Lorraine: Our first Baby-sitter Super Special! One million imaginary internet points to the reader who can guess how I got stuck reading it…
The way the Super Specials are set up, each chapter is told from the point of view of a different BSC member. Their name is signed on the top of each of their corresponding pages and- holy nostalgia. It’s easier to hate on SVH because I never read those books. I actually invested time into BSC. Maybe that’s why re-visiting them is so hard. You know, all that shame just weighing down on me.
Sweeney: Sometimes, the other books we read here lessen the shame for me. Like, sure, I spent way too much time reading the world’s most boring kids books in the BSC, but at least I didn’t spend all those hours on the two most reprehensible fictional role models ever. I think I just unintentionally took a stab at Sara in a post that she’s not even participating in. Oops.
Lor: Hahahaha. I mean… bad Sweeney! MEAN.
Anyhow, I’ll be telling the story by flipping between the girl’s perspectives like the book does. This is probably not the smartest way to go about it, but don’t blame me; blame Ann. M. Martin. And then remember, she got rich off of this crap.
Sweeney: Remind me why I took out all those loans to go to college in a world where Ann M. Martin could make ridiculous money off of the BSC?
Lor: Because we couldn’t poop out stuff as boring as this? That’s my first guess.
On to the story:
Kristy starts off by telling us that she’s super excited about this impending trip. Just so that we get the contrivance out of the way: Mr. Pike won an all expenses paid trip to the Bahamas and Disney World from his job for his entire family. In case you don’t really give a crap, or store much more important information in your brain, or tend to only read these recaps (or books- I’m looking at you Snark Ladies) drunk, please remember that Mr. Pike has eight children.
That’s a 2 destination week long vacation for 10 people. SIGN ME UP FOR MR. PIKE’S JOB.
Sweeney: This, I believe, is why I took out all those loans. Because that bitch Martin and her Ghost Writing Collective conned me into believing that these were the kinds of things that awaited me instead of the crushing monotony and paralyzing terror of real-world adulthood…
Lor: The Pikes invite Mary Ann and Stacey to be mother’s helpers on the trip, since that worked out super well that one time at the Jersey shore, when Stacey turned into a ho and kept blowing some guy’s whistle.
Watson, Kristy’s step-dad, got wind of the trip and decides to, uh, invite himself, his whole family and the two remaining BSC members along with the Pikes. If I ever hear Kristy complain about her filthy rich step-father again, I’m going to kick her in the face.
Sweeney: Oh really? Great. She does that in pretty much every single book she narrates in the series and we all know how pro-kicking-Kristy-in-the-face I am…
Lor: So, these 21 people are going on a vacation together.
Beside getting all the exposition out of the way, Kristy’s big contribution this chapter is having the IDEA! that since all five of them are here, together, on vacation, they could still totally hold short daily BSC meetings. The other girls agree instead of, you know, throwing her off of the plane.
I remember liking her handwriting the best. (Sweeney: And also, she totally is the best.) Anyhow, Dawn tells us she’s flown across the country several times since her parents are divorced (ew!) and all. The only boat she’s ever seen, though, is the Love Boat on TV. Things you don’t admit to, girlfriend. Stop it.
So she’s impressed by The Ocean Princess. Also, I find the real fun in these books aren’t the main plots, which all suck, but it’s the little throw-away lines.
“I brushed my long hair back from my face so I could see better.”
Girl, what? Are you walking around like Cousin IT? Help me understand what’s going on here.
Sweeney: THIS IS AN ACTUAL PROBLEM FOR GIRLS WITH LONG HAIR WHO AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH AT THINGS LIKE BRUSHING THEIR LONG HAIR TO BE ALLOWED TO HAVE LONG HAIR. Oh wait. #morethingsyoudon’tadmitto
Lor: I’m gonna mail you some scrunchies.
Kristy starts pissing Dawn off right away because she’s a slob. In order to avoid an argument, Dawn takes off exploring and runs into the most gorgeous gap toothed boy ever invented. I swear, the “space between his teeth” is totally a trait they divulge. I’m just being a faithful recapper. He runs off quickly but she’s in total heart.
Sweeney: I didn’t realize, until we started doing this, that Dawn hates Kristy too. Not as violently as I do, but maybe that’s why I hated Kristy? Kidding. I hate Kristy because she’s a bitch.
