September 17, 2012

BSC #107, Mind Your Own Business, Kristy!: O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 8:29 pm by Jenn

Angelica looks appropriately awful. (This caption was brought to you by the letter A.)

Summary: Charlie Thomas has just broken up with his girlfriend, Sarah, which bums Kristy out, since she liked Sarah. Kristy then gets bummed out further when Charlie becomes interested in an annoying girl named Angelica. He’s supposed to be helping out with a softball clinic for the Krushers, but he’d rather flirt and try to look cool.

Kristy decides to play matchmaker and try to get Charlie and Sarah back together. It doesn’t work. At all. Charlie tries to get some famous baseball player named Jack Brewster to come to the clinic, but he forgets. This plus the matchmaking plus the whole Angelica thing leads to fighting, and eventually Kristy tells Charlie he’s just like their father, which is a pretty low blow, even though he kind of deserved it.

Kristy wins four tickets to a rock concert and decides to take Claudia, Charlie, and Charlie’s friend, who eventually gets replaced by Angelica. They borrow Watson’s car, but Charlie’s so unused to driving a car that actually works that he’s not very good at it. Angelica asks to drive, and she gets pulled over for speeding. She tries to switch places with Charlie since she doesn’t have a license, and she winds up driving the car into a guardrail.

Charlie and Angelica get into major trouble with their parents, and Angelica decides Charlie isn’t mature enough for her. Yeah, the girl who drove without a license, tried to switch places with someone else, and crashed a car is really mature. Charlie decides Angelica’s right, though, since he couldn’t even be responsible enough to help with a kids’ softball clinic. He comes through in the end, going back to helping Kristy, and the kids even get to meet Jack Brewster, who turns out to be related to Sarah.

Thoughts: Kristy: “When a boy is forceful and responsible, people say he’s ‘strong-willed’ or a ‘born leader.’ But if you’re a girl, you’re ‘bossy.'” Well, yes, but also, you’re bossy.

David Michael thinks it’s lame that a college wants to turn people into leaders and tells Charlie to go to one that will make him an astronaut. Hee.

Charlie eats grapes dipped in Cool Whip. Is that a thing? Do people really do that?

The Hsus hire a non-BSC sitter (Angelica), then have her take the kids to BSC-run Krushers practices. That’s mean.

Either Charlie has two friends named Travis or he’s still hanging out with that jerk Dawn kind of dated.

After the accident, Kristy asks a cop to take her and Claudia to the concert. That seems very un-Kristy of her.

Jack: “Give that girl a contract!” Nina: “My mommy wears contracts, but she changes to glasses at night.” Adorable.

November 22, 2011

BSC #89, Kristy and the Dirty Diapers: The Cult Recruits Another Member

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 10:11 pm by Jenn

Crap, Kristy kind of looks like me on this cover

Summary: Kristy accepts a sponsorship for the Krushers from a guy named Mr. Davis who has a diaper service. She doesn’t quite know what she’s getting into when she agrees; she really just likes the idea of new equipment and uniforms. But the uniforms say “Davis Diapers,” so the kids are embarrassed to wear them (and who wouldn’t be?). Plus, Mr. Davis thinks he now has a say in things like coaching, but he’s horrible at it, yelling at the kids and almost making them cry.

Kristy is also facing issues with a new girl in her neighborhood, Abby Stevenson. Abby and her identical twin sister Anna have just moved to Stoneybrook from Long Island, and Kristy and the BSC girls quickly become friends with them. Despite the fact that Abby’s more like Kristy (mainly athletic and loud), Kristy feels like she has more of a connection to Anna (who’s quieter and loves music).

In truth, Kristy finds Abby kind of annoying, but it’s totally because they’re so much alike. The twins and their mother spend the night with the Brewer-Thomases when they learn they don’t have electricity in their new house, and Abby is pretty much the center of attention because she’s such a ham. Kristy thinks she’s clamoring for that attention.

