I loved reading about a place that was ostensibly similar to mine — it wasn't a fantasy realm or outer space — that seemed so much cooler. A place where children were allowed to feast on Twinkies and Ring Dings and Ho-Hos. A place where it was totally fine to send thirteen-year-olds on a cruise ship together (or a vacation to Disney World, or to work as "mother's helpers" on a family holiday). A place where girls in seventh grade offer parenting advice to actual parents . . . and they take it.
While they weren't the first books I read that inspired my love of reading, they certainly fuelled the love (and with more than 150 books in the main series alone, there was plenty of material for me to draw on). While some kids were drawn to reading about far-flung places where hobbits roamed the (middle)earth and dragons flew in the skies, I wanted to know more about this magical place where kids were treated like equals. Where they could organise weddings and talent shows and concerts and rallies. Where they could wear pineapple print leggings with a neon orange tunic and earrings they made from leftover Mars Bar wrappers. Where they could proclaim, at thirteen, that they were no longer eating meat. Where they could dream of going to Juilliard or Princeton or the local softball championships without irony. America: it truly was the land of the free for the BSC, even if you weren't old enough to have leg hair.
So, in honour of The Baby-Sitter's Club 30th anniversary, here's what I imagine the core members would be up to now.