Lor: Mary Anne takes a few of the Pike kids exploring. What she really spends that time doing is creeping on a girl she sees at the spa, noting how nicely she fills out her skimpy bikini.
Skimpy Bikini introduces herself as Alexandra which is way less fun than calling her Skimpy Bikini. She starts chatting with Mary Anne, saying that traveling alone is the worst, especially when your parents have been ki- and then they are interrupted and Skimpy walks away. Mary Anne immediately goes all OH NOS, HER PARENTS WERE KILLED, figuring “kissed” and “kicked” don’t make sense, and those are all the “ki” words she knows.
Finally, on the top deck, the Pike kids spot a sandy haired boy hiding in a raft. Once he’s spotted, he takes off running. Vanessa Pike decides that the boat has a stowaway.
I hate you Mallory, mostly for that stupid smiley face. Also because you have to be one of the worst narrators. She keeps correcting herself. “I just finished Harriet the Spy. OKAY MAYBE NOT JUST. Like… a few weeks ago…” Etc.
Sweeney: Doesn’t she know that accuracy is as unimportant as continuity around these parts? Accuracy, like continuity, is for people without imagination.
Lor: Mallory knows that keeping a spy notebook didn’t work out all that well for Harriet, but decides she’ll totes be more careful and will only spy on people she doesn’t know which will be better. So, even though her friends all want her around, Mallory takes off by herself to go spy and write in her notebook.
First Mallory spots Skimpy Bikini walking around, looking all bored. She overhears Skimpy tell a random that she’s an actress and Mallory is all, “ooooh! aaaah!” and I’m all, “please. Do not trust the ho in the skimpy bikini.”
Sweeney: Important lessons you learned in Sweet Valley. Stacey is pretty much the only ho in a skimpy bikini that we’ve encountered in Stoneybrook, and she waited until she got to the Jersey shore for that.
Lor: And so you can make fun of those people who invested their youth reading SVH books, Sweeney, but I’m sure all of them know not to trust the ho in the skimpy bikini
Mallory also spots a grumpy old man, a little boy named Marc in a wheelchair, a famous rock star with a missing tooth named Spider and lastly she sees the sandy-haired stowaway. It’s a good thing Mallory decided to be a spy today, or else, how else would we meet all these random people?
Sweeney: Contrivance brings people together again!
Lor: Oh, Karen. As I understand it, she’s the in-house brat? That’s saying a lot for a series full of brats.
So, Karen asks Kristy to take her, Andrew and the unfortunately named David Michael swimming. They go and once there, Karen realizes that she left her earplugs in the room. Karen says since she’s SIX she can go off on this HUGE BOAT by herself and retrieve said earplugs. KRISTY LETS HER GO. I guess six is halfway to baby-sitting age so she’s got to start with some responsibility?
On the way, Karen, who is six years old, naturally gets distracted by pretty and shiny things. (Sweeney: Um, I still get distracted by pretty and shiny things…) (Lor: I forgive you because you can tie your own shoes.)She ends up and at the spa and decides she wants a manicure. She tells the lady to CHARGE IT to her father’s cabin and THE LADY DOES.
Then Karen decides she’s thirsty so she goes to the cafe and charges a soda to her father’s cabin, and again this is not a problem. By the time Karen makes it back to the pool, Kristy is freaking out (aka waiting for her on a lounge chair by the pool.) They laugh her charging things without permission off though, and… that’s that.
Aw, look. Claudia can spell her own name.
Claudia tells us about how annoying it’s gotten in her room. Kristy is doing stuff to piss Dawn off, like taking her pajamas, leaving them on the floor and then staring at Dawn to get a reaction. Claudia yells at Kristy to grow up, and Kristy answers by sticking her tongue out. Good thing we’re letting Kristy take care of children!
Sweeney: Obligatory reminder of what a useless little shit Kristy is / how totally fair and valid it is for me to hate a fictional tween this much.
Lor: Anyways, Claudia’s big thing is that she has a secret admirer. When she gets her OJ at breakfast, there is a note that says, “I think you are beautiful.” Claudia wants it to be Spider, the famous rock star Mallory spotted.
Sweeney: Only if he’s a serious pedobear, Claudia. You’re a child.
Lor: But… but…but! She can babysit and wear sophisticated lobster earrings, waaah.
