the best friends you’ll never have

One of the marked features of the time warp is that no matter when someone’s birthday supposedly falls, after Logan Likes Mary Anne!, if you’re in eighth grade, you’re thirteen, and if you’re in sixth grade, you’re eleven, and so on. Even if you’re Dawn and your birthday is in February, if it’s an eighth grade June, you’re stull not fourteen.

Having everybody be thirteen in eighth grade and so on is kind of strange, because at least where I come from, it was common for people to be older. People like Mary Anne and Abby, who were born in September and October, respectively, usually wait a year to start kindergarten. Even kids with late July birthdays like me are often spend an extra year in pre-k.

There is only one exception that I’ve been able to find, and it’s sixteen-year-old sophomore Ducky McCrae in the California Diaries. Maybe his parents were too busy travelling to remember to enroll the Duckster in school. Maybe The Powers That Be wanted a character who could drive, thus giving the girls more independence, but didn’t want their friend to be a Junior in high school. But James Kodaly is a junior, and Amalia dates him, so that kind of makes that theory a bit strange.

Oh, and Mark Jaffe is thirteen and in seventh grade, because Claudia dates him for his “maturity.”

Are those two the only exceptions?

10 Responses To This Post

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andreajean said, March 7th, 2009 at 5:11 pm

I got the feeling that Mark Jaffe was left back in kindergarten or something. That’s why he’s a 13-year-old seventh grader.

bbb said, March 7th, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Yeah, Mark was left back. I think he says so in Claudia Kishi, Queen of the Seventh Grade.

I’d agree with the thinking that mabe Ducky was made a sophomore so as not to appear too much older than the girls…he is a very visible character, after all, and a good guy, whereas James turns out to be a bad guy.

wanderingfrog said, March 8th, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Karen and her classmates are exceptions, because she’s a year younger than the other second-graders due to skipping a grade, but she has two birthdays over the course of the series and makes it all the way to age seven-and-a-half, and she mentions that many of her classmates are already eight.
Technically, we also hear about Karen’s eighth birthday in that short story, but that’s outside of the series.

nikki said, March 9th, 2009 at 8:30 am

Technically, each state has their own regulations about when children with late birthdays begin kindergarten. So maybe Connecticut is one of those states where all kids born in a certain calendar year begin kindergarten at the same time, as opposed to requiring a child be five by the time kindergarten starts.
-Still doesn’t explain why Dawn is never fourteen though!

Sadako said, March 9th, 2009 at 3:43 pm

What about Charlotte Johanssen and Becca Ramsey? They’re both in 3rd grade, right, and they’re best friends, but isn’t Charlotte supposed to be a year younger b/c she skipped a grade? Or am I misremembering their ages?

Donica (Blossom) said, March 10th, 2009 at 11:08 pm

Sadako, Charlotte is supposed to be in FOURTH grade (she’s in second grade at beginning of series, skipped into third, and in #13 she states she’s SUPPOSED to be in third but she’s in fourth). Ghostwriters screwed that one up.

Missouri I think did have an “if you were born before a certain date (September 1st maybe?) you could be in the grade before…but most of the people I knew that were born BEFORE that date, in the summer, were older than the rest of us. I knew people who were born in July that were the oldest in our class… nearly a full year older than the ones born in June at the tail end.

Sadako said, March 11th, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Donica, is that because everyone got a year older after a certain point? I.e., the BSC went from 7th to 8th grade, so I guess Charlotte went from 3rd to 4th?

But if Becca and Charlotte are in the same grade, shouldn’t Becca be a year older, since only Char skipped a grade?

Donica (Blossom) said, March 12th, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Yes, that was when the bsc went from 7th to 8th… Becca and Charlotte are I gathered the same age, so theoretically Charlotte should be a grade ahead of Becca. Like I said, ghostwriters screwed that up, and I like to have my own little timeline in my head that AMM wrote :)

baseballchica03 said, March 19th, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Man, I have not been over this way in a while. I’m trying to catch up. Anyway, I just wanted to add that how young you are in a year depends a lot, I think, on region. I have a mid-October birthday, and I started kindergarten when I was 4. The cutoff at in my school district (and in this area in general) was that you must turn 5 by December 31 of the school year. I know in other places, it’s that you must be 5 before school begins, so I would have been one of the oldest students in class instead of one of the youngest.

JemGrrl said, March 13th, 2010 at 11:26 pm

I have a mid-October birthday as well, but I started kindergarten when I was 5…so two months into my kindergarten year, I turned 6…so I was always older than my classmates. I was 14 in all but 2 months of my 8th grade year and was 18 when I graduated. I’s probably easier for the author, though, to try to keep everybody’s ages relatively the same. I understand where she’s coming from, but still makes you wonder!!

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