Saturday, January 8, 2011

Friends Forever (BSC) #6: Stacey and the Boyfriend Trap



Stacey is back in New York City for New Year’s Eve and she wants to hit the town. Her dad reluctantly agrees to go downtown with her and his girlfriend Samantha, but bundles himself up. Stacey wonders if she might run into Ethan, who she hasn’t seen in awhile. She doesn’t see him, but she does end up on TV. Luckily everyone back home saw her and Mary Anne’s dad even taped it. She decides to be a better friend and while you might think she’s talking about Claudia, she actually means Ethan.

The two get together for a quick meeting before she goes home. She still likes him, but she knows breaking up was a good choice. She tells him all about the fight with Claudia and he tells her about an art showing back in Connecticut. They talk some more and then she has to run.

There must be something in the water because she comes home to find a letter from Toby. Stacey remembers what happened the last time she saw him and isn’t sure if she should write him, but she finally sends him an email. They email each other back and forth a few times and he asks if he can stop by and see her on his way to a college visit for his older brother. She reluctantly decides to meet him, but just as friends.

Stacey then learns that her favorite/math teacher Mr. Z is moving to Texas. She and Pete Black both really like him and decide to throw him a farewell party. The idea kind of spirals out of control, with different people pitching in to help and even high school students wanting to attend. She also sees good old Wes, her former crush. He’s actually applying for the job and she invites him to the party.

Stacey and Jeremy are having a few problems, which is mainly because he’s an asshole. He hung out with Claudia while she was out of town and he seems to mention her a lot. He even suggests having her draw a bunch of sketches as party decorations. It doesn’t help that Robert, her ex-boyfriend, wants to help out with the party and Pete is acting like he wants more than friendship from her. Stacey goes over to Claudia’s house early, hoping to talk to her about the party. Claudia agrees to make the pictures for the party, they talk and they make up.

On the day of the party, Toby stops by her house. He looks exactly the same, but he keeps acting like he’s so mature and buff (he works out now). She kind of wants him to go away, but his parents are late picking him up. Then Ethan shows up too. She ends up taking them both to the party, where Robert, Pete, Sam and Jeremy are all waiting. Jeremy doesn’t seem to have a problem with all of her exes and finally confesses that it made him realize that she has more in common with all those other guys than she does with him. So, they break up.

Stacey feels a little down, but then has a chance to talk to Ethan. They have fun together and she realizes that she still kind of likes him, so they make plans to see each other the next time she’s in town. When the book ends, she wonders if maybe she had the chance to see everyone together, just so she could figure out which one was the right guy for her.

*Claudia’s sketches seem like way too much work for a party! She actually does a sketch of Mr. Z, plus sketches of all these mathematicians.

*Sam gets mentioned multiple times in the book, but Stacey never even talks to him. I kind of always liked them together, so that annoyed me a little.

*When Ed takes her and Samantha out, they barely have to wait at a restaurant to get a table. Yeah, waiting in line for 15 minutes…without a reservation…on New Year’s Eve…in New York City.

*Why would Toby even write her? Did he try Mallory first and learn she’s no longer in town or did he think he had a shot with her?

*Apparently Toby did think he had a shot because he makes a comment about how they didn’t really “do anything” and then kisses her. What did he expect her to do, let him cop a feel while her mom was three feet away?

*Mary Anne’s barn-house is almost done. She takes Kristy and Stacey to the mall with Sharon, looking for ideas for her new room. Kristy wants a loft style bed, with red, black and grey shades. Stacey likes a room with street signs everywhere. Mary Anne picks one with a picket fence headboard and a garden mural on the wall.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Baby-Sitter’s Club #128: Claudia and the Little Liar



Claudia gets a job sitting for Haley and Matt Braddock. Their mom warns her that the kids can’t watch television until they get their homework done. It’s a new rule that the kids know, but Haley doesn’t want to follow it. Claudia makes her do her homework anyway, but then catches her on the phone with Vanessa Pike. Haley finally does her work and shows her a book report. It turns out that it’s one she did last month and when Claudia accidentally reveals it, her mom grounds her for lying.

That’s pretty much the whole basis of the book: Haley lying about everything. Claudia keeps sitting for her, but she keeps lying. She says that Matt needs paint to make a poster for school, so she has Stacey bring over some. Matt actually needed a book from Nicky Pike and by the time Claudia calls, it’s too late to get the book. Of course Haley lies and says she told her he needed a book and she just didn’t listen.

As if Kristy doesn’t have enough on her plate, she’s now coaching a girls basketball team too. Haley is on the team and she starts lying to the other girls, telling them the BSC are spies that report back to their parents. The other girls start eying the sitters funny, even Becca and Charlotte. The lies spread to other clients too and Abby has problems with the Rodowsky boys thinking she’s a spy.

