School's out, and Stacey's workaholic dad has offered to take her on a two week vacation, anywhere she wants. He really means it: Europe, Disney World, the West Coast, wherever. Stacey decides at first that she wants to go to California to see Dawn, but changes her mind and asks her dad to take her to Davis Park, on Fire Island instead. Why would she go there when she had the whole world to choose from? Loverboy Robert has a summer job working on the Fire Island ferry, and Stacey wants to spend time with him. Stacey doesn't tell her dad this, of course, and she doesn't tell Claudia, either, when she asks Claud to go. Robert's presence doesn't stay a secret for long, though; Stacey and Claudia run into him when they're out exploring the island on their first day there. Claud's pretty mad, but Stacey makes her feel better by telling her that she only kept it a secret because she figured Claud wouldn't come if she knew about Robert. Stacey also asks her to keep Robert a secret from her dad, which Claudia agrees to do, even though she's not thrilled about it.
Stacey spends quite a bit of time during the first week or so running down to the ferry dock to meet Robert. She figures that Claudia doesn't mind, since she's been invovled with building and photographing fancy sandcastles, and her dad is always off playing with his friend, Mr. Majors. Stacey does feel a little bad, though, on the days that her dad is around and Claudia has to come down to the docks as well. Claud is pretty good about making herself scarce, but Stacey starts to feel that it might not be quite right to leave her best friend alone so much. She feels even more guilty when Claudia mentions how bored she's been. Then, Stacey and Claudia run into Robert when they go out for pizza, and Claudia gets upset. She's tired of being brushed aside, and she had been looking forward to one dinner with her best friend. To make up for running into Robert (which, in this case at least, wasn't intentional), Stacey makes a best friend date for the following night.
The next day, Robert tells Stacey that one of his coworkers has a sailboat, and he's invited the two of them to join him for a sunset sail. The only problem? The sail is scheduled for that night, right when Stacey is supposed to be having dinner with Claud. She doesn't want to cancel, but she does want to go sailing with Robert, so she decides to try and do both. She hurries Claud as she's getting dressed, hurries her to the restaurant, and tries to talk her into ordering food that won't take as long as the lobster she wants. Stacey tries to claim that it's her diabetes, but the jig is up when dinner takes a little longer than planned, and Robert actually comes lookign for Stacey. Claudia is furious, and no amount of empty promises from Stacey makes it better this time. When they get back the their house, Claud moves her stuff out of the room that they'd been sharing. Stacey and Robert don't make it in time for their sail, so they decide to take a walk on the beach. As they're walking, they see another couple walking towards them. To Stacey's surprise, it's her father, and a woman she's never seen before. Stacey's dad is surprised to see Robert, too, and they end up saying good night to their significant others so they can talk things out. Both are pretty mad, since they each feel like they've been duped by the other (guess what Stacey's dad was actually doing when he said he was with Mr. Majors???), and pretty soon, they're not speaking to each other. Not a fun house for Stacey to be in, even if it is her own fault!
Stacey is looking forward to the weekend, since Kristy, Mary Anne, and Shannon are arriving to spend the 4th of July. She's hoping to have the chance to tell her side of the story first, but Claudia beats her to it. The other three girls don't really take sides, but it's not exactly fun for them to be in the middle. The whole weekend ends up being a disaster, including the 4th of July parade that the girls try to march in. When it's all over, Stacey is actually shocked to see that Claudia is leaving with everyone else, rather than staying for the second week as planned. To top it off, Robert is acting more and more distant. Finally, he tells her that he wants to see other people. He just doesn't feel that he can trust Stacey anymore, after seeing how much she lied to both her dad and Claudia. Stacey runs home crying, and ends up talking things out with her dad. She even agrees to give Samantha (his girlfriend) a chance. Stacey even works things out with both Claudia and Robert, once she finally realizes that SHE was the one that caused all her problems, and she owed basically everyone involved an apology.
Subplot: Haley Braddock and Vanessa Pike unexpectedly buy the same new swimsuit and fight about it.
Thoughts and Things
- The breaking of child labor laws continues. Not only does 13 year old Robert get a job working on the ferry, but 11 year olds Mallory and Jessi get paid jobs as day camp junior counselors. Whatever....
- I always thought this one was published after Claudia and the Clue in the Photograph. I was under the impression that Claud didn't get into photography until that book, and she'd definitely taking (and selling) a lot of pictures in this one.
- Mr. McGill only sprung the vacation on Stacey a week or two before it actually happened. If she had picked Europe, that might have been tough to pull off on such short notice, not to mention the cost of last-minute airfare!
- Given how fast that people remarried in this series, I guess I should be surprised that Mr. McGill and Samantha aren't hitched by the next book.