Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Baby-Sitters Club #76: Stacey’s Lie

Stacey is sad because Robert is going to spend the summer on Fire Island. He was supposed to spend August there, but decided to leave early so he could work on the local ferry. He wants to spend one last weekend with her, but she has to go to New York and spend Father’s Day with her dad. Luckily her dad plans to take two weeks off and lets Stacey pick anywhere she wants to go, so she picks Fire Island.

Claudia gets to go too because her dad invited her, but Stacey doesn’t tell her about Robert. They also make plans for Shannon, Kristy and Mary Anne to come out for the 4th of July weekend. Stacey notices pretty quickly that her dad is spending a lot of time at a friend’s house and that he’s rarely around. Within the first night in town, Claudia discovers that Robert is there. She’s a little unhappy, but willing to work with it.

Stacey starts spending every free minute with Robert. She wakes up early, just to see him before the first ferry and then sneaks back before breakfast. She also meets him every night as he gets off work. Claudia starts feeling like a third wheel and avoiding them all together. Stacey kind of tries to make her feel better, but doesn’t really care either.

Claudia spends a lot of time building sandcastles by herself and sketching costumes for the upcoming holiday parade. Stacey feels kind of guilty and suggests they have a night out together, a best friend date. Actually she feels bad because they go out alone together and run into Robert, which kind of ruins the best friend thing. Then Robert makes plans for them to go on a sunset sail.

Stacey tries to rush Claudia through the night. She makes her get dressed fast and walk to the restaurant fast, just so they can eat at 5 o’clock. Then she rushes her through dinner and when they walk outside, they run into Robert. He reveals their plans, Claudia gets pissed off and storms home. To make things worse, Stacey learns that her dad is dating this woman Samantha and that’s where he’s been the whole trip.

By the time the other girls get there, no one is happy. They march in the parade, but Claudia tells the other girls exactly what Stacey did. After an awkward weekend, they pack up and head home early, taking Claudia with them. Stacey tries to talk to Robert, but he tells her that he can’t trust her anymore and kind of breaks up with her.

The next day, she talks things out with her dad and he apologizes for not telling her the truth. Then Robert comes over and says he didn’t mean to break up with her. She also makes up with Claudia and discovers that a local gallery is showing some of her photographs. When she gets back in town, they have a long talk and really make up. Then she tells her mom about Samantha and her mom is actually fine with it.

*Stacey is such a bitch in this book. She lies to Claudia constantly and all she cares about is spending time with her boyfriend.

*Stacey asks her dad what he would do if she wanted to go somewhere else and he makes it out like he would have went wherever she did. BUT, he totally paid for Samantha’s house and reveals that the trip was actually supposed to be for the two of them, as was the house. Is that a mention of pre-marital sex??

*Another plot involves Mal and Jessi working as counselors at a day camp. Haley and Vanessa get in a huge fight because they have the same swimsuit and pull a bunch of pranks on each other. Eventually they make up.

*Ed is kind of a douche. He spends the whole trip with his girlfriend, ignoring his daughter and lying to her. Then he turns around and lectures her on the same thing.

*Ann’s notes at the end talk about how she spent five years going to this same area and wanted to pay homage to it, even though she hasn’t been there in years. Um yeah, this place is probably nothing at all like what it was when she first went there.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Baby-Sitters Club #31: Dawn's Wicked Stepsister

Having a stepsister isn’t as much fun as Dawn thought. Mary Anne catches the wedding bouquet and gloats about it to everyone that listens. The two girls spend one last night together at Mary Anne’s house and she cries constantly because everything is her last. She cries even harder the next day when the Perkins girls bring over brownies they baked and the movers come. She whines about giving up their couch, not having enough space in their shared bedroom and worries that the movers will kick Tigger.

Jess takes Dawn aside before going back to California and tells her that he won’t be coming back for awhile because their family has some problems. He also tells her that he doesn’t like the side of Mary Anne he saw after the wedding, but she just blows him off because she thinks everything will be fine within a few days.

Of course things aren’t fine. They exchange clothes the first day and everyone thinks it is so cute. When they both want the same sitting job, Mary Anne insinuates that her skirt is too tight on Dawn and that she might bust it. She gets the job and brags about it, making Dawn feel bad.

Dawn also notices the problems between their parents. Richard gets up early and fixes breakfast for everyone, even though they don’t get up for hours. He always makes Sharon bacon, even though she doesn’t eat meat. Then he insists on cleaning, while she just wants to relax for a few hours. He asks her about cooking dishes with meat and she insists that he eat in during the week for lunch, so she doesn’t have to look at it.

