Okay, I loved the mysteries, and I loved the Super Specials because they were longer and had multiple perspectives. So this book excited me to an embarrassing degree. Of course, even when I was 14ish I knew it was totally unrealistic that Karen and Andrews’ mother would let Kristy come along as a mother’s helper.
They also solve some unrealistic mystery, and save the day. I always wished I would go on vacation and stumble my way into a mystery with a missing treasure or a haunted house and it never quite seemed to happen.
The plot of this book is a little complicated and a lot unrealistic. It is summer vacation and Claudia has a job sitting for Karen and Andrew. But their mom (Lisa) and stepfather (Seth) end up getting invited to visit their friends, the Menders, who inherited a mansion in Maine. The friends have four kids, so, they need Claudia and someone else to go as mother’s helpers. Because what parent wants to spend time with their kids on vacation? Kristy, Mary Anne, and Dawn fight over who gets to be the other person, and Lisa decides to invite all four on the trip – instead of getting paid, they’ll just get a free trip. Mallory and Jessi aren’t allowed to go, so they get to take over everyone else’s jobs (This book took place in the time when Stacey quit, so she is not in it).
ANYWAY, once they get to the mansion in Maine, they start seeing all sorts of weird stuff happen and they think the house is haunted. It turns out that the housekeeper and butler are trying to scare the Menderses off, because they are some cousins of theirs and will get the house if the Menderses don’t move into it. The reason they want the house is because in addition to it being a mansion, there are rumors of treasure existing. But the BSC basically scares off the bad guys and they realize the “treasure” is a toy boat with the word treasure on it.
While all this is going on the BSC also has to help the Menderses get adjusted to life in Maine so they will want to move there. Which, they do, of course, and live happily ever after. At some point, a college kid also gets the hots for Claudia and she lets him think she is 16. Then she writes him a letter telling him the truth, which he doesn’t appear to respond to. Because he doesn’t want to go to jail, I assume.
Back in Stoneybrook Mal and Jessi have to turn down jobs because they are the only ones around to sit. Then no one calls and they think they ruined the club, but it turns out all the kids from Stoneybrook are on vacation or camp. And they ride in some town parade with a bunch of kids and everyone tells them how awesome the BSC is.High/Lowlights
- When I was a kid, I hated reading cursive, so I would skip those notebook/letter sections at the beginning of chapters. Which means I never realized that Claudia was really a horrible speller. I mean, I knew she was bad, but the girl’s entries are barely readable.
- Would Lisa really hire her Ex’s stepdaughter to sit? Let alone bring her on vacation with the family? Would Kristy’s mom want her going away with Watson’s ex?
- It is actually pretty rude to just invite four teenage girls to come with you to your friends house for a vacation, even if there is plenty of room and they are going to watch the kids. You would think Lisa would have called and checked with the Menderses first, just to be sure.
- LOTS of outfits in this book. Claud “had on a pair of bright blue Lycra biker shorts, a black lacy tank top, a man’s white dress shirt, baggy purple and white checked socks, red high-tops, and a pair of big gold hoop earrings with a brightly colored wooden parrot in each hoop.”
- Mary Anne would be really annoying to travel with. But seriously, how does a 13-year-old even know about small towns in Maine? I can see her reading about NYC or California, but Maine? But she starts going on about Reese, Maine just minutes after hearing the name.
- Heh, the Kuhns are upset that Jessi has to take over Kristy’s sitting job for them. And Melody Korman is upset that Mallory is going to sit for her instead of Mary Anne. Poor Jessi and Mal were always getting the short-stick.
- The Kishis’ let Jessi and Mal have BSC meetings in their house while Claud is away. That is…. generous of them.
- One of the Menders kids decides she wants to be just like Dawn and spends the whole book dressing like her and basically being her shadow. They never really say why she does this, just that she does.
- It is kind of pretentious to call yourself “the Reese contingent of the BSC.” You are teenage girls tagging along on someone else’s vacation.
- “I decided to wear my floral-print mini-sundress (the pink and red flower pattern is big and sorta abstract). To that I added a pink baseball cap, dangling yellow glass earrings, and my red-high tops.” This is Claudia speaking, of course. With way too many adjectives in that paragraph.
- Karen decides it is her job to make Martha Menders (the seven year old) the most popular kid in Maine. The problem is Martha is really shy, and pretty clearly hates Karen for being so loud and annoying.
- Karen thinks Mary Anne is not a good person to give advice about meeting people. I hate to say it, but I am inclined to agree.
- No Karen, Kristy is not a genius for thinking you might be able to meet KIDS at a PLAYGROUND.
- Almost all of Logan’s one chapter is devoted to explaining a meeting Mal and Jessi had without him. I don’t get why they didn’t just make it a Mallory chapter, unless it was the token Logan chapter.
- Wow, Jessi and Mal convince Janine to take a sitting job for them. Is that, like, allowed? I know she is a genius and all, but has she passed the BSCs’ tests?
- “Claud looking amazing in full-length black gauze skirt over a black leotard. She was wearing dangling glass earrings that she’d made from a chandelier. Her long black hair was held back on one side with a single red rose.” Who even brings an outfit like that a trip where they are going to be baby-sitting?
- And she wears the skirt again: “I put on my black gauze skirt and a red tank top, and tied my white silk bomber jacket around my waist. Then I put on my airplane earrings.”
- No, girls a ghost wouldn’t use a real candle. Because there are not real ghosts!!! Jeez, how old are they supposed to be again?
- There is an Andrew chapter. And it is a total waste. Seriously, it is like a page long and doesn’t say anything that you don’t find out in the next chapter. He just says he likes frogs and has weird baby-sitters. I would have rather had a chapter from the bad guys or something.
- The girls don’t tell the Menders, or Seth and Lisa that they suspect the housekeeper/butler of being bad guys. Even when the adults are going out of town for a day. They want to get “proof.” As a result they end up trapped in the mansion with people who want to physically hurt them.
- Mallory’s favorite T-shirt is red and white striped, with blue stars around the neck and sleeves. I had a shirt like that when I was about nine, but I only wore it on the 4rth of July.
- What is a sash? In the parade thing, Haley Braddock wears red tights and a white T-shirt with a blue sash.