January 7, 2014

BSC #130, Stacey’s Movie: The Real World: Stoneybrook

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 9:08 pm by Jenn

Stacey's outfit is actually really cute

Stacey’s outfit is actually really cute

Summary: Time for another Short Takes class! Stacey’s in a film-making course, where she gets to learn about screenwriting, producing, directing, and using a video camera. She and her group mates – perennial BSC background characters Pete Black, Emily Bernstein, and Erica Blumberg – first decide to make a zombie movie, but realize it’s pretty cheesy without special effects. Then they decide to make a documentary about what it’s like to be a middle-schooler in suburban Connecticut. Wherever did they come up with that inspired idea?

Emily and Stacey conduct most of the interviews, and Emily quickly proves to be both a) a promising journalist and b) a bit of a bitca. She asks very personal questions, often using information she knows about the interviewees to dig deeper. She asks Jessi about being a minority in Stoneybrook, she asks Abby if she thinks she’s like her mother because they’re both so busy (apparently this is something Abby doesn’t want), and she asks Stacey herself if she has commitment problems because of her parents’ divorce. An interview with Cokie leads to Stacey realizing that the BSC is just as cliquey and exclusive as Cokie and her friends are.

But it’s Emily’s interview with Mary Anne that really causes problems. Mary Anne is upset because she had a fight with Sharon, and she later admits that sometimes she hates her birth mother for dying. She also says that she doesn’t consider Sharon her mother. She quickly regrets what she said and asks to have her interview removed from the movie. Stacey agrees to talk to her group about it, since she wants her interview removed, too. But her group members want everything to stay in.

What follows is a bunch of pages about artistic control and reality vs. art and editing something real vs. telling the truth. Stacey has a choice between honoring Mary Anne’s feelings and showing something dramatic and real in the movie. In the end, there’s something of a compromise: Stacey adds some footage allowing Mary Anne and herself to explain their words. And of course, the movie is good, even though it was made in two weeks by a bunch of 13-year-olds.

The B-plot is also about the class, and how Kristy and Alan are in a group together. Alan’s supposed to be the director, but Kristy can’t bring herself to let him take charge. Their group is filming kids in Stoneybrook when they do funny stuff, but thanks to Kristy and Alan’s power struggle, not much funny footage is actually getting filmed. Finally Kristy realizes that Alan has some good ideas, and that the process needs to be more democratic. I’m sure Kristy will promptly ditch that concept as soon as the class is over.

Thoughts: “Tombs and mummies are so cool.” I think Mary Anne broke.

“It never occurred to me that [Jessi] might think of us as white kids.” Uh-oh, someone forgot to tell Stacey she’s white. How awkward.

Cokie: “Boys are pretty much the most important thing in the life of a middle school girl.” And that might be the most middle school thing ever said.

If all students in a group are getting graded on a film, shouldn’t they all get a vote on the content and see the final product before it’s submitted? If I were getting graded on a group project, I would want to be involved in the whole project.

August 7, 2013

BSC Super Special #15, Baby-sitters’ European Vacation: I See London, I See France

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 6:40 pm by Jenn

I expect these kinds of crimes against fashion from Mallory, but not you, Abby

I expect these kinds of crimes against fashion from Mallory, but not you, Abby

Summary: Kristy, Stacey, Abby, Jessi, Mallory, and Robert are among a group of students who go to London and Paris on a school trip. It’s boring.

Kristy meets the French-Canadian version of Alan Gray, a guy named Michel who keeps annoying her because he likes her. She rebuffs him until they get left behind on a day trip in Paris, and she has to rely on his knowledge of French to survive. They end up practically dating, and Kristy makes out with only the second guy in her life.

Stacey accidentally picks up someone else’s luggage, and it contains a jar of ashes. Don’t worry, it’s not like that. The man who owns the suitcase brought his late Army buddy’s ashes to France to spread them at Normandy, where they both fought on D-Day. Stacey’s mom is one of the trip chaperones, and she keeps getting on Stacey’s nerves by being overprotective. When the McGills connect with the man and give back the ashes, they both decide to go with him to Normandy to spread them. They have a moving experience and end up bonding.

Jessi meets up with David Brailsford’s troupe and gets to fill in for an injured dancer.

Abby accompanies Victoria Kent when she goes to meet the queen. Abby doesn’t get to meet her herself, but she does accidentally step on the prince’s toes.

