The Fab Five #1-Seventh Grade Rumors

The Fab Five- consisting of Jana Morgan, Christie Winchell, Beth Barry, Melanie Edwards, and Katie Shannon- are meeting in Jana’s bedroom to discuss the upcoming first day of junior high. They are mostly going over which kids they will meet on the first day of 7th grade, and what to expect and remember about junior high school. Shane Arrington, according to Melanie, is a hottie who owns a lizard.  Katie is not really believing that a kid owns a lizard. Christie is excited to meet Jon Smith, whose mom has a juicy daytime talk show and his dad is the sports director of the local TV station.  Katie hears that this girl from Copper Beach elementary, Whitney Larkin, is supposed to be in 6th grade but because of her genius IQ she is skipping into 7th grade. But the biggest news revolves around Laura McCall from Riverfield Elementary- apparently she’s even prettier than Taffy Sinclair, and her dad lets her do whatever she wants. Laura has a group called the Fabulous Foursome and apparently the girls in the group have to do whatever Laura says or she throws them out of the club!!  Jana and the others are really nervous about starting jr high because at Mark Twain Elementary the girls were really popular and they all knew where they stood, but at Wakeman ( or Wacko Junior High) they will all be brand new and won’t know where they fit in, and they have to meet a bunch of new kids they don’t know.  The girls make a list of essential things to know- the gum tree is a tree outside that all of the kids stick their gum on before classes start for the day so the principal doesn’t have a cow over kids chewing gum in school. They also note not to ask any ninth graders for directions.  On Friday nights, all the kids go to the movies and then to Bumpers afterward- wow these seventh graders have a more rockin’ Friday night than I do- I either spend Friday nights watching movies with my boyfriend, or doing laundry and watching Wife Swap.  Jana talks about how at Mark Twain elementary, the Fabulous Five had their own spot by the fence where the girls could have privacy and talk.  Beth suggests that they go find a spot like that at Wakeman Jr High so the girls will know they will have a private spot to talk at their new school as well. So the Fab Five heads off to Wakeman, and the spot they find is in the front left corner at the grounds.  The girls agree to meet at the corner of Nugent’s Grocery Store right before the first day of school so they can all walk to school together.

When the girls get to Wakeman on the first day of school, they see four girls at THEIR spot ( ” you better get off our corner” Pretty Woman style).  One girl is a tall blonde with a long braid. Next to hear is a short brunette with short hair, another blonde, and a wide eyed brunette.  Melanie says the blonde with the braid has to be Laura McCall.  the Fabulous Five go over to the Fantastic Foursome, and Laura McCall says to Beth ” You must be Beth Barry- WE CAN TELL.  You’re the show off.” BURN!  Laura and her friends walk off, so the Fab Five can now claim their spot!  Jana is worried about where Laura heard a rumor that Beth was a show off. Jana is also worried about her outfit- she was going to wear a wool pantsuit, but the day was too hot for it- oh remember buying fall clothes and having  a great first day of school outfit planned but then it was too hot to wear it? So Jana wore a blue and white striped shirt and a denim skirt, and she is worried that no one else will wear a denim skirt. She is relieved that Melanie also wore a denim skirt, but hardly anyone else has a denim skirt.

Jana and Christie are heading for homeroom, and there are ninth grade boys in the hall ” rating” the seventh graders and they instantly decide that Jana and Christie are ” threes, tops.” Yep each Jana and Christie only rate a THREE! How piggish! Then the boys start hooting and hollering and shouting, ” ten! Ten!!” and the girls turn to see who the boys are going gaga over, and it’s Laura McCall with this triumphant grin on her face!

Some kids that Jana and Christie know are in their homeroom- like Taffy Sinclair and Mona Vaughn. Jana thinks to herself that since her diary was read by others in sixth grade, Taffy has been a nicer person. Curtis Trowbridge, the biggest nerd at Mark Twain Elementary, is also in their homeroom and so is some kid Clarence Marshall who almost got held back in sixth grade. I say Whitney Larkin should tutor Clarence!  The girls also learn that Laura McCall, the girl with short dark hair , and the other blonde are also in their homeroom, and Christie says to Jana that the last thing they need is that bunch in their homeroom!  It turns out that the homeroom teacher is DREAMY Mr. Neil is the homeroom teacher- dreamy Mr. Neil was Jana’s fifth grade teacher that Jana had the total hots for- and I remembered that when I read Mr. Neil’s name in this book!  Jana gets all hot and bothered because Randy Kirwan is in Jana’s homeroom, and Randy flashes Jana one of his 1,000 watt smiles ( bet it’s not as hot as my man’s!!) and Jana is relieved that Randy still wants to be her boyfriend. Jana is so distracted that Mr. Neil has to call Jana’s name a few times at roll call, but at least Randy still wants Jana!  Jana and Christie get excited when the handbooks are passed out because of the long list of activities that Wakeman Jr High offers. Christie says she is definitely trying out for basketball, and Jana wants to try for newspaper, yearbook, and cheerleading, and asks Christie if she’d also try out for cheerleading so Jana doesn’t have to go it alone. Christie and Jana then bet that Laura and her cronies will want to try out for all of the same activities that the Fabulous Five do in order to try the outdo the Fab Five, but Jana says she will NEVER allow that to happen!

