Sleepovers and the City

My first thought for a title was Sex and the Sleepover, but hey, we are dealing with fifth graders. My theory is that every time you have a fictitious group of women who are friends, they all have to fit into certain archetypes. The Madonna/Whore, of course, then the anal retentive one, the nerdy one, the smart one, etc. See The Fabulous Five, Golden Girls, etc. Can’t the smart one also be the whore? I’m just saying. In real life in groups of friends, each person may have a distinct thing about their personality, but hopefully it’s not the only thing about them. And reading this installment of Sleepover Friends, I’m realizing we have a little Sex and the City-ness going on.

Lauren = Carrie. Our fearless narrator. Someone who always relies on their friends to define them as a person. Has lots of boy drama (so does Pete Stone like Lauren or not?). Both have a gluttony for their favorite thing. Carrie: shoes; Lauren: Whatever type of food she can shove down her throat.

Kate = Miranda. The anal retentive, snarky one. Miranda, the high powered lawyer. Kate, the high-powered film expert.

Patti=Charlotte. Okay this one was a bit of a stretch. But, both are the reserved, conservatives of the bunch.

Stephanie= Samantha. Both are, er, shall we say, a bit boy-crazy and always up on latest trends and hot spots. Both also seem to flaunt their wealth. [Steph has her own fricking apt in her backyard, Samantha has a pricey loft in the meatpacking district).

I am glad I reread this one, Stephanie Strikes Back, because otherwise I though the events in the book were a weird acid trip I had as a kid. There’s a new video club at school. [What a totally random idea for a club. These are kids, why not have an art club or something?] but the Mean Girl of the book, Wendy, a sixth grader, doesn’t want babyish sixth graders in the group. The task? Make a documentary? Mmm, kay. Wendy makes a video about her junior high jock boyfriend that sucks.

Meanwhile, the SFs get into zany adventures of their own. They bake a cake for Patti’s brother’s birthday, but Lauren fucks up the recipe and it bakes with a huge crack down the middle. So they make it a dinosaur landscape with volcanoes and shit. Steph bought these cool new products, Sliders, at the mall, which are  zinc oxides in different colors. Why would this product even exist? For lifeguards in 90s movies? The gals paint their faces and act like clowns, and hence Sprakly and Barkly are born, who are Lauren and Patti telling corny jokes. They perform at children’s birthday parties. Gah! How BSC of them!

Stephanie orders a camera from QVC without telling her parents to film it, and of course she does not get in trouble because she’s a spoiled brat and her parents enable her. They show their video at the video club and everyone loves it. And then, the video club is never mentioned again.

Can we talk about Lauren’s pixelated Mickey Mouse sweatshirt?

32 thoughts on “Sleepovers and the City

  1. Malika says:

    Great recap!

    Mandatory comment on cover:
    OMG! Baggy sweatshirt and garish purple leggings. What i would love to be able to say is ” Heinous! I was such a stylish child that you couldn’t have paid to get me into that getup.” Unfortunately the more appropriate response would be ” I believe i begged to wear that outfit when i was in primary school . Damn, i should have been a more sensitive child and given into my mother’s weeping.” Plus, why is person with said outfit striking the Jesus pose?

    Negative rant:
    Re Succes of Video: Why is it that every time a fictional character in this type of YA picks up a new hobby, he or she turns out to be the second coming for ballet dancing/ cooking/ macrame/debating/ riverdance on ice and so on? In real life you sometimes pick up a hobby, romanticised notions in hand, and you turn out to suck majorly. Or even less dramatically , you plateau and/or lose interest. Does this phenomenon ever get a mention in this type of literature? Sigh, maybe i am just having an off-day.

    Positive end-note:
    It’s great that you also snark at YA series that aren’t as well-known ( over here, anyway). Keep it coming!

  2. lengli says:

    I’m so glad you’re recapping these–they were one of my favorite series, and not just because the narrator shared my name.

    Love how the cover artist couldn’t be arsed to put Stephanie in her trademark red, black, and white. I guess it’s not just ghostwriters who couldn’t give a crap about continuity.

  3. jordanbaker says:

    Those colored zinc sticks were THE thing for a couple of summers when I was growing up–maybe 6th-8th grade (so 88-91 or whatever). I think they made their way to suburban AZ as a way for people to show off that they’d been to the beach over the summer. . .. or at least a Walgreens.

  4. BartTempleton says:

    Stephanie really looks like Kirsten Dunst here. But KD’s too young to have posed for this, I think (she’s weirdly only like 24 or 25 now).

    Best Sleepover Friends ever was the one where they practice kissing on their arms and try to bend spoons with telekinesis.

    Wait, were those the same book or a different one?

  5. Anne says:

    This one annoyed the crap out of my because of the whole “It’s okay you bought that video camera behind my back” thing. GOD Steph was such a spoiled brat!!

    And don’t they screw up the cake because they’re trying to do 1 1/2 times the recipe? Or did they double it. Cause if it’s 1 1/2 times, that’s the stupidest thing I ever heard. When it was finished, it did sound cool though.

  6. tygre says:

    This was the ONE SF book I read as a kid. My sister got it from that Just For Girls club, I think — any of y’all remember that?

    Excellent comparison between the girls in SF and SITC!

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is off-topic, but does anyone here remember a short-lived YA series about kids who lived in a neighbourhood where all the streets were named after different types of apples? In the first book, the new kid on the street and his weird grandmother host a Halloween haunted house…anyone?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Oh, and another series I think this blog should recap is “Peanut Butter and Jilly.” Does anyone have fond memories of that on besides me?

