The Against Taffy Sinclair Club

The Taffy Sinclair books were the shit. I think because they were written in a very realistic way and really captured the kids’ feelings and what their lives were like without being condescending. Seriously, I know they are only in the fifth grade, but creating a club to terrorize one girl in their school is out of control mean. And sounds like something I would have done. (Hell, I’m the president of such a club now). I actually feel kind of bad for Taffy. It’s totally obvious that they are all jealous and Taffy has no other way to act that being mean right back. Maybe I am getting ahead of myself here.

So Jana, the narrator and Beth, Katie, Melanie, and Christie have the titular club where they sit around and bitch about Taffy (but oddly, never make fun of her name). They have secret notebooks about her. On the first day of fifth grade, Taffy shows up to school with boobs. So the plan in for the gals to also grow boobs. Beth sees an add in a women’s magazine for the Venus Milo bust developer, so they all fundraise to get the $19.95 to purchase it. Christie proposes that they call their mission Lambda Rho, which is code for Little Raisins. I didn’t understand it then, and I am not sure I understand it now. And they are afraid that Mr. Neal will find out what it means.

They do a bake sale. Melanie, the “fat” one, has a secret recipe for “gorgeous brownies”. I am just sayin’, maybe her mother shouldn’t make brownies so much. No, I am not getting down on Mel for being overweight. I am just saying her mother shouldn’t contribute her Type 2 diabetes and years of social stigma. (Later Mel befriends Taffy and Taffy teaches her how to be bulimic, so that problem is solved, don’t worry.)

Also, Jana lives with just her mom and has a deadbeat Dad. Her father promised to take her on vacation, but never did, causing awful pain for Jana. She writes him a long letter about it and all she gets is a box of chocolates. It’s pretty shitty. To compensate, she write her “how I spent my summer” essay about the vacation, making up all the adventures. The school loves it and wants to publish it. Although Taffy knows its a lie and uses it to blackmail Jana. I have to say, I was on Taffy’s side. The other gals are clearly jealous. Taffy also finds the Against Taffy Sinclair notebook and threatens to show it to Mr. Neal, their teacher that they all have a crush on. Taffy is actually really hurt about it. I feel bad for her. I feel like she is mean and bitchy probs because the gals were mean to her first after being jealous.

Jana’s mom finds the notebook and the bust developer and talks some sense into Jana. The gals decide to form a self-improvement club, which will later become the Fabulous Five series, which I thought was pretty amazing.

This time around, I totally felt bad for Taffy and wanted to smack the rude out of Jana.

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40 thoughts on “The Against Taffy Sinclair Club

  1. Sarah says:

    Taffy looks like a Wakefield twin on the front of that book. Did she was sparkling blue-green eyes the colour of the Pacific Ocean, and a perfect size six figure, as well as sun-streaked blonde hair?

  2. greer says:

    “the against taffy sinclair club” is the worst club name i’ve ever heard. why not “the anti-taffy sinclair club”? or “the taffy sinclair haters association”?

    also, all of those girls are dressed like prairie girls. was that really cool in the late 1980s?

  3. Diane says:

    I always remember being awkwarded out by this book because I was the only one in fifth grade to have boobs. Believe me, I didn’t want them and did everything I could to hide them.

    Team Taffy.

  4. Robyn says:

    Strangely, all I remember from this book is the embarrassing purple dress that Jana’s mom made her wear on the first day of school. And Taffy was wearing the same one and it emphasized her new boobs. And then Jana stuffs her dress with cotton balls and gets busted.

    And I always thought the club was a great idea since they were standing up to the mean girl in their class and nobody would ever do that to the mean girl that I went to school with. But looking back, it was pretty cruel…

  5. willamina says:

    I remember living vicariously through Taffy when she went out to Hollywood to do a TV pilot or a movie or something. Everyone was hella jealous of her, even out there.

  6. willamina says:

    I remember living vicariously through Taffy when she went out to Hollywood to do a TV pilot or a movie or something.

    Everyone was hella jealous of her, even out there.

  7. Gretchen says:

    I read these books too, and I always sympathized with Taffy a bit too. She always reminded me of Laura Danker in “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” because all the PTSes in that book constantly made fun of Laura for being more developed than they were and started rumors like she was easy. Like, it’s fine to hate someone for things under their control – like being a horrible, selfish person – but for things like your body that you can’t help? Not cool at all.

  8. The Kuus says:

    Team Taffy all the way!

