Like I said last time, this one is tied with #2 for my favorite among the first four books. I might even give it a slight edge, if I had to pick only one. I love Stacey's "voice;" she comes across as more mature than the other members, but she still seems 12 years old. I also love the way that she sides with Kristy when it comes to doing anything to save the club, proving that even sophisticated New Yorkers need friends. :)
It's competition time for the BSC; a group of older girls has set up a rival sitting service called the Baby Sitters Agency. Parents call eithe Liz Lewis or Michelle Patterson (the "leaders" of the group), and those girls in turn find them a suitable sitter. Or, a not so suitable one, as we find out later. Kristy has all sorts of drastic ideas for saving the club, including giving jobs away to older siblings lower rates. I don't understand how their rates could get much lower; Kristy only made $3.50 from her job with the dogs in #1! I know this was the 80's, but sheesh...was it really common to make so little back then?
The BSC begins to lose clients to the new sitters, so they decide recruit new members. The two girls they end up with are spies from the Agency, though; they stick around just long enough to accept one BSC job each, which they never show up for. Needless to say, they're fired from the BSC.
Not long after the agency gets up and running, the BSC starts hearing reports from the the kids they sit for that the sitters aren't exactly on the up and up. Jamie Newton claims that one of his agency sitters brought her boyfriend over, and burned a hole in a chair cushion with a cigarette. Just a thought...cigarette smoke is a tough smell to get out of fabric. If someone was smoking in the house, wouldn't the Newton parents have noticed, especially since neither of them is a smoker? You'd think they would be extra sensitive to the smell. Jamie is also left outside on a cold day to play near the street without a hat or mittens, and Charlotte Johanssen's Agency sitters ignore her as well. After finding Jamie outside, the BSC decides to tell the Newtons what's been going on. Mrs. Newton is outraged, and decides to call other parents to tell them what's happened. The BSC wants to settle the score with Liz and Michelle, though. They do, leaving them once again with a monopoly on the Stoneybrook baby-sitting market.
In other news, Stacey's parents have been looking for a miracle cure for her diabetes ever since she was diagnosed. That was a rough time for Stacey, but her parents seem to have taken it even worse than she did. They keep dragging her from doctor to doctor, looking for a miracle cure, and they've scheduled more tests with yet another one. Stacey isn't into it, but her parents basically tell her that she doesn't have a choice. Before leaving for New York for the tests, she decides it's time to take charge of her own health in whatever way she can. She gets Dr. Johannsen to help her schedule an appointment with a sensible doctor (not the holistic quack that her parents are taking her to see), who manages to convince the McGills to lay off the search for a miracle. They finally see the light, and agree to include Stacey in any future decisions that are made about her care. Stacey also makes up with her former New York best friend, Laine Cummings, who she'd been fighting with since she got sick.
Thoughts and Things
- Lucy Newton is born in this book. It was published in late 1986, which means that Lucy would now be approaching her 23rd birthday. I feel so old...
- Stacey goes to a dance with Pete Black in this book, making her forget about Sam Thomas until he romances her at Shadow Lake.
- Stacey's parents didn't tell anyone but family what was wrong with Stacey, so she didn't, either. Is diabetes something that people really try and keep secret? Stacey wouldn't have had half the problems she did with her friends if she'd just told them why she was having so many issues. I know 6th graders (she was in 6th when she was diagnosed) aren't normally known for their maturity, but I'm pretty sure it would have been better just to say something.
- Stacey's Kid-Kit has Colorforms in it. I loved those back in the day...are they still sold anywhere?
- Polly's Fine Candy sounded pretty freaking awesome.
- Why is Stacey so chunky on the cover when she's supposedly really thin?