Friday, December 18, 2015

The Baby-Sitters Club #65: Stacey's Big Crush

Stacey is chilling is Mr. Zizemore's math class when she hears that he'll be taking a short break as a student teacher takes over his class. After hearing the name Wesley Ellenburg, she starts thinking that he'll be a huge dork and that no one will like him. She even wonders if she should try to take control and make the other kids be nice.

No worries though because Mr. Ellenburg is a total hunk. She even thinks he looks like Tom Cruise. All the girls love him because he's hot, but then he makes a bunch of jokes and wins over the guys. Stacey falls in l-o-v-e love and decides to do whatever it takes to win him over. The other girls find it a little creepy and point out that he is nine years older than her, but age matters not in true love.

Since she has no clue what love really is, her version of winning him over is almost adorable. She spends extra time on her homework, dots her eyes with little hearts just for him, and even adds jokes. She also starts wearing dresses because she somehow decided that he prefers girls in dresses. It apparently works though because he asks her to stay late after school and help him clean up his desk, which makes all the other little eighth grade girls super jealous.

Wes needs help a second time, which just so happens to fall on a club day. When she stays late to help, he offers to drive her to her meeting. He accidentally brushes her leg, and she freaks out and thinks that he did it on purpose as a way to show how he feels about her. Wes is, however, completely oblivious to the way she feels about him.

That becomes abundantly clear when she writes him a poem that compares them to two stars in the sky. She stays late after class, gives him the note, and waits for him to read it. He gets really embarrassed, turns bright red, and then makes an excuse to take off. Stacey mopes around and feels mortified for a few chapters as he ignores and avoids her.

On his last day in class, she wears what she thinks is his favorite dress of hers and stares at him. She then works up the nerve to talk to him. Even though he barely says anything to her, she gets it in her mind that he loves her but is too afraid of his feelings. That leads to her thinking that he'll confess his feelings to her at the spring dance.

Stacey spends most of the dance staring at him from the shadows before dancing with him a few times. She finally gets him alone, tells him that she has a crush on him, and then clarifies that she's in love with him. Wes flips out, tells her that she's mature for his age, and makes it clear that there is nothing between them. At first she's horrified, but then she decides that she was crazy to ever think she was in love with him and is okay with seeing him hanging out with teachers and people his own age.

There is a short B-plot that introduces Mrs. Stone and her farm. She asks Dawn and Mary Anne to sit for Elvira the goat. They wind up taking the goat on a bunch of sitting jobs, the goat gets loose, and it eats their neighbors' trash multiple times. Even though it's a pain, they both love her and hate giving her back at the end.

*Wes drives a Toyota with rope holding the bumper on the car, a broken door, and a bunch of other problems. He explains it away as the car being seven years old. Um, I drive a 14 year old Toyota that has none of those problems.

*My best friend in college was an education major and did student teaching experiences. Hers mainly involved watching other teachers. Even when she taught, the teacher was there to watch and evaluate her. Wes takes over the class, and Mr. Zizemore just takes a vacation.

*His “favorite” dress is a navy blue dress with thin straps that flares out above the knee and has white polka dots on it. She also wears a yellow floral dress like the one on the cover to the spring dance.

*I know that teachers learn what to do to avoid inappropriate contact with students, and I'm pretty sure Wes broke every single rule in the book. Not only does he dance with a bunch of his female students, but he constantly lets Stacey stay after school alone with him and even is alone with her in his car.

*How can you even make a joke in math homework?

*Dawn and Mary Anne do a bad job of goat sitting. They feed Elvira everything from banana peels to Hostess cupcakes, all of which seem pretty bad for a goat.

*There are a few mentions of Sam. Someone brings him up when she's mooning over Wes, and he then goes to the dance with one of her classmates. I missed Sam when they started the whole Ethan thing. To make Sam even better, he actually calls when he hears about the dance to ask her, even though he goes to a completely different school.

*Stacey thinks it's “adorable” when Charlotte gets a crush on a boy in her class and basically acts like it's nothing compared to how she feels about Wes. Gag me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sweet Valley Twins #48: Mandy Miller Fights Back

Mandy Miller started spending a lot of time around the Unicorns lately and keeps making it clear that she wants to be a member. Janet calls an emergency meeting and tells the girls that it's time they tell her no way. They all nominate Jessica because Mandy seems to like her best. Before she can tell her though, Mandy announces that Mrs. Arnette just gave them a new assignment and that Mandy picked her as her partner.

Some new museum just opened around Hollywood and decided to host a contest for local schools to do projects about the 1920s. The teacher gives them complete control over what they want to do. Jessica is already a little upset because she got a midterm progress report that she has to show her parents about being late to class all the time. When she flips out about being partners with a clown like Mandy, Elizabeth tells her that no one else wanted to be her partner and Mandy was the only one who even offered.

