Sunday, December 15, 2013

“It was as if I’d finally found the ruby slippers and clicked my heels”…..BSC FF # 11: Welcome Home, Mary Anne

Mary Anne’s family’s all set to move into their new house, which is really their old barn.  When I heard they were renovating the barn, I thought they were using it as a base and adding sections to it.  I always pictured the barn to be the size of a 2-4 car garage.  But apparently, the barn was always big enough to just be turned into a 4-bedroom house.  The downstairs is an open-space floor plan, with bedrooms added upstairs (in what used to be the hayloft I guess).  It actually sounds like a pretty decent place, if we accept that it was always supposed to be that big.  Their property must be pretty big too, if it fit their original house and a barn as big as a house..  They kept the old barn door that slides off the wall as a sliding door, so basically the whole kitchen wall can just be opened up.  It sounds like it could get drafty in the winter, but there are only two more books in these series, so I guess we’ll never see winter.  That’s kind of sad.

Anyway, they move into the house and Mary Anne feels kind of weird about it and isn’t sure if it feels like home.   But luckily, Dawn and Jeff are coming home for the summer to distract her.  Sunny’s coming with them for a month, since her mom just died and she’s having trouble adjusting.  Sunny’s method of dealing is basically to avoid talking about the whole thing, and she doesn’t stop moving/doing things so she doesn’t have to think about her mom.  This includes trying to hook Mary Anne up with a high school guy (but abandoning the plan when the friends he brings for Sunny and Dawn are dorks), going overboard trying to decorate Dawn, Jeff, and Mary Anne’s bedrooms, and making Mary Anne and Dawn take her to NYC (alone, without parental approval) to walk around the Village all day. On this trip to New York, Sunny decides she wants to go to some club, but Dawn and Mary Anne say they have to get home to avoid getting killed by their parents.  Dawn tells her she’s been getting her way since her mom died and it has to stop.  Sunny doesn’t take this well, but she listens.  So, they go home and don’t get caught or in any trouble for the little adventure. But Sunny and Dawn aren’t talking to each other.

Mary Anne and Sunny talk about what it’s like to lose a parent (even though Mary Anne admits she doesn’t remember the losing part) and Sunny seems to make a break through with things.  She also decides she misses her dad and should go back to LA.  She and Dawn talk and make up for their argument in New York.  Then they have a housewarming/going away party and we briefly get to see the rest of the BSC members….even the ones no longer in the club.  By the end, Mary Anne’s feeling more at home in the new house.

There’s a subplot that involves Jeff being miserable because the one thing he liked about Connecticut was the old house.  He also thinks his friends have moved on without him, but of course the triplets and Nicky are still happy to see Jeff.  With their help, Mary Anne gets Jeff excited about redecorating his new room, and doing wild things like painting it to look like a race track or hanging a basketball hoop inside. When Sunny gets onboard the ideas get even wilder, like making it into a haunted house or a jungle with vines to climb on.  Ultimately, they make it into a superhero themed room, so Jeff’s fairly happy by the end.  Considering he’s in lowly Connecticut and all.

