Things Kristy can’t stand: cabbage, blood, people who chew with their mouths open, squirrels… and snobs. (Hm, my list and Kristy’s list are remarkably similar.) This is problematic for Kristy because she recently moved to a neighborhood full of rich snobby kids. They go to private school, they get fancy cars as soon as they can drive, they all have swimming pools and tennis courts… wait a sec, what about that is bad? They just seem like lucky assholes. But either way, Kristy is not into them – and she hasn’t made any friends in her new neighborhood.
Even her brother Sam comments on her lack of fashion sense – really, Kristin Amanda Thomas, jeans and a turtleneck every day? – and when she’s outside waiting for her bus, a gaggle of pretty and well-dressed blonde girls across the street seem to be making fun of her. They ask about the BSC and call it “cute” and then comment on her lame outfit. Kristy, never good at keeping her mouth shut, calls them “snob clones”. That was way harsh, Tai.
Kristy and her family notice that their dog Louie, a collie, has been sort of limping and walking into things and just not himself. They take Louie to the vet, who says he’s getting old, is in a lot of pain, and is losing his eyesight. Kristy and Charlie know this isn’t great news. At home, Kristy takes disheveled and sickly Louis for a walk and runs into one of the blonde snobs, who’s walking her own (perfectly manicured) dog. The girl (Shannon Kilbourne) makes fun of Louie, which sets Kristy off. They exchange rude words, stick their tongues out at each other, and storm off.
Later, Kristy is baby-sitting for the Papadakis family, who live just down the street from her. (Linny is friends with David Michael, Hannie is friends with Karen, and Sari is a baby.) The Papadakises live next door to the Kilbournes, and while Kristy is sitting Shannon Kilbourne calls and tells her that the house is on fire. Kristy, expert baby-sitter that she is, gets the kids out of the house to safety on the sidewalk before she realizes that she can’t see or smell smoke. Then she does see Shannon Kilbourne laughing and yelling “fake-out!” Kristy is, obviously, furious. She also tells Mrs. Papadakis the whole story when she gets back, and Mrs. Papadakis is not happy either, since Shannon sometimes baby-sits for her kids. To get back at Shannon, Kristy has a bunch of diapers delivered to the Kilbourne house.
Kristy also baby-sits for the Delaney family, of whom the Papadakis kids have a very low opinion (“they’re mean and nasty”). Kristy is taken aback when the kids have no manners, are rude and demanding, make fun of Louie in front of David Michael, and treat Kristy like a servant. In the middle of a job, she gets a call from Shannon Kilbourne, who’s baby-sitting for the Papadakises. Sari, the baby, won’t stop crying and she needs Kristy’s help. Despite hating Shannon, Kristy gets Amanda and Max Delaney and marches over to the Papadakis house to help. When she gets there, Shannon acts like she has no idea what Kristy is talking about and Kristy realizes she’s been tricked again. As Kristy and the Delaneys leave, Shannon yells, “thanks for pushing me out of my baby-sitting jobs!” Kristy knows this means trouble.
Meanwhile, Dawn is having trouble with her ten-year-old brother Jeff. Ever since they started school, he’s been having behavioral trouble there and acting moody and rude at home, yelling at Dawn and saying he wants to go back to California and live with their dad. Dawn is freaked out. She even cries about it at the next BSC meeting, where everyone is in a bad mood. (Mary Anne is upset because Tigger has worms, which Kristy implies is the least of the club members’ worries.) When Kristy gets home she finds Louie sicker than ever – he’s not eating, he’s barely moving, and he poops on an Oriental rug even though he never has accidents like that. Kristy knows that Louie is really bad off.
Stacey takes the next turn baby-sitting for the Delaneys, but Stacey is sophisticated as shit and knows about reverse psychology and reads magazine articles about getting what you want from difficult people. So of course she handles the Delaney brats like a friggin’ champ and, even though they think she’s weird, you’d better believe they obey her. Kristy tries to follow the same tricks when she baby-sits for the Delaneys again and it seems to work. Mid-job, a pizza delivery guy shows up and Kristy knows it’s the work of Shannon Kilbourne. So she makes up a fake name and sends him next door to Shannon’s house, where Shannon has to pay for the pizza. She is not pleased, and she comes over to the Delaneys’ and threatens to throw pizza in Kristy’s face. OH NO SHE DIDN’T. (She did.) Kristy manages to diffuse the situation with a joke, and she invites the Kilbournes in, where everyone eats pizza and basically gets along. Kristy even tells Shannon about the BSC and Shannon seems impressed.
With that good news comes bad news, though. Louie isn’t getting any better and isn’t responding to any of the many treatments he’s been getting from the vet. After speaking with the doctor, Mrs. Thomas-Brewer announces that Louie needs to be put down the next day. The whole family is upset but no one fights it because they can see how much pain Louie is in and it’s just getting worse. Kristy and David Michael accompany Mrs. Thomas and Watson to the vet, where Louie is put to sleep. Back at the Brewer manse, Karen has the idea for a funeral for Louie. All the Thomas-Brewer kids pitch in to create a ceremony, which they hold in the backyard. Kristy and her brothers are embarrassed and annoyed when the Kilbournes, Delaneys, and Papadakises show up for the funeral (Karen invited them), but Shannon says something nice to Kristy about Louie before she leaves.
Side note: this is one of the sadder BSC books – everyone’s bummed out, Louie dies, Jeff Schafer is going through some shit. Damn, Ann M. Martin. What are you trying to do to me?
A few days later, Shannon brings a present to Kristy – a cute little fluffy puppy. Shannon’s dog Astrid had given birth to a litter, and Shannon and her family want the Thomas-Brewers to have one of the pups, because of what happened to Louie. Kristy calls David Michael over to meet the new pup and, even though David Michael insists no one can replace Louie, he is immediately taken with the little pup. He does want her. And they decide to name her Shannon.
Shannon (the person) and Kristy also squash their beef. Kristy apologizes for barging in and taking sitting jobs, and Shannon acknowledges there are enough jobs to go around and she was jealous because the club was such a good idea. Kristy talks things over with the Baby-sitters Club, and the girls decide to invite Shannon to join the club – and Shannon agrees to become an associate member like Logan. Looks like Kristy survived the snobs! (And even likes them a little bit.)