BSC#12- Claudia and the New Girl.
There’s a new girl in town, Ashley Wyeth, who is in to art and dressing weirdly and becomes Claudia’s art ‘mentor’. Claudia is so wrapped up with Ashley and art that she neglects the BSC and fights with all her friends.
Claudia is wearing a disappointingly plain outfit. Blue jeans and a white shirt and plain sneakers? Anyone would think it’s a book about Kristy. If you squint really hard she is at least wearing some kind of dangly earring and a hair accessory. The red haired child is a Rodowsky, and that’s Ashley clutching Claudia’s arm in that pleading way.
-An Ashley outfit, just to kick things off! “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 realised 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 hadd, was not held in place with a rubber band 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 dangly, but none matched.”
-The babysitters can be surprisingly judgemental of each other. Claudia “wishes for the thirty ninth thousand time that she’d do something about her clothes and hair. Kristy is really cute, but she never bothers to make herself look special.” Wow, bitchy much, Claudia?
-Ashley turns up in Claudia’s art class, wearing a puffy white blouse, a blue-jean jacket, a long blue jean skirt, and thos hiking boots again. Beaded bracelets circled both wrists, and she’d tied a strip of faded denim around her head, like an Indian headband.
-Ashley is an artistic genius, and tells Claudia she is also talented, and thus she begins her manipulations.
-Claudia babysits for Jackie ‘the walking disaster’ Rodowsky. She complains about him a lot.
-Claudia starts ditching her friends to hang out with Ashley and discuss an art show they’re both planning on entering. Ashley is obnoxious and pretentious about her art- although perhaps I’m just a philistine who doesn’t understand.
-Stacey slams Ashley in the club notebook by pointing out that she wears bell bottom jeans to school…for people who supposedly value the individuality in each other, they’re not very appreciative of it in others.
-Another Ashley outfit! Clearly Ann M Martin has to emphasise Ashley’s weirdness by her outfits. “She was wearing a long, all-the-way-to-her-ankles dress with three rows of ruffles at the bottom. A strip of black cloth was tied around her head. She looked…well, all right, I’ll admit it. She looked a little bizarre.” She looked a little bizarre? Claudia, of the lab coats and tuxedo pants and suspenders and weirdly painted shirts calling someone else’s fashion choices bizarre???
-The babysitters are so mad at Claudia for ditching all their meetings that the eat up her stash of junk food. Even Dawn abandons her health principles in the pursuit of sweet, sweet revenge! Then they hide what’s left over, which I always actually thought was kind of amusingly creative of them.
-Claudia eventually fights with Ashley because she won’t become a solitary art obsessive like she is, and then realises that she’s abandoned all her old friends, and that many things other than art make her happy.
- Claudia’s apology poem. Long ago in another time/ I had four friends and they were mine./ Then I found an artist who/ said I am good and so are you./ So I followed her here and there/ and round and round and everywhere./But she was false and it took you/ to show me friends that are really true. I love it, and it’s even all spelled correctly!
-Claudia wins an honourable mention in the art show for her unfinished sculpture (of Jackie Rodowsky, since she decided against being an artistic pioneer with Ashley and sculpting inanimate objects and concepts, which Ashley believes should be “sculpted with gentle curves and tender feelings”. And this kid is twelve???!). Ashley wins, and they wind up being polite friends.
Not the most brilliant and gripping of BSC books, but it does have a satisfactorily large amount of outfits described!