Happy Valentine's Day!
The 5th and 6th grade teachers at Riverhurst Elementary have decided that the students deserve a break since it's been the coldest winter in 35 years, so they are having a Valentine's party. It's not just any party--it's a sock hop, since the last time they had a winter that cold was in 1956. Apparently no one in the class knows what a sock hop is, even though they had a sock hop in another book, #10 Lauren's Sleepover Exchange (when they hosted the kids from the other school). Stephanie gets picked to do decorations for the party.
Then a new girl shows up. Her name is Hope Lenski and they all think she is weird. They think her name is funny and she is wearing a tie-dyed shirt, an Indian-print skirt and leather mocassins. She has long blonde hair that goes past her waist, and she had it braided into about a 100 little braids. The Sleepover Friends all think it's weird that she started school in January. My parents moved when I was in 2nd grade, but since it was just to another part of our town, I got to finish the school year at my school. But I still don't get what the big deal is.
The Sleepover Friends decide they want to get to know Hope, even though they think she's weird. They go up to her in class and introduce themselves, but Hope doesn't seem too interested. Patti thinks she must be shy, but the other girls just think she is unfriendly. Turns out Hope is really good at science, so Patti is excited about that. Hope is also really good at art, so Stephanie hopes she'll want to help with the decorations for the party.
Their Friday night sleepover is at Patti's house this time. Patti is also the narrator of this book (Lauren is the narrator for most of the books, but towards the end of the series, the other girls narrate). They have cheese popcorn, Stephanie's mom's cookies, and Dr Pepper. They talk about what they can wear to the Valentine's party.
Patti is upset because her younger brother Horace skipped into the 2nd grade and he's having a hard time. The kids make fun of him because he's smart and the smallest kid in class.
Kate is convinced something is up with Hope. She thinks it's weird when Hope says her dad will be a chaperone at the party, not her mom. Patti feels bad for Hope, since Jenny and Angela make fun of her at lunch. They try again to be nice to Hope, suggesting she help with decorations for the party so she can meet some new friends. Hope says no. They find out she's from California, and figure she must really miss her old school. Kate isn't willing to give up yet, so she invites Hope for ice cream. Hope says no, because she doesn't like ice cream.
After school, Patti goes to pick up her brother. Some kids are making fun of him, so Patti tries to defend him. Horace gets all embarassed and mad, and Patti realizes she shouldn't have done that because now the kids will make fun of him even more.
It's time for another sleepover, this time at Lauren's house. They are trying on outfits for the dance. Lauren wears baggy jeans rolled up at the bottom, a white t-shirt, her brother Roger's jean jacket, and sunglasses. Stephanie suggests she asks her mom if she can borrow one of her cardigan sweaters so Lauren goes to get it. Stephanie shows Patti what she found for her to wear--a poodle skirt that is hot pink with a huge "P" stitched on it. Patti is a little embarassed to wear it, but doesn't want to hurt Stephanie's feelings. Instead of returning with the sweater, Lauren brings barbecue potato chips, her special onion dip, and a six-pack of pop. The girls are going to listen to a 50s tape and practice hopping in their socks, when they hear howling outside. It's some boys from class--Larry, Henry and Willie. They challenge the girls to a snowball fight. Patti has a little crush on Henry, so she's pretty excited. They are all having fun throwing snowballs when they see Hope across the street. They all yell out to her and invite her over, but she just runs off. Kate thinks it's kind of weird that Hope just stood there and watched them from across the street, and I have to agree with her. Although I also think it's a bit weird that they are trying SO hard to be friends with this girl. Anyway, they all go inside for some hot chocolate. Later that night, Kate suggests they all get together later that week and make Valentines.
At lunch on Monday, Lauren talks to Hope and finds out she is a vegetarian. On Tuesday, there is a Quarks club meeting after school. Hope tells Patti she needs to leave early. When Patti goes out to meet her brother after the meeting, she finds Hope talking to Horace. Hope tells Horace she knows what he's going through, since she is new and different. She tells Horace it's ok to be weird. Hope suggests to Patti that next time kids make fun of Horace, he should just agree with what they say. When they see it doesn't bother him, they'll stop making fun of him. The next day, Patti invites Hope to go get a Dr Pepper (or fruit juice) with her, and Hope says sure--but suggests frozen yogurt instead. They go to Sweet Stuff and get Tofutti. Vanilla with nuts and raisins for Hope, raspberry for Patti. Hope asks Patti if she, Kate, Lauren and Stephanie do everything together. (ha) Patti says not everything, since they do different extracurricular activities. Hope admits she only had one best friend in California, and she misses her. She also tells Patti she has a younger brother, and that they moved to Riverhurst because her dad grew up there. He's a veterinarian. Patti gets all excited about this and invites herself over, but Hope gets all weird about it.
