But MA insists that today she has a different feeling and realizes she’s glad to see him because “after all, I had been missing him.” WE KNOW. The story picks up when Pete Black arrives. Yay! Miranda is none too pleased because in seventh grade he snapped her bra and the straps broke. First of all, how hard did he snap it? Whoa, Pete! Second, I was always really relieved guys in my middle school never did this because it seemed like such a norm in BSC books. Now I'm grateful I did not attend the school in which creepers such as Alan Gray roamed the hall looking for vulnerable bras to destroy. This is more risqué subject matter than Bart and Kristy’s hot makeout session! Once they snag a table, MA frets about where she’s sitting in relation to Logan because of eye contact and nerves about seeing him. But the awkwardness only continues as the group says nothing at all to each other. Miranda wants to kill Pete for the bramicide the year prior, MA and Logan are all about the feels, and Pete is just twiddling his thumbs plotting more lingerie destruction. This continues until Cokie approaches, “pretending to look serious and concerned.” I never saw this coming! ;) She’s with a teacher, Mr. Lehrer, who proclaims that even though students aren’t allowed to switch groups, he’s making an exception for Cokie because Megan Rinehart is “the only author who interests her.” MA says it’s clear he’s doing it because Cokie is a terrible English student and the teacher must be astounded that she’s excited at all. I’m not sure if I can support the teacher wanting to make an exception for her just on those grounds, considering if you only make kids work on what they want to work on, that won’t really improve their work ethic overall. In other news, MA has grown brains since book 17 so she can tell immediately that Cokie just wants in because of Logan. Mr. Lehrer asks if anyone in the group would like to switch to go study Natalie Babbit with Cokie’s old group. I would…seeing as she’s a real author. Miranda literally jumps up and shouts, “ME!” to get the hell away from Pete Black. Usually, I would shun those who shun Pete, but seeing as he manhandled her bra I can give Miranda a pass. MA can’t believe Miranda is abandoning her, as though it’s not obvious enough she’s leaving for Pete and has barely acknowledged MA. And didn’t you abandon Miranda way in the beginning to each lunch exclusively with the BSC? I digress. So Miranda leaves with Mr. Lehrer and Cokie turns to the group and is all, “Oh goodness gracious, I hadn’t noticed you were here MA…or Logan, golly wow!”
What a surprise! I didn't notice you the whole time I was standing by the table or staring from across the room!
“Shall we begin?” Logan asks. “Oh, barf,” replies Pete. Ahhh, middle school. Logan asks if the others have read Megan Rinehart like he and MA have. Pete is all, “Uh, no, they’re for girls” to which Logan squeaks, “Pete, I just said I read them!” HAHAHAAHA. Pete is all, “You read the one about prom dresses, didn’t you?” and Logan quickly goes, “Shhhh, not all of them, shut up Pete you promised.” Meanwhile, Cokie is staring a hole into Logan like she’s hypnotizing him and can’t even pronounce the author’s name correctly. Mr. Lehrer is ever so observant. Turns out there are fourteen books total that she’s written and MA thinks they should read them all, a suggestion Cokie vetoes. Pete asks the best question of all, meaning what the hell this project is actually going to be about rather than the general topic of an author who wrote 14 books. MA starts to say something at which Cokie is all, “Isn’t her name Marie Rinehard?” after Logan already corrected her. MA gets pissed and says, “Logan just told you” and then Cokie goes, “Logan what’s her name? God, you’re so smart, take me now. We’d have looked like fools without you.” Pete awesomely tells her she already looks like a fool anyway. They decide to work at Cokie’s house to start. MA goes home and Dawn says she’s heard all about it, Cokie trying to take a shot at Logan now that he’s available. To which MA thinks, “Who had decided that, the dating god? He wasn’t available, he was mine.” Great, now MA is creepy and possessive.
