I love California. I love the coastal cities with museums and attractions and the laid-back energy of the influential surfer culture. I love the areas outside the cities, where perfect rows of crops grow along the highway. I love the deep woods with dense trees and the mountains with snow-covered tops or thick greenery, depending on the time of year and global warming. I even love the colored layers of rock that make the jagged hills in the middle of the desert. California is a diverse place with diverse people, so when I saw that the next book is about Dawn's return to the left coast, honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect. Ann M. Martin's depictions of Californians have been less than stellar. For example, we have yard sales. That's not exclusive to the east coast.
This book has the dubious distinction of being the first BSC book not written by Ann M. Martin herself. That's the thing about the BSC — Ann M. Martin may have had her name on the cover, but most of the books were ghostwritten. If there's one thing Stine has on Martin, it's that at least he wrote all the Goosebumps and Fear Street books. So, it's Jan Carr's turn with the BSC, and this time, we're taken away from Stoneybrook, and we're traveling to California.
Dawn's mother is shipping Dawn back to California for spring break while dreaming about avocados, as if they're unavailable in Connecticut, apparently.
Before Dawn returns to California (regretfully referred to as "C-Day" — the regret is not on her part — it's on mine, for reading it) the BSC throws a going-away party at Kristy's mansion. The whole BSC is invited, of course, as well as Karen and Andrew, because nothing says party like a six-year-old. Meanwhile, Watson says weird stuff.
"Excuse me. Excuse me." Someone was pushing his way through the crowd. It was Watson Brewer, home from work. "Well," he said, as he took a look at the chaos that greeted him. "Five more daughters, huh? Where did I get them all? Hello, girls."
What a dorkass nerd.
The girls eat pizza and watch Fright Night at Spook Lake, a movie that only exists in Scholastic books from the eighties. Then the party is over and it's time for Dawn to get a good night's rest for the plane ride the next day.
Dawn's mother sees her off at the gate, which is still weird for me to read. Then Dawn lets us know how flight attendants work. She talks to an old man, which made me uncomfortable. Hey, Dawn, don't fall asleep on the plane if you're sitting next to an old man. Especially if he's some kind of producer, which this man claimed to be.
When Dawn lands, her brother, Jeff, and her father are waiting for her while singing "California Girls." Since this is 1989, I'm assuming it's the Beach Boys song, not the Katy Perry song. This makes the context gross since the Beach Boys had a strange resurgence in the '90s that displayed sixty-year-old men dancing around eighteen-year-olds in their music videos. Disgusting. I don't care if Pet Sounds changed your life, Mike Love should not be trying to pick up twenty-year-olds at a Tr*mp ne0-N*zi rally.
One of the first things that Dawn's father does is take his children to Disneyland. Now, remember, this is 1980s Disneyland, so I guess we have to read a list of every Disneyland area and ride because cultural osmosis hasn't reached the BSC audience, I guess. It's an amusement park with Mickey, you don't need to know the name of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad as it has no relevance to the plot. Anyway, Dawn buys ears for each member of the BSC, so she spent the money saved for her first year at a state university. After they watch Captain Eo, Jeff starts moonwalking everywhere, which is hilarious to Dawn. They also go on the Mark Twain Riverboat (they call it the "steamboat") and Dawn imagines she's the man himself coming up with stories. That boat is an excuse to sit down for fifteen minutes to get away from the crowds. Finally, they do something that appeals to me.