Saturday, May 26, 2012
At the next BSC meeting, Claudia tells the club about the break-in and they all decide that they should solve the mystery themselves. They arrange to go back to the museum and examine everything. They see the same guy with two different colored eyes and follow him around until he leaves in a huff. Jessi thinks the thief may have hidden the coins in the fountain, but Claudia thinks he hid them in the donation box. They check everywhere and find nothing.
The rest of the club leaves, but Stacey decides to stay and check out the exhibit. Apparently Newman creates sculptures designed for people to touch and when Claudia touches the one she loves (called Daphne), it feels different. She convinces Stacey to go with her to talk to the curator Mr. Snipes. He is incredibly pissed off when she tells him that the sculpture is a fake. He shows her the serial number on the sculpture’s paperwork, which matches the number on the display piece.
At their next BSC meeting, Claudia reveals that she stole Snipes’ resume, which was sitting on his desk. The girls look at everywhere he worked before and compares it to searches they run on the museums. It turns out that almost every museum he worked at had some type of robbery or break-in that occurred around the time he worked there.
Claudia finally gives up and calls Newman herself. She tells him of her suspicions and he agrees to check the sculpture. He tells her that he placed three hiding spots in the sculpture and hid toys inside for his kids to find. Every time one was moved, it changed the feel of the sculpture. Sure, whatever. He invites her to a special party held that Friday in his honor.
So she goes to the party, meets him, and they go to the exhibit area, but the sculptures were all packed up. He agrees to sneak into the storage area with her and take a look at the piece. They literally stumble onto the custodian, with the stolen gold coins. The man with two colored eyes comes running out and jumps on the guy.
The book ends with the girls writing a letter to Dawn in California, telling her about their experiences. The weird guy was a federal investigator that was hired to find the thief. The custodian stole the coins and hid them in the sculpture, but security was tightened and he couldn’t get them out. Claudia becomes an honorary trustee of the museum and Snipes asks her to arrange a showing of younger local artists, including some of her own work.
*The whole “touching sculptures” thing really annoys me! I get that some artists would want their work touched, but why the hell would a museum agree to that? It would be a huge liability or lawsuit if someone damaged/destroyed the museum. Plus hundreds of kids would touch it every week, so it probably wouldn’t even be around that long.
*I’m a little confused. Towards the end of the book, it’s mentioned that the guy with the two different colored eyes is a private investigator hired by Snipes to find the coins. Three pages later it’s explained that he was a federal investigator. So, who exactly was he?
*The B-plot involves Claire Pike. She suddenly wants to be a big star and convinces her parents to let her film a video at the mall, singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow on a Wizard of Oz type set. She keeps showing the video to everyone and Claudia gets Rosie Wilder’s opinion. Claire sends a copy of her video to an agent. Jessi tells her the downside/hard things about being famous and Claire decides that she doesn’t want to do it anymore. Luckily the agent isn’t interested and she still ends up getting a role in her school play.
*The whole video thing kind of came out of nowhere. Claire sees a sign at the mall, asks to do it, they aren’t sure, she begs, and they give in and let her do it. It’s described as being expensive and Mr. Pike says they’ll consider it an early Christmas present. How the heck can they justify that expense?
*Claudia wears a French braid with a red ribbon woven through it, a red shirt, and red and white leggings…for lounging around the house on a Saturday morning. Heck, I don’t usually get dressed before three o’clock on Saturday mornings.
*She also wears one of Mimi’s kimonos for the big party at the museum, which is kind of sweet. At the same time though, why is she the only one that ended up with all of her kimonos?
*Newman is described as a fairly important artist in the area and yet he apparently has a listed phone number. Not only that, but when Claudia calls him, he’s perfectly polite and thanks her for calling…at home.
*Why would he devise hiding spots in his sculptures, just for his kids? Most artists I know (or have even heard of) created work to sell or work to display. Did he not plan on ever selling or displaying the piece in public, just keeping it around his house?
Friday, May 25, 2012
In case you haven’t read the book before this (which I’m suspiciously missing LOL), Jessica has found her “one true love” in the form of Jeremy Randall. Unfortunately, he’s also engaged to Sue, the daughter of Alice’s college roommate who died. Alice threw her an engagement party and Jessica snuck off to make out with Jeremy.