At lunch, the girls talk about the difficulties of switching classes and trying to get around Wakeman Jr High. Melanie is all excited that Shane Arrington is in one of her classes, and says he looks just like River Phoenix. BTW Shane is in homeroom with Christie and Jana, also. Katie says the girl next to her in homeroom knows Laura McCall and the rest of the foursome, and the girl said Laura McCall is really obnoxious.  The girl also has news on the others- Tammy Lucero, the short, dark haired gal, is cute and bubbly but also a terrible gossip. Melissa McConnell always gets straight A’s  and is a total perfectionist and looks her nose down at anyone who is not also a perfectionist. And Karen ” Funny” Hawthorne is a real bubblehead who laughs at anything and takes nothing seriously.  Jana then goes to the bathroom after lunch and can’t find her schedule card, and a girl follows Jana in saying she thinks she found Jana’s schedule card. Jana thanks the girl up and down for finding the card, and the girl shares with Jana that she thought she lost her schedule card a bunch of times, and finally had to tape it to the front of her notebook so she wouldn’t lose it. The girl also shares with Jana that she gets into a lot of silly snafus, just like Lucy Ricardo on I love Lucy, and rumor has it that Lucy hid in this girl’s closet to get material! Jana finds this girl so nice and funny,  and Jana says she’s also a klutz.  Jana thinks this is the friendliest person she’s met all day.  Jana asks the girl what her name is, and the girl says ” my name is Karen, but everyone calls me Funny.” Yep- Jana just bonded with FUNNY HAWTHORNE of the Fantastic Foursome!

Jana sees Beth after lunch and Beth is playing with a child’s beaded bracelet. Beth looks worried, and Jana says she hopes Beth knows she can talk to Jana about anything. Beth runs away from Jana at that point, and Jana is stunned.  Jana wonders what is wrong with Beth, and hopes their friendship is not ruined because Beth is her best friend in the world.  All that happens for the rest of the school day is that Jana has some more classes with Funny, Melanie and Jana briefly talk to Shane Arrington and find out that he does have a pet iguana, and Jana sees who Whitney Larkin is.  Jana is upset that on the first day of junior high Beth ran away when Jana tried to talk to her, and the run in with Laura wasn’t fun at all, but she was glad to meet Funny and is glad that Randy likes her, still.

Melanie calls Jana after school, and says that she saw Laura McCall and Funny Hawthorne arguing after school.  Jana wonders, after getting off the phone with Melanie, if Laura and Funny were arguing over Funny being friendly with Jana.  The next morning, the girls all discuss student activities, and Christie says she’s trying out for basketball but not cheerleading. Jana is not sure about cheerleading, but she definitely wants to try out for yearbook, and so do Katie and Christie.  Katie says that there has to be a seventh grade editor job, and photographer positions that the girls can do for yearbook.  Jana gets to English, and sees that Funny is in her class and has already saved her a seat. Miss Dickinson is their teacher and she is young but dresses really old fashioned.  Jana and Funny pass notes during class, and Jana tries hard not to laugh out loud at things Funny writes in the notes during class. Funny then writes that she wants to try out for yearbook and wonders if Jana wants to try to be a seventh grade co-editor with Funny.  Jana wonders how the rest of the Fabulous Five would react if they found out that Jana would try out for seventh grade co-editor with a member of the Fantastic Foursome!

Jana writes back that she’s undecided on what activities to join, and she will get back to Funny later. At lunch, Christie asks Jana if she’s noticed that Beth is acting strangely.  Jana says yes, and Christie says that ever since that confrontation with Laura on the first day of classes Beth hasn’t talked to any of the members of the Fab Five.  Jana worries that maybe Beth is tired of the other girls and wants to make new friends now that she’s in middle school.  Later on in the day, rumors are flying that Laura is planning one of her famous parties, and that she is going to invite ALL of the boys from Mark Twain Elementary but NONE of the girls.  Melanie says that Laura better not flirt with her man Scott Daly or with Shane Arrington. Christie says that you know Laura’s three friends are as bad as she is, or they wouldn’t be her friends.  After lunch, Jana sees Funny and Funny says that Laura isn’t as bad as the girls may think she is. Laura’s dad makes her do all of the chores at home and Laura has it rougher than the girls would think. Funny also tells Jana to think of being seventh grade co-editors.  Jana then sees Beth at their special spot and sees that Beth is crying.  Jana goes to talk to Beth, and Beth yells at Jana to go away and leave Beth alone!  Jana muses that after what Beth said, obviously the friendship with Beth is over- OK kind of a DRAMATIC conclusion? If Beth was crying, Jana never thinks she’s just upset over something and isn’t ready to tell Jana for whatever reason?? Ugh.  So Jana screams at Beth ” I’ll leave you alone- FOREVER!”

