This was one of the books I never got around to reading when I was younger, but I remember looking at the title and the cover and thinking, "Ooh. Scintillating." Well, I would have had I known that word. Stacey's workaholic father, Ed McGill, wants to spend some quality time with his daughter, so he tells her she can pick any vacation spot she wants this summer, and that she can invite along Claudia. She picks Fire Island because her boyfriend, Robert, is going to be working on the ferry there this summer and this way they can spend time together. The only problem is that she doesn't tell anyone. Claudia finds out when they get there. She's not happy about it, but she deals with it. But Stacey ends up ditching her to hang with her man for most of the vacation and eventually Claudia gets pissed when Stacey keeps putting her second.
Then Stacey's dad finds out and she's in major hot water. But it also turns out that Mr. McGill brought along a secret girlfriend who was renting a house of her own, named Samantha. Stacey and her dad have a long talk, etc., and then Stacey apologizes to everyone and they accept it (why? I have no idea).
Subplot involves Mallory "Don't waste an A-plot on me" Pike and Jessi "Black is nothing short of drop dead gorgeous, muthafucka" Ramsey as camp counselors in training (didn't we already do this plot, like five times over?). Two of their campers, Haley and Vanessa, wear the same swimsuit on the first day and then get into a huge fight, so it's up to Mal and Jessi to patch things up (yeah, you know they do).
- If you're wondering if this is the book where Ed McGill is busy working and then hands Stacey some cash and tells her to go pick out something pretty to wear to dinner that night, you're right. It is. And no, I haven't stopped shuddering, thanks for asking.
- Stacey and her dad eat dinner at a fancy restaurant the night her dad tells her about the vacation plans. Stacey orders shrimp cocktail (sans sauce--don't forget, she's got the diabeetus) and snapper, her dad orders steak au poivre. [Side note: every time I order shrimp cocktail, I get to hear a lecture about how phenomenonally overpriced it is.] They're at the Lion's Lair, a totally fictional restaurant...and I got bored midway through reading, so I decided to fill in what I believe the characters were really thinking. Ed: Goddamnit, I did not bill a client for 16,242 hours last year so she can order the most expensive waste on the menu, and on top of that, I still have to pay alimony AND child support? Screw it. Next time it's Applebee's or nothing. Stacey: Oh, I love the Lion's Lair! I wonder if my hair looks fluffy enough today. But not too fluffy. Maybe I should get it layered?
- When Claudia finds out that Stacey lied about Robert being at Fire Island, she storms off and Stacey goes to calm her down. Stacey thinks it's really cool that Robert takes off, but then comes back a few minutes later asking her if everything's okay, because it shows that he can give her her space, but still backs her up when she needs it. No, actually, Stacey, it means that Robert is so spacey that if you guys ever go to Times Square together, you'll need to invest in one of those toddler leashes.
- Stacey's reasoning for lying to Claudia was that Claudia wouldn't have come if she'd known the vacation was an excuse to see Robert. She's all, "See? I had to lie!" So it's okay to lie if it's to get what you want. With your high math skills, Stacey, if Enron hadn't gone under, you'd have a cushy executive job (if you ever get out of the eighth grade, that is).
- So after a few days, Claudia's getting annoyed at being the fifth wheel. [Yes, you fans of Television Without Pity will note that I used the phrase correctly--FIFTH wheel, not third.] Seriously, Stacey says stuff like how she could ditch Claudia at the beach to go see Robert, but at night she HAD to take her along or her dad would be suspicious. So Claudia complains one afternoon while she and Stacey are waiting for Robert to get in from the last ferry ride, and then Stacey tries to make Claudia feel better by inviting her to have lunch with them. Which means that originally Stacey was planning on having lunch with Robert alone, and telling Claudia to just vamoose? Um, Claudia, WHY are you still friends with her? You deserve some kind of medal in self control for not letting it spill to Robert that oh by the way, Ms. Uber Sophisticated peed herself at a slumber party in New York back before she knew she had the diabetus. If I were you, every time Stacey dropped a hint about being left alone with Robert, I'd be all, "I don't know. That DEPENDS." Yeah, Claudia was more mature at thirteen than I am now.
- Stacey says that her room at her father's Upper East Side digs is kind of small, but that's okay since she spends so little time there. Okay, sorry, now I have to add in what her dad would say. I worked through Christmas AND Thanksgiving last year to afford a two bedroom upper east side doorman building on top of keeping you and the baby mama in luxury, and the fucking room's too small? Okay, you're relegated to the closet, wench--Samantha and I need a new love dungeon.
