Monday, March 31, 2014

BSC 28: Welcome Back, Stacey!

By Ann M. Martin. Published October 1989.

Stacey gets home from sitting one day, but before she can open the door, she hears her parents fighting. They’ve been doing that a lot lately. Her mother thinks her father is a workaholic, and her father thinks her mother spends too much money. She says she does it because she’s bored, and he’s never home. He tells her to get a job.

Stacey decides not to go in, and runs to Laine’s instead. She’s pretty upset, and Laine tries to comfort her. She even suggests giving Claudia a call. It just happens to be during a BSC meeting, so Stacey gets to talk to everyone. She feels a little better afterward, and heads home.

When she gets there, everything is quiet, and her parents are sitting at the table together. They ask Stacey to sit down, and break the news that they’re getting a divorce. They’ve tried to work things out, and have even been to a counselor. The counselor suggested they get a divorce. That’s pretty bad. Stacey is understandably upset.

Stacey doesn't talk to her parents the next morning, even though they're trying to make up with her. In fact, she avoids talking to everyone, even Laine, that day. She just does a lot of thinking and wondering, like if her dad’s going to move out, or what.

When she gets home that evening, her parents force her to sit down and talk. They tell her they’ll both be moving, her father to another apartment in the city, and her mother is considering moving back to Stoneybrook. She’s not sure yet. They tell Stacey it’s entirely up to her as to who she lives with. She says she can’t make a decision until she knows for sure where they’ll each be living.

She calls Laine and Claudia to tell them the news. Of course, they each want her with them. Then she calls Dawn, who will be more understanding about the divorce. She gives Stacey some practical advice.

Stacey sits for the Walkers, and once she gets them in bed, she does some more thinking. She wonders how she’ll be able to choose one parent over the other. Then she decides what she needs to do simply get her parents back together again. Obviously.

Well, she tries a few different things, but they don’t turn into anything. Her parents are much more interested in looking through the real estate section of the paper. In fact, her mom wants to go looking at houses in Stoneybrook right away. Of course Stacey goes with her, and she shows up on Claudia’s doorstep asking if she wants to come along for the ride. They look at a few crappy sounding houses, and then are shown a house from the eighteen eighties, right behind Mallory’s house. It sounds out of their price range to me, but they say it’s not.

Stacey’s mom lets her stay on Stoneybrook for the night, so they have a spur-of-the-moment BSC slumber party. Stacey has a really good time, and she appreciates how awesome her friends. But she’s happy she’s going back to New York the next day, because that feels like home.

Later that week, Stacey’s dad finds an apartment. Stacey is shocked that it’s really happening, she thought they might just be going through a phase.

Stacey makes a NYC vs. Stoneybrook list. It helps her realize that her relationships in Stoneybrook are better, and she decides that’s more important. She tells her mom to call the real estate agent to see if the house is still available.

So the packing begins, and Stacey’s parents find more things to fight about, this time about who gets to keep what.

Moving day arrives, and Laine brings over breakfast for the McGills. She stays the whole time, even through Stacey’s parents fighting a few more times. When everything is finally packed up, Stacey first has to say goodbye to her dad, and then to Laine. But she’ll see them both in two weeks.

When Stacey and her mom arrive at their new house, the BSC and half the town’s population under the age of ten greet them. If I were Stacey’s mom, I would not be too happy about this. Moving is stressful enough. But everyone except Claudia clears out eventually. Stacey tries to explain to Claudia how she’s still not feeling 100% sure about her decision, and Claud says she understands. But she’s really happy Stacey’s back.

Stacey has her first week back, both at school and at BSC meetings. And she gets to sit for Charlotte again for the first time. And she realizes that though she’ll never quit missing her dad, or wishing her parents were still together, she’s actually happy she’s back in the ‘Brook.

o   Stacey’s mother spent $1568 at Tiffany’s. Damn, Maureen, I’d be pissed at you, too.

o   I wish this book had a different title. It certainly takes away any suspense.

o   If you read this without getting “Stacey’s Mom” stuck in your head, you win. I couldn’t do it.

Friday, March 28, 2014

BSC 27: Jessi and the Superbrat

By Ann M. Martin, ghostwritten by Jan Carr. Published September 1989.

Jessi and her family are settling down for a night of TV, watching P.S. 162. Becca has a crush on the kid playing Lamont, but Jessi likes Waldo because he’s funny. Becca comes out with the info that the kid who plays Waldo, Derek Masters, is actually from Stoneybrook. Jessi calls Mal to confirm this, and it’s true.

