Just where in the hell is this city you speak of? Or Sleepover Friends #5: Lauren’s Big Mix-Up

The gals go away for the weekend to stay in “the city” with Nana, Stephanie’s grandmother. She just cannot get enough of these sleepover friends!

Now, the big question is, where in the hell is this “city”? They mention the Pequontic river, which, thanks to Google, does not exist. So, it can be either the Potomac (in Maryland) or the Peconic River on Long Island. And we know the city is on the East Coast, so it could be maybe NYC or DC. Here’s what I’m thinking: it’s NYC. I’ve lived in both NYC and DC and really, not a lot of people in the outliers called DC “the city”. But, people on Long Island did all the time. Plus, it seems to be bigger and busier than DC is. And, for some reason, I’m getting a Washington Heights vibe. I don’t know why. Then again, they go to a History Museum, which can either be the Museum of Natural History or the Smithsonian.

Well, anyway, Lauren gets the wrong suitcase when she is getting off the bus, and there is man’s stuff plus a tape of something. Kate and Lauren later find a dog and the owner invites them to the play she is putting on and they realize it’s the playwright’s suitcase. What a coinky-dink! The playwright goes through Laren’s stuff and finds her journal that says “Riverhurst Elementary” and the names Kate, Lauren, Stephanie, and Patti and calls the school asking if they’s heard of these girls. The school admin is all, “of course! Everyone knows the Sleepover Friends!” ICK! It just made me realize how clique-y these gals are. If I was in their class I’d be kind of jealous. No wonder jenny Carlin hates them. Also, I thought it was weird that this guy had to go through Lauren’s stuff to find her journal. Like her underwear and stuff. What a perv.

So, I need to back up. Stephanie’s friend Tiffany hangs out with them acts like a total “I’ a singer-actress-dancer” stuck up snob and the gals hate her. Kate is all”are all people rude in the city, or just you?” and Tiff storms off. I used to think Kate was a stick in the mud when I first read these, but now I kinda like her. The gang go out shopping IN THE CITY ALONE and Kate and Stephanie get into a big fight and Stephanie and Nana leave and the three rest of them continue to walk around the city. They are getting on the bus but patti gets on without them, and it’s a big drama. And then they go see Stephanie and Patti’s old school, and run into some girl Patti knew who sings in a rock band with seventh graders. Wow, what the hell? I’m impressed that thirteen year olds actually have the discipline and drive to have a band. Anyway, they hang out and make friends blah blah blah.

Other thoughts:

Kate is a film buff and way into obscure foreign films. What fifth-grader likes to watch black and white movies in Swedish?

Rubber minis! Or Sleepover Friends #4, Patti’s New Look

The gals take a magazine quiz which asks if they are boring. Stephanie, obvi, scores high and it says she is daring. Patti scores low and says she’s a bore. She takes it seriously and once again freaks out. The next day the gals go clothes shopping (by themselves, people) and Patti picks out a wild outfit, the one seen on the cover. Goddam!!! My eyes are bleeding. She looks like a prostitute clown. The other gals pick out loud, oversized sweaters to go with their black stretchy pants. That confirms it, I think they live in New Jersey.

I also remember thinking that Stephanie looked the epitome of cool and trendiness, right down to the bitchy look. But those big bows attached to barettes? Oversized cardigans. Oh my god! How awesome I thought that was! Lauren and Kate are being kind of mean, laughing at Patti.

Jane Sykes, a gal in their class, is having a mega-sleepover with all thirteen girls in their glass, because her parents are a glutton for punishment. A family friend of Patti’s is visiting from California and is a total bimbo and is supposedly sophisticated. Check out this decription, because when I first read this, I was nearly blown away with how gorgeous and awesome this girl sounded.

“Is that a rubber mini?” Stephanie squeaked. “We read about rubber minis in Style– it said they’re the latest fashion statement from Southern California, remember? I’ve never seen one in person.”…Comfortable or not, the mini looked great. It was deep red. Karen Lawson had on white legwarmers, and her sweater was red sprinkled with black lines and white circles and crosses, like a tic-tac toe game. One of her arms was loaded with sparkling bangle bracelets that clinked as she moved , and a gold feather earring dangled from one ear…and she didn’t even look tacky! Her hair was honey-colored, shoulder-length, and a mass of tight little waves.

