Taffy Sinclair Strikes Again by Betsy Haynes


You know, I really have no idea who is who in this cover. Somewhere in that crowd of five girls is Jana, our odd little narrator, but I’m not entirely sure which one she is. She’s not the ginger girl (that’s Beth or something, I don’t know) but apart from that, I’m clueless.

The only person that really sticks out is Taffy Sinclair, who is so beautiful-yet-evil that Jana and her friends are kind of unhealthily obsessed with her. Seriously. Apparently, in the last book, they even formed an anti-Taffy Sinclair club that was named (creatively) the Against Taffy Sinclair Club. They spent most of their time doing boob enhancement exercises and probably trying to do witchcraft.

At first I thought that Taffy was just a misunderstood hottie who had a tough time at school because the other girls are jealous of her… which is true, kinda. But turns out she actually is kind of an evil bitch, so I guess that’s probably why she doesn’t have any friends. Go figure.

Speaking of pretty white girls with long blonde hair, I was really good pals with the resident Taffy Sinclair in my elementary school class. We made a striking couple–me, the chubby Philippino girl with the bowl haircut and her with the waist-length flaxen tresses. When she told me that her mother always made her wake up at 5:30AM to wash and curl her hair before school, my jilted little mind was actually all, “Yeah, it’s worth it!”

Ugh. Sometimes I really hate myself.

Back-Cover Blurb:
Maybe, just maybe, there’s another side to snooty Taffy Sinclair.

Sure, Taffy Sinclair was gorgeous, but it was time she ahd a little competition. That’s what Jana and her four sixth-grade friends are out to give her when they form a new club called the Fabulous Five. But when the club’s third meeting ends in disaster, Jana finds she has four new enemies. And with enemies like these, there’s only one friend worth having–the terrible Taffy herself!

Jana and her four friends, Beth, Katie, Melanie, and Christie, are forming yet another anti-Taffy club, but this time they’re re-dedicating themselves to self-improvement, rather than… I don’t know… making voodoo dolls from stolen bits of Taffy’s hair. They even have some sweet FABULOUS FIVE t-shirts made up at this store in the mall.

Jana’s friends are hard to differentiate at first, but luckily, Jana soon provides us with a handy little list of each of their faults. Just so you don’t get the wrong idea about Jana, she’s writing all of this down in order to help her friends improve themselves by acknowledging these faults. Not because she’s kind of a judgmental d-bag or anything.

According to Jana, Katie’s biggest flaw is that she’s a feminist. Yeah, that’s right. How nasty that she might be interested in something other than attracting boys. Groddy to the max!

And Christie is always upstaging Jana and trying to show everyone how smart she is. Yuck, right? No one should ever be more intelligent or successful than Jana. Ever.

Beth is apparently really over-dramatic and constantly trying to upstage everyone.

And Melanie? Well, Melanie’s biggest flaw is that she’s a fatty, which I guess is even worse than being a feminist.

Ugh, damn Jana… you’re kind of a jerk, you know that?

Jana, of course, is excited to hear her own flaws, too, until she… um… hears her own flaws. Apparently the other girls think she’s immature and boy crazy, all because she’s obsessively in love with a kid named Randy Kirwan. I mean “obsessed” like she has his phone number memorized, knows what his parents do for a living, and even has a secret poster of him hanging up on her wall.

If I were in Jana’s club, I would have added “Stalkerish” to the list, but that’s just me.

Needless to say, Jana’s big idea of being totally honest with each other really blows up in all the girls’ faces. The Fab Five break-up before any selves can be improved, which leaves Jana without anyone to hang out with.

Somehow this results in her making friends with Taffy Sinclair, which I guess is realistic since neither of them have anyone else to eat lunch with. There is this one kid who seems to like Jana named Curtis, who apparently is a huge dork, so he’s totally beneath her consideration. He’s no Randy Kirwan, that’s for effing sure.

So yeah. Taffy and Jana are pals now. Taffy teaches Jana how to use “body language” to attract boys and be bitchy to her FORMER friends. Taffy also tells Jana that a cute boy likes her but she’s been sworn to secrecy, and of course, Jana assumes that it’s Randy instead of Curtis, the guy that’s been buzzing around her for the entire damn book.