Jana and Funny walk home together after school. Funny tells Jana that she is lucky because Mark Twain Elementary has sooo many cute boys.  Jana asks Funny who she finds cute. Funny mentions a dark haired boy named Randy and Jana is like whoa girl he is mine!! Funny laughs and says ok he’s off limits but also mentions a cute boy named Scott and a gorgeous blonde named Keith. Jana says those boys are also verboten, because Scott is Melanie’s man ( funny b/c Mel is all gaga over Shane!) and Keith is Beth’s boyfriend.  As Jana and Funny are talking and laughing, Jana sees Christie and Katie, and they look PISSED that Jana is laughing with Funny- AKA THE ENEMY!!!  Christie and Katie accuse Jana of dissing the Fab Five and Jana says no she is still their friends but Funny is a new friend and Christie and Katie tell Jana well what about what we heard about Funny?  And Jana says ” oh that she’s a bubblehead?” ” so what?” and says that Funny is sweet and nice, and maybe Christie and Katie shoudn’t believe every rumor they hear!

Jana talks about her situation with her old friends with her mom, and Jana’s mom says that it sounds like the girls from the Fab Five need reassurance that Jana still loves them and wants to be their friend. Jana says that the girls should know that, but Jana’s mom says that it never hurts to tell others how you feel about them.  By the way, I do like that the Fab Five mothers seem to be a lot more involved in the lives of their kids than in say, Sweet Valley High world, and the girls often go to their parents with problems- unlike say the BSC girls!!! I am still rather shocked that 12 year olds are able to have serious boyfriends, but I grew up in a rather conservative Portuguese American household and none of us could date until age 16, and when I was like 17 I still had to leave the phone number of a friend’s house where I’d be when I went out!  So maybe it’s normal for 12 year olds to date and socialize so much??  Randy Kirwan then calls, and says that he may try out for football, and if Jana goes to the movies and bumpers Friday night, Randy will see her then.  Jana feels a little better after Randy called.  Then Funny calls- and Funny says that she saw that  Jana’s friends looked pissed at her, and Laura is giving Funny a hard time about being friends with Jana, as well.  Funny says she doesn’t want to come between Jana and her friends, and Jana says the Fab Five can’t dictate who her friends should be, and Jana says that she thinks the Fabulous Foursome should understand why Funny is friends with Jana, and if they don’t they are not true friends. Jana says she and Funny should walk to school together, and present a united front that lets the members of their respective groups know they are friends, and the other girls can’t stop them from being friends.

When Funny and Jana get to school, everyone is staring and staring at them. Jana tells Funny to mention something funny so that they start to laugh and then they can just run into the school. So the girls start to talk about Shane’s pet iguana, and laugh and run into the school. They can’t believe how much everyone was staring at them as they walked to the school together.  In homeroom, Jana keeps trying to meet Christie’s eye in the hopes of trying to talk to her, but Curtis Trowbridge talks to Jana before the bell rings about how much he loves his classes, and Jana can never seem to meet Christie’s eye all through homeroom. Jana then sees that Christie wrote ” TRAITOR” all over a piece of paper.  Jana is very upset over this, and thinks about how while Funny is a great new pal,  there are no old memories that she and Funny share- not like all of the memories she has with the members of the Fabulous Five.  Jana thinks that at lunch she has to reassure the others how much she likes them, because she does not want to lose them as friends- they are supposed to stick together through thick and thin!  But at lunch, Funny calls Jana over to sit with Funny at lunch.  Jana never gets to talk to the members of the Fab Five at lunch because Funny sticks to her like glu. Jana tries to talk to Christie and Katie at history class but they both ignore her attempts.  Jana then decides to write letters to each girl and sticks them in each locker saying that there is an emergency meeting of the fabulous five after school and each girl BETTER be there!

After school, Jana is really nervous. She worries that none of the girls will show up to the meeting, and Jana is tidying up in a way she never used to when she had the Five Fab over.  Katie, Christie and Melanie do show up, but not Beth.  Jana says to the girls that yes, Funny is her new friend and Funny is a sweetie, but she loves Christie, Katie,  Melanie and Beth so much and doesn’t ever want to lose their friendship, and they were her friends first, and she never wants to lose the connection they all have.  Melanie springs up to hug Jana, spilling soda that was on the table in the process, and the girls all start hugging and crying.  The four girls then start discussing Beth’s absence, and they all have noticed that Beth carries around that kid’s bracelet, talks to none of the girls and always looks so upset. The girls vow to find Beth at school the next day to see what is going on, and to try to see if they can help Beth.

