Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Baby-Sitters Club #125: Mary Anne in the Middle

For some reason, Mary Anne is now Mallory's best friend. Mrs. Pike apparently went back to work, and the two keep getting jobs picking up the other kids from school and sitting for them at home. Mallory confesses that she really liked Riverbend and really wants to go but isn't sure how to tell anyone, especially Jessi. Though she told her siblings, Vanessa is the only one who really gets it.

When the letter finally comes, she learns that she not only got in but that she got a full scholarship. That's when the kids finally put things together and realize that she's leaving and won't live there anymore. Mary Anne convinces her to tell Jessi about her acceptance letter. Jessi naturally isn't happy and gets really cold about the whole thing, telling her that she hopes she finds what she's looking for.

That pretty much sets the tone for the book. While sitting at the Pike house, Jessi encourages the kids to tell Mallory that they don't want her to go and kind of make her feel bad about leaving them, which will make her realize that it's a mistake. In her eyes, Mallory needs to stay and stick up for herself. That will make people realize that their words can't hurt her.

Mary Anne winds up right in the middle between the two of them. They both keep calling her to talk about the other one and complain. Mallory admits to MA that she plans to go to Riverbend. It all comes to a head when Jessi pushes her to make a decision in the middle of a BSC meeting. When Mallory tells them that she's leaving, they all get sad. Jessi flips out because she realizes that MA already knew and runs away. To get the two talking again, MA schedules them to sit together for the Barrett and DeWitt kids.

The BSC decided to make new decorations and ornaments for the retirement home. Kristy gets the brilliant idea to throw a party for the residents too and to invite people in town to come and bring food to share. Everyone goes overboard making decorations with their charges. Abby even gets the Hobart boys to help her make Hanukkah decorations.

While on their sitting job, Jessi kind of acts like a dictator. She tells the kids all about Mallory leaving before she gets there, which makes the kids go crazy and beg her to stay. Jessi also keeps telling Mallory what to do and acting like she's the only one in charge. When one kid doesn't want to make Kwanzaa decorations, Jessi snaps at Mallory for telling her she could make a snowman. They both call MA to complain about the other.

Long before they went crazy, Jessi made plans for a sleepover with her BSC friends and Dance NY friends. Mallory refuses to go until MA convinces her to come. Jessi naturally isn't happy to see Mallory there but agrees to let her stay. It turns out though that her NY friends think Mallory leaving is a great idea. Jessi overhears one girl talking about her, shouts at Mallory for trying to turn her only remaining friends against her, they fight, and Mallory goes home alone.

The party at the retirement home goes almost perfectly. Jessi does try to force Mallory to take one group of kids to one specific area. Everyone pretty much ignores their fighting though. A bunch of people brought food, Watson donates a new Christmas tree, and they even have the kids sing Christmas songs. It goes so well that everyone forgets about the big fight for a few hours.

When both Mallory and Jessi call her the next day to complain, MA finally flips her lid. She tells them both to come right to her house and makes them sit down to talk. Mallory confesses that she couldn't talk to Jessi about leaving because leaving her best friend was so hard and that she couldn't handle it. They end up crying and making up.

During a BSC meeting, the gang kept trying to come up with a replacement for Mallory. They finally decided not to bring in anyone new, which upset her because it made it seem like she was so expendable that they didn't even need to replace her. While they all stayed late to talk about the party, she skipped out early. MA brought up the idea of doing something special just for Mal.

That's why the whole club minus Jessi show up at her house in the morning with balloons for their very own We Love Mallory Day. Her siblings make her breakfast in bed, they then take her to Henrietta Hayes' house, who presents her with a writing award, and then they go to the mall. The owner of the bookstore where she worked during that project thing gives her a journal and says that she looks forward to holding Mallory's first book signing there.

The BSC then take her to meet Ben, who is waiting to take her to the movies. The last stop is Claudia's room. She finds a big teddy bear holding a heart they all signed and a ton of junk food set out for her. Jessi rushes in at the very last minute with two tickets to see Cats in Stamford before she leaves for school. They all have a good cry before both Mallory and Jessi thank MA for being their friend.

*Stacey agrees to help MA convince Mallory to go to the party. She stops by the Pike house for about five seconds, and as soon as Mallory says she isn't going, Stacey literally rolls her eyes, throws on her jacket, and says there's no point arguing before taking off.

*Jessi is such a brat. You know that if she got the chance to take off and go to some exclusive dance school that she'd bitch at Mallory for not supporting her.

*Ann recommends that we try not to take sides when friends fight because we risk alienating one person. She's clearly never been friends with a group of teen girls. It's almost impossible not to take sides.

*Claudia wears a tie dyed tee shirt that she made herself then cut fringe around the edges and added beads to with matching earrings made from the same beads.

*Everyone keeps bringing up the time that Dawn left and how MA got emotional but managed to handle things. Um, what? Mary Anne was a huge bitch who ignored Dawn and treated her like crap until the very end.

*Jessi points out that Mallory celebrated Kwanzaa with her family the previous year. Except that Jessi and Mallory were in sixth grade back then and now still in sixth grade. I can't even count how many holiday celebrations these kids had.

*I can kind of see things from both sides. I get that Jessi doesn't want her best friend to leave, but she has to get how hard life is for Mallory. On the other hand, Mallory really should have talked to her about all this stuff.

*Some people online have commented that the school wouldn't let kids get away with what they did to Mallory, but I was bullied pretty bad in school by a popular guy and his friends. When I went to the principal, he literally told me that boys would be boys. Apparently “boys” enjoy inappropriately rubbing up on girls, throwing food at them in the cafeteria, and slamming them into lockers. It got so bad that I ended up being tutored at home for a whole semester, so I totally get Mallory in this book.

*I will say that I'm not sure why they picked Mary Anne to be the confidante in this book. She never really seemed to have much of a connection to either girl in the past.


  1. I really would have liked to have seen this book from Jessi's POV, since her last book (which in the end ended up being her last book ever) was 10 books ago.

    Coincidentally, that book was "Jessi's Big Break", which was all about Jessi getting a dance scholarship in NYC (Juliard??) but eventually deciding to turn it down because she'd miss her family and Mallory too much. I don't remember Mallory being particularly supportive of Jessi's potential move either.

    1. It would have been nice to hear some from Mallory's POV too. Then again, given what Mallory is like, I really don't think she'd do so good in a completely different school with people she doesn't know.

  2. Ann recommends that we try not to take sides when friends fight because we risk alienating one person. She's clearly never been friends with a group of teen girls. It's almost impossible not to take sides.

    Yeah, Ann must not have spent much time around teenage girls.

    I do agree it would have been better if this book was Jessi's or Mal's since their the ones with the conflict.

    I remember being surprised they ended Mal's story with her leaving for a boarding school after being bullied instead of the ever popular standing up to bullies scene that are always in books, TV or in the movies. It was more realistic that it never happened.

    1. I think the entire series is proof that Ann hasn't been around teen girls in a loooong time. Mallory's story super irritated me because I highly doubt life would be so rosy in a brand new school!