Abby winds up helping Kristy at a Krushers practice, which allows Kristy to see how good she is with kids. Anna has also been working with kids, helping out Kristy’s neighbor’s granddaughter, who’s staying with her while her parents are going through a divorce. The club is getting overwhelmed with calls, and Shannon can’t replace Dawn full-time, so it’s easy to see where this is going.

But first, Abby out-Kristys Kristy by standing up to Mr. Davis after a particularly cringeworthy encounter in which he treats the Krushers like dirt. Kristy has been treading lightly, not wanting to sever their deal (even though it would obviously be best for everyone), so Abby does it for her. Kristy realizes that she does like Abby after all, so she asks her to be her assistant coach.

Kristy then decides that the twins would be great additions to the BSC. The other BSC girls agree, so Kristy brings the twins to a meeting and asks them to join. Abby says yes, but in a shocking twist, Anna declines. One out of two is good enough for the BSC girls, though, so Abby is the newest member of the cult club.

There’s a whole subplot with Dru, the granddaughter, and how the BSC girls want to help her make friends, and how she joins the Krushers but sucks, so she forms a band, but it’s dumb, so I’ll skip it.

Thoughts: Abby was a very polarizing character, but I, for one, loved her. She became my favorite right away.

Kristy notices that the guest bedroom is really dusty, so she, Sam, and Charlie quickly clean it so the asthmatic, allergy-suffering Abby can sleep there. I thought that was really nice for teenagers who probably don’t willingly clean their own rooms.

This is actually the nicest thing Kristy does in the book. She spends a lot of it complaining, mostly about Abby but a little about other people. She’s even snottier than usual.

There’s no way the Bashers are scoring 30- and 40-something runs in a single game.

Stacey thinks Abby’s asthma could be a problem because she could have an attack while she’s babysitting. For someone with an illness that requires monitoring and possible emergency intervention, Stacey is a little unrealistic.

Shouldn’t Kristy have talked to Abby and Abby about joining the club before she extended the invitation?

Also, I love how Abby’s response is, “Sure! I guess.” You guess? Poor girl, you have no idea what you’re casually saying yes to.

I’m kind of surprised the girls ever talk to Anna again after she turns them down.

March 15, 2011

BSC #74, Kristy and the Copycat: Mighty Kristy Had Struck Out

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 10:28 pm by Jenn

Karen's shirt has Krushers with a C! Yay for continuity! Yaaaaaay!

Summary: Kristy misses playing softball, so she decides to try out for SMS’s team. She makes it, but the girls who are already on the team aren’t very happy to welcome her and the three other new players, Bea, Tonya, and Dilys. The new players are told that they’re going to be hazed, or the girls already on the team will make them look like bad players in front of their strict coach. Kristy and the other new girls reluctantly agree to the initiation, which involves spray-painting an old equipment shed on school property. The girls do it, and Bea and Tonya celebrate by smoking cigarettes. The next morning, they all discover that the shed burned down overnight, and a man who tried to put out the fire was badly injured.

Kristy feels horribly guilty about the fire, especially since she can’t find her can of spray-paint and worries that it contributed to the fire. The other girls just don’t want to get caught. They all get I Know What You Did Last Summer-like notes, then notes demanding money, which makes Kristy feel even worse about the situation. And then she feels worse again when the boys’ baseball team is accused of starting the fire.

Kristy eventually tells the BSC girls what happened and announces that she’s going to confess. But before she can, some high schoolers come clean, admitting to setting the fire on purpose. And it turns out that Dilys sent the threatening notes, trying to get the girls to ‘fess up, so no one other than the four little vandals and the BSC girls knows what they did. They decide to keep quiet, which isn’t really the kind of message you want to send to this book’s audience, but whatever. And Kristy isn’t sure if she wants to keep playing softball, partly because it takes time away from coaching the Krushers (more on that later).

