When both Shannon and Mrs. Kilbourne find themselves super busy with activities, school, etc, Kristy lands a regular sitting job for Maria and Tiffany. She discovers on her first afternoon with them that the girls are pretty unhappy. Neither of their parents, not to mention Shannon, have any time for them anymore. They especially miss hanging out with Shannon. Kristy suggests that the girls come up with a list of things they could do for their sister that might help her get things done quicker, which would in turn allow for more free time. They mean well, but their plan doesn't exactly go as they would have liked it to. The cookies they make get burned, they leave a huge mess in the kitchen, and Shannon is the one who gets stuck cleaning it up. Then, they try walking Astrid, but she pulls the leash right out of Tiffany's hand and runs away. Only one person can get her to come back when she does that, and it's (you guessed it) Shannon. Next, they try "helping" her with her algebra homework, and Shannon is stuck explaining why it's all wrong at school the next day, and when Tiffany and Maria try cleaning her room for her, well, it ends up looking worse than before.
When none of the girls' best efforts get Shannon to spend more time with them, they take a completely different tactic. Instead of doing nice things for her (or trying to, anyway), they declare war. That means lots of pranks, like driving her crazy at the dinner table by insterting her name into conversation at random times, and messing with her date book so she misses some of her club meetings. They also put purple dye into her shampoo bottle (it was the kind that washes out). Kristy has a talk with Shannon at this point, and finds out that she's been feeling really overwhelmed with all that she's taken on. She misses having time to relax, she feels wrong about the fact that Kristy knows more about what's up with her sisters than she does. Kristy points out that Tiffany and Maria miss her, too, and that everything they've been doing has been for attention. The pranks basically stop after that, but things aren't much better in the Kilbourne family. Everyone is still too busy to spend time with each other, and after a very awkward and quiet family dinner, Kristy encourages both girls to write letters to their parents and Shannon, telling them how they feel. The older Kilbournes take the letters to heart, and they show up at the kids' dance that Maria and Tiffany helped organize. They also agree to give up or scale back some of their activities so they can spend more time as a family.
Subplot: The aforementioned kids' dance. There's an All-Stoneybrook dance for middle schoolers in the works, and the younger kids feel left out. So, they have their own party. :)
Thoughts and Things
- Shannon and Kristy seemed awfully excited to go to the All-Stoneybrook dance together. ;)
- In the first chapter, it states VERY clearly that Shannon's hair is thick and curly, yet it's totally flat on the cover. Oh well; at least Hodges got Tiffany's and Maria's hair colors right.
- This book kind of "borrowed" a lot of elements from other books: the kids' dance and the issues that came along with it of who liked who, etc, Kristy getting made over for a dance, Kilbourne family problems...I think the writers were running on empty at this point.
- In the letter from Ann in the back of the book, she tells us that the title for this one was created without a plot in mind. Everyone liked it so much that they just made up a plot to go along with it.
- Speaking of the title, I think it matches up better with the plot from another book where Tiffany and Maria are fighting because Maria has suddenly become a super athlete, and Tiffany doesn't really have anything that she can be good at, too.