There’s a new girl in school named Tess Swinhart. Stacey meets her when Tess accidentally ruins a paper-mache jaguar that the School Pep Squad was making (and Stacey is apparently on the squad now). Anyway, Tess is a bit awkward, wears dark rimmed glasses and tons of pink clothes. Stacey thinks she totally lacks style. Tess is apparently a bit of a klutz too, because she also spills some of the paper-mache on Alan Gray. He decides to get revenge by calling her “swine-heart” behind her back. In addition to her name and the all-pink thing, Tess’s nose is slightly upturned, so the whole thing picks up steam. Alan gets the whole school to start calling her a pig, makes “oink” noises around her, and starts a comic strip about a character that looks like Tess and is called “Swine-Heart the Destroyer.” Lots of kids pass this around and add to it in various classes. But Tess, seems to be oblivious to all of it.
Meanwhile, Stacey’s spending a lot of time with Tess because she’s helping the Pep Squad rebuild the jaguar and the two are working together on a school project. Stacey decides to “help” Tess stop being made fun of. She “casually” tries to drop hints about places to buy contacts, different clothes, etc. She even offers to give Tess a makeover. It’s pretty obvious what she’s doing, but since Tess doesn’t take any advice, Stacey thinks that she’s totally clueless.
At a football game, the Pep Squad is running a vote on whether they should switch to a new mascot. This involves holding up signs with various suggested mascots, and seeing which one people cheer for the most. Someone switched out a sign that Stacey holds up for a pig with a picture of Tess and the label “Swine-Heart the Destroyer.” Tess sees it, hears everyone laughing, and finally realizes she’s been a joke. While trying to leave, she falls off the bleachers and breaks her ankle and sprains her wrist. When the ambulance comes, Stacey tries to talk to Tess, but Tess tells her she isn’t her friend and asks her to leave. Stacey’s too nervous to call Tess herself for couple days, even after another girl on the Pep Squad told Stacey that Tess knows she wasn’t involved in the stunt.
Eventually, Stacey does go to Tess’s house so they can talk about their school project. She finds out that Tess is from Paris, which explains the way she dresses and talks, and why she misses a lot of pop culture references. Stacey also sees pictures of Tess’s friends also wearing a lot of pink, and sees similar outfits in a French style magazine. She expresses surprise, and Tess is all…..”you would have known I was French if you actually bothered to talk to me.” Afterwards Stacey feels bad about the whole situation…as she should, because she was a bit of a bitch to Tess.
Other kids in school are still making fun of Tess, and Clarence King and Alan Gray are planning to play a prank on her. The plan’s for Clarence to ask her out, take to her to a restaurant called “Hog Heaven,” then put pictures of her with mean captions into the school newspaper. They think they can get these past Emily Bernstein (the editor), but she finds out about it and tells Stacey. Stacey tells Tess, and she and the BSC help make Clarence and Alan look like idiots (they dump food on them and take pictures, but don’t publish them anywhere). And Tess becomes friends with another girl, so even though she and Stacey aren’t really friends, the fence is a bit mended and she’s happy.
- Has the SMS mascot always been a jaguar?
- My main question from this one is, when the hell did Stacey join the Pep Squad? And how’s that different than the cheerleading squad, which we know she wouldn’t be on?
- Claudia tries to defend Tess’s clothing, by saying some people say she dresses strange (if by some she means everyone in the world). But then Abby says she looks like she knows what she’s doing. That’s gotta be one of her weird jokes, right?
- Apparently, Mallory has said that when she’s a famous writer she won’t put her picture on the books, because she doesn’t like how she looks. That’s….really sad, actually.
- But we do get to hear Stacey talk about how great Mal will look once she gets contacts and her braces off. Then Barbara calls Mallory cute. So, I think we’re supposed to be seeing Mal as someone who really has very little self-esteem in regards to her looks, not actually someone who’s ugly.
- People also call Tess, “Petunia,” which is apparently Porkey Pig’s girlfriend. That’s a reference I would not have gotten, I didn’t even know Porky had a girlfriend. The things you learn in these books are endless.
- That reminds me……didn’t Stacey have a stuffed pig collection at one point?