Mallory meets her mom’s cousin and learns that she’s related to Shakespeare. She spends the rest of the trip writing, and Jessi has to remind her to enjoy herself.

Robert gets one pointless chapter and spends the trip being annoyed with one of Stacey’s former bad girl friends.

Back in Stoneybrook, Claudia, Mary Anne, Dawn, Logan, Cokie, and Janine are working at the playground camp where everyone was competing to get jobs. It’s boring, too.

Claudia has a miserable time because Janine is asked to sub in for a counselor at the last minute, and Claudia has to take orders from her. Janine is already on edge because she’s working with her ex-boyfriend, Jerry. Ultimately, Claudia gets Janine to calm down, and in turn, Janine stands up to Jerry, who’s kind of a big jerk.

Mary Anne mostly deals with trying to keep Logan and Cokie from spending too much time together.

Dawn is barely an entity in this book, but she does spend a day filling in at a day camp for special-needs kids, which leads to an encounter with Susan Felder.

Thoughts: “Robert is Stacey’s former boyfriend. Mom is Stacey’s permanent mother.” Hee. Thanks, Abby.

Trivia: Mallory’s parents’ names are Jonathan and Diana.

Yeah, I bet this big-shot dance company has no understudy for this major performance.

Mallory, re: an annoying chaperone who keeps going off by himself: “He’s at Virginia Woolf’s house!” Mrs. McGill: “What’s he doing there? Virginia Woolf is dead!” Heh.

Speaking of that annoying teacher, this trip is horribly chaperoned. And I know from horribly chaperoned trips. We were allowed to wander around New York City by ourselves. We were allowed to stay in ski condos by ourselves. But at least we were in high school and somewhat responsible enough to get ourselves from point A to point B without getting lost.

May 1, 2013

BSC Mystery #33, Stacey and the Stolen Hearts: The Usual Suspects

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , at 6:36 pm by Jenn

Stacey looks frighteningly like my childhood best friend

Stacey looks frighteningly like my childhood best friend

Summary: For Valentine’s Day, Stacey and Pete Black organize a fundraiser for the eighth-grade class involving valentine-grams. A bunch of the middle schoolers buy valentines for their boyfriends and girlfriends, some write them for crushes, and some send joke valentines to get people’s hopes up, because that’s what middle schoolers do. Then the valentines disappear, and notes surface commenting on what people wrote.

There are a number of suspects: Alan, Cokie, Cary, Stacey’s ex Robert, and even Pete. Their motives aren’t known, so the BSC girls start investigating. They find out that Pete has a crush on Emily Bernstein and sent her a valentine, but it’s possible he stole them all back so she wouldn’t see it. (Though why wouldn’t he just take his own back?) Cokie and her boyfriend are having trouble; she sent him a bunch of valentines but he didn’t send her any. Robert has been acting so weird that Andi, the girl he almost cheated on Stacey with, asks her to talk to him. (He’s not the thief, he’s just depressed.)

Cary looks more and more like the thief, especially after the girls see a striped sleeve photocopied with one of the valentine-grams, then see him wearing a striped shirt the next day. Stacey asks him if he had anything to do with the theft, but he has an alibi, since he was at the dentist. Then Stacey realizes that he gave his alibi before he knew the timeframe she was trying to nail down.

Cary says he isn’t the thief, but he knows who it is – someone who was about to receive a joke valentine from a girl he had a crush on. Stacey puts together that he’s talking about Alan. She questions him, but she feels so bad for him that she gives him the chance to return the valentines with no punishment. He does, and everyone’s satisfied.

In the B-plot, the BSC girls throw a “Valentine’s festival” for their charges. It’s not a festival, it’s a lame party. They just ask the kids what they want so everyone’s happy.

Thoughts: I wish Alan hadn’t been the culprit. The thief should have turned out to be someone completely unexpected, and Cary shouldn’t have been involved at all. It was too obvious.

Kristy wonders if the Hobarts know about Valentine’s Day. Kristy, they lived in Australia, not on the moon. Also, they’ve been in the series for, like, nine Valentine’s Days already.

Abby wants to “check out” Cary and “keep an eye on him.” That’s my girl.

Mary Anne calls Pete shy, but since when? He’s the class president, and they don’t tend to be shy.

The BSC runs a focus group for their Valentine’s party. Kristy has officially lost her mind.

