Fandom: The Baby-sitters Club
Pairings: Stacey McGill/Sam Thomas, Janine Kishi/Charlie Thomas, John Pike/Dee Pike, Vanessa Pike/Tom Cates, Nancy Dawes/Andrew Brewer, Stacey McGill/Ethan Carroll, Claire Pike/Andrew Brewer, Shannon Kilbourne/Bart Taylor
Spoilers: None, I don't think. This is all pretty general. :)
The Baby-sitters Club is a book series by Ann M. Martin. The series began in 1986 with Kristy's Great Idea, and by the time the original series concluded in 2000, there were 131 books in the original series, 36 Mysteries, 4 Super Mysteries, 15 Super Specials, several Readers Request and Portrait Collection novels, and three spin off series - Friends Forever, California Diaries, and Baby-sitters Little Sister - which spawned its own spinoff, The Kids in Ms. Colman's Class.
There was also a TV show and a movie, both made in the early/mid 90s.
The premise? A group of friends, aged between 11 and 13, start up a baby-sitting business. They meet three times a week on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays between 5:30 and 6:00, and parents call the Club and book baby-sitters for their children.
The BSC is set in the fictional town of Stoneybrook, Connecticut, and the adventures there aren't only restricted to baby-sitting.
There are friendships, divorces, marriages, best friends becoming step sisters, break ups, make ups, sleepovers, narrow escapes, shipwrecks, mysteries, miracles, heartaches, hellos and goodbyes.
While the main characters are between the ages of 11 and 13 in canon, fandom tends to age them up, placing them in high school, college or beyond. I'm going to list some of my favourite het fics below, but the BSC fandom also contains a fantastic array of gen and slash fic. Minor characters also get a lot of love in this fandom, and some of the 'minor' characters, like the parents, have more fic than some of the 'main' characters of the series.
This fandom isn't huge, but it's certainly alive, and one of the friendliest places you could ever hope to settle ♥ It's my favourite fandom, and I'd encourage anyone who's ever read the books to take a look and join us. We're a lovely bunch ;)
I'll leave a list of fandom and fanfiction related communities at the end of the post for anyone who wants to browse further.
The main characters in the series are:
Kristy Thomas: President of the BSC, Great Idea machine, bossy, loud, organised, sporty and outgoing. Family and friends are very, very important to Kristy. She's loyal and fierce, and she doesn't like change much.
In canon, Kristy is never very interested in boys. At the very beginning of the series, she mentions going to a dance or two with Alan Gray. In most of the books, though, Kristy has no time for boys outside of a sports setting. Later on, she has a "sort of boyfriend", Bart Taylor.
Fandom tends to pair Kristy up with girls more than boys, but the most popular het pairings for Kristy have her with Cary Retlin or Bart Taylor.
Mary Anne Spier: BSC Secretary, shy, sensitive, emotional. Mary Anne can cry at the drop of a hat, but as the series goes on she gains confidence. She'll stand up for herself and her friends if she's pushed far enough, though she hates confrontation.
In canon, Mary Anne Spier has a long-time boyfriend, Logan Bruno. She and Logan have a fairly steady relationship from very early on in the series (#10), breaking up now and then [Spoiler (click to open)]but always getting back together, until they break up for good in the Friends Forever series, which is set after the final book in the regular BSC series.
Fandom het pairings for Mary Anne include Logan Bruno, Pete Black, Alan Gray and Charlie Thomas.
Claudia Kishi: Artist, fashionista, junk food addict, terrible student. Claudia can't spell to save her life, but her funky fashion sense is out of this world. Addicted to junk food and Nancy Drew mysteries, Claudia is the Vice President of the BSC and dreams of being a famous artist one day.
In canon, Claudia has several different boyfriends, none of which are very long term.
Fandom tends to slash Claudia a lot, either with Stacey McGill or Ashley Wyeth, but there are a couple of het fics here and there, pairing her with Alan Gray or Jackie Rodowsky.
Stacey McGill: Club Treasurer, NYC chic, sophisticated, smart, sugar-free. Stacey is the girl with the blue eyes and the blonde perm; the girl who looks like she just stepped off the fashion runway. Passionate about boys and math, Stacey is clever, pretty, and popular.
