Stacey gets hit by a snowball on the way to school one day, and when she looks to see who threw it, she sees that it's none other than RJ Blaser, SMS basketball star. He asks her out (to see Mall Warriors II), which has Stace all excited. Her excitement lasts until the date starts; she and RJ have nothing in common, and he makes fun of her for eating regular popcorn and drinking diet soda. After the movie, they go to Pizza Express, where they meet up with some of the other kids in RJ's super-popular circle of friends. This is when the date gets interesting for Stacey, because it's there that she meets Robert Brewster.
The following Monday, a couple of the cheerleaders are waiting for Stacey outside her homeroom with big news. One of the other girls on their squad has moved, and they're going to be holding tryouts to replace her. They want Stacey to think about trying out. Also, and probably more important than the whole cheerleader thing, Robert likes her, and he's going to be calling her. He does that day, which actually makes Stacey late for a BSC meeting. No word on how Kristy reacts to that...
Stacey's date with Robert goes much better than her date with RJ. Robert is much nicer, and Stacey doesn't feel shy at all about mentioning her diabetes. They have plenty to say to each other, and when Stacey brings up the basketball team, Robert has some interesting comments to make. He points out that the players and the cheerleaders get away with murder; they can leave school whenever they want to, they get far better grades than they deserve on homework, and other students even furnish them with homework answers, just to feel like a part of the "in crowd." Robert doesn't really take advantage of stuff in the same way that his friends do, and is in fact kind of upset about it.
Cheerleader tryouts. Stacey has been working really, really hard, and Jessi has helped her choreograph a fantastic routine. First, though, Stacey needs to make it through the first round of cuts. Everyone is taught a simple routine by the current cheerleaders, and it comes pretty easily to Stacey after all her practicing. She makes it to the next round with no problems, and feels really good about her individual routine. Sheila, one of the cheerleaders who she's gotten to know the best, even gives her a thumbs-up. Stacey is pretty convinced that she'll be the one chosen.
On the day before the "winner" is going to be announced, Stacey is so nervous that she has to retreat to the bathroom during lunchtime in order to throw up. Before she can, several of the cheerleaders come into the bathroom and start discussing her. They talk about how great her routine was, and what a great cheerleader she'd make. The only one who doesn't seem thrilled with Stacey is Corrinne; she had a thing with Robert before Stacey came along (or so she thought), and Stacey isn't exactly her favorite person. Even so, Stacey is even more sure that she's going to be the new member of the SMS cheerleaders. The next day, she goes into the meeting without a care in the world. Imagine her surprise when Kathleen Lopez is the name called, not Stacey McGill. Stace goes righ up to the cheerleaders and asks them why she wasn't the one. Corrine makes no bones about telling her that the other girls felt threatened by her, and wanted someone on the team who wouldn't outshine them. Stacey tells Robert what happened, and he immediately marches both of them into the basketball coach's office and quits the team in protest. He's had enough of the unfair and preferential treatment that the athletes get at SMS, and he wants not part of it anymore. A few days later, an editorial appears in the SMS paper, basically slamming them for their actions. Stacey and Robert respond with one of their own. Stacey is also given a chance to join the cheerleaders again; Kathleen Lopez quit after finding out that she was chosen under less than fair circumstances, and the other girls agreed that they'd give the spot to Stacey this time, without another tryout. Stacey turns them down.
Subplot: Tiffany Kilbourne is feeling kind of useless. Shannon is super smart and involved in school, and Maria has suddenly started winning all kinds of swimming trophies. Tiffany wants to find some way to "win," aka beat her sisters. She tries all sorts of hobbies, but gets frustrated when none of them pan out. Finally, Claudia encourages Tiffany to think of something she'd really enjoy doing, instead of something that she can beat her sisters with. That's when Tiffany decides she'd like to plan a garden.
Thoughts and Things
- Unlike the last book, this was one that I enjoyed more as a kid than I do now. I totally wanted to be a cheerleader back in the day, so the BSC+cheer=awesome.
- This one doesn't seem as Lerangisy as most of his books do this point in the series.
- Don't even get me started on the fact that there are cheerleaders in middle school, and that they and the sports starts are treated the way that they are. When I was in middle school, we didn't have school cheerleaders, and hardly anyone cared who was on what team. Also, if any of our sports people tried half the stuff that the SMS basketball team got away with heads would roll...
- Remember at the beginnng of the series when Stacey and Claudia WERE the popular kids?
- I secretly still wish I'd been a cheerleader.....