Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Babysitters Club #37: Dawn and the Older Boy

Kristy hosts a slumber party at her house for the members of the BSC. The girls stay up until 3 am and the next day, Mary Anne starts waking everyone up super early. She thinks they should go downstairs and help the family make breakfast. Kristy assures them that they can wear whatever they want, but when they get downstairs, they find a hot guy at the table. His name is Travis and he’s a new student from California. The girls make up excuses to run away and hide.

When they go back, Charlie points out that Dawn used to live in California too. Travis talks about this place in Malibu and it turns out that Dawn went there too. He also loves running/walking on the beach and doing a lot of other stuff that she likes too. The topper comes when he leans over and tells her that she should always wear blue because it really brings out the color of her eyes.

Dawn is instantly smitten and wants to talk about Travis all the time, but Mary Anne is worried because he’s so much older than her (16). He randomly shows up at their house and Dawn goes crazy over him. He brings her hair clips and a beaded necklace, all in a blue color that he says looks good on her. He suggests that she cut her hair 4” and she promises to think about it, then makes Mary Anne do it. He talks about himself a lot and acts really conceited, but she doesn’t pick up on it.

Cut to a few days later and Travis shows up at her school. He needs help picking out a present for his dad’s birthday, but he already knows what he wants. Dawn knows she shouldn’t go without telling her mom, but she gets in his car anyway. He takes her out for a snack at a burger joint and when she reaches for the menu, he tells her that he’ll order for her. She doesn’t really like that and worries that he’ll order meat, but he just gets grilled cheese.

The last stop on their “date” is the jewelry store. He shows her a pair of earrings that he saw once before and thought they were perfect for her. She sees the little silver butterflies and almost melts. He buys them for her and suggests she get her ears pierced again, to wear them higher. He’s less than thrilled when she decides against getting it done.

Dawn gets home and Sharon is less than pleased. It turns out that Mary Anne got home and they were both home early. Sharon asked where Dawn was and she told her. Sharon is shocked that Dawn would get in a car with someone she barely knows. She finally caves and says that they need to meet him and make a decision, but Richard is pissed because Travis is just too old.

Dawn is a little obsessed with Travis and wants more info on him. Kristy makes a comment about Travis dating a swimmer in high school. Dawn doesn’t believe it, but then decides to follow him and see what happens. She sees him kissing another girl and follows while they go to a burger place and the jewelry store. Sound familiar?

Kristy brings up Travis at the next meeting and Dawn flips out, threatening to leave. Mary Anne tells her to confess the story and she tells them all what’s been going on. Stacey and Claudia think it sounds like they were dating, but Kristy thinks he was just being friendly. Dawn decides to just follow them again. This time, she “accidentally” runs into them. Sera (girlfriend) thinks it’s all a joke and refers to Dawn as a “little girl”, saying he made her a real beauty. She makes a snide comment and then runs home to cry.

Mary Anne tells Dawn that she should confront Travis and she agrees. She calls him on the phone and kind of tells him off. She tells him that he made a lot of suggestions and she felt bad when she didn’t do what she wanted. Travis kind of blows the whole thing off, thinking she made it a bigger deal than it was, but at least she gets her confrontation. The book ends with her having a letter relationship with Lewis, Logan’s cousin.

Several of the club members get the chance to sit for the Hobart kids, including one day when Mallory goes on a date with Ben. James writes a play, starring the Perkins’ girls, Chewy and his brothers. His friend Zach keeps making fun of him and saying that the other kids at school think he’s weird. James starts spending more time with Zach. In the end though, he blows Zach off to help out after the play.

*I love that Travis is 16, which automatically makes him way too old. Sam, who’s only 15, is somehow perfect for Stacey. Personally I don’t think anyone in high school should date a junior high student.

*Dawn says that she had to beg and persuade her mom to get her ears pierced in the first place. Um no, she didn’t. She called her mom from the mall and her mom let her get two holes in each ear. I think it took about 16 seconds.

*Mary Anne’s tattling reminds me of my one and only toilet papering incident in high school. We had a sleepover and snuck out of my friend’s house, but she stayed behind to keep an eye out for her parents. The next day, her mom saw the TP down the street, made a comment about it and my friend confessed the whole thing!

*Travis is a complete ass. He buys her presents, takes her out and then can’t understand why she might have a crush on him. Hello?