Beth is not at school, and the members of the Fab Five all tried calling Beth last night, and the phone at the Barry house just kept ringing and ringing.  The girls all think that if Beth were sick, one of her parents would at least be home to answer the phone. Jana says that at noontime they can go to the phone and try to call Beth and see what’s going on, and hopefully there’s a simple explanation.  At noon, they cannot reach Beth at home- the phone just keeps ringing and ringing. Then Katie notices that Funny and Laura are chatting with Keith, Scott and Randy!!! As Katie says, how dare Laura and Funny talk to ” their” men!! And umm what does Katie care, really but whatevs.  They hear snippets of the convo, and it’s about Bumpers and the movies tonight.   Jana asks Funny what the hell was going on and Funny says they just ran into the guys and Laura asked if they were going to Bumpers and the movies tonight and that’s all it was. Jana decides to believe Funny though she still is sort of miffed.  Jana then starts to think that Funny was sent to spy on Jana by Laura to get dirt on the Fab Five- after all, Funny followed Jana into the girl’s room the first day of jr high, right? Hmmmm…

At the movies, it is a tradition that Mark Twain kids sit on the left side of the theatre and Riverfield kids on the other side. What about the Copper Beach kids???  In the movie theatre, the kids are all throwing popcorn at each other and being general nusicances, as you’d expect from a bunch of middle schoolers at the movie theatre.  Jana is all excited because Randy says he and Jana can have  a soda at Bumpers together after the movie.  After the movies, the place is mobbed and everyone is in a big crowd trying to get to Bumpers.  When Jana and her friends get to Bumpers, they see that Laura and her cronies got there before the Fab Five did, and they are sitting with Randy and his friends! Before Jana can do anything,  the owner of Bumpers says Jana has a phone call!  Jana’s mom is on the line and she says she’s sorry to call Jana at Bumpers, but Mr. Barry called to try to find Beth, and  Jana’s mom wants to know if Jana has seen Beth.  Jana’s mom then explains that Beth and her dad were at the hospital today with Mrs. Barry because Mrs. Barry had surgery- she had a lump on her breast that could have been cancer, but thank God it wasn’t. Well Beth napped for a bit and when she woke up she was groggy and heard the doctor tell someone else bad news and Beth thought the bad news had to do with her mom, so Beth ran out of the hospital and Mr. Barry hasn’t seen Beth since.  Jana then yells into the crowd at Bumpers, and asks everyone there if ANYONE has seen Beth tonight.  None of the kids have, and everyone is worried, especially Katie, Melanie, Jana and Christie of course. The kids from Mark Twain all decide to meet at the mall at 10 am the next day to fan out and try to find Beth, and Randy assures Jana that he will do his best to help find Beth. Funny calls Jana at night, and Funny asks if she can help search for Beth and Jana kinda rudely says only Mark Twain kids are involved in the search. 

All of the Mark Twain kids- except for Beth- show to the mall the next day to think of where Beth could be.  Kids suggest that maybe Beth went to a relative’s home and Jana says all relatives have been called and that is a negative. Then- Laura McCall, Melissa, Funny and Tammy show up and Jana asks why.  Funny says they all really want to help,  and this girl from Mark Twain, Alexis Duvall, says none of the Foursome knew Beth, so how would they know how she was? Laura says she knows this seems silly, but when Laura gets upset over problems, she goes to her old playhouse in her backyard. Jana says Beth has no playhouse- but then Jana thinks- hmmm maybe Beth would go to a place where she feels more happy and secure, like Laura does, and Laura says that is what she was thinking.  Jana then thinks of how much all the girls miss Mark Twain Elementary so maybe Beth went there!! So Christie calls her mom, who is Mark Twain’s principal,to open the school to see if Beth is in there.  When everyone gets to the school, Jana finds Beth in their old sixth grade classroom and coaxes Beth to come out by saying her mother is OK.  Jana and Beth talk the next day and Beth talks about carrying the old bracelet because when Beth carried the bracelet when Mrs. Barry got into a car accident years ago and she feels the bracelet helped Mrs Barry recover so Beth hoped the bracelet would help again. Jana and Beth make up and promise each other that they will share problems with each other from now on.

The last chapter is just a lead in to chapter 2- Melanie is PISSED that Laura is having that party where she invites all the boys and none of the girls from Mark Twain to Laura’s next shindig. Melanie says Laura better not flirt with Scott or Shane OR ELSE!!!

Next recap- UNICORNS WILL BE GOING TO HAWAIII!!!!!! It’s a Sweet Valley Twins Super Special that I think I read once at age 13, I think I borrowed it from my cousin, and I hadn’t read it again until it was recap time!! And yes after that- Freshman Obsession!!!

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