Claudia & The New Girl: The Baby-Sitters Club #12 by Ann M Martin
3 out of 5 stars
I just read this one this weekend, so it's totally fresh in my brain! :) And I'm super excited, because only 2 more books and then it's time for Super Special #1!! Woo!
Okay, I know Claudia is supposed to be baby-sitting Jackie Rodowsky, which is a pretty good reason to wear jeans, but the rest of her outfit? Totally not Claud...white sneakers? Come on! Snazz it up a little...paint that shirt, change the laces in your sneakers, something!
There's a new girl in town, Ashley Wyeth, and Claudia is her new BFF. They both looooove art and dress weird. Although Ashley is, admittedly, a little weirder, especially for the late 80s. For example: "She was wearing a very pretty pink flowered skirt that was full and so long it touched the tops of her shoes-which I soon realized were not shoes, but sort of hiking boots. Her blouse, loose and lacy, was embroidered with pink flowers, and both her wrists were loaded with silver bangle bracelets. Her hair, which was almost as long as my friend Dawn's and was dirty blonde, was pulled into a fat braid (which, I might add, was not held in place with a rubber bang or anything; it just sort of trailed to an end). But the amazing thing was that because her hair was pulled back, you could see her ears. And she had three pierced earrings in each ear. They were all silver and all dangly, but none matched."
(go here to see bigger...I was actually pretty proud of this one!)
Ashley is very intense about her art though, it's like she's in a relationship lol. And she wants Claudia to be that way too. But of course, Claud has baby-sitting, her friends and a silly little thing called homework to deal with. She lets all those things slide though because Ashley thinks she has real talent and should enter a sculpture show. Soon, Claudia is failing spelling tests (but really, who can spell "pharaoh" without spell-check? And I totally just misspelled it! Hah!!) and skipping BSC meetings, which of course makes the other girls super pissed.
This book really kinda rubbed me the wrong way and I couldn't decide what it was until I read some other reviews on Goodreads. Someone mentioned that the other BSC members were actually acting like 13 year old girls and that's it...instead of their normal, understanding selves they are catty, rude and selfish. Now, yes, Claudia did go completely overboard being Ashley's friend and ignoring the rest. But I can see where she's coming from, since none of her other friends are artistic/crafty at all. Lucky for me, my sister and mom are both super crafty like me and also very into Blythe dolls which is my other passion besides books. :) If they weren't, it'd get very lonely doing things by myself.
So, to see the other girls calling Ashley "weird" and "stuck-up" just really annoys me for some reason. Plus, they don't encourage Claudia at all in the art show like they normally would have. And then there's the whole "eat all her candy and short-sheet her bed" chapter. Of course everything ends up happily ever after in BSCLand in the end, but still.
There was also a subplot about Dawn & Jeff, giving us some major foreshadowing about Jeff moving back to Cali and eventually Dawn. Oh and a cute part with that Walking Disaster, Jackie Rodowsky, when Claudia decides to sculpt him for the art show but runs out of time. When she tells Jackie, he's disappointed but tells Claudia he loves her...awwww!!!