Mary anne and too many boys
9.76 · 1,294 ratings · 246 reviews
Mary Anne and Too Many Boys by Ann M. Martinthe awesome thing about this book is that theres so much plot, all the introductory character/club descriptions are shoehorned into the very first chapter, & mixed with tolerable (if stilted) meeting banter. thank god! i wasnt relishing the idea of reading 200 books that all contained variations on the, let me tell you about myself & the babysitters club. kristy thomas started the club one day when her mom couldnt find a sitter blah blah blah.
but maybe they dispatched with a lot of the intro because this book is set almost exclusively in sea city, & the only two sitters that get a lot of face time are mary anne & stacey. & really, just mary anne. mary anne & stacey have been hired by the pike family again to serve as mothers helpers during the pikes annual two week sea city summer vacation. pretty sweet gig. id love to do something like that now, let alone when i was 13! & i love the description of the house the pikes rent, with all the gingerbread trim & the ld-fashioned wallpaper & the window seat on the third floor. i LOVE window seats. i guess im an old lady that way, just like ann m. martin.
the titular too many boys are really just three boys. the first is chris, the 12-year-old that flouts federal child labor regulations to work at the ice cream palace. on the pikes first visit to the ice cream palace, mary anne notices that chris is appreciatively eyeing either mallory (age 11) or vanessa (age 9). & she suspects that vanessa is eyeing chris in return, though its hard to tell because vanessa is a poet & sometimes she lives in her own little universe.
the other two boys are toby & alex, the boy mothers helpers that mary anne & stacey had met the summer before while they were working in sea city. pretty convenient that everyone is back at the beach again at the same time this year. you may recall that mary anne & alex had a special connection that culminated in the exchange of boardwalk rings engraved with one anothers initials. stacey & toby had somewhat more of a romance, when toby gave stacey her first kiss in the tunnel of love. both stacey & mary anne are surprised & excited to see the boys again, & it seems that the feeling is mutual.
but discord is sown when mr. & mrs. pike tell the girls that they can each have one night off per week. both girls make dates with their respective dudes for the same night, without conferring with one another first. the way the scene is depicted in the book, stacey surprises mary anne by starting to iron her white sundress, even though she hates to iron. mary anne asks her about it & stacey states that she is going out with toby. mary anne gets really mad because she had made a date with alex. i think we are supposed to feel that mary anne is the wounded party in this situation. but i think both girls are equally in the wrong, because they both made dates without checking in with the other about how to divvy up their nights off.
anyway, mary anne backs down after stacey promises that mary anne can have the next night off. but the next night, stacey starts once again getting ready to go out with toby. she tells mary anne that mary anne can have two nights off the next week. but mary anne puts her foot down (rightfully so) & demands her night off.
incidentally, mallory is kind of dumbfounded by the fact that mary anne is going out with alex at all, since she has logan waiting back home for her & everything. stacey suggests that what logan doesnt know wont hurt him (she really comes across as a nasty piece of work in this book), & mary anne gets all offended at the aspersion that she would ever cheat on logan...even though she admits that she doesnt know how she feels about logan now that alex is back in the picture. &...seriously? shes been dating logan for like a year. i know sometimes the spark fades, especially when theres someone new hanging around, but mary annes feelings for logan seem uncharacteristically flighty in this book. though i guess shes feeling pretty par for the course if she were a regular real life 13-year-old with a steady boyfriend. that shit is ridiculous. ill never forget being 13, in eighth grade, & walking down the hall behind the most popular girl in school while she talked with her best friend about her boyfriend (who was also 13) wanted to have sex. she didnt know if she was ready. & even though i was only 13 too, i was thinking, of course youre not ready! YOURE THIRTEEN YEARS OLD! even at the age, i knew it was too young to be worrying about sex & commitment & rings & god knows what else.
back to the book. mary anne has her date with alex. its kind of awkward. they dont really know what to say to each other, even though theyve been having a great time every day at the beach, looking after their sitting charges together. the ice is broken when alexs lobster arrives & the waiter puts a bib ob him. mary anne finds this hilarious & the rest of the night is great.
back at ye olde ice cream palace of underage laborers, vanessa has been leaving secret admirer poems for chris. & somehow chris has gotten the idea that they are from mallory. he grabs vanessa one day & asks her to tell mallory that he can take her on a date in a few days. vanessa is really crushed that chris isnt interested in her, even though a 12-year-old trying to date a 9-year-old is a little weird. i even feel that a 9-year-old girl interested in dating is a little precocious. but maybe i am out of touch with the kids. vanessa is very sad & doesnt know what to do, & mary anne doesnt know how to advise her.
but after a lot of thinking, vanessa concocts a solution. the pikes are going home to stoneybrook before chriss proposed date with mallory. (which, incidentally, its weird that hes asking her sister to ask her on a date for him--have they ever even talked face to face? wouldnt that have spilled the beans about mallory not being the author of the secret admirer poems? how does he even know her name? & how slick can vanessa be if chris knows she is somehow connected to the poems?) so she decides to write a sad i cant go out with you/but ill always love you poem & leave it during his busiest shift. she gets to express her feelings, chris can keep thinking mallory digs him, & mallory never needs to know anything. mary anne is very impressed by vanessas mature solution.
& the toby dumps stacey & stacey is really bummed. he wants to be able to play the field when he goes home, without being all tied down with stacey. which is ridiculous in some ways, because they were dating for all of maybe two weeks, after forgetting that the other existed for an entire year. & also, as if kids tobys age ever play the field. when mary anne has her last date with alex, she accidentally lets it slip that she has a boyfriend back home. & alex admits that he has a girlfriend. & mary anne realizes that alex is just a good friend who is a boy, but logan is her one true love (please). even though shed speculated earlier in the book that she was in love with alex (please again).
i was into all the boy drama & did not miss boring babysitter hijinks. i could live forever without reading another description of karen brewer playing lets all come in. so that was really nice. but the idea of girls ranging in age from nine to thirteen having these kinds of boy troubles was too weird for me to give any more but three stars.
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Mary Anne and Too Many Boys
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