In canon, Stacey goes through boys like they're fashion accessories. If she doesn't have a boyfriend, she's usually crushing on someone pretty hard.
Fandom het pairings for Stacey include: Sam Thomas, Robert Brewster, and Ethan Carroll. There are also a few fics pairing her with original characters.
Dawn Schafer: Californian, laid back, bossy, political, health-conscious, environmentally friendly. Dawn Schafer is a girl of many conflicts and warring attitudes. She's laid back until someone litters or comes up with an opinion that differs to her own - and then look out! Dawn's outspoken, and she can drive others crazy sometimes, but her heart is usually in the right place, and she cares deeply about her friends.
In canon, when Dawn falls for a boy, she falls pretty hard, and can lose sight of everything else for a bit - including herself. She has a couple of crushes and dates here and there, but nothing long-term.
Fandom het pairings for Dawn are surprisingly rare - in fact, I can't think of any off the top of my head! She does get a bit of gen love though, so if you're looking for Dawn fic, don't restrict your search to het-only!
Mallory Pike: Forever eleven, Mallory Pike is the only redheaded child in a family with eight children. She hates her nose, she has to wear glasses and braces, and she feels her parents are more strict with her than with any of her siblings.
But, Mallory Pike isn't a loser. (I mean, fandom treats her kind of badly sometimes, but seriously, Mal is awesome.) She wants to be a famous writer when she grows up - she spends every spare minute writing. But after spending her time with her huge family, Mal doesn't have a lot of spare time.
When it comes down to the wire, Mallory is responsible, brave, determined and kind. She sticks up for herself and her friends, and - even if it makes things difficult or unpleasant - she goes out of her way to make sure everything is fair and equal for everyone.
In canon, Mallory has a "sort of boyfriend", Ben Hobart, but most of the time she has no real interest in boys.
In fandom, het pairings for Mallory include Ben Hobart and original characters.
Jessi Ramsey: Friendly, caring, quiet and devoted to ballet, Jessi is an aspiring ballerina, and Mallory's best friend. Jessi loves kids - a lot of her free time is spent with children, either her younger sister and brother, or groups of kids she's gathering up for activities like skits or dance groups.
In canon, Jessi takes interest in a couple of guys, the most memorable being Quint, a fellow ballet dancer.
Unfortunately, Jessi doesn't get a lot of fandom love - there are a few fics here and there, but nothing necessarily shippy.
Abby Stevenson: "The Replacement" - Abby comes in near the very end of the series, after Dawn moves back to California. Jewish, allergic to absolutely everything, and with a serious addiction to puns and one-liners, Abby is sporty and competitive. She's a bit of a rival for Kristy sometimes, but she's friendly and outgoing, and will go out of her way to ease any tension or discomfort anyone else may be feeling.
In canon, Abby seems to have zero interest in relationships, though I will fully admit that I'm not as familiar with Abby as I am with the other characters, so I might be missing something.
Fandom tends to slash Abby a lot, and a brief search for het fic featuring Abby hasn't turned anything up - yet. :)
Most fic in the BSC fandom - at least, most current fic - tends to focus on the original four members of the Club: Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey. However, there is also a surprisingly large amount of fics for more minor characters, like Sam Thomas (Kristy's brother), John and Dee Pike (Mallory's parents), Janine Kishi (Claudia's sister), and Richard Spier (Mary Anne's father).
I actually struggled a bit to get ten recs - I didn't want to include any links to locked posts, and there is a lot of gen fic around that kind of blurs the lines. I've tried to keep all my recs shippy, but there might be one or two that errs more on the side of gen. (I'll label them appropriately.)
The fandom has wide tastes - for such a small place, you can find a lot of differing themes, pairings and genres. I would definitely encourage people to go and browse - there are links at the end of the post which might help you get started. :)
Fic Rec #1: Cold Stealing Warmth
Pairing: Vanessa Pike/Tom Cates
Why This Must Be Read:
Oh, gosh. I can't get over my love for this fic. The description of the settings and scenary, the characterisation. Vanessa is Mallory Pike's younger sister, and Tom Cates only features in one book out of the hundreds that make up the BSC series - and to be honest, I don't think he and Vanessa ever even come into contact in that one book. But meroure has woven their characterisations and futures so perfectly, blooming them both into complete people with histories and flaws.