I’ve never Xeroxed a sleeve, so I don’t know for certain, but I’m pretty sure stripes wouldn’t show up on the copy.

When Stacey questions Cary, he’s in the school basement, chilling in an armchair. It’s like he’s in a secret lair. I love it.

October 2, 2012

BSC Mystery #29, Stacey and the Fashion Victim: Model Misbehavior

Posted in books tagged , , , at 8:46 pm by Jenn

This may be the first time Claudia has ever been dressed better than Stacey

Summary: Apparently Stoneybrook has a Fashion Week. Who knew? They’re having some runway shows and shooting a catalog at Bellair’s, and Stacey’s hired to be one of the models (who are all teens, for some reason). Cokie is also hired but manages to not be all that annoying in this book. Stacey thinks there’s a mystery afoot when one of the models, Harmony, drinks tea that makes her sick. Everyone starts freaking out that she’s been poisoned, but no one even takes her to a doctor or calls the police, so it’s pretty dumb.

Then some clothes are ruined and weird notes start turning up, so the BSC girls start playing detective. No one seems to specifically be a target, even after Stacey and Harmony fall off the roof (onto a lower level of roof) during a shoot. There are a ton of suspects (the other models, the heir to Bellair’s, a photographer) but there are so many characters that it’s impossible to figure out anyone’s motive. In fact, it’s hard to even remember which model is which.

But somehow, Stacey figures out that Harmony is the culprit. Her mother is a typical stage mom who keeps pushing Harmony to model even though Harmony doesn’t like it. She poisoned herself, wrote the notes, and loosened the railing in hopes that she would have an excuse to drop out of Fashion Week. Stacey and the other BSC girls tell her to, you know, talk to her mother instead of putting people’s lives in danger.

In the B-plot, a bunch of the BSC’s charges are tired of their parents smoking, so they organize a play on the Great American Smokeout called the Great Stoneybrook Smokeout. It’s a good message for the book’s younger audience, but since we’ve never heard about these people smoking before, it’s not that affecting.

Thoughts: Not only are there too many suspects to keep track of, the whole plot is anticlimactic. Stacey basically has an epiphany, then sets Harmony up to get caught writing a message. There’s a teeny confrontation and Harmony agrees to stop doing stuff. That’s…it.

The models have seven minutes to change looks during their first show. That must be the longest runway show ever.

Why do the models keep talking about “assignments”? The girls are walking a runway. They’re not competing in challenges or doing projects. They’re putting on clothes and trying not to trip.

Not that I object to anti-smoking education, but it’s not really a sitter’s place to lecture kids about it. They need to let the parents parent.

Stacey wears a pink jumper. Did she raid Mallory’s closet?

May 28, 2012

BSC Super Mystery #3, Baby-sitters’ Fright Night: Which Witch is Which?

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , at 3:17 pm by Jenn

Their outfits are the real fright here

Summary: Over Halloween, Abby, Stacey, Kristy, Mary Anne, and Mallory go to Salem, Massachusetts for a school trip. The trip is part history-project research, part excuse to do a lot of shopping (or at least that’s how Stacey sees it). Alan, Cokie, and Cary are also on the trip and being varying levels of annoying. Cokie and her minion Grace are huge mean girls to a sixth-grader named Eileen who rooms with Mallory and is supposedly decended from a witch.

A local museum is displaying a big diamond called the Witch’s Eye, which is like the poor man’s Hope Diamond, in that it’s allegedly cursed. It’s stolen while some of the students are at the museum. Mary Anne finds a wig that the girls guess was worn by the theif, and Stacey finds a bunch of numbers on a piece of paper. The girls think the person who stole the diamond is staying at the same inn as the students. At the same time, Abby buys a little ceramic pumpkin in a gift shop and starts taking it everywhere with her, calling it her pet pumpkin.

Anyway, the investigation begins, and Mallory gets really obsessed with documenting everything in the club’s mystery notebook. The notebook is back in Stoneybrook, but she has Jessi and Shannon send it to her. Girl needs help. There are a few suspects, including Mrs. Moorehouse, who owns the diamond but may not have insurance; Martha Kempner, a writer who’s in Salem to write about the diamond; Sean Knowles, whose reason for being in Salem isn’t exactly clear; and Harvey Hapgood, who tried to buy the diamond before it was stolen.

