I’ve never said much about the covers of the Sleepover Friends books, but I have to mention this one. If you look at the books on the shelf, there is a Sleepover Friends book! How is that possible? ha. There’s also The Gymnasts and The Babysitters Club. Nevermind that these books would never be found in a college bookstore. It’s pretty cool though.
Lauren, Kate, Patti and Stephanie are getting back some papers they wrote for class. They had to either write about being an insect or a kitchen appliance. Of course, Lauren writes about a refrigerator. Stephanie also writes about a refrigerator. Kate writes about a praying mantis and Patti writes about a ladybug. They all do pretty well on their papers but their teacher, Mrs. Mead, asks to see Karla and Patti after school. Karla got an A+ on her paper, but the girls are worried Patti didn’t do so well and is in trouble. They wait til Patti gets out, and she tells them she has to redo her paper. They all want to help her, but Patti says she’ll work on it by herself and heads home. Stephanie, Lauren and Kate head to Stephanie’s house.
There’s a lot of construction going on at Stephanie’s house. They are having an addition built onto their house for the baby. Plus, there is something being built in the backyard (hmm… wonder what that could be.) Stephanie’s parents told her it was an office for her dad (but we all know it’s the "apartment" they give Stephanie for her birthday! This is the book where she gets it).
Stephanie tells them she is worried her parents have forgotten her birthday. They haven’t said a single word about a party or a present. Well, she’s getting the "apartment" for her present, and the Sleepover Friends are in on the surprise party—Stephanie’s dad is renting out the Pizza Palace and inviting all her friends.
As the girls are heading to the mall, they pass by the university and see Patti’s bike. The girls are wondering what is going on, since Patti told them she was going straight home to work on her paper. Then they see Patti, talking to an older guy. He’s in his 20s, with straight reddish-brown hair combed to one side, dark eyes, and a light tan. He’s wearing a bright-green cable sweater, old khakis, and white sneakers.
Later, at the Pizza Palace, they talk about Patti and the guy they saw her with. They figure that Patti has a crush on the college guy and are too embarrassed to tell them.
The next day at school, they try to get Patti to talk about the college guy, but she doesn’t get their hints and acts all jumpy. They feel bad, so they suggest going to the mall that night. Kate says they saw "a blue-and-yellow plaid sweater with matching denim pegged pants" that would look great on Patti. Patti gets flustered again and says she has to watch her brother after school.
Lauren, Stephanie and Kate decide to follow Patti after school. They decide to go inside the Bookloft, the university bookstore, and spy on Patti. They have to check their backpacks at the door, and are each given a plastic number. They head to the window and sure enough, the Mystery Man shows up! This time he is wearing a navy-blue sweater, a pink shirt, gray pleated pants and brown moccasins. The girls think he is so cute.
However, a tall, lanky girl with blonde hair runs up to Mystery Man and calls out his name—Jeff. She is wearing a long, dark-purple paisley dress, tights and ankle boots. Stephanie says she is stunning and looks like a model. Jeff and the girl hug and kiss right there on the sidewalk. The girls are so upset for Patti, because it turns out her college crush has a girlfriend! Then they spot Patti. They quickly grab books and put them up to hide their faces. Patti walks by the bookstore and takes out a small mirror and comb, and begins to comb her hair.
That evening, Kate’s mom takes Lauren, Stephanie, Kate and Kate’s little sister to get Chinese take-out. They order spring rolls, egg rolls, spare ribs in black bean sauce, sweet and sour shrimp, pork-fried rice, steamed dumplings and more (Lauren can’t remember). They take all that food, plus two giant size Dr Peppers and a platter of Kate’s super fudge upstairs. The girls decide to play Truth or Dare once Patti gets there, so she’ll hopefully tell them about her crush. When Patti arrives, Lauren notices that she smells funny, like she’s been at a hospital. The other girls don’t notice. They eat the Chinese food and Stephanie complains about her birthday some more. Kate says they’ll make her a cake for the next sleepover, but Patti says she can’t help because she’s busy.
The girls think Patti doesn’t want to hang out with them because she’d rather go to the university and see her crush. They decide to listen to the radio to hear the requests. During a break in music, there’s some announcements about various activities in town, and one of them is that the meeting of the Quarks is postponed. The dj makes fun of the club, saying maybe it’s for ducks—"quark, quark, quark!" The girls wonder what that word means, but Patti just murmurs that she doesn’t know.
Then it’s time for Truth or Dare. Stephanie gets dared to call Donald Foster. She pretends to be Wendy Rodwin, a snobby 6th grader from the video club, but the call gets disconnected. Turns out Kate’s sister unplugged the phone. Then Patti picks truth. Stephanie asks her who she thinks is the cutest guy she knows—of any age. Patti says Donald Foster! Then as Lauren sits down, something in her pocket pokes her. It’s the plastic number she got at the bookstore when she had her backpack checked. She tries to hide it, but Patti sees it. They watch a movie and then go to bed.
There’s a subplot about how the girls have to pick which guys to invite to Stephanie’s party, and they keep changing their mind. They finalize the list on Monday. On Tuesday, they go to Charlie’s Soda Fountain and order their regulars. I could go for a Coke float right now. They decide to go to Russell’s after school to order an ice cream cake for Stephanie’s birthday. Patti says she can’t go, and Kate is sick of her excuses. They are all getting tired of Patti’s secret life.
They go to Russell’s and order a red, black and white ice cream cake (strawberry, chocolate fudge and vanilla ice cream, with white frosting and chocolate sprinkles). Then Stephanie treats them all to raspberry turnovers, and they buy Dr Peppers at a deli across the street. They decide to go to the Wildlife Refuge to eat. While they’re there, they spot Patti and Jeff! Patti sees them and runs off, so the girls leave because they are pissed off at how secretive Patti is acting.
The next day, Patti doesn’t show up to ride bikes to school with them. Turns out she is sick. After school, Lauren and Kate go to Stephanie’s house. They see Stephanie’s annoying neighbor Walter. He tells them he saw them yesterday at the Refuge. They ask him why he was there, and it turns out Jeff is actually Mr. Murdock, a teacher for the Quarks Club. It’s a science club and it just started last week. They’ve been having a bunch of meetings to get organized. He lists off the people in the group—including Patti.
The girls head right to Patti’s house. They tell her they know about the Quarks Club. Patti admits that she didn’t tell them about it because she was worried they’d think she was a total geek, and not right for a Sleepover Friend. The girls tell her they know she is one of the smartest kids in school, and it doesn’t have anything to do with being a geek. Stephanie, Kate and Lauren admit that because Patti didn’t tell them about the Quarks, they thought Patti had a crush on Jeff/Mr. Murdock, and would rather chase him around than spend time with them. Patti starts laughing. I mean really, do they not know Patti very well?!
Everything is back to normal on Friday. They go to Stephanie’s house that night and have a little party. They eat the ice cream cake and give Stephanie her gift—a red-and-black corduroy jumper. Then they watch some scary movies and go to bed. The next morning, Stephanie’s parents make them blueberry pancakes for breakfast. There’s a tiny silver package tied with red ribbon sitting next to Stephanie’s plate. She opens it and inside is a key. Her parents tell her it’s a key to the little house in the backyard—it’s not her father’s office after all, it’s a playhouse for Stephanie! Her parents felt that with the baby coming, she’d like a place to get away from it all once in awhile. She’s not allowed to live out there, but she can hang out and have sleepovers there. Stephanie calls it her apartment and is already thinking of ways to decorate it in red, black and white. That afternoon is Stephanie’s surprise party at the Pizza Palace and Stephanie is definitely surprised.
Sleepover Friends forever!