Ah, you gotta love character development that goes away in the next book. Yep, Mary Anne grows a pair, only to puss out for pretty much the rest of the series. And there’s a lot about Mary Anne in this book that goes absolutely nowhere. And there a bunch of characters that never get mentioned again, like the Shalibar twins. Who? The people that Kristy and Mary Anne have eaten lunch with since starting SMS? The ones who we never hear from again? Oh, yeah, Dawn shows up, too.
So, in this book, Mary Anne and her dad are way religious (or at least for the world of ANM): they say grace before every meal, during which they bless M-A’s dead mom (the titular Alma), as M-A does every night before bed. Yep, the dead mom has a name. I’m sure ANM mentions a few more times during the course of the series, but she doesn’t often. I would not have been able to tell you what it was, though.
Anyway, the plot: the BSC have a big dumb fight. They don’t have regular meetings, and they don’t eat together anymore. So, Mary Anne meets the new girl, Dawn, and tells Dawn that “all her friends are absent.” For like 4 weeks. And M-A’s sick of feeling like a baby, and she wants her Dad to treat her more like a teenager. She’s sick of her all pink room with the pictures of Humpty Dumpty and Alice in Wonderland. She wants to hang pictures of her friends. And a poster of New York or Paris. And a poster with kittens. Cause kitten posters are soooo grown up. [Now, don’t get me wrong. I have had my fair share of cute animal posters. But I have never ever thought of them as “grown-up” or even “not babyish.” Just sayin.]
Oh, and as Dawn and Mary Anne start hanging out more, they figure out that their parents *cough knew each other in high school. In fact, they start the scheming this early in the plot.
Anyhoo, in the midst of the fight, the girls keep babysitting, and Mary Anne sits for bratty, prissy Jenny Prezzioso a few times. And Jenny gets crazy sick, and Mary Anne does everything right and calls around for help, only able to find Dawn. But anyway, she handles everything well and gets a whole Hamilton for her trouble…Who knew the P.’s were cheapskates? What with the frilly party dresses for Jenny and the silk cocktail dresses for the mom? They could have dropped a 20 for each girl? For getting “their angel” to the hospital. And this little incident underscores the complete LACK OF ADULTS IN STONEYBROOK! M-A couldn’t find a single adult to help her the one time one of the BSC actually asked for help!
Yeah, so after almost ruining Jamie Newton’s birthday shindig, Mary Anne gets the BSC together and bullies them into making up. And inviting Dawn to join. And they make this big deal about how much M-A’s changed. But she’s back to her old ways after this, except on the rare occasion that she’s ostracized (Mary Anne’s Makeover) or feeling smothered (Mary Anne vs. Logan) etc.
So, Mary Anne constantly bitches about how her dad makes her dress. And while I understand her frustration (her dad buys her clothes and has to approve them? And she has to wear her hair in braids? Pain in the ass. Why not a ponytail? Or a head band?) And what does M-A have to wear? “Corduroy skirts and plain sweaters and blouses and penny loafers.” Yep, she’s the height of preppy style and doesn’t even know it. Aside from which, it kind of sounds like a modified version of my college uniform (band t-shirt instead of blouse, ratty cardigan instead of plain sweater, mary janes or docs instead of penny loafers, you get the gist). M-A wants to be like Stacey. (Oh yeah, funniest line in the book: “If you ask Stacey, she’ll tell you she’s plain, but that’s crazy.” Yep, modest Stacey.) M-A wants to wear tight pants and baggy tops and crazy earrings. Honestly, I’d pick dad-wear over Stacey or Claud wear anyday.
Oh, and congrats to “the real Claire and Margo, Claire DuBois Gordon and Margo Mendez-Penate, Class of 2006,” to whom this book is dedicated.