In between working on their projects and investigating the mystery, the girls do some sightseeing and various Halloween activities. They also try to avoid Alan and Cary, who are bugging Kristy. Cokie gets nastier and nastier to Eileen, and Mallory winds up sticking up for her and tearing into Cokie, which is both surprising and awesome of her. It also finally, finally gets Cokie to shut up.

Everyone goes to a Halloween parade, where Abby’s fanny pack is stolen, and she’s ticked but mostly just happy that her pumpkin wasn’t in it. Abby and Stacey’s room is broken into, as the theif took Abby’s room key, but nothing is stolen. Then Stacey realizes that the numbers she saw earlier are probably a safe combination, so she thinks the person who stole the Witch’s Eye stashed it in a safe.

Kristy thinks she’s uncovered a clue leading her to the museum, which is closed while the police investigate the diamond theft. She winds up locked inside and runs into Alan, who’s been torturing her the whole trip. But he has a clue, too, and they realize Cary set them both up. They arrange to scare the crap out of him, and the three seem to call a truce. It’s basically just a red herring.

While Kristy’s gone, there’s a storm and the electricity in the inn goes out. The other girls decide to snoop around in the suspects’ rooms and safes, but they don’t find anything. They do, however, see Mrs. Moorehouse and realize how frail she is, leading them to believe she didn’t steal the diamond since she wouldn’t have been able to make a clean getaway. The girls remember seeing Martha wear high heels for most of the trip, except for the day of the theft, when she wore sneakers. This means she may have been planning to move stealthily. The girls also use the combination Stacey found to open Martha’s safe, another strike against Martha.

It’s all dark and creepy in the inn, and the girls are freaked out when they run into Sean, since they still don’t know what he’s up to. He reveals that he’s an insurance agent and has been in Salem to keep an eye on the diamond. The girls head off to…I don’t know, call the police? Probably not. But Abby gets separated from them and runs into Martha, who grabs the pumpkin and breaks it, revealing the Witch’s Eye inside. It turns out she bought the pumpkin at one gift shop, put the diamond inside, and accidentally dropped it in another gift shop, where Abby bought it. She’s also been working with Harvey to get her hands on it.

Abby holds Martha off (yeah, I bet) until the police arrive and the girls are branded heroes yet again. Then they have cake with Mrs. Moorehouse, who tells them that she thought she didn’t have insurance because Harvey called her pretending to be from the insurance company and told her they couldn’t insure the diamond anymore. I don’t know, it’s a stupid wrap-up.

Also stupid: the B-plot involving Claudia, Jessi, Logan, and Shannon organizing a Halloween parade back in Stoneybrook. Jordan Pike is annoying and the sitters let him embarrass himself until he learns A Lesson.

Thoughts: Harvey Hapgood is not a name for a villain, or at least not a dangerous one. It’s a name for a Harold Hill wannabe.

If I were Jessi or Shannon and Mallory asked me to send the notebook, I’d say, “Sure, Mal, it’s on its way,” hang up, snicker, and go back to whatever I was doing. Otherwise I would be an enabler.

When Abby’s fanny pack is stolen, she yells out to the crowd that there’s a pickpocket in the crowd. I feel bad for any guy who ever tries to grope Abby in public.

Turns out Mallory is kind of awesome and Jordan is kind of a jerk. Who knew?

December 10, 2011

BSC Mystery #22, Stacey and the Haunted Masquerade: Will You Still Love Cary Retlin Tomorrow?

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 12:46 pm by Jenn

Stacey actually looks kind of cool

Summary: SMS is holding a Halloween Masquerade on Mischief Night, the night before Halloween. It’s the first masquerade in 28 years because the last one held there ended with a stampede, and a teacher died of a heart attack. Stacey’s really excited about the dance, so she joins the planning committee, which is headed by a teacher named Mr. Rothman. Cokie and Grace are also on the committee, and Grace hates everything the others come up with, while Grace is at least brave enough to have her own opinion.

Someone has been pulling off pranks at school, and the pranks lead to vandalism against the dance decorations and posters, plus graffiti that reads, “Will you still love me tomorrow?” The BSC girls suspect that someone doesn’t want the dance to go forward. They really only have two suspects: Mr. Wetzler, a school board member who was very vocal about his anti-dance stance (say that five times fast), and a group of students called the Mischief Knights, who were responsible for the original pranks. For some reason, no one suspects new student Cary Retlin, though his attitude indicates that pranks would be right up his alley.

