By Susan Saunders. Published 1987.
Kate’s birthday is coming up, and Patti, Stephanie, and Lauren are planning on giving her a surprise party. Even though at the beginning of the book Kate says she doesn’t like surprise parties, and they’re never really a surprise, Stephanie says they should continue with their plans.
They also plan on going in together to buy her one big present, rather than a few little ones. They each make separate excuses as to why they can’t hang out with Kate, and go to the mall to figure out their present. There’s a new pet store, and in the window there’s an adorable calico kitten. Stephanie says Kate used to have one back in the city, but it died. She’s sure she’d love it. They check on the price, and it’s $40, more than they have. They’ll have to come up with the rest of the money. On the way out of the mall, they run into Kate. Oops.
The girls pick up a couple of jobs around the neighborhood, like washing cars and weeding gardens. Unfortunately, they also keep running into Kate, and she starts acting funny around them. Oops again.
When they raise enough money, they go to buy the kitten, only to find out it has just been sold. Well, shit.
There’s a party the girls are all invited to on a Friday night, so they go to that before their sleepover. When Kate shows up to Lauren’s house before the party, she’s not dressed like the other girls. And when they do get to the party, they find Kate is dressed like Jenny and Tracy, two other girls in their class. Then after the party, Kate goes home instead of spending the night, after yelling at them all that Jenny has been acting more like a friend than they have been.
So the other girls have finally freaking figured out something is wrong. They decide to fix it by going ahead and having the surprise early, the next day. When they wake up, Lauren’s mom is gone. When she gets back, she has a box of four kittens, including a calico. She couldn’t let the other three go to the pound.
Now that they have their present, for free, they start planning the rest of the surprise, and they have money to make it good. They figure Kate won’t let them in, but she will let in a deliveryman. They decide to start with a singing telegram, then a little while later an ice cream cake, then a heart shaped pizza. After those are delivered, they figure they can slip in themselves with balloons and the kitten.
Of course, their plan goes off without a hitch, aside from the singing telegram being terrible, but it makes Kate laugh, so it’s all good. It sounds like a pretty kickass birthday to me. The girls make up, and Kate admits she was definitely surprised.
o The girls think about watching a movie called Beach Party Bongos. That sounds dirty to me.
o I appreciate the girls’ relationships with the parents. They actually get in trouble for sneaking outside, and it’s remembered the next day. The girls thank the parents for breakfast and for having them over. They asked Kate’s mom’s permission first about the kitten. It’s a far cry from some other series, and I just think it’s nice.
o It’s never said what happens to the other three kittens, but I have to assume each of the girls gets one. Maybe it will say in the next book.