Friday, February 14, 2014

BSC Super Special #1: Baby-sitters on Board!

By Ann M. Martin. Published July 1988.

What's with the sweaters, Dawn and Claudia?

I think this book is where the realism of the BSC really goes off the rails. The Pikes have won a vacation through Mr. Pikes work, and they’re bringing Stacey and Mary Anne along as mother’s helpers. Now, it’s already unbelievable that the trip for ten people is paid for. Then who is paying for Stacey and Mary Anne? Are the Pikes?

And then Watson hears about this, and decides to take the whole Thomas-Brewer clan. And then he feels bad for leaving two members of the BSC behind, so he pays for Claudia and Dawn. Are Sam and Charlie not a little irritated their friends aren’t invited?

Anyway, it’s a grand total of twenty-one people going on a cruise through the Bahamas, and then three days at Disney World. It does sound like a kick-ass trip.

Dawn, Kristy, and Claudia are sharing a room on the ship, and it already starts to go badly, with Kristy making a mess and Dawn cleaning up after her. Annoying on both their parts. When Dawn ventures out to explore the ship, she runs literally runs into a hot guy. They talk for a minute, but he practically runs away when she asks who he’s traveling with.

Mary Anne takes Nicky and Vanessa to go exploring, and they start at the bottom and work their way all the way to the top. Outside the beauty parlor, Mary Anne gets creepy, gawking at a teenage girl wearing a skimpy bikini, and she has “a figure that filled out the top of the bikini nicely.” She even says “wow”. The girl turns around and starts talking to her, saying she’s traveling alone, and maybe starts to say her parents got killed before she gets called away. Mary Anne may have a girl crush.

On the top deck, they spot a boy jump out from under a tarp on lifeboat, and run away. Nicky and Vanessa chase after him, but lose him. The figure they’ve spotted a stowaway.

Mallory and the triplets are allowed to roam on their own, which Mallory says is perfect, because she wants to pull some Harriet the Spy shit. Just, ya know, without getting caught. She sees the same girl Mary Anne did, saying she’s an actress, an old man, a kid in a wheelchair named Marc, a guy she’s certain is a musician in her favorite group, and the stowaway kid.

Kristy takes Karen, Andrew, and David Michael to go swimming at one of the pools. But Karen forgets her earplugs she has to wear, and asks if she can go back and get them by herself. And Kristy lets her. Really, Kristy? She’s freaking six. But she does. And of course Karen can’t just do what she’s supposed to. She goes and gets a damn manicure, and then stops off for a drink. When she finally returns, she barely gets in trouble. I hope that’s because Kristy’s feeling guilty for letting her go off on her own.

At breakfast, Claudia gets a note from a Secret Admirer, telling her she’s beautiful. All that day during their stop at Nassau, she sees a shadow and a figure jumping out of the way when she takes a picture. Then she finds another note in her bag. She doesn’t have a secret admirer, she has a stalker. At the end of the day she admires a pair of earrings, that are too expensive. But what do you know, when she stops and has a Coke, the waiter also brings a box with the earrings. That’s creepy.

After an unproductive club meeting, Stacey goes up to the top deck to watch the ocean. There she meets Marc, the boy in the wheelchair. They bond over their medical issues. He has a heart problem. Later, there’s a storm and the ship starts rolling, and everything in the cabin goes flying. And Margo gets sick. Poor Stacey has to clean out the trash can. I wouldn’t make the baby-sitter do that, myself.

Kristy and Dawn’s war continues. They’re both acting really immature. At the pool, Kristy meets a grumpy old man named Rudy Staples, whose wife died a couple of months previously. She ends up telling him about Dawn, and he talks about his wife. Then they go and play some games. When she gets back to her cabin, Kristy finds that Dawn spent the morning cleaning. So she goes bitching to her mom, asking to switch rooms with Karen. She thinks it’s fair to her, at least. But her mom shuts her down pretty quickly.

The triplets, Nicky, and David Michael are allowed to go off on their own when the ship docks at Treasure Cay. Are you freaking kidding me? An unknown island, and they even go into the water. Yeah, that sounds safe. Anyway, the boys are all about pirates, and spend the time looking for buried treasure. They do find what they think is a treasure map, and figure it could be for anywhere.

Dawn thinks she’s in love, with the hot guy she met. His name’s Parker, and they soon spend al their time together. It’s pretty boring, and they talk about divorces. His dad just got remarried to a woman who has two boys that he thinks are brats. He thinks his dad is being selfish. Dawn thinks Parker is, but she doesn’t say anything.

The triplets get in trouble, so they’re back to being baby-sat. God forbid the Pikes actually watch their own kids at all. Anyway, Mary Anne gets put in charge of them, plus Nicky, and then David Michael joins them. So she’s looking after five kids by herself. That seems fair.

The boys go all around the ship looking for treasure. Mary Anne gets bored, but then runs into her girl crush, and they talk. Her name is Alex, and she says she’s traveling with her brother, and her parent s were killed. Mary Anne is confused as to why she would lie about traveling alone. But she thinks she’s found a true friend.

Stacey takes Margo and Claire (Mallory takes Vanessa to go read) to get souvenirs, go swimming, and then to the arcade. On their way to the arcade, they run into Marc and his dad. Marc wants to go to the arcade, but his dad says it gives him a headache. So Stacey offers to take him. And he lets her. He says he’s “sure she’s responsible.” Seriously? You talked to her for a few minutes the other night. So you let her take full responsibility for your seriously ill child? Ok, whatever, Mr. Kubacki.

Marc and the girls have a good time playing games, but then they all get a little down when Marc tells them he won’t be able to go on the cool rides at Disney World. Stacey takes them for ice cream to cheer them up. That works. They run into to Claudia by herself, eating a sundae. When Stacey’s in line to pay, she hears they guy in front of her say he’ll “pay for her sundae, too.” Stacey looks and sees a woman and a girl, but “neither of them looked they deserved a Secret Admirer.” Wow, bitchy much, Stacey? So the gut must mean Claudia. But by the time she looks back, he’s gone. After she pays, she runs over to Claudia, and tells her she just missed him. But Claudia thinks she might catch him, so she runs out of there.

And on that thrilling cliffhanger, that’s the end of Part One. Part Two will be up on Monday.

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