yeah, she’s only around kids five days a week so I’m sure she couldn’t help her. Ellen and Lila pick out a horrible outfit and run outside, so they can laugh at her when she comes out. Waldron thinks it’s all her fault because the kids don’t like her.

There’s a huge arts and crafts fair getting ready to take place in Sweet Valley and everyone plans to enter. Ellen is selling pictures she draws of horses, but that’s the only description we really get of anyone’s plans. Liz is covering the whole thing for the newspaper.

Ginny Lu has a bad day at school and runs off. She finds her way to the stables and discovers Snow White, a horse that reminds her of her life back home. Liz shows up and tells her that the horse belongs to Ellen and like clockwork, Ellen pops up and demands that she stay the hell away from her horse.

The two girls bond and Liz notices that Ginny Lu is carrying around a small doll. It turns out that she makes them herself and her grandpa taught her how to whittle. Liz encourages her to make a few pieces and submit them into the arts and crafts fair. She even helps her pick out a spot and set up her stuff.

Charlie Cashman and Jerry McAllister stop by and become fascinated with how fast she whittles. A bunch of other people stop by too and check things out. Everyone thinks she’s really cool…until she starts reciting this lame poem, which has a repetitive line about coon dogs baying at the moon. The kids all make fun of her and she runs off in tears.

She makes her way to the stables and finds that Snow White just had a foal. No one can get near the baby and it can’t get on its feet, so it can’t feed. The vet is on her way, but they’re worried that she might die in the meantime. Ginny wiggles her way into the stable and gets the baby up on its feet.

Ellen arrives and pitches a fit, demanding that she get away from her horse. They all explain what happened and Ginny saves the horse. Ellen apologizes for being such a bitch and Ginny decides to stay in Sweet Valley. Liz announces the Ginny also won the award for having the best craft or something stupid like that.

The other storyline involves Jessica lending their dad’s expensive racket to Janet, the president of the Unicorn Club. Janet ruins the racket, but Jess won’t make her replace it because she’s worried about her hating her for it. She decides to replace it and luckily has two weeks to do it before their dad comes back from a business trip.

The first thing she does is try to wheedle the money out of Liz because Liz has a bunch saved up for a new pair of riding boots. She gets the down payment from her, but still needs the rest. She tries to hold a yard sale, but only wants to sell Liz’s stuff. Then she takes over Steven’s chores and he splits his allowance with her.

After Alice points out how talented Ginny is and suggests that people might by them, she takes them around to a bunch of stores in the area. One shop offers to buy them for $25 each and Jess takes a cut, as her agent. She has enough to pay for a new racket and spend money on herself.

*Can I point out that Liz is the one who found the poem for her to read? She knows that everyone makes fun of her from being from the country and yet she picks a poem about dogs baying at the moon. I think she did it on purpose.

*The total amount that Jess needs for the racket is $50. Remember when that was a ton of money and you’d have to work for weeks to earn that much?

*The stereotypical way they made Ginny Lu talk (not to mention that name) really made my head hurt.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Baby-Sitter’s Club #28: Welcome Back, Stacey!

Stacey is living in New York and baby-sitting for a few kids in her building. All of the kids that live in the neighborhood think they’re too cool for sitting, so she ends up with most of the jobs. After her job, she heads downstairs and hears her parents fighting long before she gets to the door. She listens to them fight for a few minutes, before running over to Laine’s house.

Laine is a little hesitant to say anything and actually seems uncomfortable. She suggests Stacey call Claudia, which she does and interrupts a BSC meeting. Dawn thinks it doesn’t sound good when she tells her about the fights, but tries to make her feel better. When she gets home, her parents sit her down and tell her that they’re getting a divorce.

Stacey surprisingly acts like a regular kid by ignoring them completely for the most part and not doing anything they ask. Her parents tell the school and she gets special treatment there too. After a few days, she comes home and finds a note on her door, telling her to talk to her parents.

They go through the whole story with her, telling her that they’ve had problems since they moved back, partly because her mom didn’t want to leave Connecticut. They tried marriage counseling and when that didn’t work, the counselor suggested they divorce. Her dad wants to stay in NYC because of his job, but her mom is thinking about moving back to Stoneybrook and Stacey gets to pick who she wants to live with.

The first thing she does is call Laine, who begs her not to leave. Then she calls Claudia and Claud gets all excited about the idea of her moving back. Her mom decides to drive back and check out a few houses, so she goes along for the ride. She surprises Claudia and asks her to go with them. They see a couple of crappy houses and then find another house that they both like. Stacey gets to stay the night and take the train back in the morning, so they hold a big slumber party with the whole club.

