Posted in The Baby-Sitters Club

Baby-Sitters Club #4: Mary Anne Saves the Day by Ann M. Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club #4: Mary Anne Saves the Day by Ann M. Martin
The Baby-Sitters Club #4: Mary Anne Saves the Day by Ann M. Martin

Title: Mary Anne Saves the Day

Summary: Mary Anne has never been a leader of the Baby-sitters Club. She’s left that up to Kristy… or Claudia… or Stacey. But now there’s a big fight among the four friends, and Mary Anne doesn’t have them to depend on anymore.

It’s bad enough when she’s left alone at the lunch table at school. But when she has to baby-sit a sick child without any help from the club members, Mary Anne knows it’s time to take charge.

The Baby-sitters Club is going to fall apart unless somebody does something – fast. Maybe it’s time for Mary Anne to step in and save the day!

Tagline: Mary Anne’s on her own. Can she take charge?

Initial Thoughts

I remember this book mainly as “the one where Mary Anne’s father finally agrees to let her do stuff,” and I used to find it HUGELY UNFAIR that his change of heart happens because she handles an emergency well. (And I mean, really well. Many parents, possibly including me, wouldn’t be as clear-headed in a crisis as Mary Anne is in this book.) What if an emergency had just never happened, huh? Would she have been in pigtails until she left for university?

On rereading, I may possibly have misjudged Mr. Spier. In fact, now I’m wondering if the emergency was even the whole reason he changed his mind.

I also remember that this is the book where all the BSC are in a fight with each other. That still bothers me enough that I felt anxious at the beginning, waiting for the fight to start.

[Wing: DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN.]

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Posted in Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons 2: The Eye of the Beholder

Dungeons & Dragons Series 1 Episode 2
Dungeons & Dragons (TV Series 1983–1985)

Title: The Eye of the Behoder

Summary: Led by a cowardly knight named Sir John, the children must seek and destroy an evil monster known as The Beholder to find a gateway back to their own world.

Initial Thoughts:

Oooh, exciting! The Beholder is a classic DnD monster. For those not in the know, it’s basically a massive eyeball and chompy mouth with snakey tentacles coming off it. Here’s a classic image:

Dungeons & Dragons Series 1 Episode 2: Beholder
Kang.

Pretty much a hulked-out Mike Wazowski.

I’m sure that the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon series will show this stellar enemy in a rightfully respectful light.

I HATE THIS SERIES.

[Dove: I love this series. And even I want to kick the writers quite often.]

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Posted in The Baby-Sitters Club

Baby-Sitters Club #3: The Truth About Stacey by Ann M. Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club 3: The Truth About Stacey by Ann M. Martin

Title: The Truth About Stacey

Summary: The truth about Stacey is that she has diabetes. Nobody knows… except her friends in the Baby-sitters Club.

But even they don’t know the real truth about Stacey. Stacey’s problem is her parents. They won’t admit she has the disease, and they drag her to practically every doctor in America!

Seeing so many doctors made Stacey lose one friend, and she won’t let it happen again. Especially now – when the Baby-sitters Club needs her more than ever.

Tagline: Stacey’s different … and it’s harder on her than anyone knows.

Initial Thoughts

Growing up, I was always annoyed by this title, because we learn Stacey’s big secret, which is that she has diabetes, at the end of book one. I think, now, that the real secret is how much she’s struggling to deal with her parents and their frantic desire to find a new way to help her and their terror that their only child will die. That is a much sadder story.

[Dove: I have no initial thoughts on this book. I’m still just getting into this fandom, and haven’t really bonded with any of the characters, except for Janine, thanks to her queries over apostrophes.]

[Wing: Janine is great, and I love that you’ve bonded with her already.]

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Posted in Sweet Valley

Sweet Valley Twins #41: The Twins Get Caught by Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley Twins 41 The Twins Get Caught by Francine Pascal
Sweet Valley Twins 41 The Twins Get Caught by Francine Pascal

Title: The Twins Get Caught

Summary: Against their better judgment…

Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield can’t wait until Saturday night. Their friend Aaron Dallas is throwing “the party of the year” at a new teen club called the Hangout. Everyone from their class will be there—including Jessica’s latest crush, dreamy Todd Wilkins. But when Steven, the twins’ older brother, gets into trouble at the Hangout, Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield decide that the club is off-limits. That’s the last straw for Jessica. First, her parents wouldn’t let her get her ears pierced, and now they’re going to make her miss a great [Wing: Looking?] party! Even Elizabeth thinks they’re being unfair. Then Jessica comes up with the perfect plan to get them to the Hangout. But can she convince Elizabeth to go along with it? [Wing: Of course she can. There’s very little that she can’t talk Elizabeth into doing, including giving Jessica the shoes off her damn feet.]

