Tuesday, October 27, 2009

“Was Ghost Cat really a ghost after all?”……BSC Mystery # 3: Mallory and the Ghost Cat

Memory Reaction

I wasn’t a huge fan of this one, because I am not a cat person at all. So, I HATED reading a book all about one. It is like the book about Jessi pet-sitting for that family with a zillion animals.

I can’t really remember the details of the plot, but I remember how after awhile I noticed the 8th graders in the series had all gotten a second or third mystery book, and Jessi and Mal only had one each. I guess they thought it was to unrealistic to have 11 year-olds running around solving crimes? Thirteen-year-olds doing it makes much more sense.

Revisited Reaction

Mal gets a bunch of sitting jobs for a new client, the Craines, a family with three little girls. When she is at their house, she hears meowing, and thinks they must have cat. But, the girls tell her they don’t have any pets. I know, it is off to a thrilling start. When Mal and the girls keep hearing the meowing, they decide to search the house. The Craines think it must be a “ghost cat,” because they keep hearing it but not seeing it. Then, Mal takes the girls into the attic, and they see a white cat that got in through a hole in the wall. Mrs. Crane lets the girls take care of the cat while they look for the owner. They decide to name it “Ghost Cat.”

At her next sitting job for the Craines, Mallory takes them back to the attic where they find a box of old letters. They look through them and it turns off they are from a guy who used to live in the house (the person he was writing to, gave them to the relative that lived in the house next). One day this guy found a white cat and adopted him. When the cat died, the guy “was never the same again.” Mal decides that the cat they found must actually be the ghost of this cat. She actually tells the girls this, and invites Dawn over to “test” whether the theory is true. Of course, the tests show it was a real animal. Then, the real owner is found, and he comes to pick up the cat. And he looks a lot like the pictures of the old guy who used to live in the house. So, this adds to the ghost speculation, but it is the end of the story.

There is also a subplot, where Mal’s Great-Uncle Joe is staying with the Pikes. He is living in a nursing home in town, but Mr. Pike invites him to spend a few weeks with the family. Joe doesn’t exactly take to having eight rowdy children around all the time, and the kids, as well as the rest of the BSC are upset about this and think he’s mean. Uncle Joe finally starts to warm up to the kids, right before he moves out. However, we also find out Uncle Joe has the early signs of Alzheimer’s, so there’s not really a happy ending on that storyline.


