Friday, September 19, 2008

“I was going to have to study my surfing slang……”BSC Mystery #12: Dawn and the Surfer Ghost

Memory Reaction

I think I liked this one because I read it a million times. But just thinking about it makes me think more of a Scooby Doo plot than anything else. I must have a thing for crazy, over-the-top plots. I read all the BSC Mysteries in middle school, and I watched Passions when I was in college. Both were equally ridiculous, but I got great entertainment out of them.

Revisited Reaction

So, Dawn is back in California and has taken up surfing. Cause, you know, that is what people in California do. She meets some guy, Thrash, (who is about twenty) who is some big shot surfer and claims she finds him “interesting.” She won’t admit to having the hots for him, but you can tell she totally does. Anyway, Thrash disappears right before a big surfing contest he was favored to win. His board washed up on shore mangled, so people assume he died. The police don’t really care cause Thrash is basically a surfing bum, but they do acknowledge the board may have been tampered with.

Then people start seeing someone surfing late at night, think he looks ghostly because of the fog, so they call him the surfer ghost. The “ghost” can do moves no one except Thrash could do, so Dawn becomes convinced that Thrash was murdered and his ghost is out for revenge. She thinks that the proof of this is that people are having “accidents” while surfing. Her California friends don’t believe in ghosts (since they have brains) and they don’t like mysteries, so she is trying to solve this on her own. Eventually, Sunny starts to help her.

Dawn realizes that some guy who works at the beach snack bar is Thrash with his hair cut short and dyed black. She confronts Thrash, who tells her he is hiding out and wants to get revenge on the person who tampered with his board. He also tells her that he has been the one surfing at night, the accidents are just accidents, and there are no such things as ghosts. Dawn tells him that two wrongs don’t make a right and convinces him to go to the police instead of getting revenge on his own. Which he does (of course) and the other guy is caught. Thrash wins the contest and Dawn comes in third in the beginners division.

Subplot: We are forced to hear about the Arnold twins through “letters” that Dawn gets. One of them sprains her ankle and they become attached at the hip and annoy everyone until the BSC saves the day. Yawn. I would rather have more of Dawn talking about ghosts and surf action.


  • Dawn says she likes the We (heart) Kids Club because everyone eats healthy food and she doesn’t have to feel like an outcast for turning down snacks. This is one page after saying she is an individual who doesn’t care what people think.
  • Even Dawn’s school in California is a cliché. She says how it has tropical gardens and courtyards and hummingbirds all over.
  • I think the ghostwriters had a database of descriptions they just reused over and over. Every book that mentions the Arnold twins has the same paragraph on their history.
  • Sunny tells Dawn that maybe Thrash isn’t really dead, that he faked his death and now the living Thrash is the “ghost.” Dawn responds by telling Sunny she is watching too many movies. Because someone faking their death is less believable then an actual ghost?
  • Stacey sits for the Arnold twins four times in one week. That is a hell of a lot of sitting jobs.
  • Every time Thrash talks about Australia he uses the phrase, “Down Under” before it. I don’t know anyone who talks like that.
  • The police set up this whole sting operation, where there are cops dressed as surfers ready to run after the bad guy when Thrash walks on the beach. But why couldn’t Trash have just told the police who it was and have them go to the guy’s house? Why the big show? I guess it is more dramatic, but it is a little unbelievable.
  • Would a 13-year-old be in the same competition is a twenty year old? I mean, she is not in the same division (beginning v. expert), but wouldn’t there be an age grouping as well?


zanne said...

A surfer ghost?! I definitely never read this one!

My friends and I used to watch Passions every now & then in college. That show was crazy!

nikki said...

Crazy! I had no idea this book even existed! I don't think I read any of the mysteries, but if I had I probably would have skipped this one. I hated Dawn toward the end.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I LOVED this book. I think maybe because it was more a mystery in the style of, well, actual mystery books! You know, missing person, ghostly apparition, distinct lack of child-minding... er, except for that Arnold twins subplot. Was it just me or were the Arnold twins never interesting?

colleenn said...

I'm really late commenting on this one, but I think there may be yet another case of lack of continuity (shocking, I know). In one of the first "Dawn goes back to CA" books (Dawn on the Coast maybe?) I swear I remember her making a big deal out of the fact that Sunny had ghost story novels or something along those lines, and they could trade while Dawn was visiting her father. And Dawn was all excited to have a friend who shared her interest in spooky stories. But in this book you said Sunny and them are not into mysteries or ghosts at all. Am I completely making that up?

Anonymous said...

Why is it that in the books Dawn is specifically supposed to have blond hair, blue eyes, but in the new Netflix movies she has basically black hair brown eyes!?