  • Mary Anne claims she broke up with Logan “not long ago.”  Well, it’s summer and she broke up with him back in early fall….that’s almost the full school year.  Practically a lifetime for teenagers.  Although, admittedly not a lifetime for someone who was 13 for a decade.  But still.  Stop whining about it.  I mean, she said she wanted her own identity, but she’s still basically describing herself as “Logan’s ex.”
  • Mary Anne mentions how she didn’t have many clothes to fill her new closet.  But shouldn’t she have gathered some in the year since the fire?  She’s gone through all 4 seasons since the fire. What has she been wearing all this time?
  • When they get their luggage at the airport, we hear that Sunny has a large duffel and Dawn has a backback.  That’s supposed to get them through an entire month/ summer?  It’s not like Dawn could claim to have left stuff in Connecticut.
  • Awkward moment….Sunny tells Mary Anne to take off the hat when they’re in the sun, and Mary Anne says, “Haven’t you ever heard of skin cancer?”  And of course, Sunny’s mom just died of cancer.  Oops.
  • To try and stay busy, Sunny decides to do all these chores, vacuuming/dusting/etc.  I’m not sure how dirty the house could have been after a few days of anyone living there.  But I guess it doesn’t matter if she’s just trying to stay busy.
  • Since when is Nicky Pike friends with Jeff?  The triplets were always his friends, but not Nicky.  The triplets tried to avoid talking to him, why would they let him hang out with their friends?
  • The girls ride their bikes to the pool.  Sunny rides Jeff’s.  I guess the bikes were in the barn during the fire, huh?  We never heard about whether they had a garage or anything, so I guess the barn actually made sense for that stuff.
  • Mallory’s conveniently at a two-week writing camp so we can have Kristy and Mary Anne take a joint sitting job at the Pikes, but still be able to make an appearance at the party at the end.  Too bad, I kind of miss Mallory.
  • Another suggestion Sunny makes for Jeff’s room….make it look like a surf shop.  Because we can’t not mention surfing in a book that features Dawn and Sunny.
  • Dawn calls Stacey to tell them about their sneaking to NYC so someone will know what happened if they get kidnapped or something.  That’s actually a good idea.  And Stacey tells them she’s jealous.  Ha.
  • Hey, what happened to Dawn being scared of the city?  She relaxed a bit by the end of that SuperSpecial, but she still didn’t seem super eager to spend much time there.
  • Also, what happened to Mary Anne being a tour guide for everyplace she went?  She keeps asking all these questions about how they’ll get around in NYC.   Then Sunny keeps talking about this article she read about the Village and Soho, and Mary Anne doesn’t seem to know any of it.
  • In New York, the girls see a stall selling mini-backpacks. Those were super popular back when I was in middle school. I wonder if I still have mine somewhere.  I take forever to get rid of stuff, there’s boxes of it at my mother’s house.
  • Mary Anne mentions that the DJ on the local radio station’s annoying, but he plays decent music.  She also says there’s no real alternative.  But aren’t they only an hour or so away from NYC?  Why wouldn’t they get New York radio stations?
  • I feel like I’m reading spoilers for the California Diaries books (which I’m going to TRY and recap), because we hear all about how Dawn and Sunny were fighting in California, but made up before her mom died.
  • There’s this whole thing where Mary Anne tells us how lucky they were to get away with the NYC trip and that nothing bad happened.   It’s like a disclaimer or something….telling kids not to “try this at home.”
  • Abby makes some really nice comments to Sunny about what she must be dealing with. She also says she wishes they’d gotten a chance to hang out, which makes sense cause she knows what Sunny’s going through more than anyone.  It’s just too bad it happens at her going away party.  I’m surprised that Sunny wouldn’t have spent any time with the BSC while she was in town.  Wouldn’t Dawn want to see them too?
  • Also, it kind of sucks that in one of the last books of the series we don’t get a lot of the actual BSC members hanging out together.  Even the 4 who are still in the club.  I like the girls interacting.


Anonymous said...

Can't believe there's only two books left.

Mouse said...

Given all the work needed to convert the barn into a house, it probably would have been easier just to build a new house where the old one was. Not to mention all the things you've already pointed out about that barn...

Sarah said...

California Diaries are great. I read them all the summer after my freshman year of college (which was appropriately angsty, like most freshman years, and CD was the perfect remedy).

metamorphstorm said...

Having lost my dad (also to cancer, almost two years ago) I can sort of relate to Sunny, but more to Abby (even though her dad died in a car crash). And for the most part Dawn was a completely insensitive bi+ch to Sunny in the California Diaries books. Sunny did do some stupid things, but Dawn was all about "why won't she let me help her?" and I have a million answers to that, the main one being, Dawn's never lost anyone. Sure, she angsts over the divorce of her parents, but she's still flying back and forth between them, which Sunny can't do. Dawn mostly moans about how terrible a daughter Sunny is for not being with her mother every single second, while in the Sunny books she's got to balance hospital visits with homework and her father, who acts like a butt, but is under a lot of stress so that's both understandable and realistic.