Image courtesy of Goodreads
By popular demand, I’m reviewing the very final ever BSC book. Until The Summer Before was released anyway.
After 213 books, and endless years in eighth grade, the BSC and all the other eighth graders at Stoneybrook Middle School are getting ready to graduate. Middle school graduation is evidently a huge deal in Stoneybrook. They have a ceremony with caps and gowns and everything! They all write a letter to themselves to be mailed to them as they’re getting ready to graduate high school in four years. Everyone has a difficult time writing them, but are able to get it done in the end. Also, there is a little babysitting project involved, natch. Each of their very interesting storylines:
-Kristy- She’s depressed at the thought of graduating. She knows the BSC likely won’t continue once they’re in high school and she’s having trouble letting go.
-Mary Anne- She wants to be friendly with Logan again. They have dinner and decide not to be so weird around each other. And I snore because it’s boring. And she writes about her house burning down, which she is surprisingly Zen about.
-Claudia – She has trouble with her finals. She ends up passing everything except science, so she can graduate with her class but will only be promoted to SHS if she passes summer school.
-Stacey- She worries about her mom and her dad (and dad’s girlfriend Samantha) getting along at graduation. But they do, and it’s OK. She also freaks out because she forgot to return a library book and may not be able to graduate. So she buys the library a brand new copy of the book, which was Ribsy.
The big babysitting project they decide on is a time capsule with their babysitting charges. Each kid puts one thing about their community or family in a tin box, which is buried in Mary Anne’s yard, and will be opened in seven years, when the oldest of the charges (The Pike triplets) are getting ready to graduate high school.
- Did anyone have a middle school graduation? Because we didn’t. The eighth graders had a special dance, but there was no ceremony or anything.
- For that matter, did anyone have final exams in middle school? We didn’t have those either. We didn’t take end of year finals until high school, but even then they weren’t a huge part of our grades.
- This book cover confirms what I always thought (and what was confirmed by both the TV show and movie). That Kristy is actually the prettiest babysitter.
- Kristy seems to have lost the ability to write in full sentences. Her entries are filled with fragments: “Can’t believe am about to graduate. Not ready for it. Am not ready for high school Tried to explain to mom. Was told am being silly.” Like, what the shit is that about? Even Claudia can write in full sentences, KRISTY.
- Speaking of Claudia, she manages the (not so) very impressive feat of misspelling her own name. Congratulations, Cladia.
- Charlie is graduating high school, and he gets the letter he’d written to himself when he graduated SMS. It’s mostly about what a dick their father is. Also, Charlie got good grades but failed to apply to college in time. He ends up not applying to where he really wants to go (UCLA), but does get into the local Boiceville State.
- Also, Kristy points out to Charlie that UCLA is “near dad.” Nope, Kristy. LA is not near San Francisco. California is a much bigger state than Connecticut, sweetie.
- Jessi puts an article about racism in the time capsule. The letter she writes with it mentions that racism makes as little sense as intolerance against religions, disabilities or…..sexual orientations. After fifteen California Diaries books with an obviously gay character without the word gay being mentioned, I’m frankly shocked to see Ann M. mention of sexual orientation here.
- Stacey puts in the time capsule a flier for the BSC talent show. She puts it in, because it epitomizes why she decided on Stoneybrook over NYC after her parents divorced. In NYC, she lived in a high-rise building and nothing like that ever happened there. She likes how much community there is in Stoneybrook. *shrugs* I live in a high rise, and while we certainly don’t have talent shows, but we do get together with other kids. And we have a tot lot, so the kiddos can play together. I think high rises make nice communities.
- Dawn gets in on the time capsule and spends a whole letter talking about being a bicoastal kid. WE GET IT DAWN!!!!
- After graduation, all the BSC and former BSC members get together for a party at Claud’s and they talk about what they want from their futures. Here’s what we have: Claudia wants to graduate art school and live by herself before getting married, but is unsure about kids. Kristy doesn’t want to get married, but wants a lot of kids. Mallory wants a writing career and a husband and only two or three kids. Dawn will probably live in California (duh) and maybe wants to get married but not have kids. Jessi would like ‘maybe one kid,’ and a dance career. Abby just wants to travel a lot before deciding. Neither Mary Anne nor Stacey has decided on anything beyond going to college.
- Out of all, this was the most shocking conversation. Kristy says she doesn’t want to get married, and Stacey says that’s fine, not everyone wants to get married. Kristy says, “If they want kids they have to.” And Stacey says, “Plenty of people who aren’t married have kids.” Remember back in the beginning of the series, when Watson and Elizabeth didn’t even live together before getting married? How far Ann M. has come. I’m sort of proud of her for adding that line (and the earlier line about sexual orientation) in there.
- At the end of the book, there is an index of all the BSC numbers; number of books, pages, etc. But if you want a real close look at the numbers of the BSC, I suggest you check out BSC Ag. It’s a great blog, which reviews each book, but also keeps track of things like SMS students, Claudia’s candy, number of Halloweens and so much more. She’s actually finished the series and is compiling all kinds of interesting different numbers.
- In the thank-you, Ann M. thanks the ghostwriters. They are: Ellen Miles, Peter Lerangis, Stephanie Calmenson, Suzanne Weyn, Nola Thacker, Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner, Gabrielle Charbonnet, Jeanne Betancourt, Jan Carr, Diane Molleson, Vicki Berger Erwin, Mary Lou Kennedy, Helen Perelman, and Laura Dower. Some of those I don’t recognize. I’m guessing they were Little Sister ghosties.