Kristy wants to talk to Mrs. Braddock, but Claudia convinces her to give things another chance. This time Haley lies again, not only to her, but to her mom also. Mrs. Braddock decides that it’s not a good idea to have her sit anymore because Haley’s lies seem to get worse when she’s around. The girls talk things over and decide to do a role playing exercise with Haley. Her parents go along with them and arrange it for the next day.

Haley even lies during that exercise, saying that she was only on the phone for a few minutes and Claudia was interrupting her and forcing her to work. Haley gets called on her lies, flips out and runs upstairs. Claudia talks things through with her and it turns out that she’s having problems in school. Her dad talks it over with her and she explains how she lied a few times over not getting her homework done, the teachers believed her and she just kept lying. They decide to get her a tutor and she apologizes to everyone, even Claudia.

The other story is about Claudia and her boyfriend Josh, who’s a year younger than her. She starts feeling like he might not be really into her and she’s not sure she likes him. She spends the whole book wondering about their relationship and when they finally talk things through, they realize that they aren’t clicking as a couple, but make good friends. They have a friendship date and decide that it’s the best choice for them.

*Ann’s end notes are kind of lame. It basically just says you should always tell the truth because the truth causes less problems than a lie.

*Josh helps Claudia decorate and sew the uniforms for the basketball team. I actually think this is pretty freaking sweet/cute.

*After everything, Haley lies about pushing a girl during a game. Kristy looks at her and she admits that she did push her, but it was an accident.

*Why the fuck did it take so long for Mrs. Braddock to stop letting Claudia work there? I get that Haley was lying to everyone, but she even admits that Claudia makes it worse and yet she keeps hiring her for weeks.

*Becca flips out at Jessi because her mom knows she’s using her lunch money to buy cookies and thinks she told on her. Jessi says her mom found all the leftover change in her bookbag. Wouldn’t someone notice though that she never ordered a lunch?? When I was in elementary school, there was no way we could just order cookies and not eat lunch.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Baby-Sitter’s Club #22: Jessi Ramsey, Pet-Sitter



I’m pretty sure the Mancusi family has been mentioned before. They own a ton of pets, including hamsters, dogs, cats and snakes. They’re also going away for a week and their pet-sitter cancelled at the last minute. Jessi usually sits for the Braddock family, but they’re going on vacation. Originally she planned on enjoying her free time, but she takes the pet-sitting job when no one else can do it.

Jessi does a good job watching over the pets (natch), though she does have a habit of inviting other people over to check out the animals. Mary Anne stops by with the Perkins girls and flips out when she realizes the lid to Barney the snake’s cage is missing. She keeps freaking out, but then Myriah remembers that snakes are cold blooded and helps them find him.

One thing that does bother her is that one of the hamsters sits by itself. None of the other reindeer will let it play in their games…oops, I mean it’s lonely. It’s also really fat too, but she keeps an eye on it. It starts acting weird, so she calls her mom, she comes over and they go to the vet. Turns out the hamster is a female and pregnant. Jessi takes care of the hamster until the Mancusis get back. They offer free hamsters, so she and Mallory both get one.

The other plot surrounds problems in the BSC. Everyone is sick of doing their job for some reason or another. Kristy is acting bossy, Dawn hates the way they bitch over her collecting dues and even Claudia is sick of people calling outside of meetings. They decide to vote and they all end up voting the same people back into the same jobs, so everyone makes up.

*Why do we keep hearing about how Jessi doesn’t have any free time? She does ballet after school, has school, works extensively with the Braddock family and still has free time for other sitting jobs. That sounds like a lot of time to me.

*How is Jessi a good substitute for a full time pet-sitter? Are we really supposed to believe that those dogs only needed walking once a day, after school? There’s no mention of her stopping by on the way to school or later in the day, just after school.

*I’m kind of annoyed that Jessi kept asking people to come over and see the animals or letting them into the house. I’d be more than annoyed if she was working for me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Baby-Sitter’s Club #95: Kristy + Bart = ?



Okay, I have to admit that the majority of this book pisses me off, but I’ll get to all that after the re-cap. So Kristy and Bart have been hanging out a whole lot and spending time together. They get a bunch of kids together for a practice session, but it’s not an official one because it’s still winter and too cold out for a full/real practice. They make plans to hang out together and go to the movies.

When Kristy meets him at his house, he’s standing around with some of his buddies. He introduces her as his girlfriend and it shocks her, but kind of makes her feel good at the same time. At the movies, he keeps leaning over and kissing her, he holds her hand and he puts his arm around her. She thinks kissing him is fun, but she wishes he didn’t kiss her during the good parts. Then he asks her to a big dance at his school.

Cut to a few days later and she’s sitting for Karen, Andrew and David Michael. Bart shows up after she puts him to bed and they start watching a game together. That leads to kissing and Watson catches them on the couch together. Her mom grounds her and she gets pissed at Bart. She spends the whole weekend, fantasizing about him getting some horrible disease. She calls him and tells him that she isn’t his girlfriend, but then feels bad about it.

