#88: Farewell, Dawn
Note that the cover has to clarify: this isn't one of their usual fake-out departures.
This time it's for good. Unlike that time we had Stacey move back to New York. Or that time Mallory had to leave the club because she got mono. Or that other time Dawn went back to California. Or that time Stacey quit the club and then realized she wasn't quite sophisticated enough for shoplifting or underage drinking. This one's for real. Seriously. We promise. We're giving her a spinoff series and everything. There'll be underage drinking for you sophisticated types!
Journeys deep into the minds of the geniuses at Scholastic: one of my specialties.
Ann's Army of Ghostwriters wastes no time on exposition -- Dawn realizes she wants to move back to California (she is inspired by an avocado*) by the end of the first chapter. The rest of the book is a painfully boring fight between her and Mary Anne, who feels jilted by the fact that Dawn told some of the other BSC members first. Mary Anne ends up hearing the news through the proverbial grapevine** and she is pissed, in a really passive-aggressive way.
Obviously they make up right before Dawn leaves. Before you even have time to start missing her, Abby shows up in book #90. Because if there aren't seven babysitters present in Claudia's bedroom at 5:30 p.m. every Monday***, the world will spin off its axis. It's like punching in the numbers every 108 minutes. Except with babysitters.
Expository fashion: "[Mary Anne] smoothed her hair in my mirror. She was already dressed in blue and white plaid shorts and a blue T-shirt.
I pulled on a pair of white shorts and a short-sleeved flowered blouse, slipped into straw sandals, bent forward, then quickly brushed my long blonde hair. 'Ready!' I announced, tossing my hair back over my shoulders."
Oh Dawn. So casual. So California. This isn't the last time 'straw sandals' are mentioned in this book. Judging by the cover, I'm guessing Ghostwriter meant espadrilles.
Character introduction fashion: "Today [Claudia] was wearing a baggy, white, cotton jumpsuit that was cut wide and open at the sides and neckline [?]. Under it she wore two sleeveless T-shirts, one purple, one pink. She'd tied the jumpsuit with a belt she'd made from safety pins and beads, and she'd used fabric paint to create a jungle scene on the left leg of the jumpsuit. From her ears dangled two colorful wooden parrot earrings onto which she'd glued beads that matched the beads on her belt."
So zany! I give this outfit the What Claudia Wore Seal of Approval, which is stamped in neon green ink and accented with magenta glitter.
Nobody bothers telling Mallory or Jessi: "'Hi Dawn. I'm really, really sorry about telling Claudia,' [Kristy] said.
Claudia sat on her bed with her arms folded and looked at me guiltily.
'She was supposed to keep quiet about it,' added Kristy, scowling at Claudia.
'I thought Stacey would keep quiet. How was I supposed to know she'd go tell Robert?' Claudia mumbled with a sidelong glance at Stacey, who was sitting on the other end of the bed.
'I'll kill Robert,' said Stacey to me. 'Honest, I didn't expect him to shoot his mouth off to Logan.' . . .
. . . 'Mary Anne, the only reason I didn't tell you right away was because I was trying to think of the perfect words to explain why I was going,' I said, trying to explain.
At that moment, Mallory came into the room with Jessi behind her. 'Who's going? Where?' she asked.
'Dawn has decided to move to California for good,' Claudia told her.
'Really?' cried Jessi."
It's tough to be eleven. You can't babysit at night and you never get to hear the good gossip. It's like having a subscription to People magazine while your friends are all reading Oh No They Didn't.
Christmas in July fashion: "Naturally, Claudia put together the perfect outfit for the occasion - red shorts, a green vest over a white T-shirt, and sandals she'd laced up to her knees [!!] with criss-crossing red and green ribbon. Homemade papier-mâché Santa earrings completed the look."
Sad shopping with Sharon "Stoney" Spier fashion: "'I won't be around to treat you to these things until I see you again at Christmastime,' she said as she pulled a gauzy blue sundress in my size off a sales rack, which were the only racks where you could still find summer things. . . . The dress looked great. It had small pearly buttons down the front and it flared at the bottom, which was just about two inches above my knees. Mom bought it for me, along with a pair of new straw sandals and some carved wooden beads I liked."
Mending fences fashion: "Mary Anne opened the tissue and looked down at the necklace made of beads, colored glass, and polished stones. 'But Dawn, you love this necklace,' she objected. 'I do,' I agreed. 'But I want you to have it so you'll think of me when you wear it.'
Mary Anne opened her mouth as though she were about to argue with me about taking it, but she seemed to change her mind."
Or maybe she was going to say "but I don't LIKE this hippie shit, Dawn. Why couldn't you give me a nice gift certificate to J. Crew to remember you by?"
Bye Dawn. Don't forget to write. Or do. Whatever.
* I can't mock this. I am also inspired by avocados. Mostly to eat them, but sometimes to move across the country.
** California Raisins references: Dawn Read Schafer approved.
*** Dues day. Don't forget your dollar.