Jana even goes so far as to call Randy after school to ask him about his feelings for her, but she’s too much of a chicken to actually ask him directly, so she stuffs her mouth with cotton balls to disguise her voice. Randy is understandably confused as to why Don Corleone would be calling him up and asking about his relationship with Jana, so Randy says it’s nobody’s business but his and promptly hangs up.

Of course, Jana sees this as a positive sign and yet another confirmation that she and Randy are meant to be. Hm… Well, I never said the girl was smart.

Anyway, after about a week or so, it looks like Jana’s friends have gotten back together without her. They’re all convinced she’s a major beyotch because now she’s hanging out with Taffy Sinclair and giving everyone the evil eye. Jana feels kind of sad and left out, but not enough to actually apologize for acting like such a wench lately.

Cut to: the night before the Halloween dance.

Oh yeah, there’s a Halloween dance. There’s some lame committee scenes that I didn’t recap because they were just too exciting for words. Jana is going to dress up as the Jolly Green Giant while Taffy’s going to go as the Tooth Fairy. Luckily the characters are only twelve right now, because if they were a few years older, Taffy would probably be going as a Naughty Nurse while Jana attempted to pull off a sexy witch costume. Ew.

Beth calls Jana on the phone and tells her that Taffy has been saying really mean things about Jana behind her back, like how Jana’s been trying to learn body language, but from her it just comes out “like baby talk.” I think we can all agree that Taffy is no Massie Block, but what the statement lacks in wit it more than makes up for in sheer bitchiness.

Poor little Jana is without any friends now. Taffy is a ho-bag and her four real friends hate her guts. What’s a girl to do?

Well, first of all, Jana realizes that she’s been a real Debbie Downer about everything lately, so she decides to look on the bright side when it comes to her friends and their quirks. Good move, Jana.

And then, at the Halloween dance that night, she puts herself out there–instead of rocking the Jolly Green Giant costume, she does a big reveal during the costume contest and shows that she’s proudly wearing her Fabulous Five t-shirt from before.

It’s a nice gesture. Almost as nice as standing outside each of her friends’ windows with a boom box in her hands.

So now the Fab Five are reunited and back to doing what they do best: making fun of Taffy Sinclair. Normally I would feel a little bad for li’l Taffy, but she’s still kind of a dick, so I guess I’ll be joining the Against Taffy Sinclair club, as well.

Oh, and Randy seems to (maybe) have a little jones going on for Jana, since he followed her throughout the entire Halloween party, trying to scare her. As the book ends, Jana basks in the joy that is her life, telling her poster of Randy, “I’ll get you yet.”

Ugh. Creepy. The sequel sounds like a Fear Street book in the making.

Quotable Quotes:

“Maybe we should ask [Taffy] to join since we’re not at ware with her anymore,” I said. “She might even give us pointers if we’re nice to her.”

All four of my friends stared at me, looking as if they were going to throw up. I knew immediately that they were right–Taffy Sinclair was just too gorgeous. She had long blonde hair and big blue eyes, and next to her Brooke Shields looked positively plain.

Ewww, totally. Brooke Shields is a dirty brunette, which means that she’s only good for stealing boyfriends and/or hanging out with Michael Jackson.

The Moral of the Story:
Anyone who is more attractive than you is really just a bad person. Seriously. Even if you get to know them, you’ll just find that they’re evil. That’s why Megan Fox and I will never be BFFs.

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Other books, Stereotypes
13 comments on “Taffy Sinclair Strikes Again by Betsy Haynes
  1. Abby says:

    A lot of YA blogs that review these books hate Jana, and after reading the books as an adult I see why. Still, I think Jana is a fairly realistic depiction of a 6th grader.

    Oh, to answer your question, Katie is the ginger, Christie is blond (there are no blonds in the huddle but one of the brunettes has slight lighter hair than the other 3 so that is probably Christie). As far as who’s who of the darker brunettes the cover artist made them all the same size so no way to identify Melanie. Oops.

    And yeah, these girls were catty, bitchy bullies, but as you said, Taffy WAS a bitch. It was really the chicken and the egg argument over whether Taffy was a bitch because the other girls were so mean to her, or if the other girls were mean to her because she was such a bitch.