Liz catches them and naturally flips out. Not because her sister is a huge whore, but because someone might catch them. They reluctantly stop kissing just before Sue finds them. They make up a lame excuse about trying to find flowers for the party and they head back inside. The twins have to give a speech at the party, but Jessica runs off in tears. Liz makes a joke about champagne going through her twin too fast and everyone laughs.
Liz tells Steven about Jessica and Jeremy, but surprisingly he doesn’t really care. He thinks it’s just another of Jessica’s flings and that Liz is overreacting. Um, would he feel the same way if Billie was sneaking around on him? Oh yeah that’s right, he would totally flip out like he did in the SVU series!
Liz has her own problems though. She feels bad about cheating on Todd with Luke, the werewolf killer. She mopes around constantly, reading relationship books and acting like she’s an expert. When Todd gets back in town, she gets ready to tell him about her affair, but he reveals that he dated someone else too. She rails on him about never trusting anyone again, storms off and ignores him for the rest of the book.
Jessica decides that she will just keep sneaking around with Jeremy. They make plans to watch the sun set, but Sue catches them and they go on a weird triple date. Lila makes a comment about Jessica being his mistress, which she kind of is and Jessica flips out. She accuses Robbie of only dating Lila for her money and decides that she will never again play second fiddle to anyone…until five pages later.
Jessica gives Jeremy the silent treatment for exactly an hour-long dinner. He comes up to her in the kitchen and she’s so happy to see him that she makes out with him some more. He agrees to tell Sue the truth and call off the wedding. Before that happens, Sue gets a mysterious letter. It turns out that she has the same blood disorder her mom had and she only has three years to live. I guess it was a fluke that her mom made it to her forties?
Jessica comes home “walking on air” from her latest date. When Liz tells her the news, Jess decides that Sue must be faking it. Liz accuses her of being a horrible person and that she can’t believe Jessica is her twin. Jess runs to her room and cries herself to sleep because her life is over. That becomes even clearer the next day when Sue tells Jeremy the news. Jessica eavesdrops on their conversation and hears Jeremy tell her that he won’t leave her side and that he wants to marry her.
The rest of the book is pretty much Jessica being a raging bitch. Sue and Jeremy go to the movies, so she goes too. She spills popcorn on them and when Sue suggests she join them, she climbs over the seat and sits between them. Sue and Jeremy go hiking and she tags along. She pretends that she hurt her ankle and gets Jeremy alone, which leads to another make out session. She even follows them to the mall where they go shopping for their honeymoon. She gets Jeremy alone in the elevator and throws herself at him.
The girls throw Sue a wedding shower and everyone brings her sexy lingerie. Jessica flips out because she suddenly realizes that they will have sex on their wedding night. Oh, poor naïve Jess! She then attends a beach party for them and sees the couple with their New York friends. They have a heated debate about politics and the environment. All Jessica can do is make a few jokes, but she still thinks that she’s a better match for Jeremy.
They wind up alone on the beach and Jeremy tells her that she is his soul mate. He will always carry a part of her with him, but he has to do the right thing. Elizabeth and Enid interrupt them, and Jeremy rushes back to Sue. Jessica rails about how she loves him more than any other man she ever met, including Sam.
The big day finally arrives and the girls go shopping. Sue keeps pointing out expensive clothes and buys several outfits. Jessica hisses that Sue is incredibly immature and that Jeremy deserves better. They all go to the ceremony, but she just can’t hold her breath. When the priest asks if anyone has any objections, Jess stands up. She tells everyone that Jeremy loves her and he says that it’s true. The priest cancels the ceremony, Liz carts Jessica off and Jeremy walks down the beach. Oh and Alice is all horrified because she apparently never met her daughter.
The B-plot is about Lila and Robbie. She decides to test him by telling him that she was an orphan taken in by the Fowlers. They treated her badly and she got blamed for everything their real daughter did. She even cooks him brunch, but ruins the waffles. Lila starts worrying that Robbie liked her more as a poor girl, so she confesses the truth. It’s okay though because he loves her anyway.
