Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Stacey and the Bad Girls by Ann M. Martin- Review by Carlyn


*Spoilers included*

Stacey has quit the Babysitters Club. She’s no longer friends with the members of the club and prefers to hang out with her new friends and boyfriend. It’s summer and Stacey suddenly finds that she has more free time as she use to babysit on a weekly basis. She spends her time with her new friends, listening to their favourite band U4Me and munching on snacks. Stacey’s mum gets sick of Stacey and her friends making a mess of the house and eating all the food so she tells Stacey that she must get a summer job. So, Stacey gets a job working as a child minder for Bellair’s which is a department store.

Stacey is really good at her job thanks to all her babysitting experience. Her new friends meet her every day after work and they spend time at the mall. Stacey loves her new friends as they are into fashion and obsessed with U4Me too. However, Stacey discovers that her friends are into shoplifting and drinking alcohol. Stacey doesn’t know what to do, the girls are all thirteen years old and without them she would be all alone.

It was interesting reading this book where the Babysitters Club is at odds with each other. There have been fights in other books but that usually gets resolved by the end of the story. There was some lead up to Stacey leaving the group in previous books, where she is unhappy with babysitting all the time and wanting to do other things. The Babysitters Club involves a lot of dedication from its members. The girls have meetings three times a week and babysit on a weekly basis. That’s a lot work for thirteen year olds so I can understand why Stacey would want to quit. As a crusty old person, I feel that the whole issue could have easily been resolved if the girls had an honest chat instead of a screaming match. Stacey could have asked to do less babysitting or take some time off or leave the group but still remain friends with the other girls. However, I know without all that fuss there would be no story.

Obviously, the Babysitter girls reconcile with Stacey, she loses her bad girl friends and she rejoins the club. Stacey is one of the main characters of the Babysitters Club after all.  I also get the feeling that Stacey could have been very happy without the Babysitters Club if she found the right friends too. While the girls reconcile, they don’t resolve the issues that caused Stacey to leave the club. Stacey just apologizes and tells them she’ll work her personal life around babysitting. I felt the other girls should have apologized as well for their part but they believe that only Stacey is wrong.

There is also a secondary plot in the novel about Mary Anne and Dawn who are babysitting their cousin Amy. Amy’s parents have gone to London for a holiday and leave Amy behind. The girls have so many fun plans for Amy but Amy spends her time crying because she misses her parents. One day, the girls play hide and seek with Amy and I wasn’t surprised that Amy used that time to run away. Fortunately, Stacey finds her while working at the department store and calls Mary Anne and Dawn. The event leads the way to Stacey rejoining the Babysitters Club.

I liked this book as it was interesting to see what would happen if one of the girls quit the club.  I wish it had been a more positive book and that Stacey’s new friends weren’t bad girls but just different girls. There is also a spin off series that looks into life without the Babysitters Club called California Girls which features Dawn. Dawn hasn’t quit the Babysitters Club but she moves to California to live with her dad for a while. The focus of California Girls is less on babysitting and more on teenaged life. It also has a more mature feel than the Babysitters Club books. 

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