Excerpt: [Spoiler (click to open)]“I’m not going to apologize,” Tom finally says, and Vanessa’s stomach takes a dive as she counts customer number five walking out the door, drink in hand. Tom continues, “I shouldn’t have to. Maybe I said some things that I shouldn’t have, but you shouldn’t have answered my phone. It is that simple. I don’t know how you expect me to ever trust you again.”
Vanessa knew that. She expected that, but it still hurts. The hot chocolate feels like a molten lump sliding down her throat and into her stomach.
“What do you want me to do?” she asks desperately. “I’ll do anything. Please. Just give me another chance.”
“It’s not that easy,” Tom points out. “Damn it. You already fucked up once. Why should I trust you again?”
Vanessa is not going to cry. She’s not. She is twenty-one years old, has eight siblings, and has survived high school. This is nothing.
Fic Rec #2 Mouth
Pairing: Dee Pike/John Pike
Why This Must Be Read: This was a gift fic for me, so I may be a little biased, but... (Actually it's just come to my attention that I've recced this one before - sorry! I'm going to stand by my second rec though. I love it.)
John/Dee is one of the most popular pairings in the fandom. Mallory's parents - the parents of eight children - John and Dee are fun, hilarious, and very in love, and this fic captures all of that so perfectly. It's a missing scene from canon, but stands firm on its own. It's really lovely, and I can't squee enough over how perfectly it characterises these two.
Excerpt: [Spoiler (click to open)]“Really,” Dee confirmed, a teasing glint in her eyes. She reached forward to lightly touch John’s cheek. “But maybe we can both get what we want. The kids will be outside for hours…”
“Mmm,” John pulled Dee toward him, so that her head was resting against his chest. “And what would that be?”
Fifteen years and eight kids later, Dee still smiled at the silly feeling she got in her stomach when she rested her head against her husband’s chest, listening to the relaxing thump-thump-thump of his heart-beat. She toyed with the bottom buttons on his shirt.
“I think,” she said softly, tilting her head back to meet his gaze. “That we both know what that is.”
Fic Rec #3: Routine
Pairing: Claire Pike/Andrew Brewer
Why This Must Be Read: Okay, I'm probably stretching this one a little, because it errs more on the side of gen than ship, but it's there if you squint, and it's really cute. If ever there was perfect characterisation of Andrew Brewer... This is really sweet - and, I think, touches perfectly on what it's like to have a crush and not really know what to do about it.
Excerpt: [Spoiler (click to open)]Andrew always walks from social studies to math by himself. He likes this. He likes to take a slight detour and walk past the rows of seventh grade lockers. Every day, between these two classes, Claire visits her locker in the third row. He doesn’t know if she remembers him. He used to see her a lot when he was little. She was always at those kids’ events that Kristy brought him to. He even remembered going to Sea City once with his mom’s family, years ago, and they had played together a few times then. That was the year his stepdad taught him to ride a skimboard.
Fic Rec #4: The Charlie Thomas Hypothesis
Pairing: Janine Kishi/Charlie Thomas
Why This Must Be Read: I love any fic that has Janine spouting big words or ridiculously-phrased theories, and this does it without going over the top. Throw in her relationship with steady, gentle Charlie and this fic is just gorgeous. It feels perfectly in character and makes the relationship between them work, despite their differences.
Excerpt: [Spoiler (click to open)]Everything had been going so well between the two of them. Seeing Charlie was the highlight of her week, rivaling even the biopsychiatry class she was taking at the community college. Janine knew they hadn't actually talked about keeping things quiet, but she couldn’t understand why Charlie suddenly wanted to announce this thing between them, whatever it was, to the entire world. Going out on a date together was a risky proposition. Guys like him just weren’t seen hanging around girls like her.
