Abby wakes up one morning and wonders why she feels out of sorts before remembering that her family is heading to the Hamptons to spend 10 days with her grandparents and she didn't finish packing the night before. Anna wanders in as she tosses everything in her bag and complains that she needs to take her time so things don't get wrinkled. Their mom then gets a call that there's some work she needs to do ASAP. Since they can't leave until later in the day, Abby can squeeze in one last meeting.
While taking the ferry, she gets pissed because her mom does work and whines to herself about how her mom will probably spend the whole trip working. She also thinks about all the friends she had on Long Island that she doesn't talk to anymore. They take the time to drive by their whole house, which depresses just about everyone. Abby suddenly can't wait to get to the Hamptons.
Though her grandparents are older, they're both super active. Her grandma is planning a huge anniversary party with an Alice in Wonderland theme while working on her family history. Even though her grandfather had a triple bypass, he's back to being active and loves playing on the beach with her. Basically, everything seems perfect.
That all changes when she notices her grandma acting weird. Her grandparents keep arguing over who will do certain things, she gets a phone call about something that needs checked up on, and the woman seems upset that so many people aren't coming, especially her sister Leah. The two woman had a fight over something in the past and haven't talked in years, but no one will tell Abby what the fight was about.
Abby takes matters into her own hands and calls her great uncle. She tells him that her grandmother was so disappointed when she got his rejection letter because he's always the life of the party. He changes his plans around so he can come after all. She also calls her cousin who eventually agrees to try and make it and bring her kids.
When her grandmother asks her to grab something out of her room for her, Abby finds brochures about breast cancer and realizes that she's sick. She goes to the library and looks up information about it and wonders who she can talk to before deciding to keep it a secret. Abby thinks about telling Mallory who calls her and then Kristy but decides against it because it's not really her secret. Though she does keep waiting for someone to spill the beans.
Her grandmother has a friend who works on off-Broadway shows and brings a bunch of props and costume pieces for everyone to use. Kristy then comes to town for the weekend and for the party, as does her aunt Miriam. You might remember her as the woman who dumped her baby on their front steps without a word. Even Miriam picks up on the fact that this party seems really important to her mom.
Miriam eventually tells her what happened with Leah. Abby's grandmother joined Weight Watchers and asked her sister not to tell anyone. Leah then brought it up in the middle of a big party, the two fought, and stopped speaking. Abby decides that if she tells anyone about the cancer, her grandmother will stop speaking to her too for betraying her confidence. She instead calls Leah and tells her grandmother, which leads to the two women finally talking and Leah agreeing to come to the party.
The party is a huge hit, and her grandmother gives a short speech. When she doesn't mention the cancer, Abby runs off to cry until her grandma finds her. She tells her what she knows and learns that her grandmother found a lump, which the doctor removed for testing. She then tells Abby that she knows she can get through it because she has her family beside her, hugs her, and then tells her that she'll always have her family too. The end. WTF Martin?
In other news, the Pike family can't go to Sea City this year. Mr Pike needs a new fuel pump, which will take the whole vacation fund. After moping around for so long that Mallory wants to tear her hair out, Dawn comes up with a new idea while sitting for them. They can turn their yard into Sea City. They set up kiddie pools with water, play games, make beach snacks, and have a ton of fun.
It all lends up to one last vacation day. Stacey takes them downtown the same way they went downtown on vacation and arranges for them to meet the mayor and tour the fire station. A bunch of kids go back to the Pike house for a sleepover, but someone clogs the toilet, and they all have to go across the yard to the McGill house. None of the multiple sitters get any sleep, but the kids have a great time. Mr and Mrs Pike wind up so frazzled that Stacey thinks they'll never have another staycation again.
*Abby complaining about her mom working really annoyed me. God forbid your mom work on the ferry when there is nothing else to do or that she do some work while you're at the beach without her.
*She also throws a fit about the book on tape her mom listens to while driving and makes them turn it off to listen to music, even though both her mom and Anna were into the tape!
*Abby also makes a comment about how she always refers to Long Island as home but that she guesses Stoneybrook is her home now. The way she says it comes off as really snotty though, like she doesn't want it to be her home.
*Her aunt Miriam dresses as the duchess and puts her son in a matching pig costume. Abby points out how it's just like the story and is so cute, but I honestly do not remember that character at all.
*Abby's grandmother's mom had 12 siblings, but nine of them died in the Holocaust. It's meant to be this sobering and serious moment, but it comes across as really forced to me.
*Kristy sees Abby's mom lounging on the car and soaking up the sun when she first arrives and makes a comment about how too much sun is bad for you. Hm, let's see...who spends five minutes just sitting in the sun and who spends hours practicing with her baseball team in the sun and heat?
*Kristy also seems really appalled when the woman tells her that being too practical isn't good either. Abby says that Kristy doesn't believe there is such a thing as being too practical. Man, she is going to be a real hoot in high school.
*Her grandmother dresses up like the White Queen. The book has her in an outfit with a see through skirt, white piping around the inside, and matching bloomers. It clearly doesn't match the outfit on the cover.
*Abby naturally goes as Alice and flips out when Anna's friend brings over her four little sitters who all dressed as Alice too. She calms down when she realizes it will just add to the crazy Wonderland feel of the party. I think it's a little weird though. Did she think there were enough characters that everyone would come as someone different?
*So this is a whole book about a woman who has cancer, but then it turns out that she might not have cancer and everything gets summed up in two final pages. That pisses me off.
*Ann tells kids in her end notes that families will always come together and that if someone in your family is sick, you'll always have your family to turn to for help. I'm not getting into my personal/private life her, but she's a damn liar. Not everyone has a big happy family they can turn to all the time.
*The triplets accidentally blast Mrs Pike with water balloons, she seems super ticked, and takes her time coming out, but she actually attacks them with a Super Soaker before running back inside laughing. I totally want to be that kind of mom!
*Poor David Michael. He can come to the Pike house during the day because Kristy comes with him, but because she's in the Hamptons when they hold a sleepover, he can't come. Yet they have multiple sitters there like Stacey, Mallory, Jessi, and Logan. Could no one watch him at night?
*Claudia wears orange leggings with a yellow tunic decorated with beads, matching earrings made from the same beads and clay, and aqua shoes. Abby says she looks like a sunset, but I say she looks like she's color blind.
*Abby is so super active all the time that she can't even handle being stuck in traffic or sitting on the ferry. She also explains that sitting still is so way harder for her than other people.
*The Pike vacation thing didn't make a lot of sense to me because I'm assuming they already put down a deposit or even paid for the whole house. It's so close to when they usually go that I can't imagine they got a full refund.
*Abby is kind of smarmy about how none of them thought her aunt could handle raising a baby and how she guesses they were wrong. I'm sure she assumes anyone in the BSC could do a better job too.
*In case you couldn't tell, I really don't like Abby. I'm glad I only have a few more of her books to get through.