The book title actually comes from the B-plot. Karen wants to be a 13-year-old, so she starts imitating the BSC girls, mainly Mary Anne (yes, really) and Stacey. It’s kind of annoying but mostly pathetic. Kristy gets mad at her for hanging around all the time, then tells her to stop trying to speed things up so much because being 13 sometimes sucks beyond the telling of it (TM Buffy).

The C-plot involves the Krushers: Claudia and Stacey volunteer to take over coaching for Kristy. They suck at it.

Thoughts: Claudia has sunglasses with round wire frames and square green lenses. Wouldn’t those be annoying to look through? Wouldn’t you see the sides of the lenses in your peripheral vision?

Shannon’s still around. For some reason, I thought she was filling in while Mallory was sick; I forgot it was because Dawn left.

Karen’s quick series of questions for Mary Anne makes me think of Vanessa Bayer as Miley Cyrus on SNL. But I guess that’s pretty cool.

Claudia’s Krushers practice outfit: “a red satin baseball cap, purple sweatpants that were cut off just below the knees, purple high-tops with neon pink laces, red-and-white-striped socks, and a red and pink tie-dyed crop top shirt.” There is not one item of clothing on that list that sounds attractive.

Stacey wears a white shirt over a black bra. I can’t believe her mom let her out of the house wearing that. She also wears a Dodgers cap, which I find strange. Wouldn’t she wear a Yankees cap?

I really like how Sam and Charlie treat Kristy in this book. They’re very encouraging and helpful with their softball tips. It’s nice to see Sam not being an annoying older brother for once.

January 10, 2011

BSC Super Special #10, Sea City, Here We Come!: They Had to Leave Stoneybrook to Be This Boring

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , at 10:11 pm by Jenn

Seriously, who invited Logan?

Summary: The Pikes and Barretts head to Sea City for two weeks, with the Pikes hiring Mallory (sort of) and Jessi as mother’s helpers, and Mrs. Barrett hiring Stacey. Then, for some reason, the Pikes invite the other BSC girls for the second week of vacation. Logan comes for the weekend, for no apparent reason.

Mallory lands herself a date with Toby, the guy who kind of hooked up with Stacey the last two times she and Mary Anne were in Sea City. Except right before they’re supposed to go out, Mallory talks to Ben on the phone and realizes she doesn’t want to go out with anyone else. She tells Toby nothing’s going to happen between them, and he asks if she can hook him up with another cute girl the next time they come to Sea City. Then he writes her a postcard and asks if Jessi’s single. Wow, that one’s a charmer.

Stacey‘s totally jealous of Mallory and does a very poor job of hiding it. She also has trouble dealing with Mrs. Barrett, who’s kind of annoying.

Mary Anne runs into Alex, her guy from her previous trips to Sea City, and Logan gets jealous, even though Mary Anne obviously has no feelings for the guy.

Before the trip, Kristy struggles to find substitute Krushers for a game against the Bashers, since she refuses to just postpone it and let Bart gloat, or something. She gathers some kids from her neighborhood who have no experience playing softball (and some of them don’t exactly want to do it), and they play the weirdest game of softball ever. Sadly, it’s the most interesting part of the book.

In the nothing-happens category, Claudia goes to summer school before going to Sea City, Jessi babysits a lot while they’re there, and Dawn and Mary Anne run a mini day camp.

There’s a hurricane while everyone’s in Sea City, but nothing happens. NOTHING HAPPENS IN THE WHOLE BOOK.

Thoughts: For some reason, I love Claudia having the BSC girls (and logan) taste-test Heath and Skor bars.

Setting aside the fact that there’s no way Logan could get a job in a restaurant, why would he need to? With three of the BSC girls out of town, wouldn’t he have his pick of sitting jobs? Also, what do BSC clients do when everyone in the club is out of town? Do they have to – gasp! – actually spend time with their children?

Dawn tells little kids a ghost story involving murder. Way to go, Dawn.

Dear ghostwriter, Franklin’s last name is not Harris, it’s DeWitt. Moron.