*Sera isn’t much better. I don’t know about you guys, but I wouldn’t be okay with my boyfriend giving another girl presents and taking her out, regardless of what he told me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sweet Valley High Super Thriller: No Place to Hide

It’s that random first (of 700) summers, when the twins worked at the newspaper. Everyone keeps talking about the upcoming mayoral race, which Jess finds completely boring. She’s rooting for Russell Kincaid, a guy who seems shady, but is also super hot and rich. The other guy is a good local man that Liz and Seth are both pulling for.

The newspaper is hosting a huge picnic at nearby Ronoma County and Liz decides to invite Nicholas Morrow. He’s been super down lately, mainly because of Regina’s death. Forget that the series lasted so long that he rarely mentions her towards the end of it. Jess doesn’t really want him there, but Liz invites him anyway and kind of pressures him into going.

Nicholas pretty much keeps up his downer act while at the picnic. He tells the twins about these nasty dreams he’s been having, where Regina calls his name. Then he decides to take a walk and Liz goes with him. They come across this girl named Barbara, who lives in her dead grandmother’s house, with a housekeeper and her uncle, who’s actually her cousin. She has a cute dog Rory, but they both notice that she’s wearing an old-fashioned dress. She reveals that he’s super strict and treats her badly, plus he makes her walk along the huge cliffs by their house, even though they freak her out. Uncle John calls her and she runs off, before he can get her number.

Nicholas runs back to the house again, but John answers and slams the door on her. He hears Rory and finds Barbara in the woods. She tells him that he can’t go up to the house or call her because John is way too protective and won’t even let her date. If they want to see each other, then they have to meet in secret. Nicholas is completely in love and agrees to the conditions.

The internship for the twins is finally coming to an end and they’re both given a special assignment, to write a feature for the paper. Liz gets put on the mayoral race assignment and she thinks she can finally reveal Kincaid as an asshole. Jessica gets to write about a dead local artist Paul Lazarow and how a new art show featuring his work is opening. On the way home, the twins stop by Nicholas’s house and he asks them to go out to Barbara’s with him.

They see a fancy Jaguar parked at the end of the driveway and Barbara explains that it belongs to a friend of John. She keeps talking about how much it freaks her out that the visitor comes over all the time. Nicholas wants to take her home with him, but she’s worried about Josine, her uncle’s housekeeper. They hear John and Barbara warns them to run. They hear him yelling at her and her trying to distract him, so he doesn’t see them.

Seth discovers that Kincaid wanted to be an artist at one point, but Jessica is coming up empty on her story. Nicholas talks to Barbara and she reveals that her birthday is coming up. Conveniently, she shares the same birthday as her grandmother, who died under mysterious circumstances up at the cliff. She also tells him about these weird nightmares she keeps having and how Josine keeps talking about some Jack guy. She also reveals that her dad and grandfather were artists. After her mom died, some artist took her in, though she doesn’t know why.

Nicholas and Barbara go out together for a special dinner. Someone at the gas station calls her by name and acts like he’s seen a ghost, but she’s never seen him before. The same blue car is parked outside the restaurant and a familiar looking older man keeps staring at her in shock. She doesn’t notice him and Nicholas is too worried to tell her. Later he sees the same car outside her house. He finally realizes that the guy is Kincaid and then finds a note warning him to stay away from her, stuck on his car.

Their next “date” doesn’t go so well, especially since Rory disappeared and Barbara is freaking out. They go out looking for him and find his dog collar and leash sitting on the edge of the cliff. After flipping out a little more, she tells him that Josine is bringing Jack up again. She finally asks him to stay away for awhile. When he leaves, he finds that someone shattered his windshield and slashed his tires.

Nicholas meets the twins at the art gallery and check out some of the paintings. They find one that looks exactly like Barbara and the title is Artist’s Daughter. They discover that she died on her 21st birthday and rush off to the archive/morgue at the newspaper office. It turns out that Kincaid studied at his artists colony. Then they rush back to her house and see her with Josine. Josine keeps talking about Jack and a baby, which freaks her out and tells her to watch out. Barbara then tells Nicholas to stay away for good.

Liz investigates some more and discovers that Kincaid was questioned in Barbara’s grandmother’s death. Then she gets a phone call, warning her to stay away. She and Jess investigate the archives even more and find a misfiled article. It says that Jack Pearsall was the best student there and constantly fought with Kincaid. They meet up with Nicholas and come up with a plan to save Barbara.

