Cover: Where do I even start? Left to right, I guess. Kristy...I believe that if she had to wear a dress, she'd wear that one. Mary Anne is too tall, but the dress looks appropriately awkward on her. Dawn looks better in the dress but not at all California Casual (maybe if she took off the sleeves?) Speaking of sleeveless, Claudia looks different but not wacky. Jeff cracks me up, because he looks like a game show host making patter with a contestant "Ha, ha. Wonderful. Now, back to the game!" Plot!: This book is really two different plots in one, joined together with the tenuous thread of Christmas weddings. On the west coast, Dawn's father gets married (to Carol), and on the east coast, the Barrett-DeWitts get married, and for some reason this is a big deal for the BSC. Because this is a super special, everyone gets their own little drama:
- Dawn: her father gets married and she moves back to Connecticut, for awhile.
- Mary Anne: does not want to be a bridesmaid at Jack Schafer's wedding, then is hurt that she isn't, and it's all Dawn's fault. It's even stupider than this sounds.
- Kristy: organizes the We Heart Kids Club's goodbye party for Dawn.
- Claudia: the thirteen year old acts like a wedding planner and does weddingy things, including taking pictures
- Jeff: watches Jack and Carol fight about things like an entertainment unit and a lava lamp
- Stacey: is a bridesmaid for Mrs. Barrett
- Mallory: gets into a fight with Ben over caroling
- Shannon: watches the Barrett kids at the wedding
- Jessi: is a Santa at the mall. Which has nothing to do with the weddings.
- Suzi Barrett: is nervous that Santa won't find her family once they move
Points of Interest
- Dawn opens the book by announcing that her dad is getting married, and she’s already making it all about
her. Apparently she has to pass her midterms (midterms?) if she wants to pass her classes (wouldn’t they be called finals?), and right after the wedding she’s flying back to Stoneybrook to live for awhile.
- But the biggest WTF? Me, Me, Me moment comes when she laments that the Barrett-DeWitt wedding is the same day as the Schafer-Olson wedding, because that means that the BSC won’t be able to come to California. Wait. Time out. She was expecting all of the BSC members to come to California, to watch her Dad (who they have met once) get married? Plane tickets are not cheap!
- I’d better slow down here, because there are so many WTF moments I might pull a muscle if I get outraged at them all.
- Anyway, Dawn is the one who is like, “since I can’t be everywhere, and people have made the ridiculous choice not to come to my dad’s wedding, let’s keep journals!”
- The other thing about this book is that there is very little explanation...of anything! It doesn’t say who is going to California or who’s helping out at the B-DeW wedding until it’s happening. I’m used to way more exposition.
- Dawn buys her bridesmaid dress because she loves it: satiny material, shirred off-the-shoulder sleeves, a fitted bodice and a skirt that flared mid-calf. It’s...a pretty standard bridesmaid dress, it looks like. It does not look like something a thirteen year old girl would be excited about wearing, especially if they were as much of an individualist as Dawn is. What are you up to, Lerangis?
- Dawn buys two dresses...one for her, and one for Mary Anne, who is apparently also a bridesmaid. Luckily, this turns into a plot point later on.
- Stacey eats a big greasy cheeseburger at Burger Town? But what about her diabetes? Actually, I have no idea if she’s eaten burgers before, it just seems strange.
- Mrs. Barrett asks Stacey to be a bridesmaid. In her wedding. At least there are other, adult bridesmaids there.
- Jessi becomes a Santa for Bellair’s department store. This plot feels really out of place, because I keep forgetting it’s set at Christmas.
- Mallory and Ben get into a stupid fight: they are planning to go carolling with kids, but then Mallory agrees to watch the Barretts at the wedding, which is the same day. And instead of doing the logical thing and rescheduling the carolling to like, the next day, they have a big fight. And eventually they end up going the next day anyway. Sigh.
- Dawn describes her life as a soap opera. Mary Anne calls Kristy’s life a soap opera. That should have been the direction they went in for the HBO show.
- I have watched too many TLC wedding shows to think that hiring a thirteen year old girl (with Claudia’s artistic sense) to decorate and/or plan your wedding is a good idea. But that’s how Claudia ‘works’ off the ticket that Jack Schafer buys for her to come to California.
- Okay. Dawn forgets to tell Mary Anne that she’s a bridesmaid, and Mary Anne freaks out, because she hates being the centre of attention and she’s worried about being sunburned from the dress. Then she comes around, but it turns out that she’s NOT a bridesmaid – Dawn just assumed she would be, and didn’t talk to Jack or Carol or anyone about it. Oh my Lord. Is Dawn really that dense? Mary Anne has met Jack once. She’s the daughter of the man that his ex-wife married. Why the hell would she be in the wedding?
- Mary Anne is also pretty judgemental about a beach wedding. She’d prefer a nice normal indoor wedding, which Dawn takes offence to, because Mary Anne is calling them abnormal.
- Carol’s dress is not at all a wedding dress. It’s more like a dress you’d put on to have brunch with your friends because you don’t really have to impress them. Also, I always thought she was a blond, but the illustration is of a brunette.
- Oh, right, the Barrett-DeWitt wedding. Shannon and Mallory are looking after the youngest B-DeW kids, and they have to sit all the way at the back of the church. I don’t get this. Why couldn’t they be up closer, sharing the day with their parents and Bobby and Lindsey, who are in the wedding?
- Marnie makes a break for it and stands up at the front with her mom. Ryan DeWitt (the Stoneybrook one) starts crying and Shannon takes him out of the church. And that’s about all of the drama there.
- Mrs. Barrett has three bridesmaids and a maid of honour. That seems really big for a second wedding, especially given all the stress they had planning everything.
- Her dress is: a long white beaded antique gown with a plunging neckline. How plunging? Why aren’t there any pictures of that? Come on, illustrator!
- After the weddings, the book kind of peters out: there’s a going away party for Dawn, Logan helps move furniture for the DeWitts, Suzi leaves a trail of bread crumbs for Santa to find her at her new house, Mallory goes carolling, Dawn gets a ticket back to California from her Dad and Carol, and she and Jeff go to Stoneybrook. The end.
Final Thought: I think my favourite part about this book is the picture of Jeff on the cover. It just makes me smile!
p.s. sorry about any weird formatting...this one kind of got away from me.