{Rereading The Baby-Sitters Club: Friends Forever 11-12, California Diaries: Ducky – Diary Three & Friends Forever: Graduation Day}

Well… here we are. The last of my BSC rereads posts. I decided to squeeze it in this week, even though Tuesday’s post was also a BSC reread post. But I finished the books last week, so might as well get this out into the world ASAP. This post features just four books, the final three Friends Forever books and the one remaining California Diaries book.

This installment begins with Welcome Home, Mary Anne. The new Schafer-Spier barn house is finally ready and it’s time for the family to start making it home. Mary Anne is concerned, as she has been feeling out of place since the fire. To make matters more complicated, Dawn is coming for her annual summer visit… and she’s bringing Sunny along, fresh on the heels of her mother’s death. Mary Anne is concerned about how to act around Sunny, and it turns out to be with good reason. Sunny’s main coping method is to keep her, Dawn and Mary Anne as busy as humanly possible so she doesn’t stop to think. This even includes going to New York for the day, unbeknownst to Richard and Sharon (and, for once, they actually don’t get caught doing this). Overall I liked this book. It made me wish there were actual pictures of their new house, because I really wanted to see that barn door kitchen!

We return to Palo City, California for one last visit with Ducky. In his final installment, he is dealing with his feelings – or really, lack of feelings – for Sunny, who kisses him one night after they hang out. This book does not confirm for sure that Ducky is gay, but it becomes increasingly more clear in this book that that is likely what is going on. This book is all about wrapping up the California Diaries. Maggie’s family finally gets her mom into rehab for her drinking, Amalia – who is initially distant with Brandon – starts to relax a little more, Dawn honestly doesn’t do all that much (I love Dawn as she is a BSC member, but she really is the least compelling character in the California Diaries). Ducky and Sunny make piece with each other and again it’s not clear whether or not Sunny really understands why Ducky is not interested in her, but she accepts that they are better off as friends. I still find it weird that a random sixteen year old boy hangs out with a bunch of thirteen year old girls, but that’s where we are with these books.

Claudia and the Disaster Date is another example of a weirdly titled book. Claudia explores dating Alan Gray for real and throughout the book goes out with him a few times, including once with the entire BSC. But nothing really goes wrong on any of these dates… so is this alluding to Alan’s former personality? Maybe. Either way, this book goes slightly out of order. Dawn is suddenly in Stoneybrook again, when in the previous California Diaries book, she’s back in Palo City. And that bugs me more than it really should. But I digress. This book is more or less about Claudia’s dates with Alan, and getting the BSC to like him as well and Claudia’s job at the library along with her friend Erica. There’s a minor subplot with Claudia and her mom fighting over a mural project at the library but ultimately that doesn’t really end up going anywhere, and Claudia eventually paints the mural. This is the final regular length book in the series.

That bring us to the final book: the Friends Forever Super Special, Graduation Day. So, right off the bat, a critique I have here is… this book is also out of order. Welcome Home, Mary Anne, Ducky: Diary Three and Claudia and the Disaster Date all take place during summer vacation. This wouldn’t bug me so much if graduation had been mentioned at all in the previous books, but it wasn’t. That being said though, I thought this was a cute way to end the series. The girls are finishing up their time at Stoneybrook Middle School (after only twelve years!), and they are writing letters to themselves for a school assignment (their principal or vice-principal will mail them to them in four years). The kids of Stoneybrook are also getting together to create a time capsule to open in seven years. It’s a really sweet way to wrap up the series. The sitters all have their own chapters, of course, but then a number of the classic charges also get to narrate a little bit. They bring together a lot of memories from throughout the series. At some point the girls make a pact to meet twelve years from the date in the book (when they’re twenty-five/twenty-six). I, for one, think this book is long overdue!

And thus, my nearly forty year old self has finally finished reading all the Baby-Sitters Club books! What’s next? Not really sure. Maybe the Fear Street books? Sweet Valley High? Or perhaps I’ll stop setting crazy reading challenges for myself and just enjoy books for adults again! Only time will tell (however next week there will be a post of my January reads, none of which were written for a pre-teen audience).

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