I can’t believe that I forgot to mention this, but Robbie throws Jeremy a bachelor party. For some reason Todd, Bruce and the rest of the gang go even though there’s never been any mention of them meeting Robbie or Jeremy. The girls break up the party, but don’t find any signs that the guys were “bad”. Apparently they just had dinner and played poker. Liz and Todd get back together. She tells him about the cheating and instead of being pissed, he’s just glad she’s okay and survived. Sometimes I hate this kid.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
The BSC has a new client named Mrs. Lowell, who has three small children. Mary Anne sits for them first and describes them as perfect angels. All three kids are polite, well behaved, and impeccably dressed. She does notice that Mrs. Lowell gives her the onceover, but it doesn’t really phase her. She also notices the older kids giggling about an Asian boy riding his bike on TV.
A few days later Claudia has to sit for the kids and she has a much different experience. Mrs. Lowell is kind of rude, snaps at her, and is annoyed that she doesn’t pay attention. The kids are completely out of control and won’t listen to a word she says. They want more snacks and for her to do whatever they say, or they’ll tell their mom that she was a bad babysitter. She stops them from getting more snacks, so they sneak into the kitchen and steal grapes.
At the next meeting, Mrs. Lowell calls and talks to Kristy, making a specific request that Claudia not sit for her anymore. Claudia can’t figure out what she did wrong and Mrs. Lowell won’t give her an answer. Kristy schedules Jessi for the job. Jessi shows up at the house, but Mrs. Lowell won’t even let her in the door. She tells her that she forgot to call and doesn’t need a sitter.
Mary Anne is scheduled to work, but Kristy takes the job instead. She wears a dress, tries to act like Mary Anne and Mrs. Lowell loves her. She asks about the Claudia situation and Mrs. Lowell gives her a lame line about how the kids just liked MA better. The kids act super sweet and nice, so Kristy peppers them with questions. When she brings up Jessi and tells the kids that she’s African American, she swears that one of the girls says that’s why her mom didn’t like her.
She goes home that night and asks to talk to Nannie, Watson, and her mom. She explains the situation and says that she thinks Mrs. Lowell is a racist. They talk things through and she brings it up to the total club. Jessi completely agrees with it and kind of takes the story in a matter of fact way. Claudia is more hurt than anything and angry that someone wouldn’t like her just because of how she looks.
At the same time, the Rodowsky boys want to put on a show and decide to form a band for kids in the neighborhood. A ton of kids sign up, including Karen, Andrew, David Michael, Charlotte, Hannie, and others. The BSC gets involved, helping the kids practice and pick out songs. The Lowell kids also take part, but then stop coming to meetings. One explains that their mom doesn’t want them to take part until she sees the kids they play with.
The kids originally learn Tomorrow, but then decide to put on a show with lots of songs. They decide to play songs from Fiddler on the Roof because over half the kids saw the actual musical. Mrs. Lowell shows up at the next meeting and makes a beeline for Dawn. Dawn tells her that Claudia is in charge, but she just keeps talking to her. When she learns what the kids are learning, she grabs hers and takes off.
Mrs. Lowell does call back, but this time she asks for that pretty blonde hair, blue eyed sitter that she’s heard so much about. Jessi takes the call and hands it off to Kristy. Kristy explains that they don’t have any sitters matching that description, but she’d be happy to take the job. Then she mentions her adopted sister from Vietnam, Mrs. Lowell makes an excuse and hangs up the phone.
The girls talk things through and decide that none of them would really be good for Mrs. Lowell. Half of them come from divorced parents, they all have different backgrounds, and some are minorities. Claudia feels like they should teach her a lesson, but they decide that they just won’t sit for her anymore.
The day of the performance arrives and everyone does a great job. They accept donations to pay for matching shirts for their band. After it’s over, Claudia notices the Lowell kids sneaking off. She decides that the kids will learn more about people from different cultures/religions/etc. from school and that racism doesn’t have to be passed down.
*It takes them a really long time to realize Mrs. Lowell is a racist. Jessi, who screams “racist” every five seconds doesn’t even pick up on it. She says she feels uncomfortable about her turning her away, but that’s it.