When the cruise ship docks in the Bahamas, Kristy goes off with her family and Dawn goes to stalk the Gap Toothed Boy, leaving Claudia to shop alone. Except, that someone seems to be following her around, but she never gets a glimpse of him. Plus, he’s paying for all of her shopping and food.
UGH. BEST PROBLEM TO HAVE EVER. It’s a good thing, for the Secret Admirer, that Claudia is slow, because I would’ve probably bought up the entire island. It never occurs to her, either, that this is stalking and is pretty creepy.
Sweeney: The seeds for accepting Edward Cullen’s behavior as Totally Desirable Boyfriend Material were clearly planted in the BSC. Can I add Twilight to the list of things we hold Ann M. Martin and the GWC responsible for? Or is that stretching it?
Lor: Please. Blaming the GWC for world hunger wouldn’t be stretching it.
Stacey and Mary Anne get a two hour break from being slaves, I MEAN, mother’s helpers. The girls have a short BSC meeting which basically serves to tell us all the stuff we just read.
With some time still left on her slave break, Stacey decides to take a walk. She meets Marc, the kid in the wheelchair, and says she can’t ignore anyone who is sick or handicapped because, as you may not have heard because she keeps it a total secret, she has diabetes herself.
Marc confides in her that he can walk just fine, but has a bad heart that he isn’t supposed to strain with activity. Stacey is all, “I can totally relate man. I have diabetes.” And they bond.
Back in the cabins, Margo Pike gets seasick and Stacey runs to get her mother. Mother Pike takes Margo to her room for the night, and leaves Stacey to clean out the wastebasket Margo puked in. Twice. SLAVE.
Kristy is a bitch. (Sweeney: Word.) She starts throwing shoes around the cabin to make Dawn mad. Dawn is a saint, because I would’ve thrown a shoe at her stupid little head.
Kristy goes to the pool to “cool off” and there she meets Crabby Old Man. He drops his book and Kristy hands it to him, and this is apparently an invitation for the Overshare Hour! Crabby Old Man’s wife is dead, which is why he’s crabby. Kristy understands when people leave because, if you hadn’t heard, she’s very good about keeping it a secret, her father left her and now she has a stepfather.
Sweeney: A rich stepfather who helps around the house and probably cured cancer. What a douche. Kristy’s life is super hard.
Lor: Kristy also tells Crabby about her grandmother who loves the book he is reading. They hangout for a while and bond over both being slobs and Kristy decides that when he’s ready to start dating, he should totally date her grandmother.
WHO? Yeah, I know. He’s one of the Pike triplets. When the boat docks at Treasure Cay, he’s convinced they’ll find a treasure map. And what do you know, they do. They search the island for a little while, but time runs out on them. That’s okay, the kids decide, they’ll use the treasure map to hunt for treasure on the boat and at Disney World.
I can’t even.
Sweeney: I’ll admit it, I find this to be an endearing brand of child stupidity.
Lor: It’s endearing, I’m sure, until they run amok on the ship and get in trouble with the crew.
Dawn sees the Gap Toothed Boy when they dock at Treasure Cay. They decide to spend the day together, holding hands and talking. They also spend the entire next day together and win a ping pong tournament. Dawn decides she is falling in love. Guys, Dawn is in love after a day and a half. I almost want to take back my compliment on her nice handwriting.
Sweeney: SOMEONE HAS TO COUNTERBALANCE THE MEGABITCHERY THAT IS KRISTY, ALL RIGHT? YOU LEAVE HER ALONE.
Lor: Okay, okay. Ahem: Dawn’s in total legit love everyone! And she still has awesome handwriting!
The triplets are in trouble for being rowdy on the boat and the Pike Parents are all, “you aren’t allowed to be alone.” So they leave them in the care of Stacey and Mary Anne and run off, probably to spawn more children they AREN’T going to take care of. Mary Anne is going to take care of them, so they reveal their plan to go treasure hunting on the boat. Mary Anne spots Skimpy Bikini girl and she’s complaining about the hair cut she got at the spa. She says her brother thinks it looks awful too. It takes Mary Anne a second to realize why this bothers her, and it’s because Skimpy Bikini had previously said she was traveling alone. This emboldens Mary Anne and she asks why she isn’t traveling with her parents, when her real question should’ve been “why are you are ?”
