I have to say right off, I liked this a lot more than the first Friends Forever book (which I didn’t dislike, it was just a bit different in tone). Early on Stacey gets annoyed because Ethan (still her current boyfriend) signed up for some art class on Sundays. Since he lives in NYC, the weekend’s the only time the two can see each other, so the class limits that.
Then Stacey notices a new guy at school – Jeremy who she thinks is totally cute, cool, etc. So does Claudia. At first Stacey’s encouraging Claud, since she still has a boyfriend (even though she’s very into Jeremy). Then she and Ethan have another fight because he has to work on the next Saturday and won’t be able to see her. They end that call by saying they should “cool things down.” Stacey asks if this means they are breaking up, and Ethan says no they’re just changing things. But Stacey still thinks of it as a breakup. Anyway, she decides that she still needs to be a good friend and support Claudia’s interest in Jeremy. She even helps arrange a “date” by inviting Jeremy and Claudia to go to the mall with her (as a group) to introduce Jeremy to the area. Only then she “gets sick” and can’t go with them. Claudia has a great time and is even more interested in Jeremy. She keeps drawing him/sculpting him (without his knowledge, obviously).
However, Jeremy shows up at Stacey’s house the next day to see how she is. He says he’s only into Claudia as a friend and wants to go out with Stacey. She says she has to talk to Claud first. She actually writes out note cards about how much she values Claudia’s friendship, to make sure she gets this across to Claud when talking to her. Her logic is that Jeremy isn’t going to be dating Claudia no matter what, so why shouldn’t SHE date him. However, when she delivers the news to Claud she skips all the friendship crap and just spits out the news that Jeremy asked her out. Then she asks if Claudia minds if she says yes. Claudia says, yes, she does mind and says Stacey is betraying her. They get into a huge fight about it, and Stacey decides she’ll say yes to Jeremy anyway.
They keep fighting for the rest of the book….after Stacey and Jeremy have a successful date, Claudia mentions Ethan to Jeremy. He gets upset at Stacey for not mentioning she had a boyfriend. Stacey insists she and Ethan are over and she and Jeremy arrange to go out again. That night, Ethan shows up at her house right before Jeremy’s supposed to be there. (Since he apparently meant it when he said cooling things down wasn’t the same as a break up). But he and Stacey really break up and she goes out with Jeremy. The book ends without Stacey and Claudia resolving their fight, which is realistic, but a bit surprising.
They only real subplot is that some girl named Rachel moved back to Stoneybrook, after moving away in fifth grade. Apparently, Rachel didn’t get along with Kristy, Claudia, or Mary Anne back then. Claudia used to hide from her because Rachel called her a wimp and taunted her into climbing a tree….that she then got stuck in. But Stacey likes Rachel and they bond and become friendly. Rachel even gives her some advice about Jeremy. I kept thinking that we were going to find out Rachel was purposely encouraging Stacey to hook up with Jeremy to hurt Claudia, but that didn’t happen. I also thought we were going to find out Rachel and Jeremy were step-siblings, because it seemed weird that there would be two new kids at the exact same time. But that didn’t happen either. The book ends with Stacey and Rachel on good terms.
- Foreshadowing for the next book, where Mary Anne and Logan breakup (again) - when Stacey’s checking out Jeremy in the hall, she talks to Mary Anne about how cute he is. Mary Anne says she has been noticing cute guys more and more lately. She and Stacey decide it’s totally cool for them to notice other guys while having a boyfriend, but then get weirded out about the idea of the guys noticing other girls.
- Jeremy introduces himself by saying he is “Jeremy. Rudolph.” Which of course he means his first name is Jeremy and his last name is Rudolph. But Stacey and Claudia get all confused by this. Apparently they think someone might actually give their child a first name of “Rudolph.”
- They also get confused when he says he’s from Olympia. Which….really? It’s not that small a town, is it?
