So, a new place opened in my city that has a massive warehouse book sale twice a month. Everything in the store is just $1. Needless to say, I was more than a little excited to find even more Nancy Drew books and some BSC books I didn't have, including this one.
Claudia is back in good old eighth grade but feeling like everyone keeps pulling her in 900 different directions. Not only is she still sitting, but her seventh grade friends want to hang out, she has BSC meetings, the club members want to hang out with her, her parents want her to spend more time on her homework, and her boyfriend Josh wants more time with her. Plus, now Janine wants more of her time.
After making plans to hang out with her seventh grade friends and go shopping for earrings, she remembers that she already had plans with Josh. Josh winds up going with them but complains a lot and makes it clear that he wishes they could go out just the two of them. It doesn't help that they have plans to go on a group date with Mary Anne, Logan, Stacey, and Ethan.
The date goes about as well as you would expect. Josh dresses up too much, gets really uncomfortable because Ethan is so much older than him, and even knocks over his chair in the restaurant. He calms down a little when they all go back to Stacey's house and watch a movie. Josh chats with Logan about sports but still points out that he wants to spend more time with just her.
Claudia's parents sit the girls down to tell them that they're taking off for a weekend trip to Chicago the following week. They think they can trust the girls alone by themselves for a few days. Claudia decides that she should show a party to introduce her seventh grade friends to her eighth grade friends, and Janine somehow agrees this is a great idea. She immediately starts planning what they should eat and offers to help her come up with some game ideas.
While she wants to keep things small, it doesn't work the way she planned. Shannon, Logan, and some other kids all invite their own friends to the party. Instead of only 12 guests, more than 20 kids show up. They run out of food, the group eats all the pizza they ordered and complain about the lack of food, and start spreading out all across the home. Janine doesn't seem too worried and even disappears with some of the other girls to play on her computer.
Everything changes when Peaches and Russ show up to check on them. All they really see is Mallory and Jessi cleaning up a vase Mallory broke and some other kids laughing in the living room, but they get super angry and demand everyone leave. Janine totally blames Claudia for everything, Peaches tells them that they're grounded, and everyone goes home.
Janine keeps acting super cold the next day. She says that it's all Claudia's fault for letting the party get out of hand and that her friends were super immature. Claudia points out that Janine was the chaperon. After some constant bickering, Janine admits that she's been lonely since she and Jerry broke up and was hoping to spend some time alone with her sister.
Stacey comes by with a vase to replace the broken one. The BSC took up a collection for them. Mom and dad come home just as they finish cleaning up the house. They admit what happened, their parents are pretty cool with it, admit they wouldn't know they threw a party, and ground them both for a short period of time. Claudia makes a candy bouquet for Josh and leaves it in his locker with three certificates she made that guarantee him some alone time. They make up at the very end, and he turns in one of the certificates for a date.
The b-plot is all about Bill and Melody. They keep fighting all the time, and Bill keeps getting grounded or in trouble. All the sitters try to get them to make up to no avail. Mary Anne sits for them, makes them take a walk for her, and loses the house key. The kids end up working together to find a way into the house and completely get over all their fighting.
*Since when is the Rosebud a fancy restaurant? Josh thinks he needs to wear a tie and gets really nervous because it's such a tasteful and classy place. Isn't this the same place Dawn goes with that older guy and Mary Anne constantly goes with Logan?
*The cover doesn't match the outfit Claudia actually wears to the party. In the book, she wears a black jacket with stripes in different colors and black pants.
*Some of the earrings they pick out include pairs with paintbrushes, globes, and plastic judge gavels. Stylish!
*The Kishis are cooler than I expected. They ask if the girls drank and that's about it. Seriously, it was a party with like 20 kids 13 or younger. I doubt it really went out of control.
*Other than the broken vase, the kids just get crumbs on the carpet, play with their food, and laugh a whole lot. We did more damage when I was in junior high!
*It is a little weird to think of Ethan taking the train down to go on a group date with a bunch of kids in middle school. I'm guessing he's a sophomore, so why can't he find a girl his own age?
*Claudia still struggles a lot with math and spends a few hours or more on homework every night. It's super clear that they should have left her in seventh grade.
*What kind of kid goes to a party and lets himself into his friend's parents' bedroom? Claudia find three kids just chilling and watching wrestling on her parents' television while lounging on their bed.
*Claudia acts like Janine is out of control. All she really does is find her a cool website about art, suggests they make chocolate chip cookies, talk about renting a movie, and wants them to have a sister slumber party. What a bitch LOL
*It's funny that she's so “caught in the middle” between her two group of friends considering that they will all eventually disappear and never be mentioned again!
*Everyone blames Bill for the fights with Melody, but she comes across as a little brat. She actually grins when he gets in trouble one time and makes up a bunch of lies to her parents about him beating her up to get him in more trouble. Everyone just glosses over it and deals with Bill being mean to his little sister.