Early one morning, Tigger wakes Mary Anne up. At first, she can't figure out why. Then, she hears the smoke alarms, and her dad yelling for her. Their house is one fire! The place is totally filled with smoke, but everyone (including Tigger) makes it outside safely. Sharon managed to grab the cordless phone on her way out, and she's already called for help. The firefighters get there quickly, but all the family can do is watch their house and everything in it go up in flames. Pretty soon, the neighbors start arriving. Stacey tries to get Mary Anne to go home with her so she doesn't have to stand their watching the fire, but Mary Anne doesn't want to leave. She's sort of frozen in place...and she can't cry. Eventually, Sharon starts making calls to everyone who needs to know about the fire. Many of them want to talk to Mary Anne, but she refuses until Dawn is the one asking. She'll be heading to Connecticut as soon as possible to be with the family.
Eventually, the Thomases and Brewers show up with an invitation to stay at their house until other arrangements can be made. Richard, Sharon, and Mary Anne accept, and Mary Anne heads there for some rest while Richard and Sharon start searching through the rubble for anything salvageable. After her nap, Mary Anne heads back where her house used to be. They've managed to find a few things, including Sharon's wedding ring, but most of their stuff is gone. Mary Anne still can't cry, though...even when Dawn finally arrives and is crying herself.
Things at the Thomas-Brewer house are a little overwhelming for the Spiers and Schafers. They even have to resort to sneaking out to the kids' playhouse in the backyard in order to have a family meeting about what to do next. Richard wants them to see the fire as an opportunity to start a new life. In fact, he wants them to start a REALLY new life...in Philadelphia. He's been offered a great job there, and Sharon wants to go back to school. She'd have her pick of schools in Philly. Mary Anne is in shock; she's lived in Stoneybrook all her life, and she doesn't particularly want to leave.
One night, Mary Anne wakes up and can't get back to sleep. She sneaks out of the Thomas-Brewer mansion, borrows Kristy's bike, and rides over to where her house was. She goes into the barn, which is where they've been storing everything that might be able to be saved. Mary Anne starts to feel really, really alone, and that's when she finally starts crying about everything. Dawn finds her, and they have a nice cry together. That's more or less where the book (and the series) ends....
Subplot: Lots of fire safety info. Also, the BSC enters a "Best Baby-sitter" contest as a group, with help from their charges. I don't think we ever find out who wins...
Thoughts and Things
- I couldn't believe how...graphic the fire scenes were. Wow. I've read this one once or twice before, but I don't remember it being so scary. I'm more scared of drowning than I am of fire, but still...
- It was a little out of place for Mary Anne to have the final book in the regular BSC series. It should have been Kristy. In fact, Kristy's Worst Idea would have made a great final book in the series. Some elements could have been taken from Everything Changes (members dropping out of the club, for instance), added to Kristy's Worst Idea...which could have led into the FF books.
- In a way, I like that the book was left open-ended. Problems aren't always solved and questions aren't always answered neatly within the span of 130 pages. :)
Well....that's it. The end of the regular BSC books. Finishing this one gave me such a WEIRD feeling! I know it's not really the end; there's still FF, The Summer Before, and my other Ann books to keep me occupied. Even so, I've all but finished what I set out to do almost a year ago...that's just crazy to think about! Thanks for reading along, and stay tuned for BSC: The Sequel. ;)