“Somehow, Kristy had devised a way to convince the grown-ups to take the kids for a half hour.” When a 13-year-old has to ask you to spend time with your children on a family vacation, YOU HAVE A PROBLEM.

Mallory writes a postcard to Stacey’s mom. I don’t get it.

Since when is Sea City on an island?

January 2, 2011

BSC Mystery #9, Kristy and the Haunted Mansion: Spoiler – It’s Not Really Haunted

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 4:34 pm by Jenn

You should definitely send Karen in there first

Summary: Kristy, Bart, and Charlie are accompanying a bunch of Krushers and Bashers (AKA the Krashers) home from an away game when a huge storm hits. The group is stuck in some nearby town thanks to a washed-out bridge, and they decide to find a place to spend the night. They come across a huge mansion kept by a caretaker who says they can spend the night there. They start looking around the house and read a diary, which belonged to a girl named Dorothy who lived there back in the 30s. She disappeared when she was 18, the day before she was supposed to elope with a guy named Will, who her father disapproved of.

There have been stories about the mansion being haunted, so the kids are a little freaked out (as is Kristy), and knowing that a person who used to live there may have died under mysterious circumstances doesn’t help. I’m not sure who people think haunts the mansion anyway, since Dorothy didn’t die in the house. But it doesn’t really matter, since nothing really weird happens anyway. The story’s more about the fact that Kristy and everyone disappears and their families don’t know where they are.

In the morning, the group figures out that Will is the caretaker. He confirms this and admits that he bought the house and kept it exactly the same as it was when Dorothy lived there. Later on, Karen admits to Kristy that she swiped a picture of Dorothy from the mansion, and when the other BSC girls see it, Mary Anne recognizes Dorothy as the woman who owns a nearby sewing shop. The BSC girls and Karen go to see her, confirm that she’s Dorothy, and hear her side of the story: On her way to meet Will so they could elope, she decided she liked her freedom so much that she took off alone. (Girl power!) The girls tell her where she can find Will, because they just can’t help playing matchmaker.

Thoughts: I’m not sure I’d let my eight-year-old ride in a van driven by a 17-year-old, who happens to be the oldest person in the group.

Trivia: Kristy’s afraid of lightning.

Bart doesn’t come home, so his father calls…Claudia? Huh?

“Charlie was turning out to be great.” I believe I’ve been saying that for months.

Why does Kristy care if Karen reads a diary from 1935? She didn’t seem to care about someone reading another person’s decades-old diary in Mallory and the Mystery Diary.

Patty, one of Bart’s Bashers, says that when she grows up, she wants to be a carpenter, ride a motorcycle, and be president. Rock on, Patty.

November 24, 2010

BSC Mystery #7, Dawn and the Disappearing Dogs: Barking Up Trees

Posted in books tagged , , , at 10:32 pm by Jenn

This never happened, you lying cover artist

Summary: Dawn is pet-sitting for the Mancusis when their Great Dane, Cheryl, disappears from the yard. She feels really guilty and decides to investigate what might have happened. Then Kristy’s dog, Shannon, disappears as well. Dawn remembers seeing a green car driving around the neighborhood when Cheryl vanished, and she thinks the driver has something to do with the dog-nappings. She enlists the BSC girls to help with the investigation, but they hit a dead end when they find out the car belongs to Karl Tate, one of the richest men in town. Her other dead end is that the police think she’s a silly little girl and won’t listen to her suspicions.

Dawn studies up on different kinds of dogs, and on a visit to a new pet store, she works off a hunch that when a customer requests a dog that isn’t in the store, the owners steal one and sell it for a huge profit. In a neighboring town, Dawn spots Cheryl with a woman who isn’t Mrs. Mancusi, and she calls the police to tell them she’s cracked the case. It turns out her hunch was right and the woman bought Cheryl from the pet store after requesting a Great Dane and being told they didn’t have any. Tate was involved after all, having lost a bunch of money and figuring out the pet scheme. The dogs, including Shannon, are recovered and the BSC girls are heroes.

