3 out of 5 stars
Okay, so this is the one where Claudia suddenly freaks out and thinks she's adopted, because she can't find any baby pics of her and she's nothing like Super Genius Janine. And she over-identifies with Kristy's new sister, Emily Michelle, who IS adopted.
Also, why don't the illustrators ever show Claudia's crazy outfits on the covers? That is so annoying. Jeans, a stripey tee, plain white socks AND sneakers?? Come on people! I guess they aren't capable of drawing one of her usual wild outfits - a very short black skirt, an oversized white shirt with bright pink and turquoise poodles [poodles again??] printed on it, flat turquoise shoes with ankle straps, and a ton of jewelry, including dangly poodle earrings. [Her] long hair was swept to one side in a high ponytail held in place with a huge pink barrette.
(click here for details)
Anyway, after Claud massacres a poodle for her outfit above and has a sudden identity crisis, she decides to research and find her real family. Before talking to her parents of course. She gets the bright idea (after reading a book that wasn't Nancy Drew for once) to go to the library and search for her birth announcement in the paper. She has to sneak around though, since her mom is the head librarian. She doesn't find it, but does see three other girls all born the same week as her. So she jumps to the immediate conclusion that one of those girls is really her. Or something like that, I don't know, it's all very confusing.
In between all that nonsense, we have poor little Emily Michelle, who is way behind developmentally; so much that Kristy and family are starting to get worried. The pre-school won't accept her for next year (although isn't that why Nannie is there?) because she's not potty-trained and can't speak a lot of English yet. Claudia is baby-sitting her one evening and feels bad for her, so she starts playing shapes & colors with her...and amazingly, Emily starts picking it up! I'm not sure why none of the other family (especially Bright Ideas McGee) had this idea, but they decide to have Claudia tutor Emily on a regular basis. Claud is obviously pretty proud of herself, because she's usually the one with the tutor.
Stacey finally convinces Claudia that maybe she should, you know, talk to her parents about all this adopted mess. When she does, hey guess what? She wasn't adopted! Duh, Claudia. It was just the usual second child syndrome...too busy for pictures, baby books, etc.
Quick story: my sister is four years younger than me and suffers from "second child syndrome". She was complaining about it a lot one year and my mom go so sick of it, that she made her a "Big Book O' Ally" for Christmas. She gathered up every single picture she could find (including the million photo booth strips from the mall), artwork, awards, and such and made a giant scrapbook for her. :) It was really cute. Now I'm kind of jealous lol.
So Claudia was not adopted, her birth announcement was in an old paper, her mom has a copy of it, and it turns out she looks just like Mimi did at that age. And the lock box that Claudia thought held her adoption papers actually has $500 in cash. For emergencies, like if a really down-on-his-luck thief breaks in and thinks to maybe look for a locked box in a desk drawer. :p And also, Stacey is really run-down and tired all the time and you guys, I'm really worried about her. I think she might have a break-down soon, possibly related to her diabetes.