Before a BSC meeting starts, Claudia gets a call from a brand new client. Mr. Brooke just moved to town with his kids and heard from Mrs. Pike about their club. Since she's the only one free, Stacey takes the job. It turns out that he's a best selling author of mystery novels and needs someone to watch the kids while he can work before his next deadline. Both his kids, Joni and Ewan, are adorable and sweet.
Joni explains that their mom was a former model who got a job hosting a news program in Atlanta. Stacey asks if they plan on moving with her later, and Joni gets a little sad because their parents divorced. Though she feels bad, that doesn't stop her from gossiping with the club. Mallory reveals through her mom that Mrs. Brooke stopped working as a model to raise her kids and then left her husband so she could focus on her own career. And this is why some people should never have kids.
When Maureen comes by to pick up Stacey, sparks fly between her and Mr. Brooke. He even asks her out on a date, which makes Stacey almost wet herself because her mom hasn't had a single date since the divorce. As happy as she is though, Joni is far from happy. She starts snapping about how her dad has a deadline and how he'll never get his work done if he keeps slacking off. Joni sounds just like an adult, which makes Stacey realize that Joni is just repeating stuff her mom said to him.
Maureen and John, as everyone now calls him, go to a show. He wrote a play that a local theater group produced. Kristy sits for the kids and has to listen to Joni bitch and moan about her dad going out with Maureen and how her own mom is so much prettier. Stacey gets home late from spending some time with her dad and notices that her mom isn't home. Maureen comes home after midnight but doesn't seem as happy as she should.
After finally telling him how his kids and especially Joni ask, John finally decides to sit down and talk with them. It turns out that his wife basically waved and took off. She has no interest in raising her kids or even being around them because she's pretty much a weather girl now. He didn't think they could really understand it before but now thinks he should talk to them. Though they learn the truth, nothing changes.
John thinks the key to their happiness is a family dinner out together. Joni acts like a huge brat. She complains about the food, takes potshots at Maureen, and just makes ti clear that she doesn't want to be there. When he reprimands her, she runs away from the table and pouts in the lobby. Stacey is the one who goes after her and convinces her to come back to the table.
Maureen decides to talk with Stacey about how she isn't really happy. She points out that he's sometimes rude to his kids and how he didn't handle what happened at dinner very well. Even though Stacey thought he should have went after his kid, she thinks he's still perfect for her mom because he once called her luminous. Maureen also doesn't like the themes that she sees in his book. He seems to think that people only look out for themselves, but she believes most people are inherently good. Eh, I think I probably side a little more with him.
Since none of them have plans for Thanksgiving, John suggests they all eat together. Maureen hesitates before agreeing. He shows up with a bunch of fruit, cold shrimp, crackers, and cheese as well as dessert. Joni refuses to eat any of the food they made and will only eat the crap her dad bought. She even claims she's now a vegetarian and can't eat the turkey. When she whines and complains about the classic music playing, John gets so angry that it even upsets Stacey. Joni rushes off, but Stacey finds her and calms her down enough that the little girl agrees to come down for dinner.
This is kind of the breaking point for Maureen. She can't handle the way he treats his kids, she thinks that he's selfish, and she isn't happy that he didn't other to help clean up or do the dishes, which makes him a chauvinist. Stacey tries to point out his good sides, they have a fight, and she winds up storming off and slamming her door shut before spending the weekend with her dad. Ethan tries to tell her that maybe her mom just isn't ready to date yet and points out that not all people get over a divorce really fast.
Claudia shows up to sit for the kids because of a date Maureen and John had. John makes up an excuse for why they didn't go out but asks her to stay so he can write. The kids get all excited because they think if a sitter is there, it means that he went out on a date. It turns out that they now like Maureen and that Joni was actually looking forward to seeing more of them. Stacey comes back, makes up with her mom, and then takes the kids some gifts. She tells them they can be honorary siblings even if their parents aren't together anymore.
In other news, Mallory wants to leave SMS. Remember when she did that school project thing and all the kids made fun of her for being their English teacher? They keep calling her Spaz Girl and being super mean to her. Alan even knocks all her books out of her arms in the middle of the hallway. She admits to Stacey that she wants to leave and even looked into going to Stoneybrook Day Academy. When she learns the school doesn't offer scholarships, her parents take her to look at Riverbend, a boarding school in Massachusetts.
*Kristy tells Claudia not to answer the phone when Mr. Brooke originally calls because it's outside of their hours, and Claudia has to point out that it's her phone and might be call for her. Kristy does realize the world doesn't revolve around the BSC, right?
*I get that Joni is young but she should really get what's going on. She says that she wrote her mom a letter, and when Claudia asks why she didn't just call her mom, Joni says her mom is way too busy with her career to talk to her on the phone. Yet she somehow thinks her mom will still rush to Stoneybrook and get back together with their dad.
*Mary Anne asks if they have money in the budget to start a movie club. Dawn and her friends go to the movies once a week and then talk about the movie. Um, don't most groups of friends do that, and do they really need to take money out of the treasury for that?
*They decide to do a book club instead. Stacey and her mom have their own book club and are in the middle of reading Pride and Prejudice. I would have hated that book in eighth and am pretty sure I wouldn't have gotten it back then either.
*At one point, Abby sits for the kids. Joni decides that if her dad can't get his work done during the day, he won't be able to do work at night and won't be able to go out on dates. She blares loud music, deletes an entire book chapter he wrote, and then throws his computer mouse in a tree. Maureen isn't happy that John laughed that stuff off but then isn't happy when he grounds her. What the heck does she want?
*It's nice to see Stacey dressed like a normal kid on the cover. The outfit Maureen wears looks like something Stacey might wear in another book!
*Mary Anne comments that her dad dated a lot in the past and that she never knew if his girlfriends were nice because they liked her or because she was his daughter. I always figured Richard never dated anyone until Sharon came back.
*Mallory hates school so much and is so unhappy that she has stomach cramps every morning. The Pikes are more willing to send her away to school then talk with SMS administrators, which is just sad.
*Ann's letter at the end is kind of ridiculous. She talks about how you should always keep a cool head when sitting and points out how Stacey avoided an emergency by immediately going to find Joni when she ran off. It's not like the kid ran out in the middle of the street!