Skimpy says that her parents were killed and she’s an orphan and no one could ever understand how that feels!!!!
Luckily for Skimpy, and I’m not sure if you’ve heard because Mary Anne’s really good at keeping it a secret, her mother died when she was a baby. “I’m half an orphan,” Mary Anne explains. Then, the kids she’s supposed to be caring for interrupt her, and Skimpy takes her leave.
Stacey takes two of the Pike kids out to swim and, I dunno. Do cruise stuff. While out and about, they come across Marc, the wheelchair kid. Stacey convinces his parents that she’s super! responsible! on account of her diabetes and insulin and stuff, and can totally take care of Marc at the arcade.
The group plays a little and then they spot Claudia at the ice cream parlor and have some sweets with her. Except Stacey doesn’t because she has sad-abetes. While paying for the tab, Stacey overhears a boy asking to pay for Claudia’s tab, and is super stealth about it. She goes, “HEY CLAUDIA!” and the boy runs out really fast.
Stacey didn’t get a good look at the Stalker Admirer, but she thinks he has brown hair.
Sweeney: Oh, YOU KNOW, that one kid. With the brown hair .Maybe. Or maybe it was just hair… You know, that guy.
Lor: Claudia runs out of the ice cream parlor. She almost doesn’t, though, because she’s got five bites of her butterscotch sundae left. Decisions, decisions.
Anyways, she leaves it, and runs around looking for the Stalker Admirer when she runs into another boy, a blond one. She asks him if he saw anyone else come out of the parlor, maybe someone who looked stalker-y or admirer-y. Blondy says yes, he saw a read-head with great sneakers running this way too. Claudia thinks this contradicting information is no help.
She explains her secret admirer situation to the boy, whose name is Timothy. Tim asks if it isn’t more fun not to know who it is, and Claudia is all, “no.” Tim then suggests that maybe this admirer is shy, and wants to buy Claudia’s affection before revealing himself. Claudia thinks that’s really sweet.
Anyways, Tim and Claudia get to talking and agree to spend time together the next day, once they’re off the boat and at Magic Kingdom.
Claudia is yelling at Dawn and Kristy for being stupid and petty about this clean/slob fight. Anyways, now they are in off the boat and in their hotel room which is much bigger. There is enough space for everyone to put their things away in an orderly fashion.
Karen is at Disney World. Karen is annoying at Disney World. Karen sees a ghost on the haunted mansion ride. Karen thinks the ghost follows her all around Disney for the rest of the day. I wish the ghost were real. I wish he were a violent ghost.
Sweeney: …when I was four or five, my brother convinced me that the Haunted Mansion ghosts really do follow you all the way home. I spent the entire car ride watching out the back window.
Lor: Making fun of these kids would be so much easier if you didn’t make me constantly feel bad for them SWEENEY.
Dawn meets up with Gap Toothed Boy and they decide to spend the day together at Magic Kingdom. Dawn is sort of a brat about being there because she’s been to Disneyland like a million times. I’m not sure if you know, because I’m awfully good at keeping it a secret, but I live in Florida. As a Floridian, I just have to mention that Disney World kicks Disneyland’s ass any day of the week. I’ve never been to Disneyland, but it’s one of those unquestionable truths.
Sweeney: As a sometimes Californian, I have to interject and defend Disneyland’s honor. I do this by playing the ever-popular-on-the-internets, “FIRST!” card on Disneyland’s behalf. That is all.
Lor: Well then my only scientific based response would be, “FIRST IS THE WORST.”
Dawn soon learns the truth while she’s on Space Mountain, which she says is way better than the Space Mountain they have in California.
Sweeney: IT’S THE EXACT. SAME. Dawn, you traitorous little tramp.
Lor: Nope! Dawn said it’s better so it must be true! She gets a little queezy, so Gap Toothed buys her a soda and they stroll for a while. She buys a unicorn charm as a souvenir and puts it on her bracelet. They have a great time together- but oh nos! At the end of the day, Dawn realizes she’s lost her bracelet and charm! She’s really upset about this.
When they get back to the hotel, Gap Toothed gives her a present, and it’s another unicorn charm. Dawn cries and Gappy gives her a peck on the cheek. Aw.
Mallory ditches her family again to do more Harriet the Spy-ing. She really doesn’t spy as much as she sits around and writes things like “two old ladies walk by.” Just shoot me now.
