*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Monday, January 28, 2013

"Claudia and the New Girl" by Ann M. Martin (BSC #12)

This was never one of my favorites when I first read the series (so from about ages 7-11 when I was obsessively reading and re-reading the books I only read it 3 or 4 times- and trust me, that's very few times compared to some of the other titles).  I think it was because I didn't care for Ashley and probably didn't find her very realistic (though I'm not sure I ever thought about my reasons for not caring for the book, so I may be totally wrong) and so this book was often left sitting on my shelf.  Reading this as an adult, however, was a bit of an eye opener.  I have met Ashley.  Not in a crazy-talented, almost art prodigy way, but in the you-can't-have-friends-other-than-me sort of way.  It's almost embarrassing to admit that middle school Claudia handled the situation much better than post-high school Melanie did, but I think Martin addressed making and keeping new friends, even when it is difficult, beautifully. 

Something that I really appreciate about this series (especially as an adult) is that the books make a point to show how the girls learn to balance their time.  Claudia is possibly the greatest example of this.  Since she isn't a good student, she has to learn to allow ample time to stay on top of her homework.  She fits baby-sitting and art around her school and not the other way around.  In Claudia and the New Girl she learns how to fit a new friend into her life as well.  She realizes that even though art is important to her, it isn't the only thing in her life that matters.  On her own she figures out how to get her life back on track when she realizes what a mess her studies and scheduling has become.  Knowing that she is only a middle school student, this is quite inspiring.  Sure, it's easy to question why the girls hardly ever involve their parents when they have problems, but in this case I think seeing Claudia learn from her mistakes and then going to her parents can be a great tool for young girls (and boys) to put into place in their own lives. 

I can't talk about this book without mentioning the snack raiding that happens when Claud misses yet another BSC meeting- and the not so nice notes the other club members leave hidden around her room.  You have to give Claudia credit for being mature enough to make up with her friends (and to continue to let them meet in her room, even when she wasn't there) after that fiasco.  Say it with me everyone:

"Traitor, traitor.
Claudia - we hate 'er!

Traitor, Traitor.
So long, see you later!

Good-bye, Claudia."
Happy Reading!

Glad to know I'm not the only one crazy enough to attempt this challenge.  Head over to Sarah Millar's blog and see what she and other bloggers have to say about the good ole BSC.  

1 comment:

  1. This was never one of my favorites either...I hated how the other BSCers acted completely out of character by being all snotty towards Ashley & not supporting Claud.

    (You can see my full review of this book here: http://giveahootreadabook.blogspot.com/2011/08/review-claudia-new-girl-baby-sitters.html too)


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