Ah, stretching to make a plot…So, it’s the first day of summer break, and Stacey is an IDIOT. Oh, wait, sorry, she’s trying to figure out what to do with her summer now that she’s no longer in the BSC. Well, she starts hanging out with her “new best friends” that she met through her boyfriend, Robert. And her new friends mark Stacey’s house as the no-parent zone, and clean out the pantry and generally make a mess. So, Stacey is sentenced to a summer job. She gets a job in the room-that-lets-parents-shop-without-screaming-children at Bellairs, the department store where her mom works. [Time out: both she and Logan have jobs at places that don’t pay under the table. THIRTEEN YEAR OLDS have jobs with steady paychecks. How on earth were they able to get working papers? Only one place—McDonald’s, which lasted pretty much 4 shifts spaced over two months—hired me before I turned 16. No other employer would touch anyone under 16. So, I find that whole premise a little…unbelievable.] Well, her new BFFs meet her after every shift to go shoplifting. I mean shopping. Well, Stacey suspects the truth, but she trusts them because her boyfriend is friends with them, and apparently, she’s never known anyone who shoplifts, DESPITE SPENDING THE FIRST 12 YEARS OF HER LIFE IN MANHATTAN. I mean, come on, you know Laine, etc. had some hangers-on trying to impress her by pinching lipsticks. And, though it makes her uncomfortable, Stacey lets her BFFs buy stuff with her employee discount. [I’m still not sure why that makes her uncomfortable. It’s not even unethical. It’s certainly not against any rules…I bet her mom does it all the time. Whatever.] And big surprise: they returned the stuff for full price. Which is super shady, and Stacey’s all, “That’s not cool, but I’ll forgive you cause you told me about the U4ME concert, and I’ll forgive you when you all ditch me in the monster line for tickets, because I’m really lame and needy for being so ‘sophisticated.’” The final straw? They sneak booze into the concert and Stacey gets busted with them. And they don’t stand up for her! (Probably cause they’re drunk off their asses.) Well, this incident makes Stacey realize that she misses the BSC, and maybe they’re not really babies, but she is. A whiny little cry baby. Who needs to seriously shut up about her stupid boyfriend and her awful clothes.
Subplot: Dawn’s second cousin comes to stay chez Spier/Schafer, and is miserable and a pain. And Dawn finds out that her CA-BFF’s mom has the black lung. I mean lung cancer. So, she’s thinking of going back, but isn’t talking about it with anyone.
This one was after my time. I picked it up cause the cover’s hilarious (and I can’t figure out—again—which one’s supposed to be Stacey). It shows a group of girls all grunged out, flannels and all, at a concert, except for a girl in a baggy sweater seven seasons too old, who probably is supposed to be Stacey. Anyhoo. I find it so weird that ANM added real things to later books, like mentioning “grunge” and MTV. And, I know things have changed a little, but I still find it hard to believe that the head cheerleader is friends with girls with crazy hair and black lipstick. In my middle school, that never would have flown. Nor at my high school, but that’s a different story all together.
And ANM’s ghostwriter, does a really transparent job of explaining how Stacey knows what’s going ahn with the BSC even though they’re on the outs. See, Claud reads the BSC notebook to Stacey over the phone, and that’s how she knows what’s going on with the others. And here I thought I could enjoy a book without the mandatory “isn’t it amazing how different we all are” chapter. Nope. Oh, and Stacey talks like an IDIOT in this book…She’s all acronyms and bad slang and pseudo-valley girl. Ugh. Shudder.