[photo courtesy of Dibbly Fresh]
Is it that as the series went on, the series got worse, or is it just my perspective now that these books are horrendous? Were the girls always bratty, selfish, bitchy girls that were passive-aggressively mean to each other? Or is that how I perceive them now? I do remember a world where Kristy had great ideas and Marianne stood up to her father and they all had fun walking around Dawn’s haunted barn, so there must have been some good times. Is it just me?
This book however? Steaming pile of crap.
The plot- it’s yet ANOTHER summer vacation. SMS has teamed up with a French-Canadian school to take a week-long trip around Europe. Of course, all the touristy parts where middle and upper class people feel most comfortable visiting. However, Stacey, Kristy, Mallory, Jessi and Abby go on the trip and the rest of the gang stays behind to…oh, it’s bad. Let me get through the Europe part first.
It seems that the BSC get to do whatever the fuck they want on this trip. if there is a place where they want to visit, they get to just run off and go, or the WHOLE FUCKING SCHOOL HAS TO GO THERE TOO. Ugh. And they don’t even seem to have any sort of itinerary, they just make shit up as they go. Good job, SMS. And each of the girls are fucking infuriating.
Stacey: her mom is one of the chaperones on the trip, and she’s all annoyed by it. Stace, she is probably doing that so she can AFFORD to send you, she’s raising you as a single parent, show some RESPECT! Stacey picks up the wrong suitcase at the airport, which is a plot device of every book involving travel, am I right? She is super annoyed and bratty and so annoyed that she has to wear some of her mother’s clothes. Ms. McGill, give her a slap across the face and let her go naked, I say. The suitcase she has belongs to an elderly man who is coming to France to spread his friend’s ashes on the beach and Normandy. They meet up with him and Stacey totally invites herself to go with him. Fuck off Stacey, this is a moment for him, don’t use his pain to make an entry for your travel journal.
Oh yea, Kristy makes them all WRITE ANOTHER DAMN TRAVEL DIARY.
Speaking of Kristy, she is off the charts obnoxious. Talk about immature and self-centered. She meets this French Canadian boy named Michel from the other school and they continue to have pent up sexual frustration between them the whole book. But that whole thing about kids teasing each other when they like each other, taken to the extreme. Kristy is shrill and idiotic (“You’re name is MICHEL? That’s a GIIIIRRRLLLS NAME! EEEEWWWWW”) but for some reason that turns Michel on. Finally they admit they like each other and he comes up to Kristy’s room and they kiss on her balcony. How are they allowed to be up there alone together?
Jessi. Ugh. Really, she may the worst. Apparently she went to this month-long program at this program called Dance New York, and the company there was beeeeggging her to be part of the company because she is so damn amazing. Yea, at eleven years old. And she chose to stay in Stoneybrook because she loves baby-sitting too much. However, she seems to not let us forget that she COULD have been part of this amaaaaazing ballet company. The company is performing in London when they are there so of course Jessi and the crew get to go and leave the group and see it. Jessi visits the company backstage to everyone can remind her again how amazing she is and uh oh! Someone is hurt! So Jessi goes on in her place and it gives the chance for the rest of the BSC to kiss her ass again. Hate.
Mallory has the most boring plotline, and I kind of appreciated it. She meets some distant cousins of hers that live in London, and finds out that she is distantly related to William Shakespeare. Honey, you and hundred thousands of others. He probably had illegitimate children all over London. Of course, she gets to spend the day at their house, while the other kids have to, I don’t know, stick with the group because they are eleven fucking years old?
Abby: I mean this in the most literal sense: I think Abby may be developmentally challenged. Something about her is not quite right. Her plot is that she will visit Victoria Kent, a kid they all used to sit for in Stoneybrook. Newsflash to the BSC: these kids are not your friends! It’s creepy how you think they are! She goes with Victoria to meet the queen and makes an ass of herself by stepping on the foot of the crowned prince. He was okay about it and Abby had a shit fit and…yawn.
There’s also a chapter from Robert’s perspective, who is Stacey’s ex-boyf, and I used to be really excited to get chapters from boys’ perspectives, but they are always pretty boring. Robert basically pines after Stacey and avoids the advances of some girl Jacqui. And talks about how he is depressed. Boo fucking hoo.
Ok, subplot for the rest of the gang- they stay behind because they “get” to be counselors at a local camp. Ghosties, I think you already did this plot. Firstly, what camp hires counselors that are all thirteen? One that would be arrested, that’s what. I couldn’t be an official counselor until I was at least 17, and the thirteen year olds were the Counselors-in-training that I got to order around. Janine is also the head counselor and orders everyone around but then gets to be the hero when she stands up to the dominating male head counselor. Fight the power, Janine!
The camp down the street for special needs children has a counselor sick, so they request someone from this camp to take their place. Yea, like that would happen. Dawn, apparently because she knows a girl with Downs-Syndrome in California thinks she’s the expert and jumps at the chance. And at the camp is Susan Feldman, the autistic girl that Kristy failed to cure! I thought she never made another appearance. The camp has a hugging machine used by individuals with autism, which is really weird that it was mentioned in this book because without background or explanation, it can not make any sense to anyone. I happened to know about it from reading Animals in Translation. We get it Ann. You know lots about kids and about kids with developmental disabilities.
As is with the tradition of Super Specials, there are illustrations, which do not do the girls justice. Maryanne has a horrendous haircut, Kristy looks six, and they always looked…unkempt. I can’t explain it, but in all the pictures, to me, it seems that the girls need showers and a comb through their hair.
However, the book was redeemed for me none other than the awesome Cokie Mason. At the camp, the gang comes in after a rainy day. “Well if it isn’t the Baby-sitters Club wet t-shirt contest. Not that anyone would notice.” BWAH! Can Cokie get her own series?
I really want to forget this book ever existed and go back to a world when Maryanne met Logan, Mallory wanted her ears pierced and Toby and Stacey were in LUV in Sea City. Viva la old school BSC.
By the way, Jessi is black.