The BSC girls decide to look into the last masquerade and learn that a girl was somehow involved. They also discover that Mr. Wetzler and Mr. Rothman were both students at the time. Stacey talks to Mr. Wetzler, pretending to be writing about the budget for the school paper, and he tells her there was a girl involved somehow. More research, this time in the off-limits school basement, leads the girls to the name Elizabeth Connor. It turns out she lived in the Johanssens’ house, so Stacey and Mary Anne make sure they’re looking after kids there together, then search the house. The only thing interesting they find is a heart drawn in the cement that says LC + MR – Liz Connor + Michael Rothman.

The next time Stacey sees Mr. Rothman, she decides to throw her cards on the table and tells him she needs information about Liz. He tells her everything: He was popular and Liz wasn’t, and his friends paid him $10 to take her to the masquerade as a joke. He felt bad about it but didn’t want to compromise his popularity. The last dance of the evening was to “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” and afterward Liz found out what was really going on. She ran off, and moments later the fire alarm went off and the lights went out, causing the stampede. After that, Liz left school and no one heard from her again. Mr. Rothman thinks Liz could be back in Stoneybrook.

Fast-forward to the masquerade (which isn’t really a masquerade since everyone knows who everyone else is). In the bathroom, Stacey runs into a teacher who was dancing with Mr. Rothman and has had her cloak stolen. Stacey figures out that Liz took the cloak and is now wearing it while dancing with Mr. Rothman. She reveals herself, and…we cut to the BSC girls telling Shannon what happened. (LAME!) Though nothing really happened, as Mr. Rothman just took Liz out of the gym and I guess got her help. Apparently Liz had some mental problems that accelerated after the original masquerade, and she’s spent 28 years obsessing over what happened. And that’s pretty much how the book ends.

The B plots involve Grace telling people she’s coming to the dance with a guy no one thinks exists, but who actually does, and the kids the club sits for all being obsessed with Ghostbusters.

Thoughts: The Mischief Knights are kind of lame, but I’m mainly impressed a bunch of middle schoolers can spell “mischief.”

There’s a big deal made about this being the first Halloween masquerade at SMS in almost 30 years, but there were Halloween dances in Mary Anne’s Bad-Luck Mystery and Kristy’s Mystery Admirer. So is there some difference here between a masquerade and a regular dance? A masquerade usually involves a mask, but at least some of the students don’t wear them.

I think I had a little crush on Cary when I was younger. Good girls do like bad boys after all. And I’m with Kristy: He makes things interesting.

The structure of this plot doesn’t really work for me. No one knows who Liz is until the last third of the book, so there’s no way for the reader to figure out what’s going on. They should have made the culprit the son or daughter of the teacher who died at the original masquerade.

November 10, 2011

BSC Mystery #21, Claudia and the Recipe for Danger: Cooking Up Trouble

Posted in books tagged , , , at 10:35 pm by Jenn

Shea is a lot shorter than I imagined

Summary: Claudia and Mary Anne enter a baking competition with Shea Rodowsky. There are two divisions, one for kids 9-15 and one for people 16 and up. Logan also enters (with his sister and a friend of his), as do Cokie Mason and her second banana, Grace. Except Cokie has to drop out at the last minute because she gets sick. The BSC gets hired to watch the competitors’ kids, which is dumb, but whatever, people other than Mary Anne and Claudia needed a plot.

A few of the teams experience weirdness, like ovens being set to the wrong temperature and ingredients being switched. Claudia and Mary Anne team up with Grace to figure out what’s going on, and Claudia’s surprised to learn that she and Grace have a lot in common, like their love of Nancy Drew. They suspect another contestant’s father, who’s putting a lot of pressure on his daughter, and…there aren’t really any other suspects.

The girls do some spying and catch the guy running the contest, Marty, making out with a contestant, Julie. Claudia comes up with a plan to trap the culprit by sprinkling some flour around their work station, setting up a mirror so they can spy without being noticed, and pretending to leave their station. They catch Marty “white-handed” in the act of messing with their oven. Claudia also realizes that since she saw Julie driving, she’s at least 16 and therefore not eligible for the junior division. And then they finish the competition and Claudia, Mary Anne, and Shea win with a cake Mary Anne’s mom used to make. Also, Cokie’s all ticked, which cracks me up.