Stacey does the typical “divorced kid” storyline when she tries to get her parents back together. She arranges special dates and dinners for them, but nothing works. Then her dad comes home and announces that he found a new place and signed all the paperwork. Her mom calls the real estate agent and tells her to start showing the house again.

Stacey is a little confused because the house is perfect for them, but her mom points out that it has four bedrooms and is too big for one person. She can’t make a decision until she knows what Stacey wants to do. She suggests looking for a smaller house and she tells her that she can’t find one she likes, so she’ll look at places on Long Island.

Stacey decides to make a pro and con list of where to live and NYC seems to win. She decides that the best thing for her and her mom though, is to move back to Stoneybrook. She tells her mom and lets her call the real estate agent. Then she tells her dad, who seems pretty upset at her decision.

Moving day arrives and her dad comes back from his new apartment to help. Laine brings over lox, bagels and coffee for them. They share a hug and on the way, her mom gives her an envelope from Laine. It’s a small locket half and Laine has the other half. They arrive back and find the whole club and a bunch of former charges waiting with a banner they made just for her.

The last chapter is about Stacey living in Stoneybrook. She’s trying to get used to everything and baby-sitting again. She admits to Claudia that she isn’t sure she made the right choice. She also tells Laine that, who says she did because she saw her list. At the end, she rides home with Mallory who lives behind her now and can finally admit that she’s ready to be back.

*Stacey’s mom spends $490 in one store on jewelry and close to $1,500 at Tiffany’s for more jewelry. I think I’d be a little pissed if I was her dad too!

*Laine is kind of a shitty friend. She blew her off when she first got sick and was diagnosed and then Stacey goes to her with a serious problem and she just suggests she call someone else.

*So do the Pikes live in the ghetto or what? In every other part of town, her mom can only afford a crap hole house with two bedrooms. In their neighborhood, she can buy a four bedroom house in really good shape.

*I’m a little surprised that her dad cries when she tells him she’s moving with her mom. It doesn’t seem like he really spends any time with her or notices that she’s alive for the most part.

*Stacey wears red shorts, purple suspenders, a red and yellow striped sweatshirt and a necklace made of fake bananas and oranges. That really hurts my head.

*Claudia wears black leggings, pink and black socks and a pink and black shirt. I’m assuming that it’s supposed to be the outfit on the cover, which isn’t too horrible. Stacey looks like a middle-aged woman in that outfit though.

*Stacey thinks that she doesn’t have very much competition when it comes to being cool in Stoneybrook, not like she has in NYC. Doesn’t the whole club kind of snub everyone else though? I always got the feeling that no one else really knew they existed…

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Baby-Sitter’s Club #13: Good-bye Stacey, Good-bye

Stacey’s mom and dad sit her down for some big news. She thinks that they’re having another baby, but they’re actually moving back to New York. Her dad got a promotion and they have to move back soon. She can’t decide if she should call Laine and celebrate or call Claudia and cry.

At first she calls Laine and they excitedly talk about her coming back. Then Laine reminds her of the mean girls and how they teased her and she gets sad. She calls Claudia, they cry and then she rushes over there. The whole family is actually waiting, but they give the girls some time together. They decide that she should move into the Kishi house, but both sets of parents say no.

Mrs. McGill starts packing things up and realizes they have way too much stuff. Stacey points out that they moved from an apartment into a house and needed to buy stuff to fill up the house. They won’t have as much room in the apartment, so she decides to have a yard sale. She tells Stacey that the club can keep the money they make from the sale, but they’re responsible for the whole thing.

Meanwhile the club wants to give Stacey a going away party, but don’t have any cash in the treasury. Plus they’re worried that if they use that money, it will seem like they’re making her pay for her party. They decide to use the money from the yard sale to throw her a party. They think about doing a boy-girl party, but in the end realize that a party with all their charges is a much better option.

Claudia makes the signs for the yard sale and it’s a huge hit. Someone wants to buy the shutters off the house and her dad has to intercede. Someone else wants to buy their car. They even make a sale from someone who wants to buy a piece of rope from the garage, which they planned on throwing away.

The club throws her the party, but tell her to dress down. It turns out that they have a bunch of games and events planned for the kids and plan on getting messy. The kids all make her a mural of Stoneybrook as a going away present and she promises to keep it forever. She then has touching goodbye moment with Charlotte.

