Tuesday, June 23, 2009

“I had broken a good-luck chain and was wearing a bad-luck charm.”……BSC # 17: Mary Anne’s Bad Luck Mystery

Memory Reaction

I have very little memory of this one. I remember the girls talking about it in other books, basically any Halloween book or any book where Cokie showed up. The only thing I do remember is how Mary Anne gets a chain letter which reminds me of the times I got chain letters as a kid (actual printed out and sent with a stamp, not e-mail ones). The first time I sent it out and followed the instructions, but never got the postcards that you are supposed to get. So, when I got it a second time, I threw it out, and my friend got mad at me for “breaking the chain.” But anyway, Mary Anne throws hers out and that is all I really remember. I know talk about making a fool out of Cokie in later books, so I assume it happens here.

Revisisted Reaction

It is mid-October and the BSC is starting to prepare for Halloween. Mary Anne gets an anonymous chain letter in the mail that says she and her friends will get bad luck if she doesn’t send it to other people. Mary Anne just throws the thing out. The next day horrible things start to happen to Mary Anne. Well, not really horrible. She spills juice on her dress and her locker gets jammed. But she starts to think it is because she threw out the chain letter. THEN she gets a necklace in the mail, with a letter that says it is a bad-luck charm and bad things will happen if she doesn’t wear it. I am not keeps having “bad-luck” and the rest of the BSC is too.

October 30 roles around, and most of the BSC goes to the Halloween dance, where Cokie makes fun of Mary Anne’s “bad-luck charm.” Cokie and her friends have been rather bitchy to the BSC throughout the book – this is explained by saying Cokie’s BFF Grace has a crush on Logan and all the girls at SMS are jealous of Mary Anne.

That night, Mary Anne gets another letter telling her and the rest of the BSC to go to the graveyard at midnight. They are all terrified, but agree to go. Then her father tells her that the necklace she is wearing has some stone that is a symbol of faith. This makes Mary Anne realize Cokie sent the necklace (since otherwise she wouldn’t have called the necklace a bad-luck charm. Cokie tends to have a problem with self-incriminating herself like that.

The girls show up at the graveyard early and make plans to scare Cokie and Co. They do and in the midst of the scaring, Logan shows up. It seems that Cokie and Grace wanted him to witness the BSC getting scared, so he would dump Mary Anne. It seems a bit convoluted to me. And Logan ends up thinking the BSC is cool for getting the mean girls. Then the girls realize they are starting to have good luck, and decide everything is settled. Even though we never find out who sent the original letter (Cokie only sent the necklace).