In the B plot, Kristy and a barely mentioned Bart form the Krashers, an all-star team of Krushers and Bashers. The kids who aren’t picked for the team protest, but they’re happy when the Krashers win their first game. It’s just as boring as it sounds. No, even more boring than that.

Thoughts: Dawn is kind of annoying in this book – she mentions over and over that she’s not really an animal person, and she’s a little unreasonable over the police not listening to her – but she’s really, really smart. Claudia may be the BSC girl who reads all the Nancy Drews, but Dawn’s the true detective.

Dawn thinks the Mancusis’ rabbits are “kind of cute, I guess. If you like rabbits.” Who doesn’t think rabbits are cute?? Besides Anya, I mean.

Claudia spells “refrigerator” right, but not “stuck.” You’re killing me, ghostwriter.

August 28, 2010

BSC Mystery #4, Kristy and the Missing Child: Another Traumatizing BSC Book

Posted in books tagged , , , at 2:31 pm by Jenn

Whoever that blond kid is, he/she has the world's worst haircut

Summary: One of Kristy’s Krushers, Jake Kuhn, disappears on his way home from a game. His mom worries that her ex-husband has grabbed him, since he was angry that she wouldn’t let Jake go on a trip with him to Europe. The BSC girls and some of their sitting charges think Jake might be stuck somewhere, so they go out looking for him. Kristy takes charge (of course) and organizes search parties. Other kids think Jake was kidnapped and do a little panicking (though not much, considering the situation).

On one of their jaunts to look in places Jake might be, Kristy, Bart, David Michael, and Matt and Haley Braddock visit a construction site and discover that Jake fell through the floor and has been trapped there. He’s fine, and Kristy is named a hero, even though Matt was the one who thought they should look there. And then at SMS’s Awards Night, she gets a mini umbrella and the title of Class Protector a plaque.

In the B plot, Mary Anne is flunking home ec, but she salvages her grade by inventing Jell-o Jigglers.

Thoughts: I loved this book when I was younger, even though it kind of freaked me out. This series has a way of slipping slightly traumatizing events into books. A missing dog? Okay. A missing child? Not really age-appropriate.

Mary Anne skips an emergency club meeting to work on a home-ec project. That girl clearly does not have her priorities in order.

Speaking of the whole home-ec subplot, doesn’t Mary Anne seem like the club member most likely to do well in that class?

Kristy isn’t sure how to help find Jake at first, since she doesn’t have walkie-talkies like the police do. Uh…what?

Mary Anne panics over a test about Jell-O. Why would a home-ec teacher test students on how to make Jell-O? First of all, a six-year-old could do it, and second of all, memorizing the process isn’t going to get you ahead in life. It’s on every box anyway. Why don’t they teach the students how to roast a turkey or balance a checkbook or do a load of laundry – you know, stuff they’re going to have to do later in life?

I’m not really sure why Bart’s in this book. He kind of just hangs out. And almost kisses Kristy. Wow, way to keep your mind on the missing child, Bart.

Pete Black is expected to be named class clown? I didn’t think Alan Gray had much competition in that department.

April 25, 2010

BSC #38, Kristy’s Mystery Admirer: Her?

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:19 pm by Jenn

Yeah, I can see why all the boys love Kristy

Summary: Kristy starts getting love letters (I know, right?), and at first she’s flattered, but then she gets creeped out because they turn dark. Her mystery admirer says he/she will remember her when she’s dead, and other weird stuff like that. Kristy and Shannon (who’s barely been mentioned since Kristy and the Snobs and is possibly featured more in this book than in any other) think Bart’s writing the notes to psych Kristy out since their teams will soon be facing off for a World Series.

Poor Bart gets the silent treatment from everyone until he finally confronts Kristy about the situation. It turns out he did write the love letters, but not the creepy ones. Those were from Cokie Mason, who wanted revenge for the events of Mary Anne’s Bad-Luck Mystery. Kristy’s only revenge is to tell everyone at school what Cokie did, then write her a stupid fake love note of her own. That’s weak, even for Kristy.

