I find that some of the later Swiss books contain too many dramatic incidents, which aren't really linked to ongoing plotlines or character development and just seem to be there to take up room. Then again, I think books do need to have plenty going on. KB made an interesting point in the introduction to Juniors
about how Princess
only has two big storylines - Matron Webb and the kidnapping - and no-one other than Joey and Elisaveta gets much of a look-in.
I think School At
gets it just right - there's plenty going on, with a lot of people (Madge, Joey, Juliet, Grizel) involved in major roles, and plenty of other people (Simone, Gisela, Margia, etc) in strong supporting roles, and nothing that really feels as if it's in there just for padding or dramatic effect. A lot of the CS books are like that. Even some of the later ones are - in Theodora
, you get Ted's issues, her friendship with Len and Ros, Margot's jealousy and Mary-Lou being Head Girl-ish, and there are dramatic incidents but not too many.
I think the ones with the most ingredients are probably the ones with big changes - School At
in particular, and they're two of the best. But I think having a lot of ingredients only works when it's about ongoing plotlines and character development, not just having someone falling in a lake or getting caught in a blizzard every couple of pages
. And most CS books do get the balance right, IMHO