- Kristy’s description of Rachel: “She’s like Lucy Van Pelt, HelgaPataki, and Angelica Pickles rolled into one.” The pop-culture side of me is ashamed that I could not figure out who she meant at first. Especially considering I once interned for Nickelodeon.
- Stacey writes Claudia a note because she won’t get a chance to talk to her before lunch. Only when she passes Claud the note in the hall, she stands there while Claudia reads it, then Claudia says how she’s sorry (about the Ethan breakup). Why not just tell her? My friends and I passed notes in the hall sometimes, but we didn’t stand in front of each other and read them. The point was that you didn’t have time to wait while the person read it. Especially if that person has Claudia’s reading skills.
- In this book we do hear about the girls having BSC meetings and baby-sitting. We just don’t get full chapters devoted to the jobs. Stacey just mentions that after school she sat for the Rodowskys then went on with her angsting about Jeremy. It makes it feel more similar to the original series, but it concentrated on the more interesting stuff.
- Has there ever been a book that had two of the girls’ names in the title? I wasn’t sure who the narrator was until I opened it.
- Even before the fight, Stacey gets annoyed at all the spelling errors in Claudia’s note. I think this is the first time anyone has complained about her spelling.
- When Kristy tells the girls about Rachel being back, she says how her looks have changed and she’s not a “butterball” anymore. She adds that she looks better than you’d have expected her to turn out. Which is totally bitchy, but SO something a 13-year-old would say.
- The girls are all at Claud’s house before 5:30, and Kristy just says, “Well, as long as we’re all here, we might as well get started early.” It’s kind of hard to believe she loosened up about things that much. In theory, it’s only a couple books since she would stare at the clock doing a countdown.
- Ethan keeps leaving Stacey messages and she just ignores them cause she figures they are done and she no longer cares. Which is kind of bitchy of her….it seems like she just used the no time together thing as an excuse to go after Jeremy.
- Part of me wants to say it’s good for Stacey to be nice with Rachel, because you shouldn’t be a bitch to someone just because your friend didn’t like them a few years ago. But isn’t it also a bit disloyal to befriend someone who was actively mean to your BFF? I’m not saying she should freeze Rachel out, but it seems like there should be more of a balance.
- Apparently, Claudia and her ex, Josh, are actually doing a good job at staying friends. They said it a couple times, so I’m wondering if it will become important.
- Claudia and Stacey’s fight is pretty vicious. Stacey calls Claudia brainless for not being able to spell and says that her artwork isn’t that great. She also calls Claud a loser, and tells her that no matter how much Claudia follows Jeremy around, he’ll never want to date her. THEN she says they should stop before they say anything they regret.
- Claudia gets in some mean things as well, but I don’t think they’re as bad as what Stacey says to her. Especially considering, she’s really the wronged one in this situation. But she says Stacey’s just stringing multiple guys along, that she’s stuck up, and that 10 million people live in NYC, so Stacey should stop acting like it’s some big claim to fame. (Actually, I think that last part is more hilarious than mean).
- Stacey’s date outfit: “The blue thermal-knit shirt with the tow of small white buttons up the front….it was great with jeans.” Kind of boring.
- Abby’s around in this one…she’s at the lunch table with the other girls every day, which makes a lot of sense. This may sound silly, but I’m glad they’re all still friends.
- We do get some additional BSC talk – they’re talking about how they want to schedule free time so they don’t all end up with jobs all weekend. But since they still have people calling, they are still sometimes calling Logan as a backup sitter. Which actually makes sense. I’m surprised they wouldn’t still ask Abby to be a backup every once in a while too.
- I don’t think Stacey’s behavior would be so bad except that she was encouraging Claudia to go after Jeremy. If she said right off that she was interested in him, then things would have been different. But she basically set Claudia up for pain.
- Stacey says how she and Ethan didn’t make time for each other over the summer. Which is totally not what happened in Everything Changes. But maybe there was another summer since then? You never know in BSC-land.
As an FYI - I'm leaving on vacation tomorrow, so it'll be a couple weeks until the next update.