  9. maybeimamazed02 says:

    YES! I loved Peanut Butter and Jilly–so cute! There was one where they did a haunted house, and one where they solved the mystery of a mission classmate’s locket! Plus, Jilly’s dad was a freelance artist and her mom taught kids with special needs.

    What do little girls nowadays read? Do they read?

  10. Jade Wu's Toe Shoe says:

    This was definitely a cover that confused the heck of me. Kate’s the only blond, so one must presume that she’s the Samantha Mathis lookalike sitting on the counter. I thought Stephanie was the only one with “long, dark hair” yet the two girls in the middle both fit that description. And I never could figure out who was leaning against the fridge – Patti or Lauren (although ihatewheat thinks it’s Lauren in the MM shirt? I’m intrigued.)

    Anyway. I’m a continuity nerd and covers like this just threw me for a loop.

  11. Sarah says:

    I hate to admit this, but I totally had that Micky Mouse sweatshirt when I was 10 or so. I thought it was the coolest shirt. And you know I wore it with leggings and scrunch socks.

  12. ihatewheat says:

    Lauren’s looks are hardly described in the books, but on other ones she’s been pictured with dark hair. Kate is usually easy to pick out, Stephanie usually has the trendiest outfit on.

  13. Abby says:

    Kate is blond, Stephanie’s hair is almost black, Patti has light brown hair, and Lauren has brown hair, but not sure how dark. So I’m guessing Lauren is wearing the Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, although her hair is darker here than on other covers, Patti is wearing the apron, and Stephanie is between Lauren and Kate. Seems they rarely used the same models from cover to cover- although Patti is described with light brown hair in the books, on a few covers she’s been a redhead. Lauren changes from cover to cover, both in hair color and style. She usually does not have bangs, although on one cover, she has a mullet. I think it is called Lauren in the Middle.

  14. Suzanne says:

    The girls look completely different from cover to cover. Yes, Lauren definitely has a mullet on Lauren in the Middle! (and a few other covers, too).

    Yeah, I think it is Lauren wearing the Mickey Mouse tshirt. Stephanie is wearing one on another cover though–I think it is The Trouble with Patti.

  15. Nicole says:

    I always thought it was Stephanie who was wearing the Mickey Mouse shirt…and I thought it was Kate reading from the cookbook and Patti by the refrigerator.

    I actually liked that they decorated Horace’s cake with dinosaurs and trees and a fake little volcano because it sounded pretty neat.

    I loved the Peanut Butter and Jelly series. I did love Jilly’s house because her father was an artist who worked from home and gave them peanut brittle candy, and whose loft-style artist studio was all kinds of awesome.

    Also loved that Peanut (what WAS her name?) ate apple pie with peanut butter. I thought it sounded yummy when I first read it.

  16. Vanessa Saxton says:

    I read a few of these books in school, maybe 3 or 4 but it did bother me that they never looked the same on the cover. I specifically remember a girl who always wore black,white,red combo yet none of the covers I read was she dressed like that. I, too, am a continuity nerd so this bothered me. It’s probably why I didn’t continue to read the series.

  17. paige says:

    This has nothing to do with the actual book, but I HATE HATE HATE those shorts SJP is wearing in the SATC pic. And what is Kim Cattrall wearing??

  18. karenforyou83 says:

    To the Anonymous person who asked about the series where all the streets were named after apples? I remember a book called Aldo Applesauce. I think that he was called that because he lived on Applesauce Lane and other kids in his class were also nicknamed by their street name. I don’t know about a grandmother or Halloween, though, since it’s been 15+ years since I read it.

    Also, this was the first Sleepover Friends book I ever read! I loved reading them and always wanted to dress in red, black, and white. Even now if I happen to be wearing those colors I think of Stephanie.

  19. diana says:

    you’re so right about the female archetypes in group of friends, usually four. embarrassingly enough, i constantly make these comparisons with the four original girls of the BSC. kristy would be miranda, mary anne would be charlotte, stacey would be samatha, and i GUESS that leaves claudia for carrie. same with sleepover friends-kristy would be kate, mary anne would be patti, claudia would be lauren (they both eat ungodly amounts) and stacey would be stephanie. same with the movie now and then-kristy is roberta the tomboy, mary anne is chrissy the naive one, stacey is teeny the oversexed chick who stuffs her bra with pudding, and claudia is…i guess samantha.

    but yeah. they always seem to be “the bossy one, the shy/reserved one, the middle-of-the-road one, and the snobby materialistic one who you always wonder why exactly she’s hanging out with these other drips.

  20. mandy_Reeves! says:

    I never had friends in school. I lived vicariously through these books…..Thing is where I lived, all the kids wore surfer clothes and LL bean. I was trendy with the sweatshirts and leggings, but was branded a loser for not being preppy. I totally embraced the 80-90’s teen fashions but was mocked. At least I know now that I was normal

    • Kristina says:

      – The grossest part is how anirexoc they made her arm and elbow look. It angers me that they even felt the need to fix her in this photo. Her body looks amazing as is. Thanks for the wonderful reminder, lady. You are the best. xoxo

  21. franz chong says:

    I am Australian so you could replace these with the Winners and Losers Girls which is the modern day Sex and the City.Lauren=Bec Kate=Sophie and Patti is Frances Unfortunately there isn’t a fat girl in your story so lets assume Jenny has lost a lot of Weight since she was in High School and is now hell skinny so her role is Stephanie.And let’s not forget the mean girls who all made their life a living hell through their school lives I assume there is a Tiffany Turner type character we all could use for that one.

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