Friday, October 5, 2012

The Baby-Sitters Club #51: Stacey’s Ex-Best Friend

This is the one where we learn that Laine Cummings is truly a bitch.

Laine calls Stacey to discuss her plans for her upcoming break and Stacey begs her to come to Stoneybrook. She asks her mom, and Laine agrees to come, though she doesn’t seem too excited about it. Stacey goes on a major cleaning spree, ridding their home of anything uncool, including magazines, her pig collection, and even food.

Laine immediately makes it clear that she doesn’t like being there. She completely misses the town when they drive through it, rolls her eyes at everything Stacey says, and acts like she’s a 30-year-old. The BSC has a slumber party at Stacey’s house and Laine gets bored. She doesn’t want to eat because she’s on a diet, she doesn’t want to talk because she doesn’t know anyone, and she brags about her 15-year-old boyfriend. She thinks all boys their age are dorks and kind of acts rude about it, leading Kristy and Mary Anne to get upset.

Since Laine is so bored sitting at home by herself, Stacey brings her to school one day. Pete Black sees her and loses his marbles. He tells her that she has hair like gossamer and she laughs at him. She also gets annoyed at Kristy who is pissed at Bart. There’s some big dance coming up and he might not go with her because he might want to watch a game on TV that night.

Stacey decides that Laine should go with Pete to the dance, but she seems freaked out. She finally admits that she doesn’t know how her boyfriend King would act. King is super cool <note my sarcasm>. He has high school friends, has purple tips in his hair, and he calls her “Babe.” She calls him King because he’s like totally the king of her heart.

King calls and Laine makes Stacey leave the room. She hears Laine laughing about something, and then Laine says childish, which she thinks is about her charges. Pete calls, and Laine makes her stay in the room. As soon as she hangs up, she starts making fun of Pete and how he talks about her. Then she decides to call King and makes Stacey leave. Stacey eavesdrops and doesn’t like the way she keeps talking down to him about Pete.

The BSC decides to throw a Valentine’s Day party for their charges. Nicky has a huge crush on one of the Arnold twins and Carolyn has a crush on an older boy. They all think it’s adorable, but Laine thinks it’s lame. She makes a few rude comments about it and Kristy stops talking to her.

Stacey decides to make amends and have a girl’s night before the dance. Laine doesn’t want to eat snacks because she’s on a diet and tells Stacey she needs to lose weight. She doesn’t want to help her pick out an outfit for the dance, and she doesn’t want to do her nails because Pete isn’t worth it. Then she changes her mind because King will see her nails the next day. Oh and she picks on Stacey for buying nail polish off the home shopping channel.

Laine is also disgusted that the boys aren’t picking them up in their own car, which Stacey points out that King can’t do either. Austin and Pete bring them corsages, and Pete drops his on the ground. That kind of sets the tone for the night. Laine says the decorations look like it’s a kids’ party, that the food is more appropriate for kindergarten kids, and that sixth graders shouldn’t be allowed at the dance because one drops a drink somewhere near her.

Pete asks her for a dance, she says she’s tired, some other guy asks her, and she rushes off with him. It turns out that the guy is a “lowly” seventh-grader LOL. Stacey finally snaps and drags her off, telling her that she’s been acting snotty. Laine decides that she wants to go home, so Stacey calls her mom. She grabs her jacket and makes Laine get her own. Maureen calls Mrs. Cummings and they have a fight on the phone, but she still takes her to the train station.

The BSC holds their party and everyone has fun. Nicky freaks out because he sees Carolyn with the card he made for…Carolyn. Turns out that he had a crush on Marilyn though and she likes him too. They actually end up holding hands at the party, which is actually kind of sweet.

Stacey feels bad about what happened and talks to Claudia who tells her that she needs some closure on things. She writes a letter to Laine, telling her that she’s sorry for the fight, but not sorry for what happened because Laine changed so much and she misses her. She puts her old BF necklace that Laine gave her when she moved in the envelope and mails it. Then she sits around the house waiting for Claudia, her one and only best friend to come over.

*Stacey can’t figure out why Laine didn’t see the town when she pointed out a few stores and the pizza place. Um, don’t they always describe Stoneybrook as being kind of big? Or do I just think that because so many NYC people move there?

*What the heck is a hoagie? Stacey orders one for the whole group, but here in Ohio, a hoagie is just your basic sub sandwich. I keep picturing each girl getting a 1-inch sandwich.

*Laine thinks she’s so cool because she got a job as a cashier at “the trendiest boutique on the Upper West Side.” I wonder how cool it will be when her boss fires her because it violates child labor laws.

*Dawn says dude and Laine snaps that the word went out in the 60s. Um, I use that word at least once a day. Plus, I’m sure this book came out during the TMNT boom, and we all know they loved that word.

