For the third book in a row, it's more or less the beginning of summer. Stacey is still out of the BSC, and still heavily involved with Robert and his friends. In fact, some of the girls in her group congregate at Stacey's house on a fairly regular basis, since she's got the place to herself during the day. The girls have a lot of fun...but they also eat a lot of food. Mrs. McGill isn't happy when she figures out what's happening, and she insists that Stacey (her 13 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER!!!) get a summer job. Stacey doesn't mind that idea so much, but it's easier said than done for someone her age to find a job. First, she tries thew wants ads in the newspaper, but most of what she finds there are full time jobs for adults. She then gets the idea to check the bulletin boards at the supermarket, and she finds four possibilities there. The first is a companion position for an elderly person, the second is an ad placed by a new modeling company looking for teens, the third is from people looking for a dog walker, and the fourth is from a store called Sports Town which needs help in their Toddler Center. None of the four jobs pans out, but Mrs. McGill comes the rescue. Bellairs needs a part-time aide in their Kid Center, and she's landed Stacey an interview, which Stacey aces.
After her first day of work, Stacey's new friends meet her for some shopping. This becomes an every day thing, and even though Stacey is glad to see her friends, she starts to get pretty suspicious that shopping isn't all they're doing. The other girls never seem to buy anything, but Stacey notices that they have new stuff on more than one occaision. She starts to wonder if they could be shoplifting, and if they could be using her as a distraction, since all the store clerks know and trust her. She thinks back to when the same thing happened to Logan. She wants to talk to Robert about her suspicions, but she's a little afraid to. She doesn't want to make Robert feel like he has to give up his friends, like he gave up basketball.
The following week, Stacey's friends meet her after work like always, but this time, they want a favor: they want her to buy some expensive things for them with her discount. Stacey isn't sure she should do something like that, but gives in when her friends pressure her. The other girls pay her back for the items...because they returned them without a receipt for full price. Stacey KNOWS that doing that isn't okay, but she doesn't have too much time to dwell on it. That's because their favorite band, U4ME, is going to be playing in Stamford! The girls all go to the ticket line, but Stacey is the only one who ends up waiting the whole time to buy the tickets. She's not thrilled about being ditched, but she's still pretty excited about the concert. On the big night, Mrs. McGill drives all the girls to the concert. Everything's going fine until the others start pulling out hidden liquor bottles and drinking. Stacey is shocked; she'd never seen any of her friends drink before, and it's not something they'd ever talked about. They more they drink, the louder they get, and eventually, it catches the attention of security. A guard searches their stuff and finds a bottle in Stacey's sweater. Since she definitely didn't put it there, she knows that it must have been one of her friends. All five girls are taken to security, where their parents are called. Stacey manages to prove that she wasn't drinking, since it would bother her diabetes if she did, but she's still in big trouble when her mom shows up. Mrs. McGill grounds her for three days, and requests that she not see those friends again. Stacey has no trouble agreeing to that.
Stacey fills Robert in on what happened at the concert, and to her relief, he's on her side. What Stacey really wants to do, though, is get the advice her her BSC ex-friends about the problem. She even starts to think that she might want to be back in the club. After coming through for Dawn and Mary Anne one day (she finds their little cousin who ran away), Stacey gets invited to a meeting. She apologizes for her behavior, and promises to try harder. One again, the BSC is at full strength...at least until #87!
Thoughts and Things
- Stacey actually quit her job at Bellairs so she'd have time for the BSC. She really couldn't do both?
- I wonder how Stacey explained her absence from the BSC to the Johanssens', whom she's been sitting for all along. Kristy must have hated that.....
- The Stamford U4Me concert was arranged days before it actually took place. I don't know much about the music business, but I DO know that it takes quite awhile to set up a major concert like that. You have to book the venue, set up opening acts, arrange for ticket sales, etc. There just doesn't seem to be much of a chance that a show of that type could come together practically overnight.
- Sunny's mom is diagnosed with cancer in this book...and all Dawn can talk about is moving back to CA to be with the Winslows. Foreshadowing alert!!!!