I just know this book is going to bum me out because I LOVE STACEY (as you know if you’ve read any of the other recaps). She’s always been my fave baby-sitter. So, ugh, here we go…
Stacey’s at school dreaming about being able to mainline some candy (but she can’t because SHE HAS DIABETES), and then on her way out of school Claudia comes running up and tells her that Howie Johnson (not Stacey’s boyfriend, but the guy who had taken her to the last few SMS dances) had asked Dorianne Wallingford to go to the library with him. Stacey can’t help but be a little hurt, and after talking things over with Claudia they agree Howie is a jerk. Dorianne, too.
When Stacey gets home from the BSC meeting that afternoon, her parents inform her that her dad is being transferred back to New York City for work and that they’ll be moving there in four or five weeks. Stacey is stunned and doesn’t know whether to be excited or depressed. On the one hand, back to the city and Laine and culture; on the other hand, no more BFF Claudia, no more big house, and no more BSC.
Stacey goes back to Claudia’s house after dinner, and they cry together and Claudia admits that Stacey is her first and only best friend because she’s always felt different and more mature than the other Stoneybrookers. They hatch a plan for Stacey to stay and live with Claudia until the end of eighth grade, but neither set of parents go for it. It’s official: Stacey’s going to have to quit the BSC. She calls an emergency meeting during lunch period the next day and tells the girls, who are shocked, sad, and worried about how they’d replace her in the club. Claudia, Kristy, Dawn, and Mary Anne are also trying to come up with a way to throw a farewell party for Stacey. They’ve found a way to come up with the money – the club is going to run a yard sale for the McGills and they’re allowed to split whatever money they make five ways – but they can’t decide on a really special type of party.
“I’d noticed lately that when [Claudia] and I were with the rest of the club, we acted happy or silly, and kidded around. But when we were all alone, we fell into a sad kind of silence. We weren’t angry; we just had all these ‘last things’ to say to each other but didn’t know how to say them, which was maybe the saddest thing of all about my moving.” – Stacey
It’s time for Stacey to tell Charlotte Johanssen – her favorite sitting charge, who really looks up to her – that she is moving away. She knows Charlotte isn’t going to take it well and Stacey is dreading the conversation. At first Charlotte gets really upset, but Stacey explains she doesn’t want to leave Charlotte, and brings her to the McGill house so she can see their packing and the yard sale stuff, and she gives Charlotte a book they’d read together. Charlotte’s sad but has an easier time accepting it after that. Meanwhile, during a sitting job at the Barretts’, Dawn has the idea to involve the BSC’s charges in Stacey’s going-away party to make it special and unique.
It’s yard sale day and the BSC is all wound up. They set everything up, including all of the stuff from Stacey’s basement, plus lemonade and limeade, Claudia’s homemade brownies, baby spider plants grown by Dawn, and homemade (knitted/crocheted) items by Mary Anne. The place is bumpin’ real quick. I mean, it’s Stoneybrook – what else are people going to do? Mid-yard-sale, Charlotte shows up with a present for Stacey. It’s a homemade book called “The Girl Who Moved Away” (is Lisbeth Salander in it??) and makes Stacey want to cry. And then all the baby-sitters want to weep with joy because they’ve made a ton of money at this yard sale.
Later that week Stacey gets an invitation to a party at Kristy’s house and is instructed to wear old raggy clothes. She’s confused – are they going to be painting Kristy’s room or something? When she shows up, everyone yells “SURPRISE!” and Stacey realizes it’s a party for her. The BSC members are there – even Logan and Shannon – as well as almost every single kid that the Baby-sitters Club ever baby-sits for. They’ve organized a bunch of games – egg races, musical rug, pin-the-baby-on-the-baby-sitter, peanut hunts, Simon Says – and they used their yard sale money to buy a bunch of little toys as prizes for the kids. Stacey is touched. All of the kids even draw a big picture of Stoneybrook with themselves and their houses on it. Then Stacey is blindfolded and brought to the backyard, where there’s a big cake (and a little no-sugar cake for diabetic Stacey). As each kid leaves the party, he or she hands Stacey a handmade card. Charlotte’s says “I wish you were my sister”. (ME TOO, CHARLOTTE!)
At Stacey’s last club meeting we learn that her full name is Anastasia Elizabeth McGill. Classic. Kristy officially makes the Dawn the full-time treasurer (a step up from “alternate officer”). And the gals decide that, without a real replacement for Stacey, they should invite Mallory Pike to join the club as a junior officer – she’d only be able to sit in the afternoons, but it would help enough and free up the existing members for the evening jobs. Ugh. Mallory. But actually, in these first few books, she hasn’t seemed too bad. I just can’t get over her intense love of horses.
It’s moving day, and the BSC shows up to send Stacey off with a big bed sheet on which they’ve painted SEE YOU SOON, STACEY. (A bed sheet, y’all? Really? Nice gesture, though.) Stacey says tearful goodbyes to everyone, and then it’s time for the McGills to drive off. She’s promised to never forget the BSC:
In the car on the way to New York, Stacey reads a thirteen-page letter from Claudia and it’s a comfort to know that she can always call Claudia her best best friend. (ANN M. MARTIN, WHY DID YOU HAVE TO TEAR THESE SOULMATES APART? AND WHY… WHY… DID YOU TRADE STACEY FOR MALLORY?)