*Stacey outfit #1: purple shirtwaist top, flowered leggings, cowboy boots, and a hair thing made out of shoelaces. God, I totally remember those.

*Laine outfit #1: black capris pants with lace edges, jean jacket with a fake fur collar, black ankle boots, and a red beret.

*Stacey outfit #2: red shirt and very short denim skirt.

*Laine outfit #2: black leotard, black stockings, black flats, black jacket, and silver earrings.

*Stacey outfit #3: red barrettes, red sweater, red ankle boots, and red leggings.

*This book is supposed to show Laine as a bitch, but I always got that vibe from her anyway. It’s not like she was so nice to Stacey in the past.

*Laine is disgusted that they can’t leave campus during school hours, even to go to the coffee shop during study hall. Does any middle school do that?

*Mary Anne and Logan fight because he wants to dance at the dance and she doesn’t, which makes Laine roll her eyes. I have to agree with her on that one. Why even go to a dance if you just want to stand against the wall and eat or drink? Even though I am and always was a horrible dancer, my friends and I always busted a move at middle school dances.

*Stacey says that Laine once loved sitting as much as she does. Is that true? I remember in some of the other books Stacey mentioning that she didn’t know any other sitters in NYC, which is why she always got so many jobs.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Point Thriller: The Dead Game (A. Bates)

We have three best friends: Linnie, Ming, and Jackson. Ming is super depressed because she was first in their class until two new students transferred. They both took AP classes at their old school and since their school doesn’t offer those classes, they immediately had a higher GPA than anyone else. Jackson learns that their parents intentionally transferred them because they were so low ranked at their old school. Linnie tells her friends that she wants to murder the boys.

They naturally freak out until she admits that she was just joking. She actually wants to do something to humiliate them. Ming steals one of the brother’s varsity letter jacket and leaves it draped over a tombstone in the cemetery. He shows up the next day wearing a letter jacket, but his is still hanging in the graveyard.

Linnie tells them about a game her older sister played at a resort. I totally saw this on “Greek” and some other random shows that I can’t remember. Basically, everyone gets a name of someone they have to “murder” and when they kill someone, they get that person’s target. They decide to just pick a bunch of cheaters for their plan. Jackson gets this chick Brenda who constantly acts like a bitch, Linnie gets this guy John who hits on every girl in school, and Ming gets Rafe who is kind of a cool guy.

Ming follows Rafe around for a week and finally decides to make her move. She “accidentally” spills her tray on him in the cafeteria, he falls down, and a bunch of other people trip over him and fall down. When they finally get up, Rafe is laying there not moving. Ming remembers seeing someone kick him in the head when he fell, and one of the teachers sends her off to call an ambulance.

No one knows what happened to Rafe, but rumors swirl around the school. Ming skips class because she feels so guilty, and Jackson stops to see her. He tells her that he added Rafe to the list because (a) he stole his old girlfriend and (b) he dropped off the track team and ruined their shot at winning the state meet. Ming feels better enough to come back to school.

Linnie plans to humiliate John by taping him with other women. Someone steals the tape from her and plays it over the PA system. The tape shows him coming on to dozens of different girls and badmouthing his girlfriend Brenda. John skips school for a week. Then Jackson follows Brenda and sees her stealing a bracelet. He makes a bunch of sketches of it and shows them to some girls. They pass them around school, Brenda sees them and runs off. She starts running down the stairs by the football field, slips on some water, and breaks her neck when she hits the ground.

The original three get together and decide to stop their game. The next day, the transfer twins get in trouble when they get caught with a copy of their next science test. Price, another guy on the list, gets suspended from school and the track team for drinking and he uses steroids. The group realizes that someone is still following their list.

They finally decide to go to the cops and tell them what happened. Linnie decides to leave early and someone jumps out of the shadows, knocking her down. Someone attacks Jackson and Ming, and when Ming wakes up, she sees Jackson unconscious and Linnie dragging him away. Ming manages to escape and get to a phone, but Linnie stops her and rips the phone away from her.

They run off, fighting and screaming at each other until they reach this rock fence surrounding the river. Ming escapes and jumps over the side, waking up in a hospital. Luckily, we have Jackson to tell us what happened, but unluckily, he really doesn’t know. He literally says that Linnie just flipped out.

Ming was out for a few days and Linnie spoke to a psychiatrist. They say that she basically has two people living inside her and her other half decided that they weren’t doing enough to get back at the people on their list. She did everything herself, including stealing her own tape and planting the test on the boys. She accidentally pushed Brenda down the stairs too. Then Ming and Jackson kind of get together and the book ends.

What the fuck? Seriously, what the fuck? It’s like Bates wrote the book, then slapped together an ending and forgot about the rest of the book. There’s an entire chapter/scene where Linnie gets attacked by someone, and she actually tries to defend herself. Then it turns out that it was her all along. I’m calling BS on this.