The B-plot is about the BSC girls taking care of the kids at the competition, and helping them make their own restaurant. There’s a kid who keeps breaking stuff and blaming his sister, who goes along with it so her brother won’t get in trouble. But the kids aren’t regulars in the series, so who cares?

Thoughts: I like that Claudia’s the one who figures out how to solve the mystery, and that she does it in a clever way. Score one for street smarts!

But the whole plot makes no sense when you realize that Kristy is supposed to serve as “cake cop” and make sure nothing fishy happens. Plus, there are judges around while people are baking. So why doesn’t anyone notice the sabotage?

Either I read this out of order or the ghostwriter screwed up, because Dawn’s still in Stoneybrook in this book. I’m just going to blame the ghostwriter.

Claudia’s dad gets a cordless phone. Mr. Kishi is so with it.

Someone needs a book of baby names, because there are two characters named Anna in this book, and there’s a third coming in the next one.

July 20, 2011

BSC Mystery #19, Kristy and the Missing Fortune: Go for the Gold

Posted in books tagged , , at 10:55 pm by Jenn

Nothing suspicious here...just digging holes in the middle of the night...

Summary: Kristy learns that one of her ancestors was a woman named Christina Thomas who vanished from her family’s home, Squirelot, under mysterious circumstances. Some documents and a bunch of gold went missing at the same time. The BSC girls start investigating, thinking they’ll be able to spend the gold once they recover it.

At the same time, they’re volunteering to help clean up an arboretum in town. A development company wants to buy it and tear it down, but there’s also another interested buyer. If the girls (and a bunch of their sitting charges) can help clean it up in time, the buyer will save it. However, strange things seem to be happening while the girls are working at the arboretum, and they think someone’s sabotaging the clean-up effort.

Thanks to some good, old-fashioned research, Kristy discovers that one of Christina’s relatives, Mildred, lives in Stoneybrook. Kristy visits and learns that Christina ran away because her brother wanted to force her into a common-law marriage that would help him get access to her inheritance. Christina was going to elope with a guy named Henry, who had to go off to fight in the Civil War before they could leave. The story is that Christina went after him, but he died. No one knows what really happened, and all they have to go on is a letter Christina wrote Henry.

More research turns up the revelation that the arboretum is Squirelot. The BSC girls then use Christina’s letter to figure out that she had hidden something for Henry on her family’s land. They do some digging, looking for the treasure, but don’t get a chance to clean up before the potential buyer comes by to see the arboretum. She decides not to buy the land, so all their hard work might be for nothing. Oh, and Cokie’s been lurking, seemingly listening in on the girls’ conversations.

Kristy uses a book about Stoneybrook’s history to figure out the rest of the mystery: There was a full moon the night Christina ran away, and she was trying to tell Henry to stand in a certain spot at Squirelot because the moon would illuminate her hiding spot. The girls head to the arboretum in the middle of the night (aided and abetted by the ever-helpful Charlie), but before they can find the hiding spot, they realize Cokie’s followed them. She explains that Mildred is her grandmother, and she told Cokie some of what Kristy was looking into. If there’s gold at Squirelot, she wants in.

Cokie and the BSC girls wait until the moon comes out, then dig under the tree it illuminates. They find a locket with a picture of Christina (who looks a lot like Kristy), the lease to Squirelot, and a letter telling Henry that Christina took the gold with her. The lease states that Squirelot is to go to Henry; if he dies, it goes to the town. Cokie’s disappointed that there’s no treasure, but the BSC girls are just happy that they’ve saved the arboretum after all. It’s not all good news, though: Kristy and Cokie might be related.

Thoughts: I like that the girls solved the mystery with books and brains. And it was an actual mystery, unlike some of the plots these mysteries try to pass off as suspenseful.

Trivia: Nannie loves the Knicks.

Squirelot is a stupid name.

There’s some nice continuity here with Kristy saying that Mallory talking about Jackie’s loose tooth made her queasy. She’s mentioned in previous books (I think even the very first one) that one of the things she hates most is loose teeth.

I would think Claudia, as an artist, would know how to spell “statue.”