And girlfriend? Janine wondered what had possessed him to call her that. She liked Charlie a lot, more than she wanted to admit to herself, but she hadn't thought much about what this sneaking around really meant. The time they spent together was uncomplicated, and she loved that they could enjoy just being together without worrying about labels or the looks from other people.
"Girlfriend" was something entirely different.
Fic Rec #5: Paths of Life
Pairing: Stacey McGill/Sam Thomas
Why This Must Be Read: This is one of those cute little fics that just lets you glimpse a brief window of something - in this case, Sam and Stacey's wedding. Not many details about their relationship is given - in fact, this is more about how Charlie feels on the day - but it's sweet and special, and it feels exactly right.
Excerpt: [Spoiler (click to open)]He had the pleasure of seeing the absolutely fixed expression of his brother as he looked at his bride for the first time as his bride. Charlie couldn’t blame him.
Not that Stacey McGill didn’t look great pretty much all the time, but today she looked like what he thought girls probably dreamed about looking like on their wedding. Tall and slim in a column of ivory and lace, a small train flowing behind her, and a sheer veil draped over her face, Stacey came up the aisle on her father’s arm.
When she came to take her place next to her groom, Charlie watched the way the two of them exchanged a smile and look that shut everyone else in the world out.
Fic Rec #6: So Close
Pairing: Stacey McGill/Sam Thomas
Why This Must Be Read: Set during very early canon, this fic comes with a beautiful air of nostalgia. It fits really well into the canon, and Sam's nervousness as he tries to ask Stacey for a dance is precious.
Excerpt: [Spoiler (click to open)]“Why don’t you ask her to dance?” Charlie queried pleasantly.
Sam frowned. “She looks busy,” he murmured between bites. She was standing with her group of friends, laughing and chatting and taking pictures. In fact, her camera had been permanently attached to her face for most of the day – maybe Kristy had put her in charge of recording the event for posterity?
The idea amused him, but was not enough to shake his growing tide of wary uncertainty.
“A word of advice,” Charlie mused aloud, draping an arm around his brother’s shoulders. “Girls who look like that will always be busy.” He paused, taking in Sam’s pained expression, before speaking again. “Take a swing or take a seat. In the meanwhile, how about leaving some olives for the rest of us?”
Fic Rec #7: Pathway
Pairing: Shannon Kilbourne/Bart Taylor
Rating/Warning(s): T. No author warnings, but if my memory serves me correctly, I'll give a warning for: [Spoiler (click to open)]attempted suicide.
Why This Must Be Read: It's been a while since I read this one in any detail, but this is such an unusual pairing done in such a beautiful way. I always love a fic that breathes such life and detail into two-dimensional characters. This is a great example, and a beautifully-written fic.
Excerpt: [Spoiler (click to open)]He faked a frown, placing a head over an apparently broken heart. For a second, she wondered if that might be true, that boys could be broken like the playthings they catcalled after.
The next second, he was hammering wooden balls at a target range of coconuts on stands. Five points got you a teddy-bear small enough to hold with both your hands but any boy who'd dated Kristy Thomas in the past would have to possess a competitive streak as vindictive as hers. Bart tossed ball after ball, until he was down to his last spare dollar. Fortunately for him, he did finally score a hundred off five coconuts knocked to the ground.
"I guess the last-minute adrenalin rush helped," he'd said as he pressed the chest-sized bear into her arms. "Man, I feel like McDowell in that Yankees game against…"
Shannon had not known what came over her then, but she had tried to keep it close to her: the stutter of her heart along the barely-heard 'thank you', the trace of her fingers along the cotton fur where his hands had brushed not too long ago…
Fic Rec #8: a thousand miles from nowhere
Pairing: Nancy Dawes/Andrew Brewer
Rating/Warning(s): M, author warns for [Spoiler (click to open)]non-explicit references to eating disorders.
Why This Must Be Read: This is a bandom!AU fic that somehow works so perfectly I don't even have the words. The future for these two characters is very sad and lonely, and it's one of those fics that stays with you a long time after you've read it.
Excerpt: [Spoiler (click to open)]In Italy she catches a train from Milan to Rome, arriving just before the main act.
The arena is dark, but the stage is brightly lit with neon lights and the crowd vibrates with energy. On stage the band gives their everything to the audience, and the audience soaks it up and it throws it back in an array of dizzying motion and color.
