Abby has a lot on her plate at the moment; she's got soccer, school work, and she and Anna are also preparing to become Bat Mitzvahs. Unfortunately, school is what's getting the short end of the stick for Abby. She even fails a math test and has to have her mother sign it. Then, Abby's teacher announces another test...one that's going to count for 25% of her grade. Abby is in the hall by her locker, panicking a little, when a boy she doesn't know offers to sell her a study guide for the test. Abby jumps at the chance; she needs all the help she can get at that point. The study guide is fantastic, and has all sorts of questions and answers like the type that will be on the test. Abby is able to work through them pretty quickly, and goes to bed the night before the test feeling pretty confident.
During math class the next day, Abby realizes pretty quickly that the study guide she bought was not just a study guide. She glances over the test and realizes that what she actually bought was a copy of the test itself. Abby feels horrible; she didn't intentionally cheat. She goes ahead and takes the test anyway, but for the next few days, she worries over what to do. On the day the tests are given back, Abby and four other kids are called up to Mrs. Frost's desk for a little conference. They'd all gotten the same score on the test, and had missed the same problem (it was wrong on the study guide). Mrs. Frost accuses all of them of cheating, and suspends them for three days. Abby tries to explain what really happened, but Mrs. Frost isn't having any of it, and the suspension stands.
Abby doesn't want her mother to know about the suspension, so she deletes the phone message from the principal before anyone else has a chance to listen to it. Abby then spends the first two days of her suspension at the public library, studying for her Bat Mitzvah service. On the third and last day, though, Abby decides to go to Pizza Express for lunch. While she's there, who should walk by and see her through the window but her mother. Needless to say, Abby is in big trouble (a month of grounding, starting the Monday after the Bat Mitzvah).
When Abby is back in school, she spots Mary Anne buying a study guide from the same guy who sold her one. She stops Mary Anne before she looks at it, and confesses that the same study guide earned her a three day suspension. The girls agree to meet after school and try to talk to Mrs. Frost, who FINALLY sees that Abby was being truthful when she said she didn't intentionall try and cheat on the test.
Meanwhile, all of the Stevenson's Long Island friends and family members are in town for the big Bat Mitzvah day. Festivities being on Friday with Shabbat services at the synagogue (BSC members watch all the little kids while the adults are at the service). Then, Saturday...the big day! Abby's nervous about giving her speech, and reading her Torah portion in front of everyone, but she does a good job. Afterwards, everyone heads back to the Stevensons for a big party...lots of food, a DJ, and presents. I'm assuming Abby survives her subsequent grounding, but she doesn't tell us. :)
Meanwhile, the Stoneybrook parents have put a pretty strict ban on tv. The kids are pretty unhappy about that at first, but they end up putting on their own versions of the tv shows they're missing.
Thoughts and Things
- Okay, I'll admit it; the first time I read this book, the Bat Mitzvah stuff made me choke up a little.
- Normally, Nola Thacker is right on the money when it comes to referencing past books, but she makes a couple of mistakes in this one. First, she says that Claudia, Kristy, and Mary Anne had so much business after they started the BSC that Stacey joined...which isn't how it happened. She also makes it sound like Jeff moved back to CA after Richard and Sharon got married, not before.
- I actually learned a lot about Bat Mitzvahs from this book. For instance, I didn't know that they've only really been celebrated since the last century, while Bar Mitzvahs have been around since the middle ages.
- Abby is so much cooler in her own books than in the ones narrated by other members!