The rest of the book deals with her wondering if she made the right choice. Every time she sees Charlie and his girlfriend Sarah or Mary Anne and Logan, she feels bad about her choice. She also feels bad because Bart doesn’t call. They finally see each other and she thinks things are fine between them. She’s shocked when he announces that she isn’t going to the dance with him and that he’s taking someone from his school.

Kristy meets with the BSC and rants/raves about what happened. They all point out that she’s the one who ended things. She goes to see him again and they decide to go back to being just friends. When the book ends, she says that the see each other around the neighborhood sometimes and it’s like old times, but she still isn’t sure how she feels.

Here’s what pisses me off about this book…How long have we had to read about Kristy and Bart together? I always just assumed they were a couple, since they always went to dances together and stuff. Now we’re supposed to believe that Kristy just all of the sudden decided that she wasn’t sure he was her boyfriend and needed to think about whether or not she liked him. Plus, she spends a good portion of the book moping over breaking up with him, only to decide it was the right choice all along.

The other plot is that Kristy decides to do a book on funny records made by kids. The sitters get all involved in it too. They have a cereal toss, speed singing and stupid stuff like that. The little kids like Jamie, Jenny and Claire feel left out, so Claudia comes up with easier things that they can do. Of course it turns out to be a big success.

*Kristy is offended when the book has the BSC name in the title, instead of her name because it was her idea. It’s really in-character with her, but kind of bitchy anyway.

*Kristy actually calls Jessi for guy help because she’s worried about asking Mary-Anne. Jessi pretty much just suggests she call her best friend for help.

*Ann’s notes at the end are about how not everyone matures at the same rate and not all girls are ready to date at the same time. I get that, but this book doesn’t seem very realistic.

*Kristy catches Charlie and his girlfriend making out in his car. For some reason the image of this really cracked me up!

*Abby gets hit in the head with a wad of bubble gum and has to have her hair cut, while sitting during a record breaking event at the Pike house.

*Stacey gets stuck sitting for eight kids by herself because Haley invites kids over. To make matters worse, Jamie and Jenny get dropped off when she already has multiple kids and the parents just say thank you. Don’t we constantly hear that two sitters are needed for that many kids??

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Baby-Sitter’s Club Mystery #12: Dawn and the Surfer Ghost



This is one of those books that take place when Dawn moves back to California, but before she decided to move back permanently. You know, how she moved there and back like six times in the course of a year.

Anyway, Dawn is now taking surfing lessons, even though I swear she already knew how to surf. Sunny keeps flirting with random guys, but apparently draws the line at this guy named Thrash. Dawn thinks he’s about 20, which is way too old for her. He has long blond hair, wears a snake shaped ring and has surfed all around the world. She makes up an excuse to talk to him and learns that he’s ready for the big surf competition and plans to win. He shows her a jar of specially made wax and kalls her Kaela, some hawaiian princess name.

A few days later Dawn learns that Thrash is dead. His surfboard washed up on shore and no one has seen him since. She tries talking to the cops, but they tell her that he was just a drifter, no one filed a missing person’s report and basically they don’t really care. She gets all caught up in the “mystery” of what happened to him.

Not long after, Dawn sees a weird looking guy with short black hair who always seems to be lurking around. Then she finds a jar of Thrash’s special wax in the sand. She and Sunny are doing a special kids project (of course) that involves taking a bunch of kids to the beach. During a beach party, they spot someone surfing in the distance. Rumors get started that it’s a surfing ghost, especially after multiple people see the figure and always at night.

Of course Dawn keeps seeing the dark haired guy and realizes that it’s actually Thrash. It turns out that someone tampered with his board, so he faked his death and kept hiding around. She finds him messing with someone else’s board and she convinces him to talk to the cops. The day of the surfing competition shows up and Thrash walks out. Another surfer sees him and freaks out, so the cops come at him and he confesses. Dawn wins third place in the beginner round and Thrash wins the overall competition. He gives her his lucky snake ring and takes off for Australia.

The other story takes place back in Stoneybrook. Mary-Anne is watching the Arnold twins do gymnastics and has to run upstairs to take a phone call. Carolyn falls off the beam and sprains her ankle. Marilyn feels bad and stays by her side constantly. The girls keep trying to find ways to split the twins up and Stacey decides to just use their friends. When two different friends want to hang out with each twin, they realize they can’t always be around each other.

*Dawn mentions multiple times that she can’t wait to go back to Connecticut and be around her friends. Yeah, I can’t wait for that to happen.

*Dawn writes letters to nearly every member of the club, including Shannon. That seems…off to me for some reason. I never really got the feeling that these two were friends.

*She mentions that Stacey used to hang out with surfers and that some people still ask about her. Given how it all ended when she was out there, I don’t really see that happening.