Goodreads: Boy-Crazy Stacey
Series: Babysitters Club Graphic Novels #7
Publication Date: September 2019
Stacey and Mary Anne are in Sea City, New Jersey, to babysit the Pike kids for two weeks. But Stacey meets the cutest lifeguard and now Mary Anne is left to watch the kids all alone. Can Mary Anne explain to her friend that what she is doing is wrong? Or will Stacey have her heart broken–and ruin her friendship in the process?
Boy-Crazy Stacey is a fairly unremarkable story about a young teen falling “in love” with an older boy and ignoring her friends in order to pursue him–despite obvious indications that the romance is doomed to failure. Nothing here will surprise older readers, except perhaps the ending, which feels tacked on just to give a “happy” resolution. The younger readers for whom the books are meant, however, will likely enjoy the characters and the bright, bold illustrations. The series is wildly popular and this newest installment and fans of the Babysitters graphic novels will not be disappointed by Boy-Crazy Stacey.
I think part of the appeal of the Babysitters Club is that, even though the main characters are thirteen, they seem very old and mature, giving readers a taste of what it must be like to be a teenager. So, while adult readers may be amused (or confused) by the concept of thirteen-year-olds having jobs, permission to wander a strange city by themselves, and the opportunities to go out and kiss boys, tween readers are excited by the depictions of independence that they expect to have as they grow up. To some extent, I’m not sure how much the actual telling of the story matters; the point is that readers get to project themselves onto the characters.
If young readers are mainly excited to see their possible future in the Babysitters Club, Boy-Crazy Stacey will likely thrill. It shows thirteen-year-old Stacey and her friend Mary Anne as very confident, attractive girls easily able to capture the interest of boys. Nothing is depicted as too serious; the girls know going on dates cannot lead to anything since they do not live in Sea City. But the sense is still given that they are women of the world, picking up boys having a good time, and going on to a new crush. Certainly exciting for tweens.
Disappointingly, however, Boy-Crazy Stacey never fully develops the plot line about Stacey’s crush on lifeguard Scott and how it impacts her friendship with Mary Anne. Mary Anne is shown growing frustrated and telling Stacey so. However, the cover summary writes that Mary Anne warns Stacey about Scott’s disinterest and suggests that the plot revolves more around the issue than it does. In reality, Scott seems welcoming of Stacey’s adoration and the only problem shown is that another girl is jealous. The book does not address the implications of Scott’s willingness to lead Stacey on or his treatment of the other girl, placing the blame for the interaction on the infatuated Stacey (since she is, in fairness, not doing the babysitting job she’s being paid to do). Meanwhile, Mary Anne’s reactions to the situation seem timid and spaced out, making Stacey’s actions seem less of a problem than they are. And Mary Anne forgives so easily that it seems obvious Stacey must be ready to make the same mistake all over again, as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
Boy-Crazy Stacey is not exactly original or riveting. It does, however, provide a healthy does of romance to please readers who enjoy that sort of thing, and it packages the story in a brightly-colored format that undoubtedly appeals to tween readers of graphic novels. You don’t really need to like Boy-Crazy Stacey, however, to know that it’s a runaway success with young audiences and thus worth purchasing for schools and libraries, or as a present for a tween reader.