They all have dinner one night and Richard wants to clean. Sharon and Mary Anne both want to watch a movie and Dawn wants to clean, but both girls take their parent’s side. When Richard demands they do spring cleaning, Mary Anne whines because Sharon keeps dusting stuff on the floor. dawn rudely points out that it’s all kitty litter and cat fur, which come from Tigger.

It finally comes to a head when the BSC members go to a dance. Mary Anne goes with Logan and makes some rude comments about how Dawn will understand what it means to look good when she has a boyfriend. Seriously, I would probably punch her in the head. Then the girls try doing homework together one night. Dawn wants music and Mary Anne pitches a fit. Their parents run in and each side with their stepdaughter. Mary Anne storms off and sleeps in the guest room.

Mallory comes down with chicken pox and slowly all the other members of the Pike family get sick. The triplets all get pneumonia, Vanessa sprains her ankle, the other kids get sick and Mr. Pike burns a finger. The BSC members fill in and both Jessi and Kristy even clean for them.

Dawn uses the Pike family as an excuse and claims that Mallory needs her help. She gets help from Jeff to scare Mary Anne. She hides in the secret passage and throws things against the wall. She rings the doorbell and leaves a chicken bone that looks like a finger and a rose on her desk. Mary Anne sees them and runs off screaming, so she sneaks in and takes them back.

Mary Anne is so scared that she permanently moves into the guest room. The girls suddenly become best friends again and make up for all their fights. They come home one day from a BSC meeting and see Sharon sitting in the living room, with Tigger curled up in her lap. She tells them that she kind of likes having him there and they all share a laugh.

*Why in the world would Sharon and Richard let them share a room? In the last book, Richard even tells Mary Anne that she will have her own room.

*Why did Richard and Sharon not think of some of these logistics before marrying? He eats meat and she doesn’t, which causes a huge problem and they act like they never knew it might happen. It’s kind of like when a non-smoker marries a smoker and then bitches about the smoking. Um, you knew the person smoked when you got married.

*Dawn rearranges the socks in Richard’s drawers, which are organized by color and it drives him nuts because he thinks he did it accidentally, teehee.

*I have cats, love cats and have had cats all my life, but Mary Anne is way too obsessive about Tigger. She constantly whines that he doesn’t feel comfortable there and can’t get used to his new house. Um my cats lived in the same place for two years of their lives and it took them less than a week to get used to the new place.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Baby-Sitters Club #20: Kristy and the Walking Disaster

Kristy is sitting for Karen, Andrew and David-Michael when they decide to practice baseball with some friends. The kids all suck, but one reveals that a guy in the neighborhood has a softball team for kids that aren’t so good. Kristy agrees to talk to Bart, but he doesn’t have space on his team for a bunch of kids. Kristy tells the other BSC members to keep an eye out for kids that might want to join the team she decides to start.

Of course dozens of kids want to join and she has a full team on her hands. Jamie is scared of the ball and ducks every time it comes near him, Claire throws massive temper tantrums when she strikes out and barely anyone can communicate with Matt. She keeps practicing and encouraging the kids to get better. Bart suggests they play against each other and she starts training the kids even harder.

Bart and some of his team show up during a practice and his kids make fun of the team. The only one they seem to like is Nicky, who is a pretty good pitcher. The kids all feel really bad because the Bashers call them names and pick on them. Kristy decides she doesn’t like Bart, but then they walk home together and she gets the fuzzies.

The game finally arrives and everyone helps out by working the refreshment stand. The Krushers lose to Bart’s team, but the kids are excited that they got to play a real game. Bart walks Kristy home, they make plans to play again and she gets all crazy in like. Bart suggests they hang out sometime, without the teams and she goes home with a big smile on her face.

*Mary Anne brings Tigger to a BSC meeting and Kristy allows it. I can’t really see Kristy letting him stay there, since it’s a big distraction.

*Sam apparently bakes brownies for the refreshment stand. For some reason, that mental picture really cracked me up.

*Just to show how the books treat ages again. Gabby is 2.5 and can join the team, but Marnie who is only two can barely talk and sits and eats cereal during the game, playing with her toes.

*Kristy makes a comment about how Claudia “forced” Charlotte to join the beauty pageant. Granted it’s true, but they were all kind of horrible in that book.