- At a sitting job for the Pikes, Jessi and Mallory are sitting for Claire, Margo, Nicky, and Vanessa. They say the rule’s 2 sitters for 4 kids or more, but the way I remember it is 2 sitters when it’s OVER 4 kids. I know there’s a book where Claudia sits for the triplets and Claire. And jobs for Kristy’s 4 younger siblings never have more than one sitter. I’m sure there are other examples too. I think they just wanted to give both girls some screen time, since they had nothing else to do in this book.
- Emily tells Stacey about the prank when Stacey arrives in the cafeteria for lunch. Stacey says she told all her friends about it…at the club meeting that evening. Wouldn’t the natural thing to do be go right to their lunch table and tell them right away? So what if not everyone in the club is there?
- In order to play their prank, Alan and Clarence would have had to switch out the copy of the paper that Emily approved with their own. Which, Emily says wouldn’t have worked, and I’m sure she’s right. It sure was tough to be an asshole before Facebook.
- Stacey also tries to get Tess to join the Pep Squad, even after Tess says it’s not her think. She’s really pushy about it, actually.
- The thing that’s bothering me after reading this book is that we never find out if the students picked a new mascot or not.
- The girl Tess does becomes friends with is this girl Barbara, whose previous BFF was the girl who got killed in a car accident. So, this was a bit of closure on that storyline, which is nice.
- Tess does try wearing makeup once after the makeover Stacey gave her, but says she doesn’t like how mascara feels. Stacey thinks this is weird because she doesn’t think it’s possible to feel mascara. I would have to disagree with her. But I rarely wear mascara.
- So, Clarence King keeps talking to Tess and calling her “Babe.” Tess doesn’t get the pig reference and thinks that Clarence likes her. Stacey tries to tell her not to get involved, and Tess thinks that Stacey’s the one that likes him. Stacey’s horrified, but the more she denies it, the more Tess is convinced. It really made me laugh for some reason. And if Stacey really wanted to help Tess she’d tell her the truth.
- There’s a subplot where Jackie Rodowsky and Nicky Pike are hanging out a lot acting secretive. The BSC doesn’t know what’s going on, but we find out that some kid was bullying Jackie, so he asked Nicky to be his bodyguard. But Abby convinces Jackie to talk out the problem. And of course, that totally solves the problem. I’d say mor.e, but writing about it would put me to sleep
- There’s a reference to the BSC notebook, because Abby figures out Jackie is hiding in the same place as when another sitter was there. It’s minor, but I do like that they pointed out that can help.
- Stacey’s definitely bitchy in this one, but Tess does say things like, “I adore the middle ages.” So, it’s realistic that 13-year-olds would find her strange.
- So, I love the color pink. But I wouldn’t wear it every day. Even if it is THE color of the year in the fashion world, wearing the same color every day seems a bit much.
- Maybe the all-pink thing is supposed to be like Stephanie Green wearing red, white, and black?
- Stacey kind of annoys me at the end. Because after she finds out Tess lived in Paris, she thinks how some of what Tess wore may end up stylish soon. Except, if Stacey didn’t like her outfits, she should really not like her outfits. The fact that people in Paris wear pink doesn’t mean Stacey has to like that color too.
- Here’s all of Tess’s “horrible” outfits….I’d bet anything that if Claudia wore one of these everyone would say she looked amazing:
- “She wore a short, pale pink cardigan buttoned up to the top. It covered a white blouse with a lace-trimmed Peter Pan collar, which peaked over the cardigan. Her pants were loose-fitting brown corduroys. And…she was wearing black boots.”
- “She was wearing a hot pink sweat outfit with frilly lace around the collar and sleeves.”
- “Her outfit that day might have been the worst one yet. She wore baggy pink overalls and a long-sleeved, satin shirt with a bright (and I mean bright) pattern of pink and green daisies all over it.” She had also clipped a small (but bright) pink plastic barrette in her hair.”
- “Nice jeans and a dusty-blue sweater” but, she’d “spiked her hair and even put on pale, icy pink lipstick.” I can’t really tell is the spikes are good or bad (according to Stacey), but this is what she wore after trying Stacey’s suggestion.
- “The outfit was the brightest pink yet, and the worst. Bright pink corduroy pants with a boxy, nubby, bright pink sweater. The pink plastic barrette was in her hair and she wasn’t wearing any makeup.” I like how Stacey keeps calling them the worst one yet.
- “She was wearing a bright pink blouse with big puffed sleeves over a short black skirt. The skirt was okay. But the blouse!”
- What do you think would happen if I tried to send in the form for joining the BSC Fan Club that’s in the back of this book?