The next day they have to eat a fast breakfast. This cracks me up because they’re constantly on her about eating right, but then they eat whatever they have leftover. Her dad makes her put everything in bags and give it to the neighbors.

The whole club shows up to say goodbye and she passes out “business cards” that have her new phone number and address on them. She shares a special moment with Claudia before they hop in the car and leave. All she can think about is how excited she’ll be to get back to NYC.

*I find it weird that they move away and move back in a single year, without it affecting her schoolwork at all.

*I’m actually a diabetic and sometimes wince when I read about the descriptions of diabetes. My dad and two grandparents are all diabetic too and I have a cousin who uses an insulin pump. None of us are nearly as anal retentive with it as she is.

*Stacey doesn’t want anyone to tell Charlotte that she’s moving until she can do it herself. By the time she gets around to calling their house, Charlotte’s mom already knows, but she still has to tell her.

*The girls decide to ask Mallory to join their club because they need extra help now. They come up with the idea of a junior officer, who works afternoon jobs. Kristy suggests finding someone else Mallory’s age and everyone’s all confused about who they’d ask. Thank goodness Jessi moved to town…and moved in fast.

Monday, November 15, 2010

99 Fear Street The House of Evil: The Second Horror

Cally is all up in the attic, watching a new family move into “her” house. Brandt is the teenage and only son, who’s moving in with his parents and his cat Ezra. Both of his parents are researchers and they’ve bee living on some remote island for awhile. Now they’re moving back to civilization because he has some weird “condition” and they want to give him a chance at a normal life.

Brandt’s dad starts hanging up these ritual masks and deadly spears around the room. Suddenly one of the spears impales the poor cat and he dies pretty fast. He gets over it pretty fast though because one of his neighbors shows up. Abbie is cute and hot, so he gets all distracted.

Then he meets this other hot girl Jinny and they start bonding, even though she already has a boyfriend. Her boyfriend Jon starts ribbing him a lot and convinces him to try out for the basketball team because he’s tall and the coach says they need tall guys. He lies and tells his mom that he’s on the student senate because he doesn’t want her worrying about his condition. I guess she has a right to worry though because Jon trips him, he hits his arm and gets this incredible bruise that spreads all over his arm.

Brandt makes a date with Abbie for Sunday, but then forgets and makes a date with Jinny’s best friend Meg for the same day. Jinny comes over to the house and is all freaked out because she’s heard all the stories about the place. He leaves her alone for five seconds and she ends up getting slashed. She swears that a glass broke in mid-air and she’s rushed to the hospital.

He starts getting followed by this shadowy figure, but blows it off. He seems more concerned when he thinks it’s following Jon then he does when it’s following him. After breaking his date with Abbie, he goes over to Meg’s house and they watch a movie. Jinny shows up, has a confrontation with Meg and storms out. Meg blows it off because Jinny already has a guy.

Some other random shit happens too, like a psycho raccoon attacking. Then Brandt finds a journal, which belonged to Cally. He reads through it, thinking that she seems like a cool girl and someone he’d like to know. Then he starts finding new entries written, which rant against Jinny and threaten Abbie.

Abbie shows up and he’s worried about her. He should be, because a huge suit of armor falls off the wall and lands on her. His mom is all like, “but we used three bolts”. Yeah ma, I think it takes more than that. Then he starts hearing the voice of a little boy and freaks out because it’s Cally’s little brother James. He starts tearing out the walls and eventually finds his decomposing body and the skeleton of the kid’s dog.

His dad is actually kind of relieved because he thinks all the weird stuff was caused by a poltergeist. Now that his body was found, everything will stop. Ok dad. Jinny and Meg come over with a plate of brownies because they’ve apparently made up. To up the gross factor, they made the brownies a week ago for a bake sale and are just now giving them to him.

The girls hang out for awhile, but Jinny is kind of uncomfortable there. Gee, you think? Meg acts like it’s not a big deal and also points out that Jinny and Jon are happily dating again. Brandt starts showing the girls these deadly blow darts and explaining how they work, when his dad calls him outside. By the time he gets back, the girls are laying on the ground with darts in their throat. The horrible doctor tells them that he’s not sure if they’ll be okay but they should be okay when they wake up. Does that make sense?

Once he gets home, he finds another threat against Abbie, who conveniently shows up. As he’s warning her, she quickly shifts into the ghost of Cally. Yeah, that totally doesn’t make sense. She’s decided to make Brandt stay with her forever and promptly finds a hatchet, which she slams into his head. Brandt blinks and then to her shock, slowly gets up.

