Mallory is sick and she has been for a few books, but she wants to stay on top of things. The Pikes announce that their cousins in New York got bleachers for the Thanksgiving parade, and everyone wants to go. Mrs. Pike agrees that if they can find a hotel and a restaurant with enough space, they can go. Mallory feels pretty good about it, but she still has to cancel plans with Jessi and she sleeps through Halloween.
When she wakes up sick again with swollen glands, her mom makes her go to the doctor. The doctor thinks it's either strep or mono, and she sends her home with antibiotics. A few days later, the tests come back and she has mono. They tell her that she might feel better in one week or it might take several months. She hopes that she can recover pretty fast. In the meantime though, she asks the BSC to demote her until she can take jobs again, and they agree to make her an honorary member.
In the middle of all this, the BSC decides to do a special project with the retirement home. Kristy originally thought about doing something for the homeless, but old people are less icky. While sitting for Charlotte and telling her about it, she tells Stacey that they should make cornucopias. Stacey thinks that baskets are easier and they suddenly have a plan in mind.
Since they need to raise money, they ask the kids to think of some fundraising ideas. They want to make baskets with fruit, a book, and some type of present for fifty-five people. The BSC originally thinks about doing a skit for the residents, but then they decide to host a little mini-carnival with a cakewalk and other games.
Jessi creates a list of things that Mal can do from home. While she originally agrees to help, she starts getting frustrated. She keeps thinking about how she isn't getting better, but the club won't let her quit. She decides to make them think that she's a horrible person so they will just kick her out. She makes up a few lies to get people annoyed with her, acts irritated when Kristy and Mary Anne stop by, and won't do anything to help. They call an emergency meeting and call her on the phone to tell her that they know her plan and it won't work. She's still a member no matter what she does.
That kicks Mal into gear, and she decides to actually start helping. They still need $100 and they're running out of time, so she suggests that the kids trade favors for money. That totally came out wrong! Basically the kids promise to do something in the future and get money for it now. She tells the other sitters, word spreads, and they meet their goal.
Mallory announces the news to her parents. She's so excited that they can do the retirement home thing on Wednesday and then get ready for NYC. That's when her parents announce that no one is going to New York. Mal offers to stay home and even suggests they hire a sitter but no dice. They decide that they can go to NYC another time, and they tell her that she can't go to the retirement home.
Kristy, Mary Anne, and Jessi take the kids shopping at a warehouse club. They apparently drew straws to pick which kids would get to go, and David Michael, Karen, and Becca all made the list. The store gave them an extra five-percent discount, which helps them save money on everything they need. They run back and make all of the baskets.
Mallory is home when the kids come back from the retirement home. Everyone had a blast and the residents loved the baskets. Everyone starts getting ready for Thanksgiving, but her parents won't let her get off the couch. When Thanksgiving actually comes, they consider making her sit in the living room for dinner but relent as long as she sits in a lawn chair. In the middle of dinner, the BSC shows up and celebrates with her.
Kristy tells her that they're waiting on an important call, and the phone rings. It's Dawn, calling to talk to Mallory and the gang. They all head into the living room for some pumpkin pie, and Mallory hopes that she gets better soon. Her parents do tell her that she can't be in the BSC even after she goes back to school, and she asks Kristy to keep her name off any advertising.
*I have never been to New York City for Thanksgiving, but I imagine that you need reservations super early. The Pikes manage to get rooms at an "affordable" hotel and find an available restaurant with an empty room that can hold 12+ people less than a month before Thanksgiving.
*Apparently, Ben gets teased at school and people say that he gave Mal the kissing disease. I don't know, but I thought this was cute, especially when Mal gets upset at her siblings teasing her too.
*The "whole" club calls Mallory, but Shannon isn't there. It's a little odd because she is the alternative officer and Logan is on the phone, but Shannon doesn't get mentioned.
*Charlie drives three sitters and like six kids to the wholesale club. Kristy says that Watson gave her his card to use so it's okay. My parents belonged to one of these clubs when I was a teenager and I couldn't just walk in on my own, let alone wander in with a ton of guests.
*Mal catches Vanessa waving at herself in the mirror in case she appears on television during the parade. She has three different versions: the flap, the windshield wiper, and the light bulb.
*The kids buy kid gifts for the baskets like a bubble maker and building blocks. I like that, but I don't like it when they buy kids' books on tape. Charlotte's Web and The Wind in the Willows are two that I remember. They buy straight up adult mysteries for those who can read, but those with bad eyesight get stuck with children's books.
*Mallory admits in this one that she has never kissed Ben or anyone else.
*The cousins call later in the book to ask them to come to NYC for a visit. Mal can't go, but Nicky, Claire, Margo, and Vanessa go with their mom. It's a little odd that the triplets decide to stay home and play, especially since they seem the most upset about not going in the first place.
*Who the hell randomly gives away 12 bleacher seats right in front of the parade? Between the Pikes and the cousins, that's at least 12.
*Mrs. Pike makes two pumpkin pies, which is nothing in my house. Between their family, Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Jessi (Stacey has stuffed mushrooms), that's 14 people sharing two pies. I made two pies last year for five people.
*Then again, I also made way more food for my little group. The Pikes have turkey, stuffing, pearl onions, mashed potatoes, peas, cranberry sauce, veggies and dip, a cheese log, green salad, stuffed mushrooms, and the pie. We had a homemade relish tray, stuffed mushrooms, a homemade meat/cheese tray, turkey, stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, corn, brussel sprouts, stuffed pork loin, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, and chocolate sweet potato pie, and that's just what I can remember off the top of my head. AND, I started the same time that Mrs. Pike does LOL.
*One of the things that I hate in these YA books is when someone is sick and complains about being bored with reading and watching television. I cannot think of anything better than lounging around in bed for a week with a TV and a stack of books, but maybe it's just me.
*Here's my mono story. I got sick the summer between my seventh and eighth grade years. This is a total trend with me by the way. The next summer, I broke the growth plate in my ankle in three places, had surgery, and spent the entire summer on the couch.
Anyway, my mom noticed that I kept nodding off, but no one knew what was wrong. We had this family reunion, and I went with my mom and one of my best friends. I started getting tired in the middle and went back to the car. My mom found me curled up in the backseat, sound asleep. It was the middle of July, 98 degrees outside, and I had all of the windows rolled up, so it was ridiculously hot in there!
The doctor discovered I had mono, and I spent the next 3-4 weeks sitting on the couch or laying in bed. At one point, I slept for 26 hours straight. It was the suckiest thing ever, made worse by the fact that they once thought I had chronic mono, which means that you basically keep getting mono, getting better, and getting mono again.
I did manage to make it back to school in the fall, though I was still really tired for a few weeks. Every time I get tired for a few weeks, I start praying that I don't have it again!