Tagline: Jessica’s scheming gets both the twins in trouble! [Raven: That’s literally the tagline for whole series.]

Initial Thoughts

When doesn’t Jessica’s scheming get them into trouble? It also sometimes gets them out of trouble. I’m more concerned about what’s going on with those expressions. Also: that great looking purple sweater.

[Dove: I never really remember this book because the plot seems like it could only cover a day or so – much like Jessica and the Money Mix Up.]

READ AT SWEET VALLEY.ONLINE

Posted in The Famous Five

Famous Five #1: Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton

Famous Five 1: Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton

Title: Famous Five #1: Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton

Summary: The very first Famous Five adventure, featuring Julian, Dick, Anne, not forgetting tomboy George and her beloved dog, Timmy! There’s a shipwreck off Kirrin Island! But where is the treasure? The Famous Five are on the trail – looking for clues – but they’re not alone! Someone else has got the same idea. Time is running out for the Famous Five, who will follow the clues and get to the treasure first?

Initial Thoughts

This will be my second Blyton ever, and I only read the first last month. I know she’s an author deeply embedded in British childhood (if not other places, too), but here in the USA, I didn’t hear about her except sometimes in other books that referenced Blyton’s work as a part of the characters’ childhoods.

I really enjoyed the last book I read (Secret Island), and I hope to like this one just as much. I love stories about characters on islands, I love stories about characters searching for treasure, I loved Treasure Island when I was a kid — surely nothing can go wrong now.

Onwards to adventure!

[Dove: I really loved this series back in the day. And sure, I obviously reached a point in life where I found it a bit too earnest, but most Brits will fondly recall reading Blyton. And I honestly can’t wait to see what Wing thinks of it. Because on the one hand, it’s so joyful (and the endless food – lettuce for everyone!) and on the other… it was written by a comfortably wealthy white woman on the back end of two world wars, so there’s a bit of distrust for anyone who is not a white Brit. Also, I fear Wing’s reaction to the gender roles – George and Anne in particular, so… here goes.]

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Posted in Sweet Valley

Sweet Valley Twins #39: Jessica and the Money Mix-Up by Francine Pascal

Title: Jessica and the Money Mix-Up by Francine Pascal

Summary: A matter of trust…

When Jessica Wakefield’s father asks her to run an errand for him, she jumps at the chance. It’s the perfect opportunity to prove to her dad that she can be trusted. All she has to do is deliver an envelope of money for a charity to Mr. Hopper, who lives three blocks away.

What could possibly go wrong? Jessica doesn’t know that she’s about to be sidetracked by Sweet Valley Middle School’s biggest gossip. Or that, when she hides the money to deliver it later, her hiding place will disappear! Jessica’s only hope is to find the money—fast. With Elizabeth’s help, she’ll search all over Sweet Valley. But will the twins find it before their father discovers the money is gone?

Tagline: Jessica is in the biggest trouble of her life!

Initial Thoughts

I … am not looking forward to this book. It might have been a bad idea to start recapping the Baby-Sitters Club books, which I love so much, while recapping Sweet Valley. Similar character age, similar target audience, and yet, I love the hell out of those books and spend a great deal of time hating these.

On the other hand, this is the fourth SVT book I’ve read this week (the last week of December, as I write this), so maybe I’ve just overwhelmed my ability to deal.

[Dove: No, you’re not wrong. I know this is the first Michael Grant/Katherine Applegate book, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. As you can see from our Q&A session with him, he wasn’t delighted by this outline. But I promise it does get better.]

READ AT SWEET VALLEY ONLINE

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons #1: The Night of No Tomorrow

Dungeons & Dragons Series 1 Episode 1Title: The Night of No Tomorrow

Summary: Tricked by Venger, Presto conjures up a horde of fire-breathing dragons to threaten the town of Helix. The kids must rescue Presto and save Helix before it is too late.

Initial Thoughts:

Looks like it’s all kicking off big tie for our plucky heroes. Will they all survive?

