The students in Mrs. Mead's 5th grade class are doing an exchange with the 5th grade class at Walden Elementary school. Walden is a small farming town, about 200 miles from Riverhurst.
More Riverhurst students signed up than Walden students, so not everyone will get to host a student. The Sleepover Friends are hoping they'll all get to host someone, so they can have a big sleepover. They all draw names. Stephanie gets Molly Jones, Kate gets Darlene Kastner, Lauren gets Annette Hollis, and unfortunately Patti draws a blank slip of paper. Their enemy Jenny Carlin gets Rebecca Newman.
There's a sleepover that night at Stephanie's house. They eat sour cream & onion potato skins, Patti's Alaska dip, leftover Chinese spareribs, and Cherry Coke and Dr Pepper. In this book, Lauren describes Patti's dip as tuna, catsup, cream cheese and some other stuff mixed in a blender. Tuna and catsup? That sounds even grosser than the recipe in the Super Sleepover Guide. The girls are all watching movies, but Lauren is more interested in Body Talks, a book about body language. After the movie, the girls talk about their plans for when the Walden students get there. They plan to go on a bike tour of Riverhurst, go to Charlie's Soda Fountain, go to the school party, and have a sleepover at Patti's. Stephanie plans to take Molly shopping. Kate plans to rent her favorite movies for her & Darlene to watch. Kate's favorite movie is 50 years old, 3 1/2 hours long, in black and white, and entirely in Russian. What 5th grade girl would pick that as her favorite movie?? I've always thought the movie was probably Dr. Zhivago. We had to watch it in school once and I thought it was ok. Lauren plans to take Annette jogging and swimming. The girls all say they'll share their Walden girls with Patti since she doesn't get to host anyone.
On Sunday, Lauren spends the day getting ready for Annette's visit. She and her dad wash her brother's dog Bullwinkle, but Lauren doesn't have time to clean her room so she just throws stuff in her drawers and closet. Then she and Kate head over to the school to meet the Walden kids. Lauren wore her second best sweater, green with buttons down the left shoulder, black sweats and jogging shoes. A sweater and sweat pants? That doesn't seem like a good look to me. Kate wore a tshirt, a blue cardigan, and stone-washed jeans. When they get there, they meet up with Stephanie, who is wearing a bright-red cable-knit sweater, black denim overalls (to make the farm kids feel at home), and spotless white sneakers. How do you wear a sweater and overalls together? I wouldn't think you could wear a sweater underneath overalls (seems too bulky), but if she wore it over them, you wouldn't be able to tell they were overalls. Anyway, their enemy Jenny wore a bright pink jumpsuit with a matching pink ribbon in her hair. Lauren watches her talk to Mark Freedman and Pete Stone, and recalls the things she read about in the body language book.
The bus arrives and as each kid steps out, they find out who they are staying with. One of the boys, Reggie, is really cute. He has spiky blond hair, pale blue eyes, and a light tan. He wore shades on a cord, a brown bomber jacket, and "a great smile." Turns out he is the cousin of Rebecca Newman, who is staying with Jenny. Rebecca wore jeans, a green and yellow zigzagged sweater, and canvas boots. Molly, who is staying with Stephanie, has black hair in a braid and round glasses with red frames. She wore high-waisted black pants with yellow suspenders, a white sweatshirt with yellow polka dots, and yellow sneakers with a red stripe around the soles. Kate says they look like twins who were separated at birth--The Shopping Sisters.
There are 2 girls left. One is about Lauren's height, with short, wavy hair and kind of a bouncy step. She wore jeans and Mercury jogging shoes, just like Lauren's. Lauren hopes she is Annette, but unfortunately for her, she is Darlene, who is staying with Kate. Annette turns out to be the other girl, who is short and blonde, and is wearing a turquoise-blue sweater and skirt, pink tights, and loafers. Annette isn't very friendly, and she announces that she doesn't want to go out for pizza with the rest of the girls. So, she and Lauren go home. Annette asks Lauren how they'll get to school and Lauren says they're all going to ride bikes together. Annette says she can't because she was in a serious bike accident and can't get near one for 6 more months. As they walk inside, Lauren's brother's dog jumps on Annette and freaks her out. Then they go up to Lauren's room and Annette freaks out over Lauren's cat, Rocky. Kate calls later that night and is shocked to find out Lauren and Annette are cleaning Lauren's closet! Annette had opened the closet and seen everything Lauren threw in there. Kate tells her that the other Walden girls call Annette "Little Miss Muffet." Her dad is the superintendent of schools in Walden, so she had to go on the trip, but she's not friends with any of the other girls because she thinks she is too good for them. Kate says that Darlene told her she's never seen Annette ride a bike, so she doubts she really had a bike accident.