Nancy hangs toward the back of the crowd, too overwhelmed to do much more than stand in the shadows. She feels too old for this. The audience is the same age as she, but they look alive.
After the show, Andrew shoves her up against an amp while he should be helping break-down the stage equipment. They are half-hidden in the shadows. His face rubs against hers, smearing her leftover make-up from the fashion shoot she had hurriedly left that afternoon. Her head falls backward as he leaves a trail of kisses from her lips to her ear to her neck and back around. Her hands fumble with his belt buckle and when he pushes her down to her knees, Nancy feels like she can finally breathe.
Fic Rec #9: Date
Pairing: Sam Thomas/Stacey McGill
Why This Must Be Read: This is just full of little lines and jokes from canon, which makes it a lot of fun to read. Not to mention, Sam is really cute here, with both David Michael, his little brother, and Stacey.
Excerpt: [Spoiler (click to open)]“Hi Stacey.” He manages to choke out. Damn it. She looks especially cute today, in a red and white striped shirt, complete with a matching red beret. So much for ever thinking that she would be interested in going on a date with him. She’s from New York, and probably not impressed with boys who still like flour wars.
Wait. She’s giggling. It’s not a mocking laugh either.
“It’s flour.” He says, hastily.
“I thought so.” She grins. “Flour wars? Always a good way to pass a rainy day.”
“Yeah.” He blushes, looking down at his shirt. “David Michael and I were making cookies, and it just sort of happened.”
“You were making cookies with your brother? That’s so sweet!”
“Oh yeah.It’s what the cool kids do.” Okay. He thinks. She’s not running away in terror, or making a “what a loser” face. Maybe there’s hope after all.
Fic Rec #10: The Coffee Date
Pairing: Stacey McGill/Ethan Carroll
Why This Must Be Read: Not exactly shippy - it's a break up fic for a couple who aren't really "on" anyway - but it details the history of their relationship. And the Stacey voice? Perfect. Perfect, perfect Stacey voice.
Excerpt: [Spoiler (click to open)]"I could totally tell that you had an ulterior motive for asking me to coffee--"
An odd look spread across his face.
"Not in THAT way," I said, laughing a little. Ethan and I hadn't done anything in THAT way for six months or so. Our relationship had always been on and off, but our lives were just too different with him in NYC and being older and me in the suburbs. I knew he wouldn't have wanted to go to my prom, for example--it totally wasn't his scene and he was already in his second year of art school--so I didn't even ask him. And having a long distance boyfriend was kind of dumb in high school, anyway. But now we weren't long-distance anymore, and we weren't in high school. There's a big difference between 16 and 18 and 18 and 20. I suddenly wondered if he totally did mean in THAT way.
"Look, Stacey," he said. "I really don't know how to put this. But I figured this weekend was a good time, what with Claudia away at Peaches and Russ's anniversary party and all--"
Hold up. How did Ethan know about Claudia being away? Had I told him on the phone that morning? I quickly reviewed our conversation in my mind. Nope, I hadn't mentioned it...
"A good time to tell me what?" I asked, definitely not sure if I wanted to hear what he had to say.
"I didn't want to say anything unless I knew it was something major, which is why we've waited to tell you."
We? I suddenly knew exactly what Ethan had to say.
Places to go:
babysitters100/babysitters100 is the best place to look for fics. I might be biased, because it's my comm, but I love these hangouts, and there's so much good fic to read. A newsletter is posted every few weeks, so you can keep up with all new posts even if you're only watching the comm on one platform. Some posts are locked, but most are open.
babysittersclub is a discussion comm for everything BSC.
bsc_squee/bsc_squee is quiet, but always a lovely pick-me-up.
The same goes for bsc_memes, which is also on tumblr.
fuck-yeah-bsc on tumblr is full of nostalgia and more fic recs, and also where I snagged the cover scans from.
And omg this was my first manifesto and I really hope all the links are right and all my tags are closed. Also if anyone has any questions, or disagrees with anything/wants to talk further about what I've said about the canon, I'm always happy to talk BSC :p ♥