That night the girls get together to make their valentines, and Patti fills the girls in on Hope. They decide to ask her to sit with them at lunch the next day. These girls just do not give up. They are determined to be friends with Hope! They tease Patti about making a valentine for Henry. Patti is worried he might not like her, so she decides to cut out letters from magazines so he won't recognize her handwriting.
It's the day of the party! Henry is wearing a leather jacket, jeans with the cuffs rolled up, white socks, and black shoes. Patti thinks he's cute. She is all embarassed about her outfit--the pink poodle skirt, a white blouse and a cardigan sweater. I really don't get why she's all embarassed about her outfit, since they were supposed to dress up. Anyway, Lauren is wearing her regular jeans and "one of those sweater sets--you know, with one sweater on top of the other." (does she mean a twinset?) Patti thinks Lauren doesn't look very 50s--"She looked sort of confused, like the top half of her was in the fifties and the rest wasn't." Kate wore a 50s dress.
Stephanie had on a red shirt with big black polka dots, a pair of black pants that ended just abover her ankles, which she called "pedal pushers" and black flats (with no socks, even though it was February. She said sometimes you had to suffer to be fashionable). Her hair was pulled up into a ponytail with a red ribbon.
Hope wore her usual hippie clothing, which Jenny and Angela make fun of. They say Hope shouldn't be allowed to go to the party. Kate and Stephanie defend her. They invite her to have lunch with them. Hope eats sprouts and tofu-spread on whole grain bread (yuck). They ask Hope about the Valentine's Day party but she gets weird again and leaves. The girls rush back to class to put their Valentines in people's desks. Before the party, they go through their Valentines and Patti got one from Henry. She feels bad for not signing her name on the one she gave him. Stephanie gets 3 from secret admirers.
Then they head to the party. It's set up as a diner. The boys are one side of the room and the girls on the other. Stephanie gets them to play better music and finally people start to dance. Before the last dance, they announce winners for the best costumes. Stephanie loses to Christy Soames, which she is really pissed about. Henry asks Patti to dance, which she is really excited about.
The girls get a great idea. They invite Hope to hang out with them the next day for a tour of Riverhurst. She agrees. Patti goes home and her brother Horace is doing much better. He took Hope's advice and has made some friends.
Then it's time for another sleepover! That's 3 in one book. This one is in Stephanie's playhouse. She has planned a big Valentine's Day celebration for them. She gives them each a pair of white socks that she decorated with little black and red hearts (cute). Kate gives each of them a pair of shoelaces with little red hearts on them. Patti gives them each a little heart pin. Lauren brings cupcakes that she made herself. Then they play Truth or Dare. Patti admits she would pick dancing with Henry over dancing with their favorite celebrity, Kevin DeSpain. Patti dares Stephanie to call her crush, Taylor, to see if he was one of her secret admirers. They laugh about it but don't say if she actually does.
Then next day they all hang out with Hope. They go to Pizza Palace for lunch and Hope asks Patti if she has ever had pineapple on pizza. Patti says no. I LOVE pineapple on pizza! However, I will admit I probably wouldn't have eaten it when I was in 5th grade. I really don't even remember it being an option for pizza back then. Maybe just in California. They eat lunch and do some shopping, and then Hope invites them over to her house for lunch the next day.
Hope makes them tacos (without meat, of course). When they ask her where her mom is, she says she's at work. Hope's dad overhears and asks to speak with Hope. She then admits the truth--her parents got divorced and her mom, a lawyer, stayed in California.
After lunch, they have fruit bars (healthy and sweet) and then watch a movie. Patti says it feels funny to be a fivesome instead of a foursome, but it felt nice, too.
I have to admit, I'm not crazy about Hope. I guess they needed a new friend eventually, but she just doesn't seem to fit in that well. And I don't get why they were so determined to be friends with her! I guess they were just trying to be nice. Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed the recap!