Soon after, MA rides to Cokie’s house and the ditz queen says, “Oh, it’s you,” and lets her in unenthusiastically. In a stunning case of “Where’s the editor?”, twice we have MA say Cokie looks like she doesn’t belong in this house. On the same page. Pete soon arrives and receives the same cold response MA got. Logan arrives to Cokie bowing to his lordship and offering her services. Jeez Cokie, wait until you’re alone, please. Pete and MA don’t get offered a drink or anything but Pete awesomely is all, “I’ll take a soda.” MA wants whatever Logan is having. NO, ask for what you actually want, please. MA and Logan together come up with an idea that each person should read three or four books for their part of the project. Pete agrees, but we get this from Cokie: “I read four books once,” said Cokie, staring into space. “Four little books. The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, and The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-winkle. I was ten years old. It only took me a week.” Would she really have recited the full titles? I’m shocked she remembers them. I would feel bad about how terribly neglected Cokie has been and if she actually had a learning disability that no one has ever noticed, but I think it’s more than clear that she’s just lazy. She immediately starts says things like, “We don’t need our copies, we can share and read aloud to each other.” Pete wins again by saying it has always been his dream to read aloud to Logan. Logan talks about splitting things up by genre and Cokie whines about wanting picture books. MA tells her this is YA reading so Babar doesn’t count and of course Cokie now believes Megan Rinehart wrote Babar. They decide on the books they’ll each read, except Cokie, who is all, “HUH, WHAT, I WAS TOO BUSY SNIFFING LOGAN’S HAIR.” MA leaves and hears Cokie asking Logan out to a movie.
Another Toilet Monster chapter, with the opening claim that it had become a part of their lives. I could not care less about this subplot. Until the Toilet Monster transforms into Cam Geary sipping a martini, I will not cover this topic any longer. Cut to MA being pissed that Logan has gone out with Cokie, not once, but multiple times. Because how dare he go out with anyone else! Two weeks later they’re supposed to have read their books and MA encounters Logan, who has nearly finished. I can’t believe they’re holding their breath about Cokie ACTUALLY reading any of her books, let alone all four. MA and Pete encounter Cokie, who gushes about the movie she saw with Logan, which was amazing, but they weren’t paying attention because it was all about the box of popcorn they were sharing. I’m kind of like Kristy in book #96. If it’s an interesting movie, don’t touch me, I’m watching, we paid for the tickets! Sorry Cokie, I actually like to watch movies when I go to a movie theater. Logan wanted to go home to read the books, but she says she wouldn’t let him. LORD, this is bordering on R.L. Stine, Fear Street creepy, COKIE. MA asks if they read their books. Pete actually did (10 points, I really like him minus the Hulk Bra Removal) but Cokie is a horrible bullshitter and totally didn’t. All four of them meet up and MA obsesses about how SHE used to sit next to Logan. Apparently Logan and Cokie have been going to movies and concerts all the time and MA is still going, “They’re just good friends, right?!”
Sure, MA, sure.
Pete is all, “So what are we actually writing about?” and comes up with the idea that they should look into Rinehart’s bio to try to link it to what she writes about. Logan and Cokie are quiet. This is exactly why I hated group projects in middle school. LAZY PEOPLE. MA says she’s actually glad to have Pete on her side and I wish she would forget Logan and just date Pete or at least pal around with him more. Pete keeps trying to keep things fair and says things like, “Let’s all do the research” while Logan and Cokie durr about how they’re going to yet another game instead of really responding.
Just change a couple letters and yes hmm quite.
