March 6, 2011
BSC Mystery #13, Mary Anne and the Library Mystery: Get Fired Up for Reading
Summary: Mary Anne volunteers to help out with a children’s readathon at the Stoneybrook library. Some of the kids who’ve signed up are really excited, but some, like Nicky Pike, can’t find books they’re interested in reading. At the same time, there are protesters at the library almost every day, upset that they offer some banned books. Most of the library patrons ignore them, at least until a small fire breaks out and the BSC girls learn it was started by a book that was set on fire.
A few more fires break out, always when Mary Anne is in the library, and the girls, of course, take it upon themselves to solve the mystery. One of their suspects is poor Nicky, when Mary Anne sees a pack of matches in his backpack. He promises that he doesn’t know how they got there, and she believes him. The girls also suspect a woman who works at the library – her family owns the land the library was built on, and her grandfather, who left the land to the city in his will, stipulated that if the library was ever damaged or destroyed, the land would go back to the family. The family now needs money, which could point to them trying to destroy the library to get the land back, but the girls investigate an learn that everyone in the family is super-nice and could never be an arsonist.
Mary Anne realizes that all the burned books are banned books, and also on the fifth-graders’ reading list for the readathon. In addition, they were each burned near the area where they’re shelved. The girls use the reading list to figure out what the next book will be, then stake out the area around it. When they do, they catch Sean Addison, brother of Corrie Addison, just as he’s about to burn a book. The little pyromaniac’s excuse is that he feels like his parents don’t want him around, and he hates reading. Yes, Sean, burning books is totally a reasonable response. Fortunately, he’s going to get therapy. And hopefully an episode of Beyond Scared Straight.
Oh, and Nicky wins the readathon because he secretly read a bunch of books in order to win it for Mary Anne, since she taught him to like reading. Which is actually really adorable.
Thoughts: “True, some books have bad words in them, but so what? It isn’t as though I would never hear those words anywhere else. And reading those books doesn’t make me want to use the words myself. As for books that are about subjects such as divorce or drugs, well, those things exist in the world, and books aren’t the cause.” Censors of the world: you just got schooled by a fictional 13-year-old.
Mary Anne can’t remember anything bad about Bridge to Terabithia. Uh, how about the fact that (SPOILER ALERT!) one of the kids dies?
Isn’t it weird that there are kids in Stoneybrook the BSC girls don’t know? Their parents must never go anywhere.
“If we don’t solve this case soon, Mary Anne is going to have a nervous breakdown.” Holy crap, Kristy, she’s your best friend. Take it down a notch.
Where are the police, you ask? According to Claudia’s mom, they don’t really take the fires seriously because they think they’re pranks. Uh, pranks that could destroy property and even a building are not pranks, they’re crimes. The Stoneybrook Police Department doesn’t care about arson. Hear that, arsonists? Stoneybrook is your playground! Do whatever you want!
Claudia: “Sean’s such a little kid.” Actually, he’s only a year younger than Mallory and Jessi.
Okay, seriously, how long has Mallory been sick? She has the world’s longest case of mono.