*Kristy is embarrassed that everyone notices she has a crush on Bart and that he likes her. Cut to 60 books later and suddenly she’s irritated that he calls her his girlfriend and ends things.

*Karen refuses to call the team the Krushers because it’s spelled wrong and spells her name Crushers on her shirt because that’s right. This book reminds me of why I always wanted to slap her around.

*What is the point of these teams? Bart’s kids are all older and old enough to join Little League. Kristy starts her team and when he suggests a game, she’s all shocked by the idea. Did they both plan on just playing practice games with a bunch of kids? You don’t need shirts for something like that!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Unicorn Club #9: Ellen’s Family Secret

The Unicorn Club is in turmoil. They lost half their members, i.e. the non-bitchy members, to another club and they can’t pick a new president. Lila, Jessica and Kimberly all want the job. They keep rotating the club meetings, but agree to let Ellen host the meetings until they pick a new leader because her house is neutral.

I actually like this book because it expands on the character of Ellen. She knows that she is a klutz and says the wrong thing sometimes, but can’t help herself. She begged her parents to get her a fancy new ice skating outfit in purple and they finally got it for her as a birthday gift. Wearing the outfit gives her more confidence because all the girls wish they had it and all the guys keep staring at her. She accidentally trips while skating and rips a huge hole in her skirt.

Ellen feels bad about it, but feels even worse when everyone starts making fun of her. The guys that saw her start reenacting her fall in class and even the other members of the club tease her about it. She invites the club members over for their next meeting. Her parents start fighting in the middle of the club and the girls all leave in a hurry.

Ellen notices that her parents are fighting a lot more than they ever did before. Within a few hours after they fight though, everything goes back to normal. She tries to convince them to leave the house for a few hours so she can host another meeting. Instead, her dad offers to bring home free toothbrushes from his dental office. Her mom writes the girls’ names on the brushes and makes some fancy food.

She cranks up the music, gets fresh flowers and tries to offer a calming environment. The first half of the meeting goes well, but then her parents start fighting again. She shoves her friends out of the house, letting Lila take home all the food, giving Jessica her new CD and giving Kimberly flowers just so she can get them out of the house.

The Unicorns start acting weird around her. She sees them whispering and when they won’t tell her what they talked about, she thinks they want to kick her out of the club. She tries to fix her skating skirt, but her sewing just makes it worse. She overhears her parents fighting yet again, only this time her dad leaves and he doesn’t come back that night.

Everything seems fine the next day until her parents sit her and her brother down for a talk. They announce that they are getting a divorce. Ellen cries and storms out of the room. Her mom tries to talk to her, but she refuses to talk about things. The big school Family Picnic Day is that weekend and they had planned on going as a family. Now, they want her to pick between the two of them.

Ellen’s dad signs a lease on a new apartment and moves out of the house. She decides to come up with a plan to get her parents back together. She invites them both to the picnic, saying that the other isn’t coming. Then she picks up candles, wine glasses and chocolate for the picnic. She goes to her dad’s apartment and helps him make sandwiches and then goes home to help her mom finish up their meal.

Both of her parents show up at the picnic. They see each other and start fighting because they think the other planned the whole thing. Ellen confesses that she wanted them to get back together and rushes off. After crying for a few minutes, she looks up and sees the Unicorn Club walking towards her.

Jessica confesses that Dr. Riteman called Ned for legal help and he told her about the divorce. She told the other members and they tried to figure out what to say to her. Lila wanted to help, but didn’t know what to do. They decided to talk to her at the picnic. They also give her a gift, which is a replacement for her ice skating skirt.

Ellen goes back to the picnic and has a talk with her mom. Her mom tells her that they both love her, but they just can’t make their marriage work. They spend the day together at the picnic. Ellen goes back to visit her dad at his apartment and agrees to help him furnish his apartment. He makes it clear that the club is always welcome there. Oh and they decide to elect Ellen as their new president.

*It’s kind of shitty what her parents do! They know that they are filing for divorce, but still say that things are fine and plan on the picnic.

*According to Jessica, Ned didn’t break client confidentiality by telling her about the divorce. Even if he didn’t, it’s still kind of horrible that he would tell his kid. What if Ellen didn’t even know yet?

*Her parents are all shocked that her friends overheard them fighting, which is ridiculous. They were literally screaming at each other in the next room during one of the meetings.

*Lila wants to start an ice troupe where the club puts together a routine and performs it at a party. Her dad agrees to rent out the ice skating rink. In the end, they decide that it sounds too hard so they just want the party.

