Mary Anne can't stop thinking about babies. First she starts baby-sitting for a pair of adorable baby twins. Then she and Dawn decide it would be great to have a little baby brother or sister of their own.
But Mary Anne learns that taking care of a baby is a big responsibility when she and Logan have to play pretend parents to an egg "baby" for a special class at school. "Sammie", their egg, has to be watched all the time, and Mary Anne and Logan barely have time to breathe. Taking care of a "baby" isn't all it's cracked up to be!
Mary Anne's chilling at home with Dawn, and she's contemplating families. Dawn mentions that she saw the Shillaber twins' new baby brother the other day, and she and MA start dreaming about having a baby sibling of their own. Dawn points out that her mom isn't too old to get pregnant, while MA says that they could always adopt the way Kristy's family did. Eventually the conversation turns to the new Short Takes class they were taking: Modern Living. It would be a class to show the kids how to be financially responsible and how to take care of a family. Dawn and MA think it's pretty dumb, but MA is at least glad that Logan is in her class.
And boy is she ever glad once the class starts, because immediately, the students are to pair up and get married. Obviously, MA marries Logan, and is quite happy. Things start crashing down as Logan and MA realize that they aren't financially stable nor independent, and eventually make the decision that they'd have to live at MA's place if they were married for real.
The next thing they know, the class is given the egg-baby assignment: each pair of students is to look after an egg and pretend like it's a real baby. Mostly, they have to keep an eye on it at all times. Everyone is quickly horrified, trying to figure out how to balance watching an egg with sports practices and lessons and just life. MA and Logan briefly argue over how to keep their baby, until they're able to get together and create a little container for it.
Most of the rest of the book is dedicated to the egg-baby project. We learn that Kristy is paired with Alan Gray, and their baby is named Izzy. Alan takes the project super seriously, and together, they create an entire shoebox environment for their kid. Anyways, Kristy takes Izzy to the Papadakises while she baby-sits. Alan calls her there, worried about their egg-baby. While Kristy fields the phone call and tries to reassure Alan that everything is fine, the egg-baby goes missing. So Kristy in a panic gets Linny and Hannie to search, and eventually they discover that Sari is taking care of Izzy with her dolls. Kristy decides not to tell Alan about this.
Stacey is paired with Austin Bentley, and their baby is named Bobby. This creates issues when Stacey has to bring him with her to a baby-sitting job, since she's baby-sitting for Bobby and Alicia Giannelli. Anyways, the whole idea of having to care for an egg freaks Alicia out, especially since the egg has the same name as her brother. Bobby (the person) eventually goes to play with some friends, but Alicia is too young and needs to stay with Stacey, only she won't until the egg is gone. Stacey calls up Austin and gets him to pick up their egg. This leads Stacey to contemplate how hard life must be as a single parent.
Dawn sits with Mallory at the Pikes, and brings her egg Skip with her. Dawn's paired up with a boy named Aaron Albright, and she doesn't like him very much. They haven't made any attempts at creating an "environment" for their egg, instead just shoving it into a tissue box with some paper towels. Anyways, the Pike kids decide that Dawn's project seems super cool, and they all pair up and have egg-babies themselves. Vanessa breaks hers while trying to "clothe" it (colour it with crayon) and is inconsolable. Eventually the kids decide to pretend that they're taking their egg-babies out to the restaurant, where Nicky describes a menu full of egg-items. Hilarious!
Anyways, things aren't going too great with Logan and MA. They constantly bicker about how to properly care for their egg, and who is going to get stuck with her. Eventually, Logan tries to get MA to go out on a date, and that they should have an evening alone with the baby. Unfortunately, MA can't get a sitter, and ends up having to take their egg with them. They have problems at the movie theatre, because the place is packed and they can't take a third seat for their egg basket. So MA tries putting the basket on the floor, but that just pisses off Logan. They keep making noise, trying to keep track of their egg-baby in the dark theatre, pissing off everyone around them. At some point, MA briefly misplaces the egg, and they have to call an usher to help them find her. They decide to leave the theatre, and on the way home get into an argument over who would take their, Logan not trusting MA, and then being resentful at always having to take the egg.
