the best friends you’ll never have

When you are reading the California Diaries series, it is easy to forget that Stoneybrook exists. I happen to really like the CA diaries, but they have a very different “feel” than the BSC series. First of all, there’s the diary format, and secondly, no baby-sitting. I don’t like Other People’s Kids very much, so that aspect suits me just fine. The second is that characters who also appear in the BSC series seem very different from their BSC incarnations.

First up is Dawn Schafer. Dawn in the BSC books is the eco-baby-sitter whose ~individuality~ is talked about often but rarely seen. In CA, “California Casual” turns into hippie-granola occasionally punctuated by WILD EARRINGS and SEXY BLACK PLATFORM SHOES. Dawn no longer seems to care about Mary Anne crying back in Stoneybrook. She has bigger issues to worry about, like drinking! and sunny dating everyone in Palo! Also, who doesn’t love the scene where she and Maggie go to this store called “The Tea Shop” where they sell “more than just tea”?! OMG Dawn smokes pot in 3…2…1.

Second is Sunny Winslow. Sunny’s character change is actually the most subtle and realistic. She was always a little unpredictable and boy-crazy, and her “turn it up to 11″ personality change in CA Diaries can easily be justified by her mother’s impending death. Depressing!

Third is Maggie Blume. Maggie’s was just… shocking. In BSC, she was “LA Futuristic Cyberpunk.” In CA Diaries, she’s a preppy straight-a student who really just wants to sing. It makes sense to me that they did that though, as Sunny really had the “wild girl” position locked up and to have another would be kind of useless. Let’s put Maggie’s changes down to her trying to “find herself” or whatever.

Jill Hendrickson (is that her last name?). Oh, poor Jill. Carelessly written out in the first Diary. She used to be serious and boring, now she just really likes unicorns. Again, like having two wild girls, Jill’s seriousness was too dull for a series.

I really like Amalia and Ducky, although they don’t appear in BSC except in passing mentions. The Gay BFF was missing in the BSC series, and Amalia is just really likeable and down-to-earth, and her problems are interesting while still being realistic. I would have totally dated Brendan in 8th grade. (Or now, you know if he were about fifteen years older).

Where things get interesting is where the Stoneybrook and Palo City worlds collide, like in Welcome Home, Mary Anne!. Mary Anne and the BSC just can’t seem to handle the New Dawn. Even though the girls grow up and away from baby-sitting a little bit in the FF series, they still are in the Middle School building, after all.

16 Responses To This Post

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sotypical42483 said, September 10th, 2007 at 8:41 pm

I love Sunny in the BSC and in CD. her change really is realistic, it’s really in line with the character we met in the BSC series.

Jill… poor nerdy Jill who’s favorite store is Bear Accessories or whateverrr.

wanderingfrog said, September 10th, 2007 at 10:29 pm

It’s a shame the BSC can’t handle the New Dawn, ’cause I like the CA Diaries Dawn a lot more than I like later-era BSC Dawn.

bbb said, September 12th, 2007 at 6:55 pm

I like Dawn a lot in the CA Diaries. She is totally OCD in the book where they go to the Jax concert.

marsalis higgs said, November 10th, 2007 at 1:23 pm

GOD. I love California Diaries, as an 18-year-old male. This is probably the most exciting and realistic teen series I’ve read. And I love that you made this blog. It’s so relevant.

bobobobobobobo said, December 10th, 2008 at 8:09 pm

haven’t read it, yet, but it sounds like a good book! It’s sad how sunny’s mom died, though.

Abby said, November 17th, 2009 at 8:45 pm

I love ducky the most! He’s interesting and cute. I doubt that he’s gay, he seems to like sunny a lot though. Ducky’s rock! Who’s with me?

charmecia said, January 14th, 2010 at 9:16 pm

i totally agree
ducky rocks
and i like amalia
sucks that sunny’s mom died
but i did like sunny’s point of view though
sunny reminds me a lot like myself
and damn
bsc cant handle dawn
well if the bsc visited dawn again in california
then dawn will probably not handle them
or dawn will think that theyre too immature
and too kiddish to be around her
did i mention i love the california diaries a lot more than babysitters club anyways
cause i love dawn
and love hearing about the california side

Alycia said, May 18th, 2010 at 7:28 pm

I cried so hard when I read the CD with Sunny’s mom dying when I was 24. It was written so well, I don’t know if I would have been able to stomach it as a pre-teen.

Claudia said, July 30th, 2010 at 3:15 pm

i think the reason why most people don’t like amalia was because she was another abby, only more mexican. But i like amalia though. Ducky was my favorites out of all of them. He’s like a gay californian version of charlie, only much cooler.

Dawn’s alright, but i didnt like her much in the california diaries series, because she was still being bitchy.

greer said, July 31st, 2010 at 3:01 pm

@claudia–I don’t really equate Amalia with Abby at all, except that she had dark curly hair and was new to the canon. Otherwise, I think her personality was pretty distinct from Abby’s and she played a different role in the series–Maggie’s BFF, artistic, voice of reason.

Melissa said, August 5th, 2010 at 12:54 am

but wasnt Jill best friends with Maggie? I often wonder why Jill never had her own diary entries. Especially since she was supposed to be another Mary Anne, according to Dawn. Plus she liked surfing. I think Ann hates Jill just as much as she hates Mallory in the series.

greer said, August 6th, 2010 at 10:00 am

@melissa, I don’t recall if Jill and Maggie were best friends, or if if it was just that Sunny and Dawn were best friends and Jill and Maggie were the other two in the group. Plus, I recall Jill (and Maggie) preferring horseback riding to surfing in at least one of the books.

In the CA Diaries, Maggie went from punk to prep, and Jill from quiet to total loser, and Sunny from fun to troubled, all to set up drama. There wasn’t much room for drama the way the original W

greer said, August 6th, 2010 at 10:01 am

e *heart* Kids Club was set up.

Melissa said, August 6th, 2010 at 3:46 pm

well that sucked. I would of loved to hear what goes on in Jill’s life. I wonder if she was abused since she changed from being serious to dorky?

SayWhatSayWhat?Bobobo" said, October 23rd, 2010 at 7:34 am

I have no clue who’s who (only found out the books an hour ago!) But I think I’ll like Ducky. From the good praise to the scorn, he sounds exactly like a character I’ll like – funny and (optionally) gay. More stuff later but I need to go somewhere, so…..


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