Chapter 1. The first book from Stacey’s POV, naturally. We open with the girls discussing a plan for when Mrs. Newton goes to the hospital to have her baby. (This is Jamie’s mother, the kid who says, ”Hi-hi “all the time). Stacey reintroduces us to the club and how they operate. She also informs us that Stoneybrook is a” teeny-weeny” town with not much to do, especially compared to New York City, where she grew up. But the BSC gave her some ready-made friends, especially Claudia, but she likes the others, too.
Kristy’s idea is to have one of them keep an afternoon free until the birth, but the others think that’s a waste. Stacey pipes up that a lot of babies are born at night, which leads to them all sharing their time of birth. Except Mary Anne. Because her mom is dead – the instant mood-killer. Mimi, Claudia’s grandmother, saves the day by remembering that the Spiers left to have Mary Anne around dinnertime. Suddenly, Janine, Claudia’s annoyingly brilliant sister, comes charging up with a paper, advertising some competition.
Kristy turns their regular meeting into an emergency meeting, which means it must be Serious Business. Also serious is Claudia passing around Life Savers from her stash and being so preoccupied that she offers them to Stacey, who, if you’ll recall has . Mary Anne wants to know who these girls are. According to Claudia, they’re eighth graders, and are sassy to their teachers. Kristy is more interested in their business model, as the flyer advertises “a whole network of babysitters.” Time for Mary Anne’s Great Idea – calling the agency to ask for a sitter, to see how it all works. Here, have a gold star!
Chapter 2. Kristy calls the new agency and gives her name as Candy Kane, asking for a sitter for her brother, Harry, because she has a date. She gives Claudia’s number, but tells the girl she’ll only be available for a few minutes, because she has a date… with Winston Churchill. Oh, all right. Heh. This makes all the girls giggle madly, making it hard for Kristy to play it cool.
Kristy informs them that the agency just helps people find sitters, not do any of the sitting themselves. The girl phones back with three choices, two thirteen year olds and a fifteen year old – one of them is male. This all discomfits Kristy, because they can’t offer anyone older or any boys. Everyone leaves glumly. Even Kristy, which makes Stacey upset, because, after all, it was Kristy’s Great Idea – and she’ll never have another.
Stacey finishes the chapter by telling us about her move to Stoneybrook. Basically she got the diabeetus and before she was diagnosed, wet the bed during a sleepover at her friend Laine’s house. She explains what the disease does to your body and how to control it. Anyway, her parents became helicopter-y and were constantly checking up on her, as well as shuffling her to different doctors for some sort of cure-all. In the process, she started to lose friends, especially since her parents were keeping her illness a secret. It’s not a Sexually Transmitted Infection, people! Finally, her folks decided to move to Stoneybrook. Her dad said it was because he wanted a job transfer, but Stacey knows that a lot of it was due to her being unhappy. But that’s fine.
Chapter 3. Stacey is mooning about a boy when her mother comes in for a landing. She asks Stacey a million questions about how she’s feeling and then tells her about yet another new doctor she wants Stacey to see, which will take her out of school for three days. Stacey is upset, and understandably so, but her parents fall back on the old “we want the best for you” trope adults like to use.
Stacey is only too glad when Kristy calls her to tell her about the special planning meeting she has scheduled for the next day.
Kristy Means Business, because she’s not lolling around today – no, she is sitting at a desk with a visor and a pencil. Kristy has a list to beat the competition. The first ball up is free housework – Yey, cheap underage labor. Secondly, special deals to their best customers – this is sensible. Lastly, Kid-Kits, which are boxes the girls will fill with games and books and such, to bring on jobs to keep the children entertained.
The housework gets voted down as degrading. The other two ideas Kristy has, generally lower rates and including older members that can take later jobs, are also shouted down as too far. And if that’s the direction they’re going, Claudia and Mary-Anne want no part of the BSC anymore. They decide to compromise and begin on the Kid-Kits.
Chapter 4. Stacey babysits Charlotte, who I think made an appearance in the last book, watching Spook Theatre when the lights went out. Anyway, she is fascinated by the Kid-Kit, but agrees to take a walk downtown and window-shop.
Charlotte doesn’t have any friends, and doesn’t really want to talk about it. They look in the candy store, and Stacey is nearly tempted to purchase some chocolate. She is literally saved by the chime, as it’s too close to Charlotte’s dinner, and her mother doesn’t like for her to eat sweets. As they pass the playground, some of Charlotte’s classmates begin to taunt her, calling her “teacher’s pet.” Stacey tries to get her to talk about it, but she won’t. Charlotte smiles again when she sees the balloons. Thankfully, it’s not Pennywise the Clown
but a girl from the new agency Kristy called. The balloons are their new advertisements.
For supposedly sassy twits, they’re showing you up with advertising!
Chapter 5. Kristy is insulted by the balloons, even whilst beating herself up for not thinking of it first. She met Liz that day, as well, and apparently had words with her, but that could mean anything, really.
Kristy and Stacey go to Kristy’s house to find Jamie Newton there; apparently, Mrs. Thomas had planned with Mrs. Newton to take Jamie when she was ready to give birth. So, Mrs. Thomas goes back to work, leaving the girls in charge. Stacey decides they should throw Jamie a Big-Brother party, and they invite some kids from the neighborhood over for snacks and games. In the meantime, Mr. Newton calls – it’s a girl; Jamie who wanted a brother, slinks off to cry at this news, and also about the fact that his mommy said they were getting an older sitter when the baby came. Stacey, to Kristy, in true Groucho Marx/Bugs Bunny fashion: