Cover: Mary Anne is at her most soccer mom here, with tight legging-like pants, an oversized sweater and push-down slouch socks. Ricky, the baby in the white and red outfit, has really pointed ears; he looks a little like Batboy.
Plot!: Once again, the BSC is baby crazy. They get a call from parents of baby twins, wanting them to sit for their twins. So Mary Anne does, and the jobs start out easy, but then they get hard, because looking after babies is hard. At the same time, the girls have an assignment for Modern Living where they have to take care of an egg and pretend it's their baby. Mary Anne and Logan are paired up, and they can't agree on anything, and they have big fights. And in the end they decide that they're too young to raise a baby, even an egg baby. Also, Dawn and Mary Anne are pestering their parents for a little brother or sister, but they change their minds after the sitting and the class. Luckily, Richard and Sharon didn't take their family planning cues from their 13 year old children, and instead offer to get them another pet, which they decline.
Points of Interest:
- Mary Anne finds hedge clippers in the bread drawer. Oh, Sharon.
- Shillaber twins shoutout! Mariah and Miranda have a new baby brother. This starts Dawn and Mary Anne talking about how awesome it would be if their parents had a baby. I just don't get it. The household had enough of a hard time adjusting to TIGGER when he moved in, how are they going to handle a baby?
- Dawn and Mary Anne leave an hour early to go to Claudia's. That seems...excessive. How far away is Claudia's house?
- Ugh. Mary Anne describes Claudia's skin as creamy. Ew. That is currently my number one pet peeve about the series. I'm dealing with it by imagining fake conversations that the ghost writers had with each other:
Ghostwriter #1: Hey, ghostwriter #2.
Ghostwriter #2: Hey, ghostwriter #1. What's up.
G1: I'm just wrapping up work on #55.
G2: Nice. I'm almost done Mystery #7. Hey, what kind of Claudia outfit did you include?
G1: A fringe vest, culottes, yellow boots, red socks, a cowboy hat, and a side ponytail. You?
G2: A tie-dyed unitard, a skirt made of ties, feathered earrings, lace-up sandals, and a sombrero.
G1: Awesome. Is it summer for your book?
G2: Yeah, again.
G1: Me, too.
G2: Oh, I wanted to tell you, I managed to work all of our suggested phrases into Chapter Two.
G1: No way. I've only ever managed about 75%.
G2: I know, it wasn't pretty but it's all there. Creamy, bi-coastal, an exaggerated 'long,' mansion and millionaire, steady boyfriend, orthodontist appointments, diabetes, ew, Nancy Drew, California Casual, genius, math, perm, broken leg, French, contacts, War and Peace, sophisticated, dibble, fresh, day-glo, exotic, an individual, Stamford, barre, six mentions of divorce, junior members, triplets, Kentucky, and ice cream.
G1: I can never bring myself to write California Casual.
G2: Yeah, I know. Although it's describing her as an individual that I have the hardest time with.
G1: Hey, did you cram the BSC information together with the chapter two stuff, or did you leave them separate?
G2: No, I left them separate. That way there's less room for the real plot, because it just doesn't make any sense. I mean, it directly contradicts the last book I wrote.
G1: Tell me about it. (beep beep) Oh, I have another call. (new call) Hello?
AMM: Ghostwriter 1? It's Ann M. Martin.
G1: Oh, hi, Ann. How are you?
AMM: You know, I think you should call me Ms. M. Martin. We don't know each other that well.
G1: Okay, Ms. M. Martin. How are you?
AMM: Fine, thank you. I was just having tea like a Lovely Lady and I had a Great Idea.
G1: What was it?
AMM: In Chapter Five, I want you to make an I Love Lucy reference. To the time when she and Ethel worked in the chocolate factory.
G1: (sigh) Okay, Ms. M. Martin. I'll make sure it's in there.
AMM: Great. Do you want to talk to my cats?
G1: That's okay. I'll catch them next time. Bye.
AMM: Bye. (hangs up)
G1: You still there?
G2: Let me guess - I Love Lucy.
G1: I need a drink.
- In Modern Living, the teacher asks who is capable of parenting of being married, or living on your own. And Mary Anne thinks that she is, because she babysits a lot. Gah. Really, Mary Anne? I had so much hope for you.
- Oh, it gets worse. She also thinks that she and Logan are ready to 'take the big step.' As long as 'the big step' means getting fake married in your 8th grade class.
- Shawna Riverson is drawn as being really ditzy. But in Claudia and the Middle School Mystery, she's supposed to be an A student and really capable of organizing stuff.
- Four boys in the class have to marry each other. But they have to pretend that one is a girl, because there HAS to be a husband and a wife. Otherwise it's not a marriage! Boy, attitudes were really different back in 1992!
- Their first assignment is to figure out if they can afford to live on their own and pay all of their bills. What 13 year old can do that? Unless they're receiving money from some kind of trust or something, I guess, or if they're emancipated minors of some kind, but I hope it's an exercise designed to show them that they can't take care of themselves yet.
- Whoa! Microwave popcorn! That seems really advanced for AMM.
- The Modern Living class is given eggs, and have to pretend that they're children. I remember being really nervous that one of my classes was going to try that, but they never did.
- This is bringing back memories of Degrassi Junior High, the episode Eggbert, where Spike is pregnant and Shane wants to kind of be involved, so she gives him the egg to look after. Spoiler alert: It doesn't end well.
- I know I'm giving you a lot of non-book content in this one, but it's kind of a boring book.
- Mary Anne and Logan walk around for the whole book calling each other Dear and Sweetheart. I think they're getting into this a little too much.
- Kristy "marries" Alan Gray and they name their egg Izzy. She takes him on a job to the Papadakis' house, and Alan calls to check on them. And then Kristy tells him that the egg is shy and nervous and then they talk about the egg's socialization and development. No, really. They talk for so long that Hannie and Linny and Sari wander off and do their own thing. And that's what I call Bull on. Yes, Kristy would be into a school assignment, but no way would she neglect her baby-sitting duties while on the job. Think of the club's reputation!
- Mary Anne and Logan name their child Samantha.
- Stacey "marries" Austin Bentley and their egg is named Bobby. She shows how sophisticated she is by not really being into the project that much. Then she sits for the Gianellis and Alicia is terrified by the egg, because she saw it in a bed. So she calls her 'husband' to come over and take the baby, and realizes how difficult it is to be a single parent.
- Dawn marries some guy named Aaron Albright and her egg is named Skip, and she hates that name. She would have named the egg Douglas. But she does PSA that she is never ever changing her name, no matter who she marries.
- One of the couples in the class lost their baby: she was in the tin they keep her in when they left school, but when they checked at the park she was gone. They say that they don't know she got out of the tin. Except...she didn't. She's an egg. Either there's a hole in the tin, or something or someone took her out. I can't snark too much on a lost child, but these people seem to be forgetting that it's still just an egg.
- Mary Anne thinks that she'll wait until she's a lot older before she gets married. Like, when she's 22.
- At the end of the class, they hand in a 32-page, typed, single spaced paper. That seems...like a lot. They also have to write a good-bye letter to their egg, twenty-one years in the future. That would be in...2013. So their Egg would be now 17 years old...if it wasn't an egg.
- Mal wants eight kids, just like her mom. I have a hard time believing that.