Pete and MA know they’re doing most of the work and they “could have killed Logan and Cokie. Well, not really.” No, Ann, I really would have thought you were serious without that last inclusion. I was all ready for Pete and MA to commit murder and then go on the run together and start a torrid affair, too. Pete and MA decide instead—sadly— to finish the paper themselves but not to meet with Logan and Cokie anymore. The principal announces that actually only three authors will be present including Megan Rinehart, of course (that was my mistake in Part 1). It seems kind of unfair that only three of them will be present and the rest of the groups don't have that privilege or pressure, depending on how they feel. In the midst of this drama, Pete awesomely says, “Everyone do your part of the research paper, end of story” and will not be coddling anyone. He tells MA privately that they’ll hand in their completed paper (and will do it all) and it will be very obvious that they’ve worked hard and the others haven’t. I remember trying to do something like that in seventh grade. I did the brunt of the work for this project and absolutely refused to be the lone presenter. I said someone else would have to go because I refused to do anymore work. Unfortunately, I was forced to go up because the other people just would not stand up and do the report. Not fun. The seventh grader in me still has choice words about it.
Minus the stripper hair and makeup.
So Logan calls MA saying he wants to work together and she finally grows a spine and says she won’t do the work for him. He says he did his part of the work but wants to get together to see what Pete and MA have done.So Logan and MA meet up. He apologizes for overdoing things and not really being in touch and then admits that he missed her. MA says they’ll nix the section they wrote for him. They coordinate everything and get ready to meet Megan Rinehart!
MA is nervous about speaking and says she “tripped over the top step, regained my balance, then bumped into Cokie, who was in front of me. After that my dress fell off and everyone, including my father and Megan Rinehart, howled with laughter.” HAHAHA. Of course she’s imagining this scenario, but the thought of Richard laughing at her for that is hilarious for some reason. I have to say I completely understand this part of the book. I LOATHE public speaking and going up on stages. No, really. Even last year at my university commencement I didn’t want to go up on stage. I did, but I was glad to just get on and off quickly (it was also broadcast online and with those giant screens so you can see what people on stage look like up close). Aaaa. I’m better about it now that I’m an assistant teacher and speak in public all the time, but still, I used to fret all the time before going up on stage. My 7th grade speech was a DISASTER to put it lightly. No tripping but God, it was embarrassing. Think just short of Mia Thermopolis running away to puke.
Yep, middle school.
Logan grabs MA’s hand at the actual event. ALL THE FEELS. Pete goes first and performs amazingly. We get absolutely no description of Megan Rinehart except that she smiled. Nice. Then MA goes onstage and doesn’t trip or barf or anything, she just looks at her paper the whole time. After Logan, Cokie speaks and reads the ENTIRE DUST JACKET OF THE BOOK. Her ass is going to get fried for plagiarism.
The other groups speak. MA makes a big deal about how Mallory is not sitting anywhere near Jessi in the audience because God forbid those two exist on their own. Cokie embarrasses herself further by asking the exact question someone before her asked Megan Rinehart. Then the principal gives the authors a SMS T-shirt and even mugs. My middle school definitely didn’t have mugs. Megan Rinehart commends MA, Logan, and Pete, and even intends to compliment Cokie, who has run away. Logan asks MA out for dinner. MA claims she’s changed and is confident and stands up for herself now. I will believe it when I see it. Thankfully, Dawn asks about this and MA says she won’t let him be controlling. We’ll see. MA puts on a long shirt and red tights, which Richard let her keep because she pointed out it’s not as revealing as a bathing suit. Hahaha, can’t believe Richard fell for that. At dinner, they order and proclaim they’ve forgotten why they stopped talking. Uh, no. You seemed to remember earlier, MA. He proclaims Cokie means nothing to him and he wants MA back. They agree to get back together. I’m not pleased that the controlling issue doesn’t come up. We’re supposed to feel better about it because when he hears the next day that she’s busy, he tells her to have fun instead of ordering that she cancel her plans. It’s a start but I really don’t like how it’s glossed over. Sigh. I don’t recall how douchy he is after this book, but I do recall that they break up in the horrendous Friends Forever series. Hopefully there’s no more controlling nature. Presumably, MA and Logan will continue to practice their wicked dance moves from the early books and creeper Logan is forever gone.
We can only hope.