Liz is supposed to go up to the house, ring the doorbell and distract John. Liz hurts herself, so Jess has to do it. John catches Liz and reveals that he’s Kincaid’s brother. They were in business together and Russell screwed him out of a ton of money. He brought Barbara in and made Kincaid think she was the ghost of the original Barbara, who he actually killed. He smacks her in the face with a gun and carries her away.

Jess and Nicholas get together and find Barbara fighting with Kincaid on the cliffs. Kincaid goes over, but they manage to save Barbara. They find Josine, who tells them that she saw Liz with John. They track her down in an old outbuilding and find Rory too. They call the cops and Nicholas notices that the blue car is missing.

The cops show up and Liz gets taken to the hospital. They reveal that Kincaid’s body washed up and they find John too. He was never Barbara’s uncle, but played the role to get her out there. The whole story is that Russell was obsessed with the original Barbara, but she secretly married Jack and had a baby. He pushed her off the cliff when he learned the truth. Josine fills in a little too, like how her grandma went off to Europe to have the baby without anyone knowing it. Jack was so upset over her death that he couldn’t function, so he sent the baby to live with friends.

Jack now lives in an institution somewhere and Barbara asks Nicholas to go with her for a visit. She also announces that her parents want her to fly back immediately, so they only have a little bit of time left together. She meets Jack and he’s shocked that she looks so much like his lost love. He then decides that he’s lived in the past too long and wants to meet his daughter.

Nicholas feels horrible that she’s leaving and she finally scolds him because he’s acting exactly like her grandfather and living in the past, instead of looking to the future. He gives her a locket and she promises that she’ll be back soon, even though she never will. The twins get their photo in the paper, along with a huge story about how they helped bring down a master criminal. Yeah because we just couldn’t leave them out of it…Oh and Jack gives Nicholas a portrait of the original Barbara because she looked so much like Barbara 2.0. Nice.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Babysitters Club Super Special #1: Baby-Sitters on Board

Mr. Pike enters a contest at work to name a new product and he wins an all-expenses paid trip for his entire family. They decide to hire Stacey and Mary Anne to go on the trip as mothers’ helpers because they did such a great job in Sea City. When Watson hears about it and also learns that Kristy has never been out of the state, he decides to take his family and the rest of the club. The girls put together a memory book, to give them as a special gift.

Kristy meets this crotchety old man on the ship named Mr. Staples. His wife died a few months ago and this is his first trip out on his own. They bond and she decides to fix him up with Nannie, once she gets home. She also spends much of the book fighting with Dawn because she’s super clean and Kristy is a total slob. They make up though (of course).

Mallory has just finished reading Harriet the Spy and decides her vacation is the perfect time to spy on other people. She spreads a rumor that the famous singer Spider is on the ship and then thinks she sees a stowaway. Later she overhears Alexandra with her parents and brother and tells everyone the truth about her.

Stacey meets this little boy Marc on the ship and discovers that he has a serious heart condition. They bond over her being sick and having to be careful too. She, Claire, Margo and Marc spend a lot of time together. His parents announce at Disney World that he has to have a serious heart operation and the trip was meant to be super great, in case the worst happened. They write her a letter at the end, revealing that he came through it fine.

Mary Anne sees this super cute and “well developed” girl at the beginning of the book. She keeps running across her and learns her name is Alexandra Carmondy. She claims that she’s traveling alone and super rich, but her story keeps changing. She finally admits that her parents are a popular singing rock couple and becomes friends with MA.

Claudia has a secret admirer that keeps following her around. When she can’t afford a pair of mother of pearl earrings, he buys them for her. Then he pays for her admission at the aquarium, buys her ice cream and does some other stuff. She chases after him and meets this guy Timothy, who’s actually Alexandra’s brother. They get along really well and he finally reveals that he was her secret admirer, but didn’t tell her because he was afraid she wouldn’t like him.

Byron gets a few chapters too, talking about pirates and random crap like that. The triplets, Nicky and David Michael find a “treasure map” and start looking for buried treasure everywhere. They think that they find a treasure at Disney World, but it’s actually Dawn’s missing bracelet (which once held her unicorn charm). At the end of the book, a businessman sees their treasure map and they learn it’s really a diagram for a Dutch copy machine.

Dawn sees this super cute guy and drools on herself. When they take a day-long trip, she finds out his name is Parker. Even though she wants to go snorkeling, he wants to spend some time with her, so they take a walk. They start spending a lot more time together and he reveals that his dad recently married and now he has two little brothers. He makes them sound like total jerks, but they get stuck with the boys at Disney World and they’re actually really cute. She buys a unicorn charm and loses it, but then Parker goes back and buys her the same one.