Mandy comes up with a great idea. Her grandparents did vaudeville and her family still has their costumes. The girls come up with a routine, Mrs. Miller adjusts their costumes, and they start spending a lot of time together. Jessica suggests that Mandy borrow some of her clothes, thinking that if she looked better, the Unicorns might want her. Mandy turns her down and points out that she likes looking a little different.

While rehearsing, they both find a feather boa, fight over it, and Mandy falls when it breaks in half. She finds a strange lump under her arm but blows it off. Jessica finally tells her the club doesn't want her. Mandy blows up and says she wouldn't join if they offered her a million dollars. Though they avoid each other for a few days, they eventually make up.

They try out their routine in class, and it goes great except that Mandy screws up a few times. She then gets sick with the flu and misses a few days of school. When she comes back, she passes out and goes back home again.

Mrs. Arnette asked the girls to make a video of their performance, but with Mandy sick, they can't do it. She gets them a late deadline for the contest, and Mandy agrees to let Liz take her place. Their project actually wins first place with Amy and Liz winning second place. The contest peeps want them to do their routine live and in person.

Unfortunately, Mandy calls and asks Jessica to come over. Mrs. Miller talks to Alice first, and Jessica asks Liz to go with her because she thinks it's bad news. Mandy tells her that the doctor determined she has cancer and that she needs surgery. Though she tries to play it cool, Jessica knows that she's upset. Mandy tells her to pass along the news to everyone in school or to just tell Caroline and let the gossip queen take over.

Jessica tells Lila the next day, who immediately runs to tell Janet and tells Jess not to come with her. She does tell Caroline, and everyone in school knows by the end of the day. Jessica later hears that the Unicorns pooled their money to send Mandy a bunch of flowers and a card. She breaks down to Liz and bonds with Amy and Brooke over cancer. The other club members play it cool around her and never even bring up the other girl's name.

That makes it pretty surprising when she stops by Mandy's house and sees the whole club there. They act super awkward, and Janet even suggests that she leave. The Unicorns keep showing up to hang out with Mandy but never mention her around Jessica or even tell her their plans. Janet finally tells her that they thought it was awkward and that Mandy hated her since she was the one who told her she couldn't join the club.

She comes through the surgery fine and cancer free, but she loses her hair from the precautionary treatments the doctors do. Jessica learns that Mrs. Miller bought her an ugly red wig that looks like something little orphan Annie would wear. The Unicorns raised a bunch of money to throw some super huge party. Janet calls a meeting to talk about Mandy and admits that she's different and would be a good fit for their club. Ellen and Lila aren't too sure, but when the club votes, only two people didn't vote for her.

Jessica tells them about the wig and suggests they cancel the party and use the funds to buy her a good wig. They throw in their allowances and get money from their parents too. The whole club buys the wig and takes it to her house but lets Jessica show it to her. Janet then asks her to join, but Mandy says she needs some more time to think it over.

Elizabeth and Jessica do the vaudeville routine in front of the crowd. Jessica brings Mandy up on stage and announces that she was the brains behind the whole thing. A news station was on hand, filmed the routine, and show it on television later that night. Mandy then tells the Unicorns that she'll join their club but that she won't change her looks or attitude before telling Jessica that she fully plans on running for president next year. Sadly Mandy, next year will take 15 years to come...

*Amy says that the Unicorns will just take advantage of Mandy like the way they did her after her fire. Looks like someone likes to rewrite history! Amy totally hung out with them and even lied to make herself look better to them in that book.

*I don't think the ghostwriters get how being popular works. Supposedly, even though Jess is super popular, no one wanted to work with her because they were too worried she would get them a bad grade. If you were popular in my school, everyone still wanted you.

*Lila and Ellen refuse to tell anyone about their project because it's so great and amazing. In the end, it turns out that they just did a normal book report.

*Liz and Amy win second place. All they do is tape some old movies off TV and write a report about the early days of movie making. Is that really worthy of a second place prize?

*First prize gets a new computer for the school. Second place gets a dictionary. Ooh-ooh.

*When talking about the girls in the club, Jess pretty much says that Lila is the rich one and that Ellen is the popular one. Since when is Ellen so popular? I always thought she was the clumsy one.

*Mandy has an annoying little brother who walks around with an iguana all the time and a perfect older sister named Cecilia who she calls Saint Cecilia. I'm pretty sure that she's an only child in the later books.

*Jessica freaks out the first time she sees the lizard but later rolls her eyes when Ellen does the same thing. She's such a little bitch sometimes.

*Mandy absolutely does not fit the Unicorn mold. I have no clue why she even wanted to join. She seems like a better fit for Elizabeth's group of friends.