*Claudia talks to her dad, but instead of some big heart touching moment, it’s like one page. Her dad pretty much just says that you can’t change the way some people think.
*I completely skipped any “handwritten” page from the BSC diary that involves Claudia. The more books I read, the more her bad spelling pisses me off. She spells so many words wrong that she should NOT be in junior high. Seriously, thought is “thot”? Sometimes I can’t even figure out what some of the words are supposed to be.
*The book felt kind of…flat to me. I appreciate that it was a Claudia book and not another Jessi book, but it still felt kind of flat. Plus, when I started writing the recap, I realized that not a whole lot happens in the book.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Billie Layton is a big tomboy and she doesn’t have many friends. Her best friend is Jim Sturgis (a possible recruit for the Jim Regis character in Sweet Valley Confidential?), but he is secretly dating Sally Larson. Billie’s mom is pregnant and her little brother is coming any day. Jessica suddenly finds her fascinating, especially when the softball team starts winning.
Billie can’t figure out why Jim suddenly finds excuses not to spend time with her or why he won’t walk her home from school. She starts hanging around the twins, except that Jessica keeps finding excuses not to be around her. Jessica is too busy with the Unicorn Club. Janet Howell, the president of the club, wants the club to win a civic award. The award goes to a club that helps others and she wants them to change their image. The prize is an all-expense paid trip to anywhere within a 30-mile radius or something like that.
The girls come up with a few ideas, but Janet shoots them all down. Jessica wants to help sick elderly people and Ellen suggests a party planning business. Every time Jessica tries hanging out with Billie, the Unicorns, especially Lila drags her off. Elizabeth spends a lot of time with Billie and tells her all about it. Elizabeth suggests that the twins go dress shopping with Billie for Julie Porter’s birthday party.
Billie overhears her parents talking about naming her little brother William. Her mom picks the name, but her dad isn’t too sure because it might be confusing since she’s also Billie. Her mom convinces him that Billie will understand because she’s older. How is this good parenting? Billie is devastated because her dad always called her Billie and he always treated her like a son, but now he’s getting a real son.
She goes shopping with the twins, but can’t really get into it. The twins push her into getting a fancy blue dress, which she doesn’t like at first. Then she starts her period at school and is scared because she doesn’t know any other sixth graders with their period. Jessica is the one that helps her through it. She goes to the library where her mom works and tries to get help, but her mom is too busy with other students. To top it all off, she finally sees Jim and Sally together and runs home crying. Her mom comforts her, but she can’t really talk about it.
The big game comes up and with everything on her mind, she can’t concentrate on her pitching. She keeps screwing up and the coach takes her out. The Unicorns all leave because it starts raining and Jessica actually stands up to Lila, staying with Liz and Amy to support Billie. After the game, Billie goes home with the twins. They curl her hair, make her put on makeup and get her ready for the party.
All of the guys keep staring at her and a bunch of her teammates ask her for dances. She sees Jim, but he acts weird around her and she runs off crying. Her dad shows up because her mom went into labor. They rush to the hospital and when her brother is born, she tells them that she wants to be called Belinda from now on.
The next day she goes back because her game was delayed due to rain. She plays great and naturally wins the game. One of her teammates asks her on a date and Jim comes over. He tells her that he didn’t recognize her at the party because she looked so different. He wanted to ask her for a dance, but when he looked for her, she was gone. She realizes that she likes him, but he isn’t the only guy in the world.
The Unicorns ask her to go out with them and officially ask her to become a member. They liked cheering for her, until it started raining and they like the idea of another athletic girl in the group, Jessica being the only one. Billie jumps at the chance and tells everyone to start calling her Belinda because it matches her now grown up look.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Mr. Santelli throws a huge fundraising dinner for his mayoral campaign. The next day, the newspaper runs a story that he was taking bribes. They discovered a $10,000 deposit made into his account, but he claims he doesn’t know how it got there. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that I would notice a deposit of that size in my bank account! He literally claims that he didn’t know it was there.
The police press charges on him and he has a trial set. Ned agrees to work as his lawyer and Steven comes back, covering the trial for one of his law classes. Alice and Ned fight about that too because she thinks he is taking on too much responsibility and that there is no way of winning the trial. The trial ends with the judge deciding that there isn’t enough evidence in either direction. Since he wasn’t found innocent, everyone figures his campaign is over and Ned feels responsible.
