Since SMS hosts 9 billion different events every year, they decide to host a Young Author's Day. Mallory can't wait because she wants to be a writer (in case you didn't know) and she plans to work on a big story for the contest. She tells Jessi all about it, and everyone acts like she already has it in the bag.
Nobody bothered to tell her parents though, which means that she seldom gets any work done. She plans to spend all day Saturday working on her story, but her parents need her all the time because they can't focus without her. They ask her to make a sandwich for Claire and do 900 other things. On another day, she gets stuck breaking up a fight with the triplets, sitting for Claire, and keeping Margo out of trouble. She doesn't even have time to do her homework let alone work on her story.
She winds up turning down a few sitting jobs, which annoys Kristy. While dealing with a bunch of family stuff, she shows up late for a meeting, which really annoys Kristy. She also turns down more jobs and decides to work on a schedule. She outlines all of her current sitting jobs, schedules time for chores, time to work on her story, and time for homework. Mrs. Pike interrupts her on the first day, asking her to handle baking cookies for dessert.
Mallory finally decides that she should retire from the club. She shows them her schedule, and Kristy points out that she didn't leave any time for new sitting jobs. Mallory asks them to demote her to an associate member so she can deal with everything in her life. Kristy decides to give her two weeks off to focus on her story, and then they can decide what to do next.
The next weekend, she officially decides to go on strike. She makes a sandwich board out of a piece of poster board and a pair of suspenders and tells them all that they need to leave her alone for the rest of the day. The Pikes need to go to an emergency library meeting (seriously) and hire Mary Anne and Dawn to watch the kids. Mary Anne interrupts Mallory, who didn't even know they were there. Mary Anne points out that Mallory needs to have a serious conversation with her parents so things don't go back when she finishes her story.
Mallory finally does have the talk, and the Pikes feel bad about taking her for granted. They decide to host a special Mallory day, and take her and Jessi to the mall. After wandering through the mall and buying some crap, her parents treat them to lunch. She feels pretty good about the day but realizes that she missed her siblings, so she tells them that she wants to take them out after Young Author's Day.
Young Author's Day finally comes, and Mallory signs up for all of the events. In the middle of the day, they give out awards and she wins for Best Overall Story in the sixth grade. A professional writer comes to the event and talks to Mallory about how she has what it takes to make it in the writing world. People come up to her in school to talk about what a great job she did and her teacher is super impressed with her work.
At the end of the book, she and Jessi arrange to spend the day with the Pike kids. They take them to a carnival-thing at the Barrett house and make them put on a puppet show. She then goes to the park and gives them a clue, which leads them on a treasure hunt. They find a bunch of treats and small toys for them, and the book ends with them all hanging out in front of the Pike house.
*So, Mallory apparently takes a Creative Writing class on top of English. Did any of your schools offer this? We had a club for people who liked writing, but it met one day a week after school.
*Mallory mentions that she buys a pair of earrings and a vest, while Jessi buys a sweater and earrings. When they go to lunch, they claim that they have bulging bags and Mr. Pike asks if they bought out the mall...for two bags?
*The writer does a Q&A session first thing in the morning and then signs her books at the end of the day. Why the heck would a professional writer come to a middle school just to lounge around all day?
*Mallory mentions that her teacher wrote a book and is all impressed by that. I wrote a book too, one that you can actually find on Amazon and in book stores, and no one in my family really seemed to care LOL.
*Is hiding a bunch of stuff around a public park a good idea? It's at least two hours until they go back, and anyone could find the stuff in that time.
*Mal wears red tights, a denim skirt, jean jacket, and earrings that Claudia made when they go to the mall, while Jessi wears a purple jumpsuit with a gold turtleneck. I'm totally picturing one of those weird jumpsuits with the thin straps and scooped neck, which makes it even worse.
*Jessi sits for Claire and Margo, who are annoyed by Mallory being a pain. They make a ballet called Mean Old Mallory, and then tell her about it and how Jessi laughed at it. Mal gets upset, tells them to shut up, and runs off in tears.
*Kristy has plans with Mary Anne but gets stuck sitting for Andrew, Karen, and David Michael. Everything goes wrong all day: the kids fight, Boo-Boo eats their sandwiches, etc. She wonders how Mallory can handle with that type of thing everyday.
*The reason she has to sit is because her mom's friend had a heart attack, so she and Watson are going straight to the hospital. That's kind of sweet, but it seems a little extreme. Since it literally just happened (or they just got the call), it kind of seems like only the family should be there.
*Dawn and Mary Anne have some issues when sitting too. They make one big pizza for all the kids, but they have to pick ingredients off for some kids, and Claire needs her pizza cut into smaller pieces. BTW, they totally didn't tell Mallory when they made lunch.
*The people in her class get the option to submit something for Young Author's Day or not. It kind of seems strange that kids who specifically take a class for creative writers wouldn't want to take part.
*The whole award thing is weird anyway. They give prizes for different types of writing (mystery, etc.) and then the Best Overall prize, but Mallory actually submits her story for that prize. Doesn't it seem like they should award those prizes to the best story from each grade regardless of its style/theme?
*Mallory is all shocked when she finds out that it takes a year to get a book published. That seems like it's common sense because I was surprised that mine landed in stores around five to six months after the publisher got it and we went through editing.
*Mr. and Mrs. Pike are really horrible parents. They literally ask Mallory to do something different every day and then don't understand why she is frustrated. Maybe your daughter is annoyed because you can't be bothered to stop a fight between your sons or make a sandwich for your daughter.
*BTW, they call Dawn and Mary Anne because they have a library emergency. They claim that the library is in the middle of a financial crisis and need all the board members there. I'm pretty sure that's something that wouldn't just randomly appear overnight, and why would these two sit on the board of anything.
*Part of why Mallory asks to be demoted is because of her sitting job for the Barretts. They spill flour all over the kitchen, and before she can stop them, Suzi and Buddy dump water all over the floor. Buddy then goes for a bike ride and gets his foot caught in the spokes because he wasn't wearing shoes. Mrs. Barrett is pretty cool with it, but Mallory thinks that it proves she can't handle sitting.
*Mallory says that Jessi takes French. Has that been mentioned before? I know she has an "ear for language," but I always pictured her taking Spanish or something. Claudia keeps bragging about this great French dish, and Jessi translates it as eels.
*Here's my story about writing in middle school. We had a club that meet one day and had a big competition once a year. There were district, regional, and state competitions, and we only made it past the regional level once. Our English teacher picked the students for the club, but some people just randomly joined. I loved our teacher, but he definitely had his favorites and I was not one of them. He always criticized my writing and heaped praise on a few other people. I ran into him when I hit high school, and he told me that he kept pushing me because he knew I was a strong writer but he knew that I could do better. I guess he was right because out of the 15+ people in that club, I am the only one who now works as a writer.