*Ned apparently plans on bring his hibachi grill to the picnic and grilling out. For some reason that image made me giggle.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sweet Valley Twins #4: Choosing Sides

The Unicorn Club is starting a cheerleading squad for the middle school, known as the Boosters. The girls are absolutely disgusted by some of the people signing up and want only the best looking girls. Liz is extremely worried about Amy because she’s a great baton twirler, but she isn’t cute enough to make the squad.

Liz is doing a story on the cheerleader tryouts and basketball tryouts, which are happening at the same time. Amy pretends that she’s a bad twirler and Liz thinks it’s so she can drop out easily, but it’s just because she doesn’t want them to know how good she is. She also sees Ken getting picked on for being short and being a sucky basketball player. She invites him over to the house to get some tips from Steven. Steven pretty much gives up on him, but she gives him some advice on practicing with a tennis ball because it’s smaller.

Lila calls and mistakes Liz for Jessica. She tells her about trying to figure out ways to get the bad girls to drop out. Everyone in school sees Liz with Ken and teases them about dating. Apparently no one in the sixth grade dates, so it’s a big deal. I love how in the later books, everyone in sixth grade has a boyfriend. Jessica is disgusted by her sister dating such a crappy guy. God I’m thinking of SVH now!

Jessica decides to write a letter to Ken from Amy, saying that she loves him. Then she writes one to Amy from Ken. In both letters, she mentions Liz in the hopes of getting them to ditch her sister as a friend. Amy gets the letter and realizes it was the work of the Unicorns. Ken gets his letter, thinks it’s real and starts avoiding them both. Amy also gets a call from Lila, telling her that she should drop out.

Liz goes to Ken and tells him the truth. The Unicorns line everyone up for the tryouts and their top pick screws up and drops the baton. They make Amy do a cheer for Ken, while he’s trying out a few feet away. How big is this gym anyway? Ken does great, even stealing the ball from Bruce. The girls hope to humiliate her, but she does the cheer again and does an amazing baton routine. The book ends with the Unicorns inviting her to join the Boosters and her accepting.

*Liz is worried that Amy will turn into a Unicorn and she’ll lose her to them just like she lost Jessica. It’s kind of cute, except that Amy really does turn into one of them later.

*Liz also gets really defensive of Jess and claims she is nothing at all like the other girls. Yet Jess is constantly screwing her over. Even when she recognizes her sister’s handwriting on the notes, she thinks she must have a reason for it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Baby-Sitters Club #23: Dawn on the Coast

Dawn is going back to California for two weeks for spring break. Sharon is a little sad about her leaving, but takes her out for a celebratory dinner. After a breakfast of dry granola, she hops on the plane. She thinks her flight attendant looks like a kewpie doll and the woman ignores her the whole time to flirt with the guy sitting next to her.

From the moment she gets to California, she feels like she never left. Her dad takes them to Disneyland, the housekeeper makes healthy dishes all the time and she loves the sun. Sunny invites her over for a surprise and reveals that she started her own babysitting club with some girls in the neighborhood. They have meetings, make their own kid kits and are making their own collection of healthy recipes for kids. One of the girls even loves scary stories just like Dawn.

Dawn also gets a sitting job with two of the kids she once babysat for. She takes Clover and Daffodil to a carnival and loves being with them. The more she thinks about it, the more she wants to stay in California. She finally broaches the subject with her dad and he agrees to talk it over with her mom. She asks for a few days to think things over.

Sunny is excited and thinks she should move back. She makes a pro and con list that shows California as the winner, but can’t make up her mind. She tries calling Mary Anne, but she isn’t home. Then she realizes that she wants to share California with the people in her life, but moving back wouldn’t feel the same and she wants to go home to Connecticut.

Jeff acts out, but finally asks why she doesn’t want to come back. He thinks that she doesn’t want to live with a bunch of guys. She explains how much Connecticut feels like home. Her dad tells her that he knew all along she would go back. Dawn calls her mom, who reveals that she always knew Dawn might want to move to California.

The entire BSC comes to the airport to welcome her home. They giggle and gossip about her trip and everything that happened in town. Dawn thinks about how much she loves her mom, Connecticut and all of her friends there.

*How does Dawn know what a kewpie doll is or looks like? She doesn’t seem like the type to know about obscure dolls.

*Part of why Dawn decides to come home is Nicky Pike. He feels left out in his family and sneaks out to the secret passage. Kristy finds him and he tells her that he can’t wait for Dawn to come home, so she writes her a letter and tells her.

