Friday, January 31, 2014

BSC #7: Claudia and Mean Janine

By Ann M. Martin. Published September 1987.

So, obviously, Claudia and her sister Janine do not get along. I don’t think Janine’s mean, though. A little annoying and overly proud of her mad intellectual skills, sure. But not mean. But it rhymes, so what the hell.

One night they get into it over a trivia game they play with Mimi. Janine totally schools Claudia, and Claudia accuses her of cheating. Then Claudia gets on Mimi for her and her parents liking Janine better because she’s smarter. Mimi says she’s tired and goes to her room. A little while later the girls hear a thud, and find Mimi passed out. They find out later at the hospital that she’s had a stroke.

At first Mimi is only able to communicate by blinking her eyes, but she slowly regains her speech, although she confuses English and Japanese. She also has to relearn motor skills, but her right side remains weak. She goes to therapy everyday for all this, first while she’s still at the hospital, and then later as well when she’s allowed to go home. During the mornings, Claudia stays with her and they work on things together.

During all this, the other girls have taken up a venture in a playgroup. It’s held three mornings a week during July, in Stacey’s backyard. All the regular neighborhood kids are there, including Jenny Prezzioso. Last time she was featured, I didn’t think she was too much of a brat, but this time around, I kinda have to agree with the BSC girls. Her mother of course sends her to the playgroup dressed like she’s going to a party. But then she screams about not taking off her shoes or wearing a smock. It’s pretty bratty behavior.

But then Karen, of all people, helps to fix it. She tells everyone that Andrew’s a monster, and Jenny flips out. But when Andrew tells her to wear the smock, she does it. Yay Andrew.

Kristy’s family moves to Watson’s mansion during this time, but we don’t hear much about it. But we do get a chapter where the kids bathe Louie and get him all fixed up for the big move, and it’s actually pretty funny.

Lucy Newton’s christening is held, and of course the girls are there to help out. Jamie has been kind of jealous of Lucy during all the preparations for the party. Towards the end of the party, Claudia catches him about to punch all over Lucy, but he changes his mind and doesn’t. He tells Claudia he was going to, but she’s his sister and he loves her.

Claudia thinks about how Jamie’s parents love them both the same, then realizes her family probably love her and Janine the same as well. She goes home and has a talk with Janine. They discuss how it seems like Janine is too damn busy studying all the time to make time for the family, but it’s just that Claudia jumps in first. And they both feel like their parents like the other one more. So they make up, and it’s lovely. For this book, anyway.

o   What kind of a library doesn’t have Nancy Drew books? Although, maybe they don’t anymore.

o   I always pronounce iron “eye-ron” in my head because of Mimi and this book.

o   Claudia almost hits Janine at one point, raises her hand to do it and everything. Not much is made out of it. But who’s really the mean one here, Claudia?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sleepover Friends #4: Patti's New Look

By Susan Saunders. Published 1988.

Those are some fierce slouch socks.

At the first sleepover, the girls are looking at a magazine. One of the articles is about kissing, and the girls practice on their pillows, and then their arms. Just in case these ten year olds see some action soon. Then they take a quiz called “Careful or Carefree”. Stephanie ends up being carefree, Kate and Lauren are in the middle, and Patti scores super careful, and it says she needs to loosen up.

The next day, Patti is determined to try new things. She buys an outfit that's nothing like her, and the other girls aren’t too sure about. Then at the soda fountain, she drinks the Secret Weapon, a mixture of everything they’ve got. She predictably gets sick from this.

The girls are all excited about a really big sleepover – thirteen girls – at their friend Jane’s house. They’ll being going to the ice rink together, and all the boys say they’ll be there, too. Patti almost can’t come because she’ll be having company for all of winter vacation. Her parents’ friends’ daughter from California, Karen, will be staying with them, while her parents and sister make college visits. But Kate gets Karen invited to the party, too. Patti says Karen is short, thin, and really quiet.

Turns out, Karen has changed. Now she’s a total hottie, and the boys fall all over themselves for her. Back at the sleepover, Karen has the girls enthralled, telling them about movie stars she sees, and all about astrology. She says she hasn’t played Truth or Dare in forever, but introduces to girls to the idea of Seven Minutes in Heaven, that she says they play in California.

Kate thinks something’s up, however, and checks out the magazine the girls were reading at the beginning. Turns out, Karen got everything out of there.

By the time the next Friday, and their regular sleepover at Patti’s, rolls around, Karen has Patti completely changed. Patti’s wearing Karen’s clothes, Karen has moved stuff from Patti’s room to the attic, and even changed Patti’s kitten’s name. But Patti confides in Lauren that she doesn’t really like it.

All of a sudden, Karen’s sister Lisa storms in the house. She is pissed, y’all. Karen had stolen a bunch of Lisa’s clothes out of her suitcase. All her “cool” clothes aren’t hers at all. And she confesses to getting everything out of a magazine. Turns out she’s just as careful and “boring” as Patti. The girls change, and have a good time playing a “babyish” game of Mad Libs.

o   Each of the girls did end up getting a kitten from the last book.

o   Karen says she usually sleeps “in the raw”. I don’t feel comfortable thinking about a ten year old sleeping naked.

o   Don’t knock Mad Libs, girls. Mad Libs is the shit.