Ned comes home in a bad mood and Alice comes home on top of the world. She even brings home a bottle of champagne to celebrate her new job. Ned explodes at her, saying that at least she can be happy now and that no one in the family will ever see her now. I love how he can work as late as he wants, but he expects Alice home for dinner every night. I also love that he wines about not getting to do protest marches or anything in college. So, did Alice just go to all those without him? Or, did she give it all up when they started dating?
The whole family conveniently takes a trip to Lake Tahoe together every year, even though it was never mentioned before and never mentioned again. Liz worries that her mom will back out on the trip because of work, especially when she starts talking about all the work left to do. She tells her mom’s assistant Julia that her mom really needs the weekend break. She agrees to give her the number at the main lodge, but only if they only call for emergencies. Julia promises to convince her mom to go on the trip.
Jessica sees Hank Patman and another guy stop by the house. Apparently Hank and Ned are buddies when the storyline calls for it! She overhears them asking her dad to take Mr. Santelli’s spot and run for mayor himself. He promises to think about, but she immediately starts imagining all the parties and special attention she will get as the daughter of the mayor.
The family takes off and everything goes fine for the first day. Alice skips out on the family game of charades to do more work, which pisses Ned off. Someone from the lodge comes down the next day because Alice has a phone call from work. Ned flips out and she promises that she didn’t give out the number, but takes the phone call anyway. She takes a few more phone calls, even though it obviously bothers Ned.
The family decides to take a family horseback riding trip on the last day. Jessica lets it slip that she knows her dad is considering running for mayor. Alice is shocked that he didn’t tell her himself, but he says he wanted to have a serious conversation and they never have enough time. She gets another phone call and comes back, saying that she needs to go back to Sweet Valley and do work.
Ned tells her that if she is never going to be home, then he needs to make some changes. He announces that he will run for mayor and then neither one will ever be there. He tells Alice not to leave, but she doesn’t see the big deal because she’s only leaving a few hours before them. Ned warns her that if she walks out, she is walking out on the family and walking out on the marriage. Alice says they can talk later, he tells her that if she leaves the marriage is over and she rides off by herself.
The B-plot involves Jessica finding a chatline for teens advertised on television. She calls and starts talking to this guy Charlie. Briefly she thinks about the 99 cent per minute rate and the fact that she talks 30 minutes every day ,but blows it off. She decides that she is in love with Charlie and Amy warns her that she should at least meet the guy. They start talking to each other on their home lines, but every time she suggests a date, he has an excuse. At the end of the book, she still hasn’t met him, but thinks she likes him anyway.
Monday, May 21, 2012
This book actually made me groan a few times, but I’ll do my best to recap it.
So Claudia comes up with a brilliant idea: Kristy should run for class president. Apparently, SMS runs elections in the middle of the school year and those elected retain their office for half a year. We always did ours at the end of the school year for the next year, but whatevs. Kristy laughs it off, but the more she thinks about it, the more it makes sense. She already runs the BSC and pretends like she runs the world so this is perfect.
Unfortunately, Kristy also has 317 other things on her schedule like studying, Krushers practice, sitting, meetings, etc. She cancels softball practice to work on her campaign, puts off schoolwork to work on her campaign…do you see where this is going? Claudia decides that the perfect logo is a K+ symbol, which they all think is just fantastic. They even paper fences and stores nearby with the signs.
Kristy’s competitors are Grace Blume, Pete Black and Alan Gray so she thinks that she has it in the bag. They all have a big meet the candidates morning and Cokie brings a camcorder. They set up a booth where kids can see themselves on film, meeting with Grace. Kristy thinks she still has it in the bag, even though people rarely come by her booth.
They candidates also have to meet and discuss what they would do as president. Grace makes a bunch of fake promises like off-campus lunches, better music at dances and more pep rallies. Alan tells everyone to stand up and sit down, and when they do, he points out how they already listen to him. I think I *heart* Alan Gray. Pete gives a speech, which Kristy thinks is completely boring. She gives her speech and the BSC goes wild.
