My copy of this
Book is missing its cover.
Have I read too much?
Claudia had, apparently, been buying Lottery tickets for ages. When the jackpot goes up to $23 million, the other girls in the BSC decide to get tickets of their own and split the money if any of them are winners. Dawn's ticket just so happens to contain 5 out of 6 winning numbers, and they win $10,000. The girls have yet another convenient 2 week vacation from school, as do Jeff and Dawn's California friends, so they decide to use the money to go to California and visit the west coast branch of the Schafer family. Here's a rundown on what everyone did there:
Dawn freaks out a lot over the presence of Carol, her dad's girlfriend. She doesn't like the way Carol tries so hard to be one of the gang, and she doesn't like the advice that Carol keeps giving her friends (namely, Claudia and Mal). When Stacey gets into a little trouble with some new friends of hers, Dawn fully expects Carol to keep in between them. When she insists on telling Dawn's dad, Dawn it pretty mad at first. Then, she realizes that she actually respects Carol more when she acts like a parent than a teenager, and they bond a little by the end of the trip. dawn even gives her dad permission to marry Carol...because Jack Schafer totally needs his daughter's permission for that sort of thing.
Stacey falls in love with surfing. Dawn introduces her to some older kids that she used to go to school with, and Stacey goes to the beach with them almost every day. They're a little wild, and could probably use a refresher course in proper driving ettiquette, but Stacey finds hanging out with them to be pretty exciting. Then, on the way home from the beach one day, they cause a bad car accident. No one is hurt, but the driver tries to get everyone else who was in their car to lie so it won't look like his fault. When the cops arrive, though, Stacey tells them the truth. The older kids look daggers at her until she's taken to the hospital to get checked out. After she's given a clean bill of health, she calls the Schafers for a ride home. She's pretty relieved when Carol answers the phone; since Carol had seemed like just another kid for most of the vacation, Stacey figures she's in the clear. She's awfully surprised when Carol tells her that Mr. Schafer will need to know about what happened. Mr. Schafer forbids her to see the older kids again, and they call Stacey's parents to tell them what happened.
Jessi meets up with Derek Masters, Stoneybrook's very own child star. He invites her to the set of his sitcom, and while she's there, she gets picked to be in a crowd scene. Jessi has a good time, and when Derek suggests she look into getting an agent or getting on a show while she's in CA, she likes the idea. She eventually realizes that ballet is her true love, and that she's just not meant for the world of acting.
Claudia has the most boring Super Special romance in the entire series. She meets Terry on the beach one day, and even though she's attracted to him, she thinks they're too different for a relationship to work out. He's super smart, loves school and reading, and Claudia figures she's no match for a guy like that. She doesn't plan on seeing him again after the beach, but Stacey runs into him and gives him the Schafers' number so he can call her. Claud is kind of afraid to be herself around him (she doesn't want him to think she's stupid), so she ends up sitting through boring foreign movies she doesn't understand, eating escargots, and trying to hold down her end of conversations about things she knows nothing about. She ends up calling Janine for advice, and Janine (in keeping with her usual awesomeness) tells Claud to just be herself. Claudia takes her advice, and by the end of the vacation she's in LUV with Terry.
Kristy is mortally offended by the casual way that Dawn's friends run the We Love Kids Club. When she's offered a job with two of their most difficult clients, she figures that it's her chance to prove what a great sitter she is. She ignores the advice of the WLKC, which turns out to be a bad move on her part. Erik and Ryan Dewitt aren't bad kids, but they're wild. They cause all sorts of chaos on a trip to Universal Studios, and Kristy is forced to admit that she's not the only one in the world who knows a lot about kids, baby-sitting, and clubs.
Mary Anne sits for a little girl named Stephie Robertson. Stephie is a lot like Mary Anne was as a kid; she's quiet and shy, is being raised by her father, and even looks like Mary Anne. One big difference is that Stephie has asthma. This freaks Mary Anne out; she's super paranoid about letting Stephie do anything active, and is convinced that Stephie is always on the verge of an attack. She loosens up after Stephie makes it through the Universal Studios trip with no problems, but Stephie ends up having an attack during Mary Anne's very last sitting job. Stephie's attacks are usually brought on by emotional stress, not physical activity, and she's sad about saying good-bye to Mary Anne. Stephie's okay, though, and she and Mary Anne keep in touch after Mary Anne goes back home. At least, they keep in touch until later in the series when Dawn suddenly becomes the one who helped Stephie break out of her shell and there's no more mention of Mary Anne's involvement.
Mallory....oh, Lord, where do I start? Mal becomes obsessed with all things cosmetic (she even makes Carol take her and Jessi to the Max Factor Museum of Beauty), and decides to transform herself into a "California Girl." During a mall trip, she blows all her money on make up and hair dye. Yep, hair dye. Mallory thinks that part of being a California girl is having blond hair, so she dyes hers. She drives everyone crazy for the rest of the trip with her talk about her looks, and is totally oblivious as to why they seem so irritated with her. She also has to borrow money from Jessi for admission to places they go to as a group. Things come to a head for Mal when she's invited to the P.S. 162 set. The director calls for volunteers for another crowd scene, but Mal isn't chosen because her looks aren't quite right. She mopes for a few days, but her friends help her to see that she was much better off as she was before. There's just one problem, though: the wash-out blond dye she used isn't washing out. So, the BSC goes to a drug store and buys a bottle of red dye, and Mal is back to her natural state. Since she won't be able to use the make up once she gets back home, she sells it to Claudia and Stacey, and then turns the money over to Jessi to pay her back for what she's borrowed.
Thoughts and Things
- Don't even get me started on the legal issues surrounding a bunch of 13 year olds winning the Lottery....
- I find it hard to believe that all the BSC parents were fine with the girls spending that kind of money on a vacation. You'd think that at least one of them (Richard Spier???) would want their daughter to start a college fund or something with the money.
- I also find it hard to believe that Dawn never, just for a second, wanted to keep all the money for herself since it was her ticket that was a winner.
- Note to Ann: you don't dye red hair blond, especially with wash out dye. You have to bleach it, and I'm pretty sure that's not something that can be done at home by an 11 year old. I'm pretty sure that the only way you can dye hair blond rather than bleach is if it's already pretty light.
- Claudia and Terry really weren't a very good match, even after Claud started being herself around him. They were just so boring together!
- About the cover: in what world to 11 year olds have bodies like Mallory? Also, that bikini that Stacey's wearing? It makes me wonder what Hodges was thinking when he drew this picture. Actually, never mind. I don't want to know.....
- I really like Jessi's friendship with Derek Masters, and I wish we'd seen more of it.
- Janine rocks. :)