Lauren recalls an article she read in a magazine called The Dream Diet. To lose weight, you go to sleep. Wake up 7 days later and you've lost 20 pounds. I always thought that sounded like a great diet! I love to sleep. The Dream Diet is one of the things I remember most from the Sleepover Friends books. Lauren wishes she could fall asleep, wake up 7 days later and lose Annette.
The next day, they all go to school. At lunch, Rebecca Newman sits with Patti instead of with Jenny, her host. Jenny is furious. After lunch, some of the Walden students give speeches about life in Walden. Austin talks about his family's dairy farm.
After school, Lauren's mom tells her that Annette's mom called. Turns out, Annette doesn't know how to ride a bike. Annette is an only child and her parents are very overprotective. Lauren convinces Patti to come over and pretend to suck at baseball, so they can teach Annette how to play. Her plan works perfectly and they all have fun. Then, Rebecca shows up! She couldn't stand Jenny or her sidekick Angela, so she left and walked over to Patti's house. Patti's brother told her Patti was at Lauren's house, so she came over. They are about to start playing baseball but unfortunately, Jenny and Angela show up. Bullwinkle gets loose and jumps on Jenny. When Lauren's older brother Roger comes out to get Bullwinkle, Jenny gets all flirty with him, much to the disgust of Lauren. After everyone leaves, Annette confronts Lauren about her mom calling, and says she figured out that Patti wasn't actually bad at baseball. Lauren decides she'll teach Annette how to ride a bike.
At school the next day, Jenny continues to be annoying and Rebecca continues to ignore her. In class they learn about Carol's family's pig farm, and the antique apples that Jim's family sells. Turns out the apples are not really antique, it's the trees that are. After school, they get Dr Peppers and cheese doodles, and teach Annette to ride a bike. Annette learns quickly. Then Rebecca shows up--she escaped from Jenny's house again. Lauren's mom calls Jenny's mom and tells her that Rebecca and Jenny don't seem to be getting along so Rebecca will be staying with Patti.
The next day at school, Lauren hides the Body Talks book in Jenny's desk, thinking maybe Jenny will learn something about her ridiculous body language. In class, Tommy talks about how his dad is a vet, and Darlene says her family grows fancy fruits and vegetables for restaurants, sells fresh pies in the summer, and runs a cross-country ski business on their land in the winter. After school, they all ride their bikes around Riverhurst. They go to Tully's Fish Market, which has tanks full of live lobsters and clams and sea urchins--"the closest thing we've got to Sea World." (doesn't sound even remotely close to me). Then they go to Munn's Pond and the Wildlife Refuge, and go window shopping on Main Street, with a stop at Charlie's Soda Fountain.
Friday night, there is a Sock Hop at the school. Afterwards, they head to Patti's house for a sleepover. There's big bowls of chips, pasta salad, soda and a 6 foot hero sandwich crammed with baloney and pepperoni and onions and provolone and peppers. There's also an ice cream cake for later. The girls head upstairs, where the Walden girls tell ghost stories. Rebecca tells a scary story about a fat white hand. Then they eat the ice cream cake and drink pink lemonade, listen to the radio and gossip.
The next afternoon, they play baseball with the boys, and Annette does great. That night, Lauren and Annette go out for Chinese food with Lauren's family. Then they come back and Lauren shows her her photo albums.
On Sunday, they head back to the school to meet the bus back to Walden. The girls are all excited and talking about all the fun things they plan to do. The Walden kids had a blast and the Sleepover Friends can hardly wait to go visit them in Walden. The Walden kids all shout out "Riverhurst! Riverhurst!" and on the last one, the Walden girls shout out "Sleepover Friends!"