Claudia loves being back in seventh grade. She is queen of the seventh grade, has some great friends and a cute boyfriend. SMS is about to launch its annual Color War, something that’s never been mentioned before or since. They divide everyone up according to class. Each class picks its own color and Claudia freaks out because her class picks orange and she hates it. She does signup as the head of her class and makes her boyfriend Mark volunteer too.
Mrs. Ames the guidance counselor calls her into the office to announce that she’s ready to go back to the eighth grade. She decides to let Claudia make the final decision. All of her seventh grade friends want her to stay, while her eighth grade friends and family want her to go back to the eighth grade. Claudia keeps freaking out because she doesn’t know what she should do.
Then she starts having problems with her boyfriend because Mark is never around. All of her friends go with her to meet the guidance counselor, but he goes off with a friend that’s moving away. He keeps using his friend as an excuse why he can’t be around Claudia. He skips meetings for the Color War and then skips a date to do something with his dad.
She starts spending a lot of time with her friend Josh. Everyone starts acting weird and one of her friends finally tells her that he has a crush on her. Claudia doesn’t believe it, but then she notices that he acts kind of weird around her. They get paired up in the three-legged race and when she accidentally falls on him, she realizes that she kind of likes him too.
After that, Josh acts even weirder and starts ignoring her. She decides to talk to Mark and tells him that she doesn’t think things are working. He admits that things aren’t as good as they were in the beginning. He asks if there’s another guy and she tells him that she doesn’t know. They decide to breakup, but he asks her to keep sending him homeroom notes as a friend.
Alan Gray keeps bugging Claudia throughout the Color War. Josh steals his sneakers so Alan can’t win the big race event. They talk, Josh acts awkward, he admits that he likes her and starts to run away. She stops him, admits that she likes him too and they decide to start dating. Claudia goes to the guidance counselor and tells her that she decided to go back to the eighth grade. And then the seventh grade wins the war.
We also have a B-plot where the kids in town decide to host their own Color War. They plan everything for a day when they have sitters and spring it on the BSC. They didn’t pick colors and everyone fights during the events. Abby’s mom donates books for the winners and the charities that they pick. The BSC arranges it so that it’s a three way tie between the teams.
*Claudia keeps saying that the other kids respect her because she’s a year older. I was a 12-year-old seventh grader and had a summer birthday, so most of my classmates were a year older. In my school, I think there were only a few kids that weren’t 13 in 7th grade.
*Why the hell would they send her back a grade and then back up again in a few months? When she got sent back, they made it clear that she had NO grasp of the fundamentals. Even if she got a few good scores on tests and papers, it doesn’t mean she’s ready for eighth grade again.
*Kristy gets pissed at Alan and shoves a drawing over his head LOL
*Some of the Color War contests are just odd. They do a speed drawing contest where three kids draw a portrait of one kid. Of course Claudia wins. Then again, her biggest competition is Alan.
*We only get one Claudia outfit: plaid skirt, lace-up boots, purple leggings, button-up man’s shirt, black tie and oversized man’s vest.
*She also wears an orange bowling shirt on the first day of the Color War.
*I’m not sure I understand how the Color War works. Supposedly, they take one period every day for an event. But then Claudia explains that they did multiple events on the first day.
*Jessi wins the bake-off with a chocolate mousse cake. Hmm, I wonder why Claudia and Mary Anne didn’t add her to their team during the big bake-off contest in the Mystery book?