To the cover!
Yeah, this kind of thing had nothing to do with my ridiculous expectations of teenage boys. Not at all. (To be fair, I didn't read this way back when, but it is exemplary of romance in the BSC. Just sayin'.) Also, it's another case of the little cover blurb having very little to do with anything. The book is mostly about Miss McGill being an asshat to her alleged best friend, Miss Claudia Kishi. Sure, she's keeping secrets and lying and acting all around shitty to everyone she's ever known, except Mr. Perfect Boyfriend. So, yeah. It should have been "How many people will she hurt?" or something to that effect.
Let me explain. Yep, it's another overly complicated plot in which not much actually happens. And, in some kind of miracle, someone (actually two someones!) in the BSC goes on a vacation and doesn't do a single minute of babysitting!!!!!!!!!! And the BSC takes a week off!!!!! Hooray!!!!!!!! First of all, in a feat bypassing years and buckets of labor laws, Stacey's boy-toy Robert gets a job working on the Fire Island Ferry (I almost wrote "Fairy" because I am terribly, terribly mature. And I still think of Fire Island as almost as gay as P-town.) So, they won't be able so spend any time together over the summer. Sad face. But then, Stacey's dad wants to take her on a two-week vacation, to her destination of choice. So, instead of cashing in and going someplace cool or exciting or different that she might not ever have a chance to see otherwise, she decides to go to Fire Island so she can scam time with her boy. Yep. And her dad lets her invite Claudia, who is wicked psyched about it. So, the trip commences, and she doesn't tell Claud or Dad about Robert being there. Stacey gets up early to walk Robert to work ON THE FIRST FUCKING FERRY OF THE DAY. Then she meets him every time he has a break. And drags poor Claudia along. ("Legend, the legend, the thiiiiird-wheel legend." All book long. Seriously.) And then things get messy with Claud and Stace, especially when Stacey starts cutting her time with Claud short and abandoning her to roll with Robert. Yep. Oh, and then Stacey and Robert, while on a romantic nighttime walk on the beach, run into Mr. McGill and his new paramour while they're on a romantic nighttime beach stroll. And Stacey throws a fit that her dad lied. Because she is a fucking hypocrite. Oh, and Robert dumps her at one point because he wonders when she'll start lying to him like she does to everyone else. Heh. Oh, and because the parents in these books are certifiable, the rest of the BSC (well, minus the junior officers, of course) come out to Fire Island to celebrate the Fourth of July. And they all hate Stacey, too!!! Finally!!! But Stacey and Claudia make up at the end of the book. Boo.
Oh, and there's this uber-lame subplot. Haley Braddock and Vanessa Pike have a huge fucking fight because they both got the same bathing suit. Yawn.
The finer points:
- [I also kept singing "Pretty Deep" by Tanya Donelly while reading this book. Look up the lyrics, you'll understand.]
- There's this weird thing at the beginning with Stacey's mom making dinner, when she "picked up her favorite knife and started slicing the skin off the chicken." Yum. At least she's wearing a "cream-colored silk shirt and matching slacks [and] a purple-and-gold-striped apron." I can't say I have a favorite knife. I like to be an equal-opportunity cutlery user. Or something.
- Here we go: "The next morning I got up, pulled on a pair of blue tights, black canvas walking shorts, a long-sleeved, blue T-shirt, and a pair of black flats. I piled my blonde perm up on top of my head and fastened it with a blue stretchie tie." But wait! After looking out the window, "I ripped the stretchie [Fucking a, ghostwriter, they're scrunchies. Duh.] from my hair and let the curls fall around my shoulders. I took off my clothes [oooooooh!] and changed into my new one-piece shorts dress [WHAT THE FUCK IS A SHORTS DRESS?!?!?!?] with the gold,red and green Aztec-style print. I slipped into a pair of light tan woven flats and I was set to go." Both outfits are giving me the twitches.
- Robert the Boyfriend "isn't exactly model-gorgeous like, say, Jason Priestly, but to me his is simply adorable...His smile just finishes me. It makes me melt, completely." Um. Okay. It finishes her, does it? Sounds vaguely dirty to me. Only vaguely. But still.
- Damn! She blew her savings on a marble chess set with pieces shaped like Civil War soldiers for her dad's Father's Day gift.
- Stacey's dad to Stacey: "How would you like to go buy yourself a pretty summery something to wear to dinner tonight? I'll take you to the Lion's Lair." Tiff, to herself: "Is she his daughter or his mistress?"
- [Also, I don't think it's a real place.]
- Oh, Stacey. "After an hour or so of looking around, I settled on this super cute flowing pants outfit in a sunflower print against a navy blue background. It had a high waist, cap sleeves, and a scoop neck, and the pants were long and full." It sounds...[gawd, I hate quoting Michael Stupid Kors] very mother-of-the-bride.
- While fantasizing about going to Paris, she sees herself wearing "a great red beret with something super stylish." That's specific. She decides to save Europe for later, perhaps her honeymoon with Robert. Yup. She needs help.
- Oh, they go to Davis Park on Fire Island. Which, breaking pattern, is a real place.
- Some comic relief! "Claudia knows how to personalize a look. She'll combine clothing in a way you might think would be disastrous and instead of disaster she ends up with perfection. [Wow, that sentence is awkward.] For example, today she was wearing a long, black, crocheted vest that fell to her knees over a pair of black shorts and a white blouse with ruffles at the collar and cuffs. Her hair was in two long braids tied with black and white ribbons at the ends. On her feet were black sandals with a thick platform sole and white ribbons which laced around her ankles...The outfit might sound crazy, but it looked great." If I hear that one more time, I might start to believe it. Wait, no I fucking won't. It looks terrible!!!!!
