I cannot believe that I haven't recapped this one yet because I've had it forever!
So, Dawn is living in California on her "break." She loves it because she gets to play on the beach, her school doesn't have that annoying alarm, and her friends are all super laid back. They meet up at the end of the school day and decide to hold a meeting the next day before heading off to sit for Stephie.
During a meeting of the We Love Kids Club, Sunny gets a phone call that she thinks is a prank. It's a woman named Rhonda Leib, who wants to do a profile on the club for the newspaper. Dawn calls back and schedules an appointment, and they all freak out. It turns out that because there is absolutely no news left in the world, she's going a special on kids who run their own businesses.
The articles comes out and it is such a hit that the news calls Sunny to ask about doing a special feature on their club. They spend hours with the reporter before he heads off with his crew. The feature ends up running for around four minutes, and everyone loves them. Carol even gives Dawn a director's chair with her name on the back and a pair of new sunglasses.
Things almost instantly go bad for the club. Some parents call more than one girl and double-book for sitting jobs, while the girls wind up double booking themselves. Dawn has to sit for both Stephie and Eric and Ryan. Sunny has some problems too, mainly because her calender is out of date and she messed up some jobs.
Dawn notices that Stephie has some problems adjusting. She keeps talking about her mother, and she mentions that she used to look at Joann (her sitter) as her mother but she doesn't anymore. She also draws pictures of her "new" mom and carries around her mom's old school picture. While at Eric and Ryan's house, she clings to Dawn and wants nothing to do with the boys. She later gets upset because Dawn is supposed to be her almost sister and a sister wouldn't forget about a sitting job. She also gets upset because the boys' mom brings them stuff like shoelaces and gum, and she doesn't have anyone who does that.
Dawn decides to send a copy of the news and the paper to her friends back in Stoneybrook, which sets off the B-plot. Kristy can't figure out why no one wanted to highlight the BSC. She suggests making a video, and Jessi wants to do a spoof one with her dad. When no one seems excited, she decides to go forward on her own.
Kristy contacts a few newspapers, which laugh her off the phone (just the way any real newspaper would). She also calls a few television stations, and they tell her that she needs a clip or reel. She ends up sending them the video of the We Love Kids Club with a note about the BSC, but she doesn't rewind the tape. The station manager sees a commercial and sends her back a list of their advertising rates.
While all of this is going on, Dawn is being a mega bitch about Carol. She thinks Carol is incredibly immature, and she hates smelling her dad's chimichungas cooking because it means she's coming over for dinner. When her dad and Carol announce their engagement, Dawn runs into her bedroom and slams the door shut. She later apologizes and eats dinner with them, but she decides that her dad doesn't really love her.
The next day, she steals his credit card information and books a flight back to Connecticut. She uses all of her sitting money to pay for a taxi and flies "home." Her mom meets her at the airport because her dad called. She makes Dawn stay in the house and books her a flight back to California the next day, pointing out that she made the decision to move out there for six months and her time isn't up yet. She isn't even allowed to contact anyone in the BSC and only gets to spend a few hours with Mary Ann.
Her dad is definitely not happy, but he does agree to forgive her, and she gets stuck paying for both plane tickets. Jeff tells her that their dad and Carol had a huge fight, which led to Carol throwing her engagement ring. Dawn gets a little excited, though she does sit down and have a long talk with her later.
Dawn sits the We Love Kids Club down and forces them to make some rules. They agree on set meeting times, using a record book, and being better members. She goes home and notices that Carol came over again. They start fighting, and Carol says that she's always at the bottom of his list, while he says that she will claw her way to the top of any list. The fighting gets muffled, and Carol comes out while Dawn and Jeff are making dinner. She tells them goodbye, and Dawn says that they'll see her the next day. Their dad then comes out and lets them know that they broke up for good. Dawn apologizes and kind of blames herself, but he tells her not to worry because it just brought up issues they needed to handle.
*Dawn and her "junk food" really annoys me. She talks here about eating vegetable chips because they are so much better for you, but in the 1990s, they really weren't. I bet her chips had the same fat and calories as ordinary potato chips.
*I really wonder if any of the ghostwriters actually worked in television before. I'm pretty sure that the news wouldn't spend 4+ hours filming a bunch of teen girls so they could do a short broadcast on them.
*Dawn says that they have set meeting times, but I guess it doesn't stick. In the wedding book, they still meet whenever they feel like it.
*Carol is not a smart woman. A man who makes you feel like you rank behind his kids, ex-wife, and anyone else who comes along is not someone you should marry or have kids with.
*Why does Dawn hate Carol so much? She says that it's because Carol acts too immature, but she seems like a normal woman. Maybe Dawn just has daddy issues.
*There's no resolution with Stephie. She writes a story that basically ends with a woman dying and becoming a flower named Dawn. Dawn doesn't even wonder if she should talk to Stephie's dad about it.
*Kristy is such a little bitch in this book. I can completely see her point and I would probably be upset too, but I wouldn't go crazy like she does.
*Dawn gets annoyed because Carol eats Thai food with a fork instead of a chopstick like they do. BUT, then she mentions that they learned to use chopsticks as a family, which comes across as super bitchy. Does she get all annoyed when Mary Ann and Richard use forks?
*People who read the paper start calling them right away to schedule sitters. People in my area tend to just gloss over the local features section without really paying attention.
*Apparently, their local news station broadcasts in a number of areas because one parent who calls lives two hours away. If the station is that big, why would they waste so much time on this silly little club?