April 11, 2011

BSC Mystery #15, Kristy and the Vampires: Go Away, Twilight Fans, This Isn’t What You Think

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 10:55 pm by Jenn

I like my vampires broody or platinum blond, thank you

Summary: Derek Masters, my favorite recurring characters, is coming back to Stoneybrook for the summer, to shoot a TV movie called Little Vampires. His parents hire Kristy to look after him on the set. The other BSC girls, as well as many other Stoneybrookites, hang out on the set as well. Strange things start to happen, at first just little walking-disaster-type things perpetrated by Derek, but then a pane of break-away glass is replaced with real glass, and a stuntwoman’s harness breaks. The BSC girls are all, “Mystery! We’ll solve it!”

The girls have a list of suspects, including the prop guy (who was fired after the glass incident), Derek’s co-star Carson (who’s being upstaged by Derek and clearly doesn’t like him), Derek’s manager, the movie’s PR person (since any publicity is good publicity), and even Cokie Mason, who keeps hanging around, trying to get Carson’s attention. But that’s mostly because she throws a party for the cast and crew, and everyone gets food poisoning. She must have served red herring. (Cough. Any laughs for that?)

Kristy finally pieces together that a girl who’s been hanging around Carson is the daughter of the guy who supplied the not-breakaway glass. Kristy finds out that the girl has been reading a manual about car maintenance, and she tampered with the brakes on the car Derek’s being driven around in. She stops the driver from going anywhere and outs the crazy girl, who wanted to get Derek out of the way because he was stealing all of his scenes with Carson. Yes, there was attempted murder in this BSC book. Also, Mallory is hand-picked by the director to be an extra. I ask, which is more surprising?

In the B plot, Claire is too scared to go to the movie set because of all the vampires. Kristy solves that by having her dress up as a witch, which she thinks is scarier than a vampire, and “scare” the vampires on the set. That’s actually pretty brilliant.

Thoughts: Once again, Stoneybrook turns its back on child-labor laws. Having a 13-year-old watch an eight-year-old on a movie set is totally not legal.

Carson doesn’t help to dispel the hunky-actors-are-dumb stereotype by thinking a TV movie about vampires will make his career.

“What good is being a movie star if you can’t eat cookies whenever you want to?” This is why I love Derek.

December 11, 2010

BSC #63, Claudia’s -Freind- Friend: Me Fail English? That’s Unpossible!

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 12:34 pm by Jenn

Why don't we ever get to see Claudia's truly crazy outfits?

Summary: Claudia’s failing English, and she dreads returning to the resource room, where she can get one-on-one attention from an actual teacher, so her parents let the BSC girls tutor her. Except it turns into just Stacey tutoring her, and Stacey’s kind of a bitca about it. Basically, Stacey should never be a teacher. She makes Claudia keep a diary to get her in the habit of writing and to use some of her vocab words from class, but Claudia also keeps a diary complaining about Stacey. After the two girls get in a huge fight, Stacey winds up seeing the secret diary (of course), but it helps her realize that she was too hard on Claudia.

Shea Rodowsky is also having trouble in school – he’s just been diagnosed with dyslexia, and also needs help with his English work. The BSC girls are enlisted to tutor him as well, but Claudia, of all people, is the one who connects with him the most, as they’re able to help each other. Each helps the other feel less dumb, and they come up with some creative ways to learn and remember certain spelling rules.

In a sort of B plot, the girls are receiving notes from a secret admirer. At first they think the notes are for one girl from one guy, but after getting a whiff of some of Cokie’s perfume on a note, they decide that she’s pulling the same trick she pulled in Mary Anne’s Bad Luck Mystery, only with nice notes instead of threatening ones. They put on their ugliest clothes to meet the note-writer at a restaurant…and then find out that the notes are from a bunch of the kids they sit for. Jackie Rodowsky organized the outing to show appreciation for the girls. Fortunately, the kids don’t seem to notice how bad the girls look, and they all have a good time.

Thoughts: I don’t get why the Rodowskys don’t just hire Mallory to tutor Shea, since she was so awesome with Buddy Barrett.

Non-sports-lover Mary Anne knows Jackie Robinson played for the Dodgers? Doubtful.

So Claudia’s failing English, her parents and Janine apparently don’t help her with her homework anymore, and they let 13-year-olds tutor her. They really don’t care, do they? They’ve already put all their eggs in Janine’s basket.

Why does Shea ask Claudia to help him with his spelling right after she tells him she’s bad at it? I think he should also ask for help with listening.

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