And what do you know, at the very next BSC meeting, Mrs. Masters calls. They’re back in Stoneybrook, and need a sitter. Jessi, of course, gets the job. She’s super excited.

Jessi has a dance class, and I have to read Mme. Noelle’s French accent spelled out phonetically. She tells the class about the upcoming auditions at the Stoneybrook Civic Center for Swan Lake, and then personally asks Jessi if she’s going to audition. At least Jessi knows she’d never be Odette/Odile. I would absolutely lose it. She’s not sure she’ll audition at first, but then decides she will.

Jessi has her job for the Masters, and she’s super annoying at first, asking Derek all sorts of questions about Hollywood. It takes her a while to figure out he’s more interested in what’s going on at Stoneybrook Elementary. But she does say she has an audition coming up, and he offers to be her coach, since he knows all about auditions.

She has another job for the Masters, and she lets Becca come over. Becca is way worse than Jessi was about the questions. But she’s able to answer Derek’s about school. She decides to take the kids over to see the Pikes, because Derek and Nicky were in the same class. Mallory is totally weird, and treats Derek like he’s royalty, and the triplets just kind of act like little douchebags, teasing Derek pretty badly because he beats them at badminton.

Derek’s first day back at school goes pretty badly. The newspaper sends a reporter and photographer. The girls all think they’re in love with him, and the boys all hate him. Derek tells Jessi about a boy names John who is really horrible to him. Jessi calls him a Superbrat. At least Nicky is cool to him.

Kristy sits for her family, and Karen is super excited about Derek, and desperately wants to meet him. She thinks he can help her get on TV. Kristy says no way. So Karen puts on a play with Hannie and Amanda, where she becomes a star anyway.

Jessi has her first audition for Swan Lake. There are dancers from New York there. I have no idea if everyone is supposed to be around her age, or if there are adults, or what. They’re all just lumped together. But Jessi gets a callback for the next week. She calls Mal to tell her the news, and Mal has some news of her own. Nicky said Derek threw food all over a kid at school. Jessi figures the Superbrat pushed him too far.

Claudia sits for them, and takes the boys to the playground. They run into some boys from Derek’s class, and he seems wary of them at first. But Claudia decides to invite them over, and it goes really well. The boys see Derek lives in just a regular house. They all have a good time. Derek says John was not one of the boys.

Jessi survives another round of auditions, and gets called back for the final round.

Derek has news of his own. He’ll be heading back to L.A. in just a couple of week to start shooting a TV movie. He’s pretty bummed, because he’s just starting to make friends. He says Jessi should come to L.A., too. There’s lots of dancers, and she could get modeling or commercial work. She thinks that sounds easier after the anxiety of ballet.

Jessi thinks they should have a surprise good-bye party for Derek. The rest of the club thinks it’s a great idea, of course. They’ll have it at Kristy’s house, and it will be a breakfast party, because morning is the only time they’re not all busy. They’ll invite Derek’s whole class, and some other kids they sit for.

Jessi gets permission from her parents to start calling around to some agencies in Stamford for modeling and acting. She’s not feeling too great about ballet at the moment. Derek gives her all sorts of tips at her next sitting job.

The party plans are coming together. The girls are bummed to learn John is not part of the class, and they won’t get to meet him. Nicky doesn’t even know him.

The party is a bit hit, and they totally surprise Derek. It’s a typical BSC party, with food and games. Yay.

Jessi thinks she did pretty well during her final audition, making only one tiny mistake. But she won’t know if  she makes it for four days. So she starts calling agencies, and Mallory worries about her moving to L.A.

It’s finally the day for Jessi to call and find out if she made it. Of course, she does. She makes the corps, and doesn’t get a lead part, thank goodness. I still find it highly unbelievable an eleven-year-old is in Swan Lake at all, but I guess I’ll take what I can get.

She forgets all about the agencies until her dad mentions them. He says he knew she was essentially just distracting herself from what she really wanted.

Derek is really happy for her making the cut, but is a little bummed she won’t be going to see the agents. He was really hoping she’d move to L.A.

Jessi wants to get the Superbrat issue cleared up, she thought he was in Derek’s class. Derek finally fesses up, and admits he was actually the Superbrat. He was doing all those terrible things to other kids after they were mean to him. He and Jessi have a good laugh over how silly that seems.

Ha-ha, being an asshole is hilarious. Good lesson.

o   We learn Jessi’s middle name is Davis. I wonder where that came from.

o   Jessi is a bit judgey about there being old newspapers and dirty dishes at the Masters’ house.