    Is this the one where Taffy blackmails Jana into pretending to be her friend because she’s so lonely? That one always made me so sad. I was so happy when they all went to junior high and these harpies left Taffy alone, and Taffy actually ended up making friends.

  9. Merrie says:

    Having boobs in 5th grade sucked so much that I immediately hated any character that whined because she was flat — which really ruined ‘Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret” for me. Team Taffy all the way!

  10. Nikki says:

    Go Taffy! When I was in fifth grade EVERY single girl in my class banded together and formed the “We Hate Nicole Club”. I wasn’t fantastic or busty-I was fat. Heh 🙂

  11. paige says:

    The only explanation for “Lambda Rho” I can think of is that those are the Greek letters for “L and R,” hence “L.R.: Little Raisins”??? Weird.

  12. Roxie says:

    I totally remember these books! I didn’t sympathize with Taffy, though, ’cause I was an incredibly jealous child. The best one was definitely “Taffy Sinclair, Queen of the Soaps”. I think that was the one where Jana watched too many soap operas and thought she was a twin. Haha.

  13. Gabrielle says:

    I have a question since I never read a Taffy Sinclair or a We Hate Taffy Sinclair book. Why did they hate Taffy Sinclair? Was she spoiled and Lila Fowler/Cokie Masonesque?

  14. Renee says:

    The little raisins thing actually made me crack up – they compared their non-boobs to raisins..at least that was my interpretation – they were all so flat they couldn’t compare it to anything but raisins. at least they had self-awareness which somehow does not exist in sweet valley world. I read these books but barely remember the Taffy ones…thanks for taking me down memory lane, ihatewheat. 🙂

  15. WickedWonder says:

    What I remember most about this book was the box of chocolates that Jana’s dad send sat on their kitchen table, opened, until the chocolates got dusty. (Now, I’m thinking they probably bloomed.) Then her mom threw them away. That was some drama.
    I’d probably be on Taffy’s side, especially since I was hated for being fat and boobalicious way too soon in grade school. Now, what was the one that Taffy’s diary almost was read aloud at a campfire, I wanna say?

  16. Jessa Fields says:

    Isn’t there one where they all go to modeling school? (Even Katie, the feminist-y one who I actually liked.) I remember a part where they all had to parade down a runway (Taffy rocked it of course) and Jana forgot to suck in her stomach, which apparently was the greatest faux pas ever committed in human existence. Sigh.

    Hey, is it pronounced “Jane-a” or “Jan-a”? This used to drive me crazy. That and I thought “Pink” was the creepiest name in the world for a stepdad.

    Team Taffy.

  17. tammyt says:

    Re: Jane-a, Jan-a … I’m pretty sure it was pronounced “Jana” because of the book where the boys (except for kind and sensitive Randy Kirwan) tease her by calling her “Jana Banana.”

  18. coquelicot says:

    Taffy got teased for having boobs in 5th grade? Gee willikers, half of the girls in my class had them by then–me included. I had enough there to wear a bra in the 4th. And I was among the youngest in my class. It wasn’t even due to being overweight–in fact, I was skinny as a rail otherwise. No hating Taffy here simply based on that fact.

  19. Jess says:

    I just want you to know that thanks to this particular trip down memory lane, I wound up spending an hour last night editing the Wikipedia entry for the Fabulous Five.

    Also, I nominate the “Pen Pals” series if you’re looking for more ridonkulous preteen literature. There was a snobby cosmopolitan blonde girl, a punky artsy Asian girl, a tomboy with leadership tendencies, and a shy bookish girl who wore frumpy clothes and braids. Sound like another series that was dear to our 12-year-old hearts? I thought so too. Except instead of babysitting, they’re at an all-girls boarding school.

  20. Cat says:

    Wow, that sure brought back some memories. LOVED these books. Remember their chant? “I must, I must, I must increase my bust!”

  21. Virginia says:

    I liked these books; I remember one I think it was called, “The Truth about Taffy Sinclair,” or something like that, which told Taffy’s side of the story.

    And the Sleepover Friends reminded me of another series I read around them, something about ballerinas. “Bad News Ballerinas?” I know there was a girl named Rocky in it. I should go dig those up and my Junior and Senior Year book series.

  22. Jane says:

    what i remember most about these books was how Jana had a pictur eof Randy Kirwin blown up to poster size. She kept it hidden under her poster of miss piggy and would stare at it in the glow of her night light every night.

