Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Friends Forever Special: Everything Changes

It's the summer before eighth again, which makes me think that these girls must be incredibly stupid to keep repeating the same grade. Stacey is off to Manhattan for the summer, and Claudia's parents decide to make their vacation a surprise. Mary Anne, Kristy, and Abby all plan on going to Camp Mohawk, but at the last moment, Mary Anne decides to stay home.

Kristy gets a call from Logan early on to say that he wants to drop out of the club to focus more on sports. She gets upset because she thought Mary Anne already knew but calms down when she finds out she didn't know. Then, she gets a letter from Jessi. She just got into a new ballet school that meets six times a week and has to drop out. Abby then reveals that she too wants to drop out to focus on soccer and have fun not sitting or dealing with meetings.

Kristy is so upset that she stops talking to her entirely. They spend half the book not talking with Abby trying to explain things to her. Kristy finally apologizes and tells her that she understands where she's coming from. She isn't happy, but she still wants to be friends.

Stacey spends much of her free time with Ethan. They go out and stay out late at night, go to parties where there are no adults, and make plans every night. Ed finally sits her down and says that he doesn't think Ethan is right and that he's too old. This all comes about after he saw Ethan standing outside of a club. They can spend 14 hours together each week, but she can decide how to use those hours. She spends all week sitting home alone and saves those hours for the weekends.

Ed then drops a new bombshell. He and Sam are talking about her moving into his apartment. Stacey hates the idea and complains constantly. Ethan talks things through with her, she apologizes to her dad, and when he learns that it was all due to Ethan, he agrees to possibly change his mind about him. They all go out to dinner together, and Ed seems to soften to him.

Claudia finds out that her parents planned a trip to an island off Maine. They have no phone, television, or radio, and they want them to devote themselves to simple things like reading good books. She ends up catching them all breaking the rules. Janine brought her computer, her mom reads trashy romance novels, and her dad sneaks off to watch television at a neighbor's house. Claudia agrees to keep all their secrets.

She also finds out that a bunch of artists came there to work and meets a real life artist. She and Janine take some classes together, and Janine actually seems to relax a little. Claudia also sets a goal of eating lobster every day and succeeds.

Mary Anne is worried that her dad will accept a new job and move the family to Philadelphia. She's also worried about what they'll do if they stay because their rental house is way too small. To cap it all off, she's getting annoyed with Logan. He wants to be around her all the time and seems to always be around.

Her grandmother comes for a visit and gives them a bunch of Alma's stuff because most of it disappeared in the fire. Mary Anne attempts to break it off with Logan a few times and keeps failing. She finally works up the courage to talk to him, and he's so annoyed that he stops talking to her. As she says, it's hard to break up with someone you never see. Richard decides to stay in Stoneybrook, and they all decide to renovate their barn and turn it into their new home.

Kristy, Mary Anne, Stacey, and Kristy all meet up at the end. After some talk, they call Shannon and learn that she has to drop out of the club. Claudia admits that she wants more time for her art, Mary Anne needs more time to work on her house, and Stacey wants to spend more time in NYC. Kristy cries a little because she wants more time too. They decide to cut back on meetings and change the way they operate. Kristy is sad, but she also thinks it's the right choice.

*Abby is allergic to horses, hay, weeds, etc., so I have no clue why she thought going away to summer camp was a good idea. I also wonder how she can play soccer and do other stuff.

*Richard gets his deposit back when MA changes her mind literally two days before they leave. I always assumed they got paid since CITs were the ones doing all the hard work. Also, wouldn't that leave them in a lurch since she dropped out?

*Remember how there were older counselors in the first camp book? Kristy and Abby are now the ones completely in charge of their cabin.

*Ed is kind of an asshat. He limits how much time she can spend with Ethan but makes plans with Sam all the time. There are a few scenes where he goes out to dinner and doesn't come home until 11 or later at night and expects her to sit home alone.

*Why would you take teenagers to an island in the middle of nowhere with absolutely nothing to do? I'm guessing they would lose their minds by the end of the week, if not sooner.

*I love that Stacey's excuse for wanting to change the BSC is because she wants to spend more time in New York. It's not like she can just hop on the train after school or something.

*There are no connections between some characters. Stacey and Claudia write, and Mary Anne and Kristy write. That's it.

*Shannon, Jessi, and Mal show up at Mary Anne's house with a gift for her. It's a scrapbook so she can record new memories. It's cute, but it's strange that they never hang out anymore.

*Sharon gasps when MA's grandmother brings out Alma's stuff. I'd like to think it's a gasp of horror. Would you really want your husband's dead wife's wedding portrait, teething ring, and baby cup out on display in your house? Those are literally the things she brings them.

*One of the parties that Ethan and Stacey go to is at his 17-year-old friend's house. Stacey says his parents were out of town so they sat around drinking coffee and reading poetry. Um, sure.


  1. I really wish they finally moved up a grade in this book, that would have been a real good and interesting change. Not repeating the eighth grade for the hundredth time.

    1. Yeah, AMM really should have used this book as a way to transition them to 9th grade, especially since it was just the four. The FF series could follow them as freshmen trying to reconcile high school with the BSC before finally deciding to close it at the end.

    2. That would have been a better way to end the series then another trip through the 8th grade. Its also possible it might have generated new interest and stories and the series might have lasted even longer.

    3. I would have really liked to read a few books of them in high school. It would be interesting to find out if Stacey and Claudia are still oh-so-cool, if people pick on Mary Anne for crying all the time, and if Kristy ended up actually making use of all her supposed athletic abilities.