  • I can remember this scene vividly. Mallory is making English-muffin pizzas for her family’s dinner, and goes into a long explanation of how much she likes artichokes.
  • When Mal finds out Uncle Joe is staying with them, her first question is to ask if her parents will still need her to baby-sit. Cause all teenagers want to spend their free time taking care of their younger siblings.
  • Jordan Pike likes to eat peanut-butter-and-banana-and-salami sandwiches. What is it with the Pikes and their weird food combinations?
  • Not a lot of outfits in this one, the only one we get is for Claire Pike. She likes a dress that looks like Lucy’s from Peanuts. Well, she is certainly no Suri Cruise.
  • The welcome sign for Uncle Joe says, “Welkome Uncle Jow!” But, we can’t blame Claudia for it, Margo and Claire made it by themselves.
  • When the kids are hanging the sign, the triplets get a hammer and nails. Why would they need that for a paper sign? And what kind of baby-sitter lets kids make holes in the wall for no real reason?
  • The Craines are new clients because their Aunt Bud, who usually sits for them, broke her leg riding her motorcycle. When Mal meets her, she assumes she will have tattoos and wear leather…and wonders what to do if Aunt Bud offers her a beer. (Bud) turns out to be totally normal though. And Bud is a nickname for Ellen.
  • When they are looking for the cat, Mal asks the kids if they are allowed in the attic. They say “yes,” but only if an adult is with them. Of course, Mal decides she qualifies.
  • When Claudia meets Uncle Joe, she actually calls him, “Uncle Joe.” And unlike what usually happens in BSC-land, he gets pissed and yells at her to call him Mr. Pike.
  • Karen and her friend are playing that stupid “Lovely Ladies” game. I always thought this was an excuse to dress-up, but it turns out they actually run through some lame dialogue, where they call themselves “lovely ladies” a million times. And they say the same thing every time they play. Now, I thought Karen was supposed to be imaginative. When I was little, my friend and I would act out different parts/scenes when we dressed up, and would put on “shows” for our parents. What is the fun of doing the same thing over and over?
  • I remember this part too….and I think it may have happened in a Sweet Valley Twins book. (Or some other similar series). Mrs. Pike insists on cooking only plain food, all the time, for Uncle Joe (and by extension the whole family). Then at the end, Uncle Joe reveals that he actually loves spicy food, and sneaks hot sauce at every meal.
  • How is it responsibly baby-sitting to bring Dawn over, tell a 6-, 4-, and 2-year-old that their pet might be a ghost, and then perform “tests” like pouring flour on the floor to see if the cat leaves footprints?
  • Karen goes on a sitting job with Kristy, so she can play with Melody Korman. But Melody pretends to be a cat all night, so Karen gets bored and goes home early.
  • This book is WAY to heavily cat-themed.
  • Dawn has all these ghost-busting “gadgets” that she sent away for. Mallory can tell they are cardboard, so I don’t know why Dawn would think they would work. I bet even Claud wouldn’t think that.
  • This mystery is really the lamest ever. Seriously. I can’t even figure out what it actually was. I know I complained last week that an actual mystery was too ridiculous, but there is a fine line between trying to figure out what psycho is stalking you and trying to figure out where some cat noises are coming from.
  • After Ghost Cat is returned to his rightful owner, the Craine girls think the man was a ghost too. And Mallory decides she can’t come up with an argument with this. She then declares the mystery “solved” because the owner and cat were reunited and happy.
  • The Craine girls tell Mal that after the cat is returned home, they haven’t heard meowing from the attic. Um, how is that evidence that the cat was a ghost? I mean, they think it is because sometimes it sounded like the cat was in the attic when it wasn’t. But that could just be the house. Evidence of there being a ghost would be if the noises did continue after the physical cat left.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Craine decide to get a cat of their own, and the girls pick one out that looks like Ghost Cat. Cause that isn't predictable or anything.
  • At least this book gives an explanation for why the Craines need a million sitters for this book and then are never heard from again – their usual sitter is Aunt Bud, who can sit again once her broken leg is healed.
  • It is really sad to think about this guy writing letters, who is never the same again after his cat died. I mean, this is in the same book as someone having Alzheimer’s. It’s rather depressing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

“This mystery, however, was a lot scarier than the others”……The BSC Super Mystery # 2: Baby-sitters Beware

Memory Reaction

I was so happy to find this book, because all I can remember is how utterly ridiculous it is. It ends with this whole “dramatic” chase-type scene where someone is actually trying to hunt down and kill/hurt the BSC. I think it has something to do with the guy they helped catch back when dogs were being kidnapped. I am not sure of the rest of the details, but if I remember it being stupid, I’ll probably think it even more so now. However, I will admit that I may have enjoyed it somewhat as a kid, just for the fact that it called back to a lot of other BSC books. I always liked continuity stuff like that.

Revisited Reaction

This book gets a little convoluted, and I am going to try not to leave any details out, because there is so, so, so much to pick apart.

Kristy’s family is planning a trip for a long weekend in Shadow Lake – and Stacey, Claudia, and Abby are tagging along. But then, “weird” stuff starts to happen. And by weird, I mean these girls are being stalked. It all starts after Abby and Kristy witness what seems to be a break-in while walking home from school. The thief sees them as well, and of course, they happen to be wearing name tags. The girls tell the police what they saw, but the owner of the house claims nothing is missing.

Some of the fun events that follow:
  1. While Kristy is baby-sitting at her house, someone throws a brick through the window and spray paints the words “You’re Next” on the front door.
  2. Someone starts a fire outside Claudia’s house.
  3. Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, and Mary Anne keep getting phone calls where the person whispers “You’re next” into the phone.
  4. Mary Anne sees someone outside her house staring into her window.
  5. While “researching” at the library, Abby finds a discarded photocopy of a newspaper article in the garbage. It is an article about when the BSC helped catch the pet-naper, complete with a picture of Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, Mary Anne, and Dawn.
  6. A car almost runs down Stacey (pretty clearly deliberately).
  7. Someone ties a note around Tiger’s next reading, “You’re Next” (that Mary Anne sees when he comes through the animal door).
Now, what would logically happen next is that these girls would tell their parents. But, in BSC-land, parents only exist when they are ignoring their kids or paying for a vacation. So, the girls leave them in the dark. The BSC think this is all connected to the break in they saw, and try to “stake out” the house. This is relatively easy, since it happens to be next-door to the Rodowsky’s, who happen to need a lot of sitters this week. Don’t you love when things work out?

