Claudia has always been the most outrageous girl in her class…until Ashley Wyeth comes along. Ashey’s really different – she dresses in hippie clothes, wears six earrings, and is the most fantastic artist Claudia has ever met.
Ashey says Claudia has artistic talent, too. She thinks Claudia should spend more time on her “calling” and forget about the Baby-sitter’s Club: It’s just a waste of time.
The Baby-sitters are sick of Ashley Wyeth, and they think Claudia’s a traitor. Claudia’s got to decide: either the Baby-sitter’s Club or the new girl – one of them’s got to know.
As I continue my journey down memory lane, I realize these books actually offered a lot of sound advice when it comes to friendship. Though I never encountered anyone as dedicated as Ashley, there were times as a teenager that I found myself on the outs with my friends. Though it was years after I had stopped reading the series, at those moments I could relate to how Claudia feels when she’s on the outs with the rest of the club.
The unique aspect about all of this is how it focuses on Claudia’s love for art and her insecurities about being good at anything else. This is a common theme in most of the Claudia books. But the great thing about this particular book is how Claudia rallies in the end by her own motivation. She goes out of her way to apologize to her friends, who truly don’t deserve it after the way they’ve treated her. Leaving nasty notes all over her room, stealing her food and short sheeting her bed is far worse than Claudia getting caught up in her art for a few weeks. Nevertheless, it’s Claudia who is mature enough to offer the first olive branch.
Also, it was nice to see Claudia realize that as much as she loves her art, catching up on her school work is really important. Truth is, after weeks of obsessing over her art, she finds herself with only a week left before the sculpture exhibit. So not only had she blown off her friends and her schoolwork, but she really shot herself in the foot. In a way, trying so hard, left her with a bit of artist’s block and it doesn’t begin to lift until she realizes all the other great things she’s been giving up.
This is what makes this one of the more solid books for Claudia in the series. While the rest of the girls act immaturely, it was nice to see Claudia find her way, on her own. No parents pushing her to focus on school work and very few references of jealousy over Janine’s genius status… it just leaves you with a better understanding of the character without all of the childish whining that was present in Claudia and Mean Janine.
Pick up your copy on Amazon: Claudia and the New Girl