Rubber minis! I totally forgot about that! Is it what is seems? A miniskirt made out of rubber? All I can think of is that must give you a rash when you sweat.

Turns out Karen is not who she seems, and stole her older sister’s identity to seem cooler. The moral of the story is: just be yourself! Pass the ten bags of Doritos and the tub of ice cream!

Speaking of, during a sleepover at Stephanie’s, Lauren goes downstairsto raid their kitchen. I am sure the parents appreciate that.

Also, the fab four are all bored at Jane Sykes’ party, being all sleepver experts.

Karen talks like a valley girl, further perpetuating California stereotypes. As a (northern) Californian, I take offense. But then again, people ask me all the time if New York is “just like Sex and the City”. I usually just tell them yes.

They wore sweatpants to the video shoot, or Sleepover Friends #2, Starring Stephanie!

The fifth graders are putting on a play. Stephanie wants the lead role, and is coaching Patti, who is shy and sucks at acting. While they are practicing in Patti’s attic, her little couson locks them in and Patti has to climb down a tree and sets off the alarm and the cops come. At the audition, Stephanie blows it because she has to do the scene with the boy she likes. Patti does well and gets the lead. Steph gets mad and ignores the Sleepover Friends. Also, a rock group (The Boodles) are shooting a video in Riverhurst (yea, right) and are having a contest to have people guess where their video will be shot. The winners appear in the video. It turns out to be the abandoned house next to Lauren’s. So they win and they all appear in the video together all is well again. At the shoot they all wear black, white and red (natch) sweat suits.

Ah, this brings me back to the day when people listened to the radio and did dedications to people they know.

Someone earlier pointed out how much these kids eat at sleepovers. Patti’s mom brought a gallon of ice cream and a package of chocoloate cookies, all of which 4 girls polished off in one night. Gross.

Also, why the hell do their parents put up with these screeching girls staying up all night at their houses, and some shit always goes down, like they destroy the kitchen, have the cops come, or let their huge dog run lose.

Also, the play never happens in the book. Kind of a letdown after being setup by the title.

Black, white and red are my favorite colors too!

Wow, what a nice break from Jessica and her bullshit antics. A series about friendship! And fun stuff! And making fudge! And riding bikes! No cheerleading crap! Or comas or werewolves! I’m taking it way back to Sleepover friends.

Basically, the plot is…these 4 gals have sleepovers every Friday. And that’s about it. That’s the premise. Simple but genius. Although, that’s kind of unhealthy. After I slept over a friends house and got 2 hours of sleep, I was a wreck and for kids that’s not so good, I guess. So every week? Dayum.

Believe it or not, these were written pretty well for kids without being condescending. Although…these gals act as if they are 30, not in the fifthgrade. As in, they go to the mall by themselves and eat at restaurants by themselves. The gals in the back on the bed look kind of old as well.

So, plot? In the twelve minutes it took me to reread this, here’s the gist: Lauren, Kate and Stephanie have sleepovers every week and Patti is new to town, so they invite her to join them. Kate jokingly puts a curse on her, and then unlucky shit happens, like she spills stuff, let’s Lauren’s huge dog loose in the neighborhood, and after they put glittery purple gel in their hair there is a water main break and they can’t wash it out. Oh the hilarity!

The gals are:

  • Lauren: the narrator of the series, who quite frankly, doesn’t have much personality except that she eats a lot
  • Kate: the anal retentive bitchy one
  • Patti: the new gal, who is shy
  • Stephanie: the boy-crazy trendy one who used to live in the city: I am assuming they mean NYC? She moved to the ‘burbs in fourth grade and always talks about the crazy shit she did before she moved. Like go to Bungalow 8 and have cosmos? At age EIGHT? Also, her favorite colors are black, white, and red, which I totally remembered. Sadly, I am looking around my apartment and it is decorated in black, white, and red, which happen to be MY favorite colors. Oh my gosh, is this because I read this series and I was brainwashed? I’d like to think my love for the colors are more because of The White Stripes, so let’s just pretend that is the cause.

Oh, and fun stuff they do at Sleepovers:

  • wet their hair and braid it, let it dry so they have wavy hair
  • make fudge out of Hershey’s kisses
  • call boys in their class and hang up
  • knock on their neighbor’s window and run
  • watch old sci fi movies

Seriously, after reading the first page, all this series came flooding back. Ah, good times. A good break from the cruel, cruel world of Sweet Valley. I may make this a regular thing.