I think this book should actually be called “Claudia’s a mega-bitch; an exploration of sibling rivalry gone wrong, while several 13-year-olds care for a large number of children during their summer vacation instead of loafing like any sane person.” Or maybe “Hi, I’m Ann M. Martin, and this is one of the last few books I wrote in this series that acknowledged the passage of time in any sort of realistic or logical way.” Or maybe “What kind of public library doesn’t hold Nancy Drew books (or whatever current YA series is popular? Seriously? They’re not trashy or dumb or even dumbing down or whatever…” How about “It’s a good thing Janine wants to be a physicist, cause she and the words don’t work well together.”
Okay, plot goes:
Claudia and Janine are SOOOOO DIFFERENT. They don’t get along.
Mimi has a stroke.
Claudia blames herself, so throws herself—voluntarily—into caring for Mimi, then gets all bitter and lashing-out-y towards sis.
They finally come together and realize that they need to cut each other some slack (ESPECIALLY CLAUDIA, because, contrary to the title of the book, Claudia is a super-duper hag to Janine, especially when Janine is trying, albeit ineffectually, to be nice).
Subplot=BSC are INSANE, cause they choose to spend their mornings caring for many children in a play group rather than sleeping late. Dumbasses.
Other subplot=Jamie Newton’s crazy jealous, cause his baby sister Lucy is getting baptized, and she gets presents and a party.
Claudia’s fashion highlight?
“It was a big, loose white shirt with black splotches all over it, and white pants that came to just below my knees. My shoes (and I might point out that I’d had a fight with Mom over permission to buy them) were dainty gold sandals that laced partway up my legs. Then I put on my pink flaming earrings and a pink bracelet that said CLAUDIA in heart shaped beads [both mature and wild]. Finally I braided my hair into four long braids, tied a ribbon around the top of each, and fastened the ends with butterfly clips.” Classy.