  • We are at the stage where Mary Anne still calls Logan her “sort of” boyfriend. It was much more realistic then.
  • Claudia’s outfit: “An oversized white shirt with a green vegetables print all over it – cabbages and squashes and turnips and staff. Under the blouse was a very short jean skirt, white stockings, green anklets over the stockings, and lavender sneakers.” I have no comment. I think we’ll let the image speak for itself.
  • Mary Anne mentions how she and the BSC always sit together and she thinks their other friends were hurt that they got blown off. But then she pretty much says, “oh, well,” about the whole thing.
  • What is really interesting is that Mary Anne thinks other girls at school think the BSC is stuck up. But later Claud says the problem is that everyone else is stuck up and Mary Anne goes along with it Both are probably accurate statements.
  • Kristy, Claud, and Dawn all tell Mary Anne to send the chain letter on, so they don’t get residual bad-luck, but don’t want her to send it to them. Nice.
  • I don’t understand the logic behind telling someone to wear a bad-luck charm. Why would someone keep something that is labeled as “bad-luck.”
  • They have this whole long discussion on how to look up stuff in the library and card catalogues etc. It was probably Ann M. Martin trying to educate kids on libraries, but it is really dated.
  • People getting sick in October is not bad-luck, it is just the start of flu season.
  • Jamie Newton is afraid of Halloween, and Jessi helps him by reading him some book about Georgie a friendly ghost. I never heard of it, but I guess it is a series that exists.
  • I hate when they show two people writing in the notebook, and make it look like they are having a conversation in writing. I don’t see how they would actually write joint entries like that. If they are sitting in the same room, why wouldn’t Claudia just ask Mallory how to spell whatever word it is?
  • The Pikes are all excited because they are having something called “daddy stew” for dinner. Claudia thinks it looks disgusting, and I am going to have to agree. The Pikes are not known for great eating habits.
  • When they show the letter that came with the charm, they show it graphically, with all different fonts to make it look like they were cut from magazines. I used to think stuff like that was so cool.
  • The BSC check books out of the library on witchcraft and how to get rid of bad-luck. They all talk about using snake skins and ox tail’s. Do books like that really exist?
  • Mary Anne tells Jessi and Mal how “last year” they found out that the “Phantom Phone Caller” was Trever Sandbourne, who had a crush on Claudia. But really, it was Alan Gray too.
  • Mary Anne and Logan dress as cats for the Halloween dance, because they had seen the musical Cats. Are we supposed to believe they saw the Broadway show?
  • They make their costumes, and Mary Anne tells us Logan didn’t want to wear a leotard and tights like she did. That is actually a good sign.
  • Jessi and Mal aren’t allowed to go to the dance. But they are allowed later in the series and they aren’t any older then.
  • Want proof Dawn is an individual? She wears regular clothes to the dance, but puts on green makeup all over her face. That reminds me of teenagers who would go trick-or-treating without any real costume…then claim their Yankees hat was a costume as a “Yankee fan.” Or something.
  • The girls try to plan how to sneak out of their house to get to the graveyard at night…. including climbing out a window. Which I can’t see any of them doing. They end up using a sleepover as a cover story.
  • Kristy gets Charlie to pick up all her friends and drive them to a graveyard at 10:30 at night, then wait around for an hour, then take them home, and keep it all secret. This is on a Saturday night. On Halloween. What guy would do that?
  • So, in this book, Grace Blume is the one who is into Logan. But later, Cokie goes after him. She and Grace are still friends then, so I am going to assume this is a continuity error and not an example of Cokie being a bitch.
  • I feel like this entire plot wouldn’t work if written today…Most “chain letters” are email and if other people get even half of what I do they wouldn’t be a big deal to anyone.
  • Logan says that while walking to the graveyard, he sees Charlie Thomas who directs him to the proper section of the graveyard. I would have liked to see that conversation…wouldn’t Charlie have filled him in? “You’re looking for Old Man Hickory’s grave? That’s where the BSC is hanging out. Imagine that.
  • For a minute, I actually thought Logan was going to get mad at the BSC for trying to scare Cokie. But he didn’t, and everything worked out fine.
  • Cokie’s whole plan seems a little lame. She wanted Logan to show up while she and her cronies were scaring the BSC. Does she think the way to win a guy is to play a prank on his girlfriend?


hungryandfrozen said...

Though this one is completely illogical, barely plausible, and hilariously dated, for some reason it has always been one of my favourites :) but you're right, there's an awful lot of ridiculous in there.

Melinda said...

This was always one of my favorites for some reason. I loved reading it around Halloween!

HelenB said...

I'm another one who loved this book, and I also don't know why. It always irritated me that we never knew who had sent MA the chain letter in the first place.

nikki said...

How many halloweens were there in the BSC series? Anyone....? Anyone....?

Caroline said...

I never really read this one a lot, so I don't know it as well as the others. But you're right, it really wouldn't work now...do people still get chain letters in the mail? I also don't like how they call Logan her 'steady boyfriend' in the later books...it sounds like such an old-person expression.

Anonymous said...

I don’t understand the logic behind telling someone to wear a bad-luck charm. Why would someone keep something that is labeled as “bad-luck.”

cause they were scared not to

The Kitten Temp said...

I want one of those necklaces; it sounds super pretty.
Albeit a little bit like that spooky tannis-root locket from Rosemary's Baby.