A lot of the other stuff in the book has to do with the World Series, which is really only one game, and not even a nine-inning game at that. And Kristy and Bart are pretty much officially dating now, which makes her the second girl in the BSC to get a steady boyfriend. Her? Yes, her. Also, Buddy Barrett develops a crush on Shannon, but that doesn’t go anywhere. Probably because Shannon is as boring to the ghostwriter as she is to the readers.

Thoughts: Seriously, Shannon is bossy and has no distinguishing personality. No wonder she barely appears in the series.

This book is so tame. If it were written today, Shannon would turn out to be the secret admirer and Cokie would be arrested for making death threats.

Kristy says that Shannon isn’t “gorgeous like Dawn or even attractive like Stacey. She’s more…interesting-looking.” Look, just because she’s not your type….

One of Kristy’s notes says she’s “as beautiful as a snow-covered mountain.” Frigid and insurmountable?

Stacey wears a fedora. Oh, sorry – a “distant” fedora. Also, Kristy and Bart go to a school Halloween dance dressed as lobsters. You read that right.

Mallory comes to a Krushers practice but apparently Stacey and Shannon don’t talk to her. Thus begins the dweebification of Mallory Pike.

December 27, 2009

BSC #20, Kristy and the Walking Disaster: Count the ’80s Sports Movie Clichés

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 9:24 pm by Jenn

But they're supposed to have matching shirts and mismatched hats! Sigh

Summary: Kristy starts a softball team called Kristy’s Krushers, comprised of kids who are too young/not talented enough for Little League.  The team also consists of Jackie Rodowsky, the walking disaster, as we’re reminded at least 30 times. He’s a klutz, but the kid can hit a baseball, so shut up, Kristy. You put a two-and-a-half-year-old on your team and you’re worried about Jackie?

Anyway, the kids aren’t the best players, but they try really hard, which makes Kristy really proud of them. The team plays Bart’s Bashers, made up of kids who are a little older and a little more talented, and coached by a guy named Bart Taylor, who Kristy develops a crush on. In the end, the Krushers lose, but Kristy gets the guy. Like I said, ’80s sports movie clichés abound.

Thoughts: Other than her constant referrals to Jackie as a walking disaster when the poor kid is really just a klutz with bad luck, Kristy’s not too bad in this book. She’s really patient with the kids when she’s coaching them, and she turns out to be a natural. I think she’s found a calling.

Though she’s dumb enough to let Jackie mix up pink lemonade by himself, so she gets what she deserves there.

Mallory says Claire only has baseball-related tantrums. I know some grown-ups like that. I’m pretty sure she becomes an equal-opportunity tantrum-thrower as the series progresses, though.

Claudia pulls out one of Jackie’s loose teeth. EWWWWWWWW.

Bart has a rottweiler named Twinkle. What’s the point of having a big dog like a rottweiler if you’re going to give it a Disney name like Twinkle?

This is a weird moment: “Thanks to me, Jessi really did have an easy sitting job. But I’m not complaining.” Do you usually complain when one of your friends has a good day, Kristy? I guess not, or you probably wouldn’t have as many friends as you do.

Karen refuses to spell Krushers with a K because it’s wrong. Part of me admires her refusal to use improper spelling, but the rest of me wants her to shut up.

So Marnie is two and still considered a baby (also, the girl never talks, which is weird), but Gabbie is two-and-a-half and basically considered a preschooler? Should I stop looking for logic in Stoneybrook?

No way would Kristy let Bart be the umpire at their first game. Doesn’t the ump have to be, I don’t know, impartial?

A kid calls Matt Braddock a dummy and his sister Haley responds, “If you call him a dummy one more time, I will personally rearrange your face.” How did I forget how awesome Haley is? If only every kid in this series could be that cool.

Kristy says that Dawn’s notebook entry is “pretty meaty.” Hee hee.