He explains that his weird condition is that he’s actually dead. Some man tried to kill his dad with poison powder, but Brandt stepped on it instead. His dad got the medicine man to bring him back to life, which involved stealing the life force/soul of some random drifter. Cally gets all excited, but then the dark shadow pops up.

The dark shadow is actually the drifter, who wants his mother fucking soul back. He grabs a necklace that Brandt always wore, which contains his hair and bones. Brandt’s body kind of shrivels up and dies, while Cally watches and screams. The book ends with her watching them load his body into a hearse and take him away.

Wowza. I didn’t remember him dying at the end, but I remembered the whole zombie thing. For some reason I was thinking that she stabbed him and then he walked away from everything. I didn’t remember that he actually died.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Baby-Sitter’s Club #81: Kristy and Mr. Mom

Apparently Watson got super rich by working constantly and not taking care of himself. Lately he’s acting even worse and he seems like his color is changing and he’s just not doing that great. Kristy comes downstairs one day and he’s out trying to push his car out of the snow, while Charlie drives the car. Her mom tells Sam to help him and Kristy runs out too.

That works fine, but later that night, she sees him trying to shovel the sidewalk. She offers to finish up, if he’ll run inside and put on a pizza, so they can watch the game later. He agrees, but then starts shaking when he gets to the porch. When he collapses, she has to run inside and call 911.

Kristy’s mom and Nannie go with Watson to the hospital, leaving her home with David Michael and Emily Michelle. Kristy acknowledges that she can’t do everything herself when Shannon calls after seeing the ambulance. Shannon offers to call Sam and Charlie at school. I find it fairly shitty that their coach says he’ll tell them at half-time. Tell them now!

The other girls find out what happened and Dawn and Mary Anne come over with Shannon. They all take care of something around the house, like making lunches for school, cleaning up, taking care of the kids and putting them to bed. Nannie says that she’ll call when she knows something, but then randomly comes home later. Like it would kill her to call and tell them he’s okay, before leaving the hospital? Watson had a minor heart attack, but he should be okay.

After a few days at home, Watson sits everyone down and tells him that he’s going to do a lot less work and start spending all of his time at home, taking care of them. He does really well, but there’s a divide between him and Nannie. Like one night he stops and gets pizza and she makes a huge dinner. They end up giving the pizza to the kids and letting the adults have her dinner.

Watson pretty much takes over the house though. He does all the cleaning and all the cooking and no one stops to think about Nannie. She makes her own announcement, telling everyone that she found an apartment and she’s moving out. Of course they’re all upset, but once again, no one has even given her a second thought since Watson came home.

Karen and Andrew come for their month at the house and everything goes to hell in a hand basket. I’m not saying that it’s Karen’s fault, but…They say it’s because there’s suddenly two more people to feed and take care of, plus two more sets of laundry. Then Emily gets sick and Watson starts doing more work and everything gets screwed up.

Kristy goes to visit Nannie in her new apartment and breaks down. She tells her how the house looks like crap and Watson can’t take care of everything. Nannie comes back to the house and decides that she’s ready to move back. Watson can’t do everything on his own and she realizes that they do need her help.

I love the B-plot, which deals with Mrs. Marshall. Dawn shows up, thinking she’s sitting for two kids and discovers that her friend dropped off her three kids so they can go to exercise class together. Mallory goes over and the same thing happens. She asks Jessi to show up and help her, after one of the kids gets hurt. Mrs. Marshall thanks Jessi, but won’t pay her.

Claudia goes over to sit and takes Stacey with her. Mrs. Marshall is kind of a bitch and says that she hired one sitter and won’t pay for two, so the two walk out on the job. They realize that they’ve never explained to their clients that if there’s more than four kids, they require two sitters. Kristy explains the situation and Mrs. Marshall agrees to the terms, but decides it won’t be a problem because she quit her class.

*Claudia is apparently now into hats. Kristy says that she’s been buying up hats from thrift stores all winter long and decorating them herself, with sequins and buttons.

*Kristy tells the ambulance that her dad is sick. I found that really sweet and cute when I read it because it’s the first time I ever saw her refer to him as something other than her step-dad.

*David Michael is playing a rooster in a play. He keeps randomly turning up and making rooster noises and getting upset if people ignore him.

*I think Mrs. Marshall is insane. Would you really want one thirteen year old girl taking care of FIVE kids? Some of these kids are super little too. She should really have more sense.