    Just wait until Randy Kirwan eventually chooses Jana over Taffy because she is just so much more kind hearted. Oh yeah, and loves dogs and pizza.

  2. R. G. Quimby says:

    No kidding? I’ve got to get a hold of the rest of the books in this series because this pay-off with Randy is just way too awesome to miss.

    But yeah, you’ve got a good point about Jana. She’s realistic, though a little bit exaggerated at times. I kind of got the impression that the author wanted the readers to understand that Jana’s making mistakes, acting mean, etc.. I do have to give Haynes props for (I’m assuming) giving her young audience enough credit to think they might be critical readers.

    As far as the rest of the series goes, do we ever get to see much of the softer side of Taffy? In this one, I think we only get one quick moment.

  3. Abby says:

    Not really. Since all these books are told from Jana’s point of view Taffy never comes off in a particularly good light. The only exception I can think of is the book where Taffy catches Jana with their teacher’s stolen wallet (Jana had picked it up off the floor or something not realizing what it was), and Taffy blackmails Jana into being her personal servant. Jana shows the most insight and empathy at the end of the book when she realizes Taffy was doing it not just to be mean, but because she was so lonely and wanted to have Jana around. It was one of the more touching books in the series.

    The few books told from Taffy’s point of view make her a little more sympathetic, but I wouldn’t say she was supposed to be this misunderstood girl with a heart of gold- Betsy Haynes wanted her to be a flawed character, as all the girls were. I liked that about the author.

    At the very end of the Fabulous Five series Taffy and Jana do decide to put their rivalry behind them and be friends, but at that point Taffy was only a tertiary character anyways who was only referenced once every ten books are so.

  4. Sadako says:

    Taffy seems like the Serena van der Woodsen of her day. That is, I found myself pulling a Jana when I read the book, thinking, ew, what a bitch, even though every single person seems so drawn to her…every guy falls in love with her, every girl wants to be her, etc. (Yes, I was reading Gossip Girl…I’ll go self flagellate now!)

  5. Abby says:

    Taffy actually got surprisingly little play in this series. The only boy she wanted throughout the majority of the series was Randy Kirwan, who only wanted Jana. She did manage to hook a pretty major movie actor while starring in a made for TV movie, but that was not until the end of the series. Other than that, she didn’t have a boyfriend or any close girl friends. None of the girls liked her because they thought she was snobby, and the guys thought she was pretty but never really asked her out.

  6. Shannon says:

    I love that cover. It really takes me back to the days when cover art was actually art rather than photographs of crackwhores and skanks.

  7. Sadako says:

    So I’m not the only one reading Cecily von…er, you know what I mean, books, eh, Shannon? 😉

  8. Shannon says:

    Sadako, shhhh! 😉

  9. girltalkread says:

    Great blog!!! I loved the Against Taffy Sinclair books I read all of them at least 20 times in sixth grade!! I liked the Fab Five series as well and I have recapped some of the Fab Five on my blog!!

    Also loved that you snarked on Pen Pals books- this is great!!! LOVE THIS BLOG!

  10. R. G. Quimby says:

    @ girtalkread — You’ve got a blog? You should totally link to it in your username or something. Let’s see it!

    @ Everybody Else — **tucks away Gossip Girl-related post and whistles innocently**

  11. girltalkread says:

    U already have it on the blogroll- Fitzie’s Soda Shoppe!!! That’s me!

  12. Rosaline says:

    I always thought Taffy was an uberwench (though Jana and her friends weren’t much better), but I felt sorry for her after Taffy Sinclair’s Secret Diary or whatever the book was called — the one that’s from Taffy’s POV and where she loses her diary, in which — horrors! — she talks about how insecure she is.

    So if Taffy is Serena van der Woodsen, then does Laura McCall (of The Fabulous Five series) = Blair Waldorf?

    (I’m a little ashamed that I still remember so much about these books, but I read them over and over when I was younger because I loved them with a fiery passion. Girls’ club that doesn’t involve babysitting FTW!)

  13. R. G. Quimby says:

    True dat… although any book without “silly billy goo goo” references is welcome on my bookshelf.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: