When we left off, Dawn’s mom had just married Mary Anne’s dad and the bouquet was flying toward Dawn and Mary Anne. They’re both reaching for it… but Mary Anne catches it. Dawn is a bit miffed (after all, it’s her mother’s bouquet) but everyone else is laughing and cheering so she lets it go. But the next day – moving day – is a little rough. Mary Anne is emotional and kind of annoying as her stuff gets loaded onto a moving van and transported to the Schafer house, and Tigger mews for hours in his new home. After a few days it seems like Mary Anne kind of calms down.
Still, there’s some tension between Mary Anne and Dawn due to the move and the new combination of lives. It comes to a head at a BSC meeting where they fight over a job for the Perkins girls. Kristy is annoyed at their immaturity, and eventually the job goes to Mary Anne… at which point Dawn is annoyed. Does Mary Anne get everything? Things kind of go downhill from there. It’s a very hard adjustment with the Spiers and the Schafers living together, especially because everyone is pretty set in their ways. Richard is extremely neat and likes routines; Sharon is more go-with-the-flow and messy as hell; Dawn and Mary Anne are getting used to having each other around 24/7 and also feel like they each have to side with their parents whenever a conflict arises. It’s rough.
Meanwhile, there’s a plague at the Pike house… Mallory has the chicken pox (for a second time… only you, Mal) and the triplets have pneumonia. Mallory is an annoying patient, as well, grumpy and bored and ringing her bell every five minutes to ask for ginger ale or something. Claudia ain’t got time for that. Then, the next time Stacey sits, Nicky has broken fingers and Vanessa rides her bike into a tree, scraping up her elbow and spraining her ankle. Claire and Margo are the only two Pike kids left standing.
Mary Anne has started spending a lot more time with Kristy than usual – going over to her house, having sleepovers, etc. Dawn is somewhat happy because she gets her room to herself and somewhat left out because Mary Anne is supposed to be her best friend – and sister – too. Their fighting continues when they try to do their homework in their bedroom; Mary Anne needs absolute silence and Dawn likes to listen to the radio while she works. They have a blowup, and Mary Anne storms off to the guest room, where she stays for the rest of the week. (Did they learn nothing from the Arnold twins’ mishap in Book 30? HAVE SEPARATE ROOMS, DUMMIES.)
The Pike Plague, meanwhile, has gotten worse – Margo and Claire have bronchitis, Mrs. Pike hurt her knee playing tennis, and Mr. Pike burned his hand trying to cook dinner for all of his ailing family members. Jessi and Kristy spend a whole day there tending to the family, cooking, cleaning, etc. By the end of the day they’re exhausted. “Can you believe our parents do this for free?” one of them exclaims. ROFL.
Dawn has a surprising heart-to-heart with Kristy about her family-blending problems, and Kristy gives her some good advice (including that she and Mary Anne should probably have separate bedrooms). Dawn agrees, but doesn’t want to admit being wrong about pressuring Mary Anne into sharing a room. She wants Mary Anne to leave on her own and move into the guest room for good. So she hatches Operation Scare Mary Anne, in which she plots to freak Mary Anne out about the secret passage enough to get Mary Anne to leave the room.
Dawn’s plan works. Mary Anne is thoroughly freaked out, and asks Dawn to help her move her things into the guest room permanently. Dawn helps, of course, and both girls are already in a better mood – they’re secretly relieved they can each have their own space without having to admit they can’t live together. Dawn even gives Mary Anne a now-we’re-sisters present (a pin shaped like a cat). The Spiers and Schafers all have a conversation about being more honest and open with each other about the adjustment. Things are looking up!
Oh, and the Pike Plague is over… but Mallory has a few chicken pox scars in “unmentionable places.” As if Mallory needed to be more awkward.