Karen acts like a total pain in the ass and gets several chapters of her own. Kristy lets her go back to get her earplugs and she stops for a drink and a manicure, charging them to her room. I want to see Watson’s face when he got those bills. At Disney World, she loses Elizabeth and has to get a worker to help her. Then she becomes convinced that the ghosts at the Haunted Mansion are following her around. The capper comes when she goes to one of the character breakfasts and lies about it being her birthday. Watson is pissed, but then lets her off the hook because they’re on vacation.

*I always thought it was unfair that Claudia, Kristy and Dawn were basically on vacation, while the other two had to work.

*Who paid for Stacey and Mary Anne? I can’t imagine that Mr. Pike’s company would pay for a travel expenses for 10 people, plus two nannies.

*Mallory is old enough in this book to wander around a cruise ship by herself, but in a few books, she’s not old enough to pick out her own clothes. By the way, I picked out my own clothes years before her.

*Oh and the Pikes let the triplets run loose on the ship too and sometimes let Nicky and David Michael go with them. I get that this was before  the rash of kidnappings and stuff, but it still seems unrealistic. I remember my mom freaking out when I was 10 and wanted to walk to the swimming pool by myself, which was 10 feet from our hotel room.

*I’m pretty sure this book taught me about the paid bars in hotel rooms. I remember reading it and then being fascinated with the one on our next trip.

*Claudia dresses Dawn for a date with Parker. She puts her in lavender overalls, matching socks and shoes, a braided leather belt and a white tank top. The description literally gives me a headache.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friends Forever #7: Claudia Gets Her Guy

Claudia comes home from a sitting job at the Rodowsky house, to find a message from Mary Anne. She goes over to her house the next day and learns that Jeremy and Stacey broke up. She spends the rest of the day trying to pick out the perfect outfit for school the next day. Janine helps her pick out a silk kimono with a black skirt. She’s shocked when Jeremy barely looks at her and only says a few words to her because she thought they were destined for each other.

The big dance is coming up and she wants him to take her, but it’s kind of hard when he won’t even look at her. She decides to write him a note and stick it in his locker at school. After writing it out, she gets Cary to help her put it in his locker without Jeremy seeing it. Kristy and Erica wait with her to watch for him, but he doesn’t see the note. Later she realizes that she put it in the wrong locker.

Alan Gray pops up and she realizes that she put it in his locker. He reveals that he’s trying to change and act a little more grown up, but she was the only one who noticed. He thinks she wrote the note for him. Claudia feels bad but can’t figure out how to tell him the truth so she agrees to go with him to the dance. Even though they’re supposed to go out as friends, Alan acts like he wants more from her.

He starts leaving little notes for her, presents and even gives her a huge bouquet of flowers. Then he arranges a special table for her at lunch and sneaks in Burger King. The other members of the BSC think it’s kind of cute, except for Kristy. Kristy thinks it’s part of some scheme and that he’s going to pull a big prank. She starts getting confused because he’s being so sweet. It doesn’t help that Jeremy is being an asshole. He won’t talk to her and acts really cold. Then he asks someone else to the dance. Cary is also on her case too because he knows the note wasn’t meant for Alan and he’s worried about his best friend getting hurt.

Claudia and Alan go to the dance together and have fun, but she feels uncomfortable when she sees Jeremy and his date. Then she realizes that they’re dancing together as friends and feels a lot better. They dance together and she discovers that they dance as friends too. They talk and agree that they never got their timing right and decide to stay friends. Then she grabs Alan and as they dance, she realizes that she wants to be with him. The book ends with her thinking that everyone is probably wondering about them or whispering, but she doesn’t really care.

*Claudia is also working in an ESL program, tutoring a family from Japan. They all go to a museum and the little girl gets in trouble for touching a painting. That makes her realize that communication is important, so she actually talks to Stacey and they clear the air.

*Stacey is kind of surprised that Claudia doesn’t want to talk with her about Jeremy. That seems kind of out of character.

*Jeremy is a total dick! She tries to explain to him about the note and he won’t listen. Then he gets pissed that she’s going with Alan, even though he had multiple chances to talk to her or ask her out.

*She writes out the note and then puts it in the computer to spell check it, but the program can’t find a suggestion for Jeremy’s name because she spelled it so wrong. If you can’t spell the guy’s name, then you probably shouldn’t be dating him.