Unfortunately, she blew off studying for her science test because of the speech and fails her test. The teacher decides to give her a second chance the next day. She plans to go home and study, but forgot about Krushers practice. She starts studying, but Claudia reminds her that she has the big debate the next day. She takes the test again and gets an even worse score.
Kristy decides to cut back on sitting for awhile. She also tells the BSC that she might step down as president just until she gets everything straightened out. The more she thinks about all the things she has going on, the less satisfied and happy she feels. She thinks about reducing Krushers practices and leaving the club, but nothing makes her happy.
Right before the last debate, she comes to a decision. After everyone gives their speeches, Kristy stands up and withdraws from the race. She explains that she just doesn’t have time to do everything that she wants and her friends completely understand. Pete wins president and Mallory wins secretary or something for the sixth grade class.
The other story is that Jamie Newton just got his first bicycle. He freaks out every time he sees a leaf or trash on the ground. He keeps forcing his sitters to clean off the driveway before he can ride. He has his parents take off his training wheels and keeps forcing himself to ride. The sitters have to stand next to him and push him down the sidewalk. Finally, an older boy offers to help him ride but only if he takes things slow and he agrees.
*Claudia outfit: lime green bicycle pants, long hot pink shirt, cropped lime green striped shirt, black sneakers, with pink butterflies, lime green feather earrings in one ear and a pink heart earring in the other ear.
*Claudia outfit part 2: white jeans, red shoes with bows, jungle shirt with buttons in the shape of fruit, banana shaped barrette.
*Claudia outfit #3: orange tights, feather earrings, tie-dyed dress.
*Stacey outfit: purple capri pants, black ankle boots, black and white striped socks, black and white checked shirt and silver earrings.
*Kristy thinks Pete is pandering to the group when he wants to host pep rallies for the football team. Then, when he brings up hosting pep rallies for the other teams, she thinks it’s ridiculous and would take up too much time.
*According to Kristy, SMS has a fencing team.
*Everyone completely understands when she drops out of the race, but she never really told anyone that she didn’t have a lot of free time, so it didn’t really make sense.
*Why would the Newtons take off Jamie’s training wheels? He’s FOUR! It also seems like they never work with him at all, but just wait until the sitters get there.
*I could not put up with Jamie at all. Lucy starts crying in her playpen and he throws a major hissy fit because he has to get off his bike for five seconds.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Bobby barely gives her the time of day, especially when a cheerleader by the name of Suzy interrupts the party because she wants to make a big deal over her squad mate Caroline’s birthday. Bobby calls her over and gives her a tape by a singer named Black Walker. She pretends that she’s heard of him and they do some minor flirting.
Right before she leaves from the party drunk and ticked off, Randy asks Janice to give Caroline a ride home. She doesn’t want to, but he forces the issue until she agrees. At first Caroline is quiet, but then she warns her to stay away from Bobby. They argue over him, Caroline punches her in the face and Janice drives off the road. As the car flips, she hears the Black Walker tape come on.
When she wakes up, Caroline isn’t moving or breathing. She climbs out of the car and decides that since Caroline is obviously dead, she needs to save herself. If the police realize she was driving the car, then she’ll go to jail for Caroline’s death. She moves her over to the driver’s side, but then notices a gas leak. She just manages to get out of the car when it explodes. She hears Caroline screaming and realizes that she was still alive.
Janice wakes up in the hospital and learns that Caroline died in the explosion. They let her leave and she goes right home. The light on the answering machine flashes and when she hits the button, she hears a message from Caroline asking for a ride to the party. She justifies it by saying she must have called earlier in the night. The calls keep coming though and runs off to the car.
She puts the Black Walker tape in the tape player, but it starts playing more messages from Caroline. Caroline gives her directions to her house and when Janice follows them, she winds up at the scene of the accident. She tries saving both girls, but can only save Caroline.
Caroline wakes up in the hospital and learns that Janice died in the accident. The doctor tells her that Bobby Walker is waiting for her. She heads home, finds messages on her machine and listens to the one from Bobby Walker where she realizes that he sounds exactly like the Black Walker. The next message is from Janice, explaining that she’d call again soon…