- Even Stacey's dad gives her the silent treatment when he finds out that she lied to him. Harsh, but awesome. And a long time coming. Okay, Ed, now pull an Alec Baldwin and leave an angry phone message telling her she's a selfish little pig the next time she refuses to come to New York and visit you. Go burn down, burn down Bloomingdale's. And then give her an ultimatum: you're tired of being her cash cow and she has to choose between her insulin shots and her monthly perms. (God, I'd kill to see the look on her face.)
- I think this is the time when I'm supposed to psychoanalyze the main character and conclude that she latches onto anything with a Y chromosome because her dad never gives her enough attention (the divorce, him working such long hours). But I hate Stacey with such a flaming passion that I can't really blame Ed for making up so many excuses to avoid spending time with her.
- You know, Claudia's imaginative, funny, an interesting dresser, artsy, smart--well, artsy, and she's got a lot going for her. Why are she and Stacey still friends? What really sets Stacey apart from the other BSC members? We've already got a blonde member (Dawn) and a member who's into guys and clothes/make-up (Claud). The only things that really makes Stacey unique are that she's good at math and from a vibrant metropolis (I forget which one. New...Brunswick?). Oh, and the fact that she occasionally channels the spirit of Wilford Brimley.
- Shannon doesn't seem to have a BFF, so, Claudia, if you must attach yourself to someone at the hip, pick her. You'll still have a fashionable, blonde girl around, so it's not like things will change all that much (and honestly, weren't those Stacey's two main selling points?). Plus, you won't have to worry about her throwing a tantrum if someone else has the nerve to order sugary fudge or non-diet cola. (Sure, Stacey always says she's fine with the sugarfree alternative, but I bet she's pouting the whole time.)
- Stacey writes a letter to Jessi saying that she's looking forward to seeing her and Mallory when she gets back. And that's where you know she's desperate because little Miss Can't Be Nonbitchy has no other friends that haven't already been alienated. Seriously, when else does Stacey ever speak to those two unless she either wants dance lessons and/or a dose of white guilt (from Jessi) or a feeling of superiority on those days when she's got either a bad hair day or a zit or something (from Mal).
- Speaking of Mal, Jessi, and their recycled non-plot, since when do nine year olds care about wearing the same outfit? This is almost as believable as the Hobart boys wanting to look nice for their "dates" in that Valentine's Day book. And it's a hella ugly bathing suit anyway--a red and white striped suit with a ruffle along the neckline (the fuck?). Never was so much fuss made over a bathing suit about which I cared so little. Except for possibly that weird ass bathing suit that wasn't really a bathing suit on season one of Project Runway. You know, the one that Kevin designed, and that Morgan wore to go out partying in, and it got ruined and then he almost lost the challenge, but luckily Alexandra's sucked even more? I miss Project Runway. Where was I? Oh yeah. Ruffles on swim suits make me retch. Neither Haley nor Vanessa is even remotely fierce enough to pull off this outfit. Now, Becca Ramsey, MAYBE, but these two biyatches are only slightly less annoying than Karen Brewer.
- Claudia enters herself, along with Stacey, Kristy, Shannon and Mary Anne (the other three girls are up visiting for a weekend) in a parade, with a royal theme (prince, princess, jester, and so forth). Stacey has to be the dragon because they're all pissed at her. Why couldn't you guys always make her dress up as a dragon? Although honestly, dragons are kind of cute. Make her dress up as a used tampon instead.
- During the vacation, Claudia spent most of her time building and photographing elaborate sand castles. Her photographs end up selling for a lot of money, and at the end, Stacey brings her the cash she earned and then apologizes. Claudia says that the money will pay for new art supplies, Nancy Drew books, and chips, and Stacey asks if that's all she needs to be happy, looking all contrite and ready to make up. I would have said, "No, I also require Devil Dogs, a buttload of dresses from H&M and the complete Sopranos on DVD and if you provide me with those things, I might consider one day speaking to you." But Claudia's all, "I need a best friend!" and they make up and say they'll never let a guy come between them. Hmmm. Until Jeremy of BSC Best Friends Forever! I was kind of hoping Claudia would request to see Stacey down eighty Pixy Stix before she made up, but either she's a better person than I am, or Ann M. Martin caught that in one of the early drafts. Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but I guess it's too spicy for Ann M. (Now, if it were a dish of cold, bland, plain old vanilla ice cream...)