Mary Anne is looking through some fashion magazines at a BSC meeting, and she spots some outfits (and a haircut) that she likes. When she mentions it to the other club members, they laugh at her and tell her that those things just aren't "her." Mary Anne is kind of upset by that; what right do her friends have to decide what good for her and what isn't? After stewing over the club member's comments for most of the evening, Mary Anne decides to go ahead and get that haircut. New year, new look. She looks through her own personal stash of fashion magazines, and finds a similar cut to the one she saw at Claudia's. With trepidation, Mary Anne takes the picture down to her dad to ask his permission to get her hair cut. To her surprise, Richard is all for it. He even suggests that they make a day of it, and head out to the mall together that weekend. Mary Anne asks him to keep their plans a secret from Sharon and Dawn, so she can surprise them.
The Big Day arrives. Mary Anne asks for Stacey's favorite stylist, who happens to be free. She has a brief bout of cold feet, but sucks it up and ges through with the cut. When it's all over, Mary Anne is thrilled with her new look, and so is her dad. They're walking through the mall when they pass a new beauty supply store that's offering free makeovers in honor of their grand opening. Mary Anne lets the makeup artists work on her, and looks about 17 years old (as she says) when they're finished. Richard actually buys her some of the makeup to go with her new haircut. Next is lunch at Casa Grande while listening to a jazz group perform (this is the famous "eh-eh" scene, where they make fun of the grunting drummer). Mary Anne is about ready to head home, but Richard suggests they visit Steven E, a VERY expensive boutique that they'd passed on the way in. There's a big sale going on, so Richard agrees to buy Mary Anne some things if she pays him back half at some point.
When Richard and Mary Anne get home, Dawn and Sharon are pretty surprised to see Mary Anne's new look. Sharon recovers pretty quickly and is completely in favor of everything, but Dawn is pretty cold and snide. She asks Mary Anne if she got her hair cut at Gloriana's (the awful place that gave Karen Brewer a mullet), and she doesn't have a single nice thing to say about the makeover. In fact, she doesn't have much to say at all, which makes Mary Anne feel like she did something wrong. She gives Logan a call, wanting to surprise him with her new look, but Dawn spills the beans when she "accidentally" picks up the extension. He ends up loving her new look, though, when he gets to see it the next day.
Mary Anne is pretty nervous for her big reveal that Monday. She didn't have to be; lots of people (Cokie Mason included!) give her compliments. The only ones who don't seem to like the way she looks are the other members of the BSC. They all say "comforting" things about how her hair will grow out, and remind her that they said the cut wasn't right for her. Claudia even scolds her for going to the salon without them. After that, Mary Anne decides she can't face that afternoon's club meeting alone, and recruits Logan to go with her. In fact, she makes him go to the next few club meetings with her, since he's still the only one of her friends who's being at all nice about her new look. Eventually, Mary Anne just decides not to go to another meeting until someone, anyone, from the club says something nice to her.
Even though her new look is causing some problems with her old friends, Mary Anne is making some new ones. A whole slew of popular girls who had previously ignored her are all of a sudden paying attention to her, causing Mary Anne to think that Maybe the BSC members were the snobby ones, for turning their noses up at those girls because of the way they look and dress. THANK YOU, Mary Anne, for actually aknowledging the BSC's tendency to shut out anyone who's not one of them!!! There are also all sorts of rumors going around about Mary Anne and some high school guy who's supposedly in love with her, none of which are true. Logan, unfortunately, believes them, and has to call Mary Anne up to ask if she still wants to go to the upcoming January Jambouree with him. She sets him straight pretty quick, and he encourages her to talk to her so-called new friends and set them straight, too.
Mary Anne finally decides that enough is enough, and tries to talk things out with Dawn. She apologizes for spending so much time with Logan and ignoring the BSC, in spite of the fact that she only did that because the BSC had been so awful to her. Dawn apologizes as well, and admits that she felt a little left out and jealous that Mary Anne had this father-daughter day without including her. At the next BSC meeting, Mary Anne makes up with the other club members as well.
Subplot: Carolyn Arnold is building a time machine which she is awfully convinced will actually work. She even goes so far as to charge kids for flights, but on the big day, she chickens out and admits that it probably won't work after all.
Thoughts and Things
- I used to be 100% on Team Mary Anne in this book, but she was actually kind of annoying. She kept whining about how none of her friends were saying nice things to her, and then refused to see them until they did. Don't get me wrong; I still think the BSC was horrible to her, and Mary Anne should NEVER have been the first one to apologize. I just happened to find MA a tiny bit more annoying than I did in previous readings of this book.
- Inconsistency alert! When Jessi is discussing time travel with the Arnold girls, they each pick a time they'd like to visit. Jessi says she wants to go to Paris in the early 1900's, to see a famous ballet dancer perform. Then, when the machine is ready, it's MARILYN who's sent to 1900.
- There's a lot of good eating in this book: the Schafers and Spiers eat Chinese, Mexican, and Thai food at different times, and it ALWAYS makes me hungry. The funny thing is, out of those three, I really only like Mexican.
- Peter L. did a pretty good job of toning down his...Lerangisness for this book. That was probably wise, because his normal style doesn't really fit Mary Anne's personality.
- The Richard/Mary Anne mall trip is probably my favorite in the series. I think I might have said that before about another mall trip in another book, but if I did, it's only because I forgot about this one. Love the bonding!