- Claud (and her parents) get less than a week's notice about the trip. And no one thinks that's odd.
- "Oh, did I say that Jessi is African-American? Well, she is." So, so nonchalant. So classy.
- Stacey is just positive that Mal will be a knockout one of these days. I, for one, am not convinced. Also, Stacey is monumentally fucking condescending. In addition to being a bitch. And a liar.
- What kind of community center pays two eleven-year-olds to be counselors?
- Mmmm, falafel.
- Are there really no cars in Davis Park?
- OOOOH, DRAMA! Claud finds out that Robert's there on the ferry! Drama on the first fucking day! Woo!
- How is an eleven-year-old getting a paycheck? How could they get working papers? The fuck????
- Ah, easily "resolved" fights.
- Meeting Robert before he has to report to the first ferry [It is entirely too hard not to type "fairy."] "What a great way to start the day!" Ass early. Which is when I get up, and I it's all I can do to make it out the door fully dressed and with all necessary keys.
- There's this whole thing about how Mr. McGill is always hanging out with his friend, Mr. Majors. Holy shit, did I want them to be gay for each other.
- Claudia winds up spending tons of time by herself working on photography projects and sitting at a pizzeria. Her best friend sucks. Ha ha, mine doesn't!
- Claud totally calls her on it! "But it feels as if you're just killing time with me until you can see Robert again. And that's not a great feeling." But bitchy Stacey doesn't change her evil ways.
- Claud about Mr. McGill: "He sure loves Mr. Majors." Heee. So, so gay for each other!!!!
- Ah, early 90s fashion that is clawing its ugly way into the present: "I pulled on a pair of green leggings and a sleeveless denim top. Claudia wore a pair of wild tie-dyed leggings and an over-sized T-shirt she'd designed and silk-screened herself. She'd painted a flock of birds flying diagonally across it." Okay, so maybe it's not entirely trendy now, but it's pretty damned close.
- Can teenagers eat at the restaurant in the Casino?
- Wow, Robert's crazy about Stacey. And she thought he just like-liked her.
- Also, there's a bunch of shit in this book about the technological miracle of the fax machine. I fucking hate faxing. Just set it up so I can email it. Bitches.
- "I was there in time to see the boat pull into the dock. Robert spotted me from the upper deck and waved. I waved back. (It was so romantic. I thought about long ago days, and sailors coming home from the sea. I imagined myself as Robert's true love, waiting on the dock to greet him. I could easily picture myself in a long white skirt, with ribbons in my hair.)" So...lame...it...hurts. Also, way to romanticize a situation that didn't always end so happily. Ever heard of a widow's walk, sweetheart?
- What kind of adult offers to take a couple of thirteen-year-olds (sans parents) on a romantic evening sail? Asking for trouble.
- Stacey's big romantic sail outfit? A "white and blue sundress with a dropped waist and square sailor collar." Cause she's starting kindergarten soon.
- Mr. McGill is going to a party at Stu Majors's house, and he looks all guilty after talking to "Stu" on the phone. Soooo. Gaaaaaaay.
- Hee! I used to love Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.
- Haley makes up really violent anti-Vanessa signs. And Mary Anne doesn't stop her. The hell? Then she lets her hang one of the signs on the Pikes' fence.
- "I wondered if I was to blame for what happened with Claudia. [YES!] I was only trying to keep her happy by spending time with her. [Spending time thinking about being somewhere else.] It wasn't my fault everything had gone wrong. [Actually, it is.] I hadn't meant to hurt her feelings. [Well, it's all okay then, isn't it?] I'd cared about her feelings. That's why I was in this mess to being with." No, hon, you're in this mess because you are a selfish little twat.
- When we met Mr. McGill's lady friend, Samantha, my first thought was "Damn, it's a woman."
- Good to know that Stace caught the liar gene from Daddy. But he's an adult, and he's your father. He can lie to you all he wants.
- Stacey calls Claudia "pigheaded and selfish." Cough. POT. Cough. KETTLE. Cough. BLACK. Cough. Got that frog out of my throat.
- So, Claud wants them all to be in this costume parade for the 4th. And she sticks Stacey with the "most ridiculous" costume: "That morning, Claudia had tossed a green dragon costume onto my bed. It was made out of her green jumpsuit. She'd taped triangular green spikes to the back, leading all the way down to a spiky tail made from Claudia's green scarf...blah blah blah." She had a green jumpsuit and didn't make a Dr. Rockzo costume? Criminal. Stacey finds wearing it humiliating. Of course. Heaven forbid she find a sense of humor.
- I love when ANYONE in these books shows any common sense. Robert: "I think maybe we've been spending too much time together. We're kind of young, and maybe we should be seeing other people." YES!
- Claud's showing (and selling) a bunch of her pix at a little gallery/shop in Davis Park. And all her pix have retarded titles, like "That's the Way The Castle Crumbles." (Oh, they're all of sand castles.)
- Why would anyone ever think that Stacey was perfect?
- There's a bunch of bullshit make-up talk. "Oh, I'll never fuck you over for a boy again!" "Oh, I overreacted to your being a megabitch!" Hugs! [Obviously, I'm paraphrasing.]
- Stacey & Robert go on a double date with Dad & Samantha. Awkward much?
- The book ends terribly. "And that's no lie!" SMACK!!!!!!