  23. wanderingfrog says:

    I actually didn’t read any of these books when I was a kid because I felt so bad for Taffy just from reading the backs of the books that I didn’t think I’d be able to stand trying to see things from Jana’s point of view. I also didn’t read The Fabulous Five series because of this, and now I’m kind of sorry that I didn’t, if those books were fun and they don’t pick on Taffy in them.

    Virginia, you’re thinking of [i]Bad News Ballet[/i], a ten-book series by Jahnna N. Malcolm, a husband-and-wife writing team who also ghostwrote some of the Baby-sitters Club books. They’re extremely unrealistic from a ballet perspective, but they’re some of the funniest books I’ve ever read. I love them.

  24. wanderingfrog says:

    Um, I mean Bad News Ballet. Sometimes I forget whether I’m commenting on a board using UBB Code or a blog using XHTML…

  25. Jeanna says:

    Thanks so much for the flashback. I’d totally forgotten about Taffy Sinclair! I also loved the Pen Pals and Sleepover Friends series.

    I’ve been on a mission to find a lot of these books, but the one that’s still stumping me is a series featuring a girl with red hair named Max (short for Max….?) and her friends. I’m thinking it was also a boarding school type situation; partially because I have a vague memory of the girls moving into their suite and freaking out about the trunk with the name Max on it thinking it was a boy moving in. Ring any bells?

  26. Sexy Sadie says:

    I could relate to Taffy because I was the early bloomer in the 5th grade and other girls were mean to me. I haven’t come across any YA novels from the point of view of the early bloomer girl, but I have plans to write a few.

  27. lilli says:

    Oh god i remember in the fifth grade me and me friends had a fabulous four club…..our mission was to ruin the social life of our ex friends ginny&dess….I was Jana in grade school…only less flatchested!

  28. Prentiss says:

    I just recently dragged this entire series out of my attic and started re-reading them. They were my favorite books when I was younger. Anyway, it’s upon re-reading that I’m totally realizing how awful the Fabulous Five actually were. I didn’t think about it too much in the Taffy Sinclair books, until I read the Diary of Taffy Sinclair when you get to hear her side, and you realize how lonely she really was. But it’s when they start dealing with the Fantastic Foursome that you really see how vindictive they are. I mean, Laura McCall will say something snippy, but relatively harmless, and as soon as she walks away Beth will be like “We have to get even!” It’s like, let it go. Admittedly, the Fantastic Foursome weren’t totally innocent, but it seems like they never got to win. Ever. I also always found it hard to believe that none of them had boyfriends. I mean, the Fabulous Five always had guys swarming around them, and the Fantastic Foursome, though supposedly pretty, did not. It’s like, other than Funny, they had no redeeming qualities.
    Still, these were my favorite books. I was totally crushed when their 8th grade year never came out, even though it was implied on the back of the last book that the series was going to continue. I found Betsy Haynes’ website and I was going to e-mail and ask her why she stopped writing them, but, although her site is peppered with all these other books she’s written, aside from the four Super Edition books, which seem tacked on as an afterthought, neither the Taffy Sinclair or The Fabulous Five series are mentioned. I’m wondering if she doesn’t like talking about them.

  29. 4ever12 says:

    From reading these books I remember Jana was always so embarrased that she would die & remember Pink had breath that would stop a tidal wave?

  30. notemily says:

    Oh man, I loved the Taffy Sinclair books. I think the best one is the modeling one, and it’s also the one with the best title–Taffy Sinclair and the Melanie Make-over. I still remember all the “modeling tips” from that book and how everyone felt so awkward trying them except Taffy and Melanie, and then they were all eating carrot sticks or whatever and only one of them, Katie I think, had the sense not to starve herself.

    I think if I ever start a band it’s going to be The Against Taffy Sinclair Club. Team Taffy!

  31. CNJ says:

    Hey, does anybody remember Tony Calcaterra? As sweet as Katie; those two dated in middle school? Well, they’re in their mid-twenties and poor, poor Tony found out he can’t father children!

    Katie and Tony had drifted apart in high school and went to different colleges, but I suspect they are about to re-meet again. They both now are successful attorneys in Washington, DC.

    And Melanie and Logan Bruno wound up marrying; Logan transferred to Burkeview High (after Wakeman) in 11th grade and he and Melanie wound up together, but they bicker lots.

    What do you all think?

  32. Paula says:

    I remember buying this book at our school book fair back in 1982. I haven’t read it since then but reading your re-cap I can’t believe how absurd some of the story lines were.

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