Monday, December 14, 2009

#61 Jessi and the Awful Secret


Jessi's ballet school is going to be offering a free 6 week long class for some of Stamford's underpriveleged kids. When Madame Noelle asks for volunteers to help teach, Jessi volunteers right away. To her surprise, so does Mary Bramstedt. Mary has always been a perfectionist when it comes to her dancing, and Jessi wonders why she would take time away from her own dancing to help the kids. She's looking forward to working with Mary, though, and getting to know her a little bit better.

The class is, at first, not what Jessi (or the other volunteers) expected. Madame Dupre (the teacher) doesn't make the class particularly structured, and one of the volunteers thinks it's because she doesn't care about disadvantaged/minority students. Jessi isn't so sure about that, but even she wonders why the class isn't a little bit more like ther structured lessons that she was taking at that age. Things get better (and more professional) after the first few classes. What isn't getting better is Mary's perfectionist nature, especially when it comes to her weight. Worrying about weight isn't unusual for dancers, but Jessi thinks Mary is taking it too far. One of the other girls in their class made a comment in passing about how Mary should lose a little weight to help her jump higher, and now that's all Mary seems to think about. Jessi sees her looking in the mirror far more than what's normal, and is pretty sure that Mary isn't doing it to admire herself. She also notices that Mary, who was already thin, is much thinner every time Jessi sees her. When the volunteers go out for burgers after class, Mary freaks out about the amount of calories in everything, only orders fries and a soda, and then doesn't eat or drink much of it. Then, Mary starts feeling weak and sick in class, and even collapses a few times. Jessi's more worried than ever.

At a club meeting, Jessi discusses Mary and her problem with the other members of the BSC. After consulting some of Janine's psychology books, the figure out that there's a good chance that Mary has anorexia. They encourage Jessi to talk to Mary and urge her to get help, but when Jessi tries to do so, Mary just bites her head off. Finally, Jessi goes to Madame Noelle for help. Madame had seen this sort of problem before, and had seen it coming in Mary. She and Jessi confront Mary together, and the Bramstedts get her some help. Jessi misses having Mary in class, and is especially sad that she doesn't come to the recital that the kids have at the end of their lessons. Scholarships (provided by Watson) are even awarded to two of the most promising students for their hard work, and Jessi wishes that Mary could have been there to see the progress they made.

The rest of the BSC is dealing with a little bit of a problem with Kristy. Shannon Kilbourne suddenly has a ton of time on her hands, and has been calling Kristy all the time to hang out. Kristy is pretty busy and feels bad that she has to say no all the time, and encourages Shannon to get together with the other BSC members. She does that, and Kristy feels jealous and left out. She even feels that the club is trying to "replace" her with Shannon in terms of friendship. Not so; there's only one Kristy. :)

Rating: 3

Thoughts and Things

  • I like that Mary's anorexia wasn't "cured" by the end of the book. Leaving it open-ended like that was probably more true to life than having her get fixed in 140 pages.

  • So Watson and Elizabeth met at work? This is the first book that's really addressed how they got together, I think.

  • Mmmmmm....Burger King!

  • Quint writes Jessi a very intelligent letter about Mary's problem, considering the fact that he's an 11 YEAR OLD BOY!

  • The status of Sam and Stacey's relationship keeps changing. First, they're hot and heavy at Shadow Lake. Then, they're still kind of dancingt around each other and trying to figure things out. Then, they're dating fairly seriously in SS#9 and the last book I recapped. In this one, though, they're back at the "early stage" again. Make up your minds, ghosties!


  1. This book always made me want Burger King.

    I also never got why the girls seemed so knowledgeable about anorexia in book one but needed to break out the encyclopedia about it in this one. And that Jessi who's been dancing nearly all her life had never even heard of anorexia. Unrealistic!

  2. I also loved how Quint wrote this letter re: anorexia and sounded like a psychologist and not a teen boy! And I am with Sadako- Kristy sure knew all about anorexia in Book 1- what happened?

  3. Btw, when did Sam and Stacey break up officially? Or did they not? I remember she turned him down for the middle school dance in 65, Stacey's Big Crush (yeah, I know WAY too much about the love life of a fictional thirteen year old girl), because she wanted to be free for Wes, blech.

    And then by book seventy she was on to Robert and that was pretty serious. It never felt like Sam and Stacey went anywhere because they'd always say that the only sitter who had a steady was Mary Anne (until Stacey dated Robert and then Ethan). Sam and Stacey seemed as vague as Kristy and Bart.

  4. 65 was definitely when Sam and Stacey really fizzled.

  5. And Quint's not EVEN a teen! Loved the post.

  6. Speaking of Stacey and Sam that's exactly why these timelines and relationships are so messed up cuz the ghostwriters