I bloody hope so. It’s episode one of twenty-seven. It’d be rather shit if the remaining twenty-six episodes were nothing but twenty-minute montages of Venger dancing on six adolescent graves.

[Dove: That would be epic.] [Wing: I’d watch it. Also, that cover is AMAZING.]

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Posted in Sweet Valley

Sweet Valley Twins #38: Lois Strikes Back

Sweet Valley Twins 38: Lois Strikes Back by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 38: Lois Strikes Back by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Lois Strikes Back

Tagline: Has Bruce gone too far?

Summary: Winner takes all…

Lois Waller has always been too shy about being overweight to join in school activities. When the Sweet Valley PTA decides to have a bike-a-thon, Lois finds the courage to take part. It’s a chance for her to win a brand-new mountain bike—and it’s the perfect opportunity to put snobby Bruce Patman in his place.

Everyone at Sweet Valley Middle School knows how much Bruce bullies Lois. Although Jessica Wakefield thinks that anything Bruce does is perfect, her twin sister Elizabeth disagrees and is on Lois’s side. Elizabeth thinks Lois has a good shot at winning. But she doesn’t know how far Bruce Patman will go to see Lois lose!

 

READ AT SWEET VALLEY.ONLINE

Posted in The Baby-Sitters Club

Baby-Sitters Club #1: Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club 1: Kristy's Great Idea by Ann M Martin
The Baby-Sitters Club 1: Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M Martin

Title: Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin

Summary: When Kristy Thomas has the great idea to form a baby-sitters club–a chance to earn money and spend time with her friends, all while doing something they each love to do–she has no idea how much the club will change everything.

Crank calls, uncontrollable toddlers, wild pets, untruthful clients . . . running a business is hard work! Kristy and her co-founders, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey, are sure they can handle anything. But only if they stick together . . .

Tagline: Four friends and baby-sitting–what could be more fun?

Initial Thoughts

Well, here we are, kicking off 2018 and Nostalgic Bookshelf with my favorite cheesy contemporary preteen series, The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin. Unlike the Sweet Valley books, I read these obsessively, and still sometimes reread them as an adult. I was a baby-sitter from a young age, and I loved the focus on friends and having adventures together. I’m excited to revisit them now, with a recapper’s eye.

My favourite baby-sitters before recapping: Dawn, Stacey, Claudia, Abby, Jessi, and Shannon.

Least favourite: Kristy, Mary Anne, and Logan.

Say hello to your friends, everyone. We’re in this for the long haul.

[Dove: And I have never read any of these before, so this is Wing’s payback for Sweet Valley. And I’m cool with that.]

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Posted in Sweet Valley

Sweet Valley Twins #36: Mary is Missing by Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley Twins 36 Mary is Missing by Francine PascalTitle: Mary is Missing by Francine Pascal

Summary: Missing person…

Jessica Wakefield is convinced that Mary Wallace has disappeared. No one has heard a word from her in three days. She hasn’t been at school, she didn’t turn up for Lila’s ice cream party, and worst of all, the Unicorns’ treasury money seems to be missing. [Wing: Oh, god, are we back to “stolen” money actually being misplaced?] What’s more, Mrs. Wallace, Mary’s mother, is acting very strange.

Jessica’s twin sister, Elizabeth, thinks that Jessica is just being her usual overdramatic self, until the twins get a mysterious and confusing phone message. Maybe Jessica’s idea isn’t so farfetched after all. Maybe Mary has been kidnapped. If that’s the case. Mary is in big trouble… and the twins had better figure out that cryptic phone message fast.

Tagline: How can a twelve-year old girl disappear into thin air? [Raven: Mr Nydick’s Love-Wagon?]

Initial Thoughts

Well here we are, and I survived one year in Sweet Valley. I think it’s like dog years, because the past twelve months feel like they’ve lasted a decade. #sweetvalleytime

This time last year, I was horrified by what I’d agreed to when I read my first Sweet Valley book. This year, I know that while I hated a huge amount of the books, I did love a few and enjoy even more.

Dove swears we’re into the good books. We’ll see about that.

[Dove: This is a ridiculous book. The premise is so full of holes and silliness that there are multiple idiot balls that need grasping with an iron grip in order for it to happen (and believe me, Wing covers them), but on the other side, this book is fun.]

[Wing: Oh lord, here we go.]

READ AT SWEET VALLEY ONLINE