Sweeney: I think the GWC realized that Mary Anne was the uncontested champion of boring narration, so they brought in Mallory to make her look better by comparison.
Lor: Mallory spots Skimpy Bikini in line for Peter Pan’s Flight and she gets in line behind them and eaves drops. It seems that Skimpy is there with her famous mom and dad and little brother so she is in fact a liar. Mallory is very excited about her discoveries.
Mallory tells Mary Anne about Skimpy Bikini being a lying liar who lies. Mary Anne is pissed. She sees Skimpy the next day, calls her a liar and walks away as Skimpy starts to cry.
Sweeney: Is it bad that I’m a little impressed with Mary Anne for being able to make a girl cry? I just didn’t think she had that in her.
Lor: It’s almost surprising until you realize that Mary Anne’s propped up on a moral soapbox. That makes more sense.
Who? Oh, right, right. One of the Pike triplets. The kids are still looking for treasure at Magic Kingdom. Instead they miraculously find Dawn’s old bracelet and give it back to her. She cries again.
Sweeney: Dawn, between selling out on Disneyland and all of the crying, you’re making it very hard for me to defend you.
Karen is having breakfast with the characters when they ask if anyone is having a birthday. The little brat lies and stands up saying it is her birthday so that everyone can sing to her. Yuck. Karen also talks a lot about that ghost that follows her around.
Sweeney: I stand by my “Where Are They Now” prediction for this one. Professional scare-mongering lunatic.
Lor: Stacey takes two of the Pike kids to Epcot and there they find wheelchair kid Marc and spend the day with him. In Overshare Hour of the day, Marc’s parents tell Stacey that he’s having a risky heart surgery in a few weeks and he might not make it. Stacey cries and cries and wonders why life is so unfair, and why some people get sickness while others get health.
On their last day at Disney, the entire cast of characters comes together to watch the parade at Magic Kingdom. Claudia is there holding hands with Timothy, when she hears someone calling to him out of the crowd. Claudia turns and looks to see Skimpy Bikini.
Skimpy tells Claudia that Timothy is her brother. Not only that; Skimpy lets it slip that Timothy is actually Claudia’s Stalker Admirer.
Not only that! But Timothy was also the sandy haired kid that everyone thought was a castaway. Turns out, he just really likes to creepily spy on people.
Sweeney: Also very much like a certain sparkly vampire.
Lor: Mary Anne asks Skimpy why she’s a liar and she just says, “because I like attention.” Oh. Well then.
Sweeney: At least she’s honest?
Lor: Mary Anne apparently forgives her honest lying, but decides that she could never actually be friends with someone whose hobby is lying.
Claudia is upset for like half a second that she got lied to, as well, but then Timothy plants one on her, like on the lips, and all is forgiven.
That night, Kristy calls another BSC meeting and the girls all yap about their last day on vacation. It is there that Claudia has the IDEA! to give the Pikes and Kristy’s parents a “thank you for paying for our vacation” gift: a scrap book of pictures and letters.
Sweeney: Because that’s obviously right about on par. Also, I definitely have a scrapbook of BSC letters that was sold along with my membership to the BSC as a kid. I don’t remember if it’s supposed to be this same scrapbook or not. In any case, hats off to Scholastic and the GWC for finding additional ways to make money off of this bullshit!
Lor: Everyone gets all packed up and ready to leave and say their goodbyes. Claudia says goodbye to Tim, Dawn says goodbye to Gap Toothed (the love she will forget tomorrow), Stacey says goodbye to wheelchair boy, Mary Anne says goodbye to Skimpy Bikini and finally, Kristy says goodbye to the Crabby Old Man. They both tear up and promise to write. Plus, she promises to hook him up with her grandma.
Once on the plane, Margo barfs again. Also, as the triplets keep pouring over their treasure map, a helpful stranger passes by and informs them that they are in fact looking at copy machine instructions in Dutch. LOL.
Back at home, the rest of the gang’s families are waiting to welcome them. Kristy tells us it’s back to boring life in Stoneybrook and girl, you are preaching to the choir.
The book ends with a post-card from Marc’s parents letting Stacey know that while she will never be cured from her sad-abetes, Marc’s heart surgery went well! And he’s probably going to live a totally normal life that includes cupcakes and candy. Yum.