Wednesday, April 30, 2014

BSC #37: Dawn and the Older Boy

By Ann M. Martin, ghostwritten by Mary Lou Kennedy. Published September 1990.

Ok so, he looks about 35

The girls are having a sleepover at Kristy's, and are messing around with hair and make-up. Yes, even Kristy. Stacey gives Mary Anne a scrunched hair look, and Dawn can tell she totes hates it, even though she won’t say anything. The girls go to bed without washing off their make-up, so they look like hot messes the next morning. Kristy says it doesn’t matter, and they go down for breakfast like that.

But oh snap, there’s a total hottie sitting at the table. His name is Travis, and he’s a friend of Sam and Charlie. The girls high tail it back upstairs, and spend an hour getting presentable. When they get back downstairs, the boys are still there. Turns out Travis is from California, too, so he and Dawn have that in common. He tells her her eyes are as blue as the ocean. She thinks she’s found the one.

Dawn is obsessing over Travis, and finds a way to work him into to conversation at the next meeting. This only succeeds in annoying Kristy, though. Then Dawn gets a bit jealous of Mal, who has a date-that’s-not-a-date with Ben Hobart coming up. Dawn wants a date with Travis.

Dawn and Mary Anne are raking leaves in their front yard, when who should stop by but Travis. Mary Anne leaves them alone. They talk about Travis’ car and school, and then Travis pulls out a present for Dawn. There’s a necklace, the same color as her eyes, and some hair combs. Travis suggests she use them to wear the sides of her hair back, and then suggests she get her hair trimmed, to give it more lift. Travis. You’re being a creeper dick. Stop it. But he leaves, and Dawn runs inside, telling Mary Anne to get the scissors.

Jessi sits for the younger Hobart boys, and the Perfect Perkins girls come over. They all rehearse a play James wrote. Then Zach comes along, and totally makes fun of it, and of James for playing with girls. James doesn’t let it bother him though, and says Zach is just jealous. Jessi is proud of him.

One day after school, Travis shows up. He wants Dawn to come help him find a birthday present for his dad. Dawn has a moment of indecision, thinking her mom wouldn’t be thrilled, but chooses to go with him. They go to a sporting goods store, and find his dad a compass. Then they go get something to eat, and Travis orders for Dawn. It kind of bothers her, but because he orders something she likes, she doesn’t say anything. He talks about himself the whole meal. They then go to Merry-Go-Round, and he buys her some earrings. He tries to pressure her into to getting a third hole in her ears. She freaking finally stands up for herself a bit, and they leave the store.

When she gets home, she is in some deep shit. Sharon and Richard are home early, and suffice it to say, they are less than thrilled she was out with a sixteen-year-old, that they don’t know, in his car. Sharon thinks something’s not right about him giving Dawn presents. No shit. But then, she softens, and says maybe they’ll feel different after they meet him. Richard gets mad about that, saying she shouldn’t see him at all. They get into a fight about it. Dawn slips away to go get mad at Mary Anne for telling them where she was. She gets over it pretty quickly though, realizing it wasn’t really Mary Anne’s fault.

Kristy sits for her brothers and sisters, and they go “camping” in the backyard. It’s cute.

Dawn sits for the Hobarts, and they’re rehearsing their play again. And yet again, Zach comes over to make fun of James. He says he’ll never be popular if he hangs out with girls and does girly things. He says James should come over to his house and play football. James finally gives in, and leaves with Zach. Dawn is disappointed with him for changing himself for Zach.

Kristy drops a bomb, and talks about Travis dating some lifeguard chick who’s in high school. Dawn is all sorts of confused. So she decides the best course of action is to go stalk him. Obviously. She runs to the high school, and spots Travis, who links arms with a gorgeous girl, and they head downtown. They go to all the places Travis took Dawn, with the added trip to a park, where they sit on a bench to kiss. Dawn is super upset. She wonders if he’s upset with her because she didn’t get those third holes in her ears.

Dawn tells the whole sad tale at the next BSC meeting, and they all agree Travis is a creep. Mary Anne tries to make Dawn feel better, by telling her she’s got a guy to introduce her to. Except Mary Anne hasn’t even met him yet. It’s Logan cousin, Lewis, and he’ll be coming for a visit soon. Dawn really couldn’t care less.

The Hobarts and Perfect Perkins have their play. They get a big audience from around the neighborhood. It doesn’t exactly go the way they planned, because Chewy, the star of the show, is a hot mess. But it’s really funny. Towards the end, Zach shows up, and drags James away to his house. Mary Anne thinks about Dawn and Travis and gets an idea.

Dawn decides to stalk the happy couple again, but this time she’ll confront Travis and embarrass him. So she “bumps” into them, and he’s not embarrassed at all. He introduces her to Sara, the girlfriend, and she says something about the “little friend” he’d told her about.

When she gets home, Mary Anne compares Dawn’s relationship to My Fair Lady, with Travis changing her. Dawn sees her point. They agree she should try confronting him again, and telling him what she really thinks.

So she picks up the phone, and does just that. She tells Travis that he hurt her, that he never actually liked her, he just liked what he thought he could turn her into. And that she thought he had feelings for her. He tries to tell her she’s got it all wrong, but she pretty much won’t let him get a word in edgewise. Then she tells him goodbye.

