So it seems from the comments that everyone disagrees with me on the Cary front. Pffft.
Let’s start from the beginning. Cary Retlin is quite interesting, as he did not appear in the series until very late (Stacey’s Haunted Masquerade, I believe), yet he seems to leave a lasting impression. Reviewing what we know about Cary, we know that he is hot (according to Stacey, so how much does that really mean?); he hails from Oak Hill, Illinois; his dad used to be a policeman but is now a locksmith; and he is the purported ringleader of the Mischief Knights, who cause a lot of trouble around SMS. Cary shows up often in Mystery books, and seems be quite the detective himself. He also wishes to become J.D. Salinger and enjoys surrealist art. He hangs out with Alan Gray.
Kristy and Cary do not appear to like each other. In Kristy In Charge, this hatred sends several seventh graders to the hospital. In Kristy and the Middle School Vandal, Cary challenges Kristy to a mystery contest, wherein a loss results in the loss of Kristy’s fancy watch. In Kristy Power!, Cary and Kristy have a huge fight. I am sure that there are other Kristy/Cary hatefests which I can’t think of at the moment.
This brings me to my point. Kristy does indeed have a history of having hate-to-love evolutions in her relatioonships. But the transformation happens quickly. Alan Gray went to a dance with Kristy in the second book of the series. Michel and Kristy were making out in the Eiffel Tower by the end of European Vacation. But between Cary and Kristy the closest they got to any sort of reconciliation was a grudging respect for one another. If they were OTP, they would have gone to a dance or kissed or exchanged friendship shoulder punches (the Kristy Hug!) if you want to really stretch it.
Kristy and Cary have the opposite of a mutual adoration society. I think Cary really is just annoyed by Kristy, by her gigantic ego, by her confidence that she is smarter than the entire Stoneybrook Police Department. Kristy is annoyed by Cary because he does not revere her, nor is he frightened by her. He even questions her detective skills! He is one of the only people, besides Cokie Mason, who is willing to say to Kristy, “You’re wrong.” And as we all know from some book which i can’t recall now where Logan writes in huge letters KRISTY WAS RIGHT in the notebook, and the narrator said that Kristy lives to be told she is right and probably blew up that entry and hung it on the wall above her bed, well, this does not bode well for Kristy and Cary even being friends. To be Kristy’s friend, you must suffer through her mistaken “great” ideas and cheer her on when she really does have a great one. You must treat her as someone who is Much Better At Problem Solving Than You, regardless of whether that is true. I do think she has a softer side to her, but this is the face that she likes to show to the public.
So no, I do not believe in Kristy/Cary at all.
Instead I believe in Mary Anne/Cary.
The issue with Mary Anne/Cary, sadly, is that it takes place pretty much only in FF. This is because for the entire time that Cary is a part of the BSC world while the regular series is being written, MA and Logan are still together. I believe I have mentioned many times on this blog that I can’t stand Logan Bruno, except in his own books where he’s a huge dork, but it bears saying again: I can’t stand that Logan Bruno.
There are many in the fandom who take a “If I don’t open my eyes and see it, it doesn’t exist” approach to FF. They would prefer the Club to be fully functional, for Stacey and Claud to not be fighting over a boy, for the farmhouse to still be standing. I happen to enjoy FF, however, although I know those of us who enjoy FF are certainly a small group. Anyway, most Mary Anne/Cary action happens in FF so that is why it is kind of an ignored ship.
Most of the MA/Cary stuff happens in Mary Anne’s Revenge. Mary Anne’s Revenge is a great book, even if you hate FF on principle. Cary helps MA get revenge on Cokie. I don’t think Cary’s hatred for Kristy really carried on to the other BSCers. Cary seems to work very hard on this plan, claiming that he hates Cokie, but I think it is because he wants to make out with Mary Anne. Interpret it as you wish. Also, in Claudia and the Disaster Date, Cary totally asks to be MA’s partner during miniature golf, and she does so, happily. Awwww. I think that if FF had not ended after that, MA and Cary would have dated. Claudia with Alan, MA with Cary… Kristy’s head would have exploded. That would have been terribly gross, so that is why they had to let the BSCers graduate. The head-explosion scene would have been way too gross.
As for those who ship MA and Pete… I ask, why? Sure, Pete asks her out, but Pete is the character equivalent of wet clay. He was molded into whatever shape was needed for that particular book. Sometimes he’s cool, sometimes he’s geeky, sometimes he snaps bra straps, sometimes Stacey dates him. People enjoyed MA/Pete in MA Misses Logan, but I think their teamwork was based more off of hatred for Cokie/Logan than anything else.
So that’s my stance.