MA and Logan aren't the only ones in their class having problems. Shawna Riverson decides that she wants a divorce from her husband, since he's never offering to take care of their egg. Turns out the poor guy has never taken care of a baby, or even younger siblings before, and has no idea what to do! Anyways, they're both just frustrated with everything. Another couple have misplaced their egg, and although they're concerned with how they'll finish the project, they're also legit upset about losing their "child". Another student is completely overwhelmed with the project, since his life is full of extracurriculars and his parents are in the process of getting a divorce, causing his mother to lean on him more than usual. At the end of class, Logan and MA talk, reflecting that maybe they aren't doing too bad after all. However, their moment is ruined when Logan yet again tries to keep the egg, despite it being MA's turn. MA runs away crying.
After another hectic day, Logan and MA talk some more, and decide that they've been fighting because they're so stressed. They reflect that they are in no way ready for marriage or children, not until they finish college at least. Later, Dawn and MA discuss how difficult babies are, and decide to give up on trying to convince their parents to have one. The Modern Living class soon ends, and everyone is happy to be free of their eggs. Dawn and MA decide they never want to think about babies ever again, when their parents surprise them with an announcement... they've decided that if Dawn and MA want another pet, they can have one. Dawn and MA decide that even another pet would be too much responsibility for them at this age!
There's really no subplot in this book. Most of it is taken up by the egg-baby project, with a few asides about baby-sitting for real babies. MA sits for the Salem twins, and the twins are so adorable and angelic, which gives MA even more baby fever. Later in the book, she sits for them again, and they're nightmares (and twice the trouble), which quickly quells MA's baby fever.
- This review is going to be super shitty and short, because 1) I've never particularly liked this book and 2) I just started a new job haha
- I've always hated whenever books or TV shows do the fake-baby episodes. I am so glad I never had to do this at school. I already knew from a young age that I never ever wanted children. I also knew from a young age that I was in no way able to support myself financially (let alone myself and a child!). So yeah, I never had delusions of becoming a teen parent or growing up too fast, so I never needed to be scared straight or into responsibility. We had a parenting/family studies class in my high school, where they made babies out of sacks of sugar, and had to carry them around for like, 2 weeks. Of course, I never took the class cuz I was too busy being an arts student, with my music and drama haha
- I find it weird that 13 year olds would want a sibling so bad, that they'd talk about how their parents aren't too old for it yet. It's one thing when a little kid wants a sibling, they generally don't really know how siblings are made, but a 13 year old definitely does. Who wants to think about their parents actively having sex and trying for kids when they're around??
- I'm trying to imagine all sorts of drama that would have happened in this book if Logan and Mary Anne had been in different classes, and thus had to partner up with different people. I'd like to have seen Mary Anne paired up with Pete Black again, and to have discovered through working closely with him that he's super awesome and that she can have him instead of Logan haha
- There are more boys than girls in the class, so two of the pairings are all-male. It's interesting, because they make a big deal over "who's going to be the wife", and obviously none of the boys want to be "wives". I wonder if nowadays it'd just be like, "And we've got two same-sex pairings. Moving on!" without any of this "but who's gonna be the wife!" crap.
- I find it weird how Alan Gray shifts from general pest whose affections somewhat flatter Kristy, to all-out jerk who is a monster and no one should ever date. I find he's more tolerable in the books written by AMM herself, such as this one. He takes the egg-baby project super seriously and almost drives Kristy crazy with his over-parenting.
- The Pikes aren't loaded. We know that. But time and time again, they do stuff that really makes me question their parenting. Mallory lets her siblings commandeer nearly a full dozen eggs to play with. Now, Mrs Pike needs to buy more eggs. Not only is that nearly a dozen wasted, but what if Mrs Pike was planning on baking with them or wanted eggs for breakfast??