Claudia's sister is mean! She's too busy being smart to be nice. Even Claudia's grandmother, Mimi, can't get close to Janine. Plus, Mean Janine puts down the Baby-sitters Club. And that makes Claudia MAD!
This summer the members of the Baby-sitters Club are starting a play group in the neighborhood. Claudia can't wait for it to begin. But then Mimi has a stroke...and the whole summer changes.
Now Claudia has to spend her time "Mimi-sitting" instead of baby-sitting. And things with Janine are going from bad to worse. One of the Kishi sisters has to start being nicer. And it's sure not going to be Claudia!
Claudia has an older sister named Janine. While Claudia focuses on her art, the club's new playgroup, and the Baby-sitters Club, Janine is constantly hovered over her computer, studying. Janine is perfect, takes college level classes, and gets all A's, even on the college level courses. Claudia feels like she can't compete with Janine. To her, there is only one member of the Kishi family who understands: Mimi.
Claudia's grades begin to slip, so her parents tell her that she has to either give up art and babysitting, or get better grades. Mimi begins to tutor Claudia. Claudia likes it WAY better than when Janine tutors her.
When Mimi has a bad stroke, it is up to Claudia to improve her own grades, help Mimi, babysit, AND help out at the playgroup.
The 1987 original printing and 1995 reprint covers have different taglines, which is unusual and may be the only instance of this happening for the series.
Ann M. Martin's Dear Reader Letter
Claudia and Mean Janine is Claudia’s second book in the series, and the first book in which her sister, Janine, becomes a more important character. Now the reader can see the rivalry between the sisters. In a way, this was based on the relationship I had with my sister, Jane, when we were growing up. Neither Jane nor I was exactly like Claudia or Janine, but we were very different from one another. Jane was more outgoing and I was quieter. Jane was athletic, and I hated sports. We were closer in age than Claudia and Janine, and it seemed as if we fought about everything. Now that I think about it, most of our fights were over very small things that we can’t even remember now. And here’s the good news: Once Jane and I grew up, we became best friends.