Mary Anne hasn’t let up on the Lewis idea. In fact, she and Logan have been telling him about Dawn, and even sent him her picture. He’s written Dawn a letter. Dawn’s still not too sure about this, but he sounds like a really great guy. She writes him back, and they start corresponding. She finally tells Mary Anne she’ll go on a date with him when he visits, if he asks. Get back up on that horse, Dawn.

o   Kristy has a fluffy pink quilt. That seems out of character.

o   At one point, Dawn says Ben is Mal’s age, which he is. Then later Dawn says he’s in her class. Er, what? Did he skip two grades?

o   I appreciate that even though Chewy is this huge, goofy dog, nobody ever freaks out about him possibly hurting the kids.

Monday, April 28, 2014

BSC #36: Jessi's Baby-sitter

By Ann M. Martin. Published August 1990.

Jessi gets picked up from ballet by her dad, who says they have a surprise to celebrate that night. Jessi is convinced it’s another baby, and tells Becca. They get all sorts of excited. That’s not it, though. Mama Ramsey is going back to work. And Aunt Cecelia will be moving in to take care of Squirt and the house. Jessi and Becca are less than thrilled, and decide they’ll need to play some pranks on her.

Jessi sits for Jackie, and pretty much bullies him into entering the science fair. He wants to make a volcano. They go to the library, and find books on volcanoes, and even directions on how to make one. Jackie thinks it sounds complicated, but Jessi assures him they can do it. Mrs. Rodowsky is proud of Jackie, and asks Jessi to be their only baby-sitter, and continue to help Jackie.

Mal and Dawn sit for the Pikes, and they have the idea to turn their house into a library. They certainly have enough books, and kids actually come to use it. Margo is the first customer, looking for the science books. She’s going to enter the science fair, too, and decides to make a shadow box.

The dreaded day has come. Aunt Cecelia is moving in. And she brings a whole lot of shit with her. It doesn’t all fit in her room, so she spreads it out throughout the house, including Jessi’s room. It pisses her off. The next day, Aunt Cecelia sends Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey out to brunch alone, while she baby-sits. She won’t let Jessi do anything, like take Squirt for a walk or go over to Mallory’s. Jessi and Becca start calling her Aunt Dictator, and decide it’s time to put their plan into action. They short-sheet her bed, put shaving cream in her slipper, and put a rubber spider on her pillow. Yes, Jessi, you’re totally showing you were mature enough to sit for an entire weekend. Aunt Cecelia just ignores everything, though.

The next day, Aunt Cecelia almost doesn’t let Jessi go for her sitting job and BSC meeting, because she doesn’t know those people. Ya know, just a little bit of communication between Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey and Aunt Cecelia really would have solved a lot of problems. But she finally lets Jessi go, and she goes to the Rodowsky’s to work on the volcano. Jackie mainly just makes a mess with papier-mâché, though.

Kristy sits for David Michael and Emily Michelle. David Michael decides to enter the science fair, too, and now Kristy sees it as a competition between her, Jessi, and Mal. But she makes it a point to say she’ll help, but won’t do it for him. He decides to make a solar system mobile.

Charlotte is also entering the science fair. She is playing different kids of music for plants. Stacey is very impressed. Then Becca comes over to bitch about Aunt Cecelia.

At the next BSC meeting, the girls discuss the science fair. Jessi thinks the others aren’t doing enough to help the kids, but the others suggest she’s actually doing the work for Jackie. She just brushes that off, though. Then she gets into bitching about Aunt Cecelia, and the others try telling her to simply talk to her parents. She won’t though, because they just seem so happy with Aunt Cecelia, and she also doesn’t want to get in trouble for all the tricks she and Becca have played.

A couple of days before the fair, Jessi completely takes over Jackie. She makes a sign for him, and makes up a speech and hand gestures for him. He’s excited about it, though.

Jessi is ten minutes late getting home from her job, and Aunt Cecelia loses her shit. She forbids Jessi from going to the BSC meeting. She does allow her to call Kristy and let her know. Jessi has the girls call her fourteen times during the meeting. Aunt Cecelia doesn’t like that one bit, and gets her revenge by giving Jessi some ridiculous hairstyle.

It’s the evening of the science fair, and Jessi’s as excited as if she had entered. She admits she kind of did. When the judges come around, Jackie’s volcano explodes perfectly, and his speech goes well. But then he gets into trouble when the judges start asking questions, and he can’t answer any of them. He doesn’t win. Charlotte gets third place, though. And Jackie does impress some mean guys in his class, so it wasn’t a total loss. Jessi finally realizes what she did, and apologizes to the Rodowskys. They’re really nice about it. But Jackie doesn’t want her help next year.

Jessi decides it’s freaking finally time to talk to her parents about Aunt Cecelia. She tells them about her experience with Jackie first, and then tells them about Aunt Cecelia not letting them have simple responsibilities and treating them like babies. They ask Aunt Cecelia and Becca to come in, and they get it all hashed out. Jessi realizes she treated Jackie the same way Aunt Cecelia treats them, so she kind of understands her. But Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey let Aunt Cecelia know that the girls can handle some things on their own. Aunt Cecelia agrees, but tells on the girls about the pranks. They don’t get into too much trouble, though. Aunt Cecelia just gives them a taste of their own medicine. They apologize to each other, and it’s all good.

o   I always loved the Pike Library. I wanted to do it myself, but my little brother was my only customer. He didn’t want to check out my BSC books.

o   Rereading this as an adult, I feel bad for Aunt Cecelia. She was a bit overbearing and unfair, but her husband, like, JUST died. There’s no sympathy for her at all.