*Dawn’s dad tells her that she should bring the entire club back for a visit.

*I wish I had two weeks for spring break! Hell even in college I only got one week off for spring break.

*It always feels weird when Jessi writes one of the older girls. Here she sends Dawn a postcard after visiting her old neighborhood. It just doesn’t seem like they have any interaction outside of the club meetings.

*Dawn buys every member a pair of Mickey Mouse ears and gets Mary Anne a stuffed Minnie Mouse doll. That is a lot (a lot) of money. I remember paying like $20 for a pair of ears when I was a kid.

*Sharon is still dating Trip in this book and mentions that he’s taking her to a humor lecture. When she mentions her plans for the two weeks, she never even mentions Richard. And then she turns around and marries him in seven books.

*Dawn mentions at least three times that she could never, ever leave her mom. Talk to me in 50 books or so.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fear Street: The Secret Bedroom (R.L. Stine)

Lea is new to Shadyside and since her parents love restoring old house, they decide to buy one on Fear Street. Suki Thomas’s mom is the real estate agent and she tells them about a mysterious locked room in the attic. Years ago, someone was murdered there so they shut the door, barricaded it with wood planks and let the room closed off. Somehow they don’t find this even slightly odd.

She has a hard time fitting in with other people, but she does make friends with Deena Martinson. One day in the cafeteria, she trips and spills chili all over popular girl Marci. Cute guy Don helps her clean up the mess and asks her out on a date for the next weekend. Deena warns her that Don and Marci have been dating for years, but she ignores her.

The night of their date, she gets ready and just sits in her room. Lea calls Don’s house and his mom tells her that he went out with Marci. Convinced that he used it as a cover story, she calls Marci’s house. Marci answers and cracks up laughing because she got Don to ask her out as a joke. Lea remains convinced that he really does like her and that Marci made it all up.

Marci wastes no time telling the story to everyone in school. In her version, Lea is a pathetic loser that keeps hounding him for a date. Then, Don calls her up and tells her that he snuck away from Marci and really wants to see her. She rushes off for their date, only to find him sitting in the pizza place holding hands with Marci. Yup, he’s a total winner.

Then, because it’s a Fear Street book, weird things start happening. She hears noises coming from the attic and what sounds like footsteps. When she gets close to the door, a series of spikes pops out. The next time she investigates, she finds blood dripping from the door. Gotta love Deena because when Lea first calls her, she says she had a bad experience on Fear Street and doesn’t really want to come back. Of course when she gets there, the blood is gone.

Lea finally gets it in her mind to break into the secret bedroom, so she rips the boards off the door. When she walks inside, she sees a girl sitting on a canopy bed. The girl says her name is Catherine and she’s a ghost. She freaks Lea out by grabbing her hair and holding on tightly. Naturally she runs away, but then decides to go back and see her again.

Lea gets Catherine to go with her to Marci’s house and give her a scare. Catherine gives her one by slipping in her body, saying it’s the only way she can travel long distances. Catherine scares the shit out of Marci, by moving things around the room and Lea tells her that she’s doing it because she has “powers.” Marci runs upstairs, trips and falls over the banister and dies.

Lea flips out and tells her parents all about Catherine. They decide that she’s just sick because of a high fever. Then, Catherine takes over her body. She reveals that Lea never went in the attic, but Catherine made her think she did. Catherine’s bedroom and the secret bedroom were always Lea’s room. Lea tries to force her out of her body, but can’t stop her.

Catherine reveals that she was born before her parents were married and they were so ashamed of her that they kept her locked in the room. She takes over her life completely, even visiting Don. Lea realizes that she periodically (and conveniently) leaves her body at times and the next time she does it, Lea runs upstairs. She rips the boards off the bedroom door and finds two skeletons sitting on the bed.

The skeletons are Catherine’s parents, the same parents she murdered. Catherine jumps in her body and her parents attack, strangling Lea until she leaves. She passes out and when she wakes up, she’s in the hospital with the same fever that made her sick before. When she gets out, she goes upstairs and finds the boards back on the attic door…

Pretty good, but I’m confused about a few things. If Catherine killed her parents in the room, then who boarded it up? A century ago people would be pretty suspicious of a teen girl living alone and her parents were popular, so people would check up on them. And did she die in the house? If she did die, then how? Eh, maybe the whole thing was just a hallucination caused by Lea’s fever.