No progress is made before the trip to Shadow Lake, so Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, and Abby decide to relax and try to have fun. We are introduced to a few random people who are staying near their cabin, and then see that the “terrorizing” is continuing:
  1. Stacey gets stranded on a ski left
  2. Someone hides a “Closed Trail” sign, so Claudia almost kills herself.
  3. A snow-blower somehow turns on and knocks Kristy down.
Back at home, Mary Anne is sitting for the Rodowsky’s when she hears something happen next door. Again, fabulous timing. She calls the police, and we find out that the “break in” was really the owner’s son (which is why the owner didn’t press charges). The son and his friend tell Mary Anne they weren’t at all involved in scaring the BSC…the friend actually says, “I wouldn’t hurt a bunch of kids,” which offends Mary Anne.

The BSCers in Stoneybrook realize that the car that ran down Stacey had a Better Business Bureau sticker from the previous year, but not a new one. They get their hands on a list of BBB members, and realize Karl Tate, the pet-naper they helped catch, is one of these people. Mary Anne calls the girls at Shadow Lake to warn them, but the phone die, and Stacey only hears the words “Karl Tate”

At Shadow Lake, there is snow storm coming, so Kristy’s parents and younger siblings go into town to get supplies. This leaves Kristy, Claud, Stacey, and Abby at the cabin with Charlie and Sam. At this point, there is another fire. Then Stacey thinks she sees someone outside with a gun. So then, the girls do the reasonable thing and tell Charlie and…..oh wait. They STILL don’t bother to tell anyone what is going on. But they do decide to walk to the lodge with Sam and Charlie. Not because they think they are in danger, but because the heat isn’t working. This weird guy in the cabin next-door ends up walking with them.

During this walk, the girls see someone come out of the woods….it is Karl Tate! Abby hits him in the head with an ice ball, then an FBI agent (who is the person Stacey saw with a gun) captures him at gun point. Then she just casually brings him to her cabin to wait for the storm to end – thinking she will bring him in to the station later when the storm ends.

Charlie and Sam are all, WTF? (Seriously, I would love to see their perspective on this). Unfortunately, they decide to wait until they get to the lodge to hear the rest of the story. But, before this can happens, the random weird neighbor walking with them grabs Stacey and holds her up over the lake. Kristy throws a flare at him, and he falls into the lake. We find out that he is actually Karl’s son, and he is really the one who wants revenge. Oh, and he doesn’t drown in the lake…the FBI agent comes back when Karl told her he was really there to STOP his son from hurting the BSC.


  • I always feel bad for the person who gets the backstory chapter in the Super Specials. Each girl only has about three chapters per book to begin with, and whoever has to explain the club ends up with even less time.
  • So, of course, one of the cops on the case is Sergeant Johnson. Only we are told that he met the BSC when Claudia helped him solve a bank robbery. And while this may have happened, he met the girls during the now infamous pet-napping case.
  • Stacey outfit: “Black leggings with cowboy boots, an oversized turtleneck sweater, and this cool black suede vest with pearl buttons.”
  • Claudia, “was wearing leggings, too – purple ones – with black Doc Martens, red slouch socks, black bicycle shorts over the leggings, a big T-shirt with the words “This Might Be Art” scrawled on it in purple, and an old black suit jacket of her father’s, with the sleeves rolled up.” I think a good rule of thumb is that the longer the outfit description, the funnier it is.
  • Awe, this book takes place soon after Watson has a heart attack, and Kristy is all worried about him lifting suitcases, or exerting himself in any way, because she wants him to stay around for a long time (unlike her real dad).
  • One of the subplots involves Claudia being ticked at Abby for talking about how great a skier she (Abby) is. And the rest of the girls keep acting so confused about why Claudia is annoyed. I think three different people say (think) something like, “I was surprised at Claudia. I know it might sound like Abby was bragging, but she clearly didn’t mean anything by it.” And this is after Abby has said something that is in fact.
  • The police ask Kristy’s mom and Watson if they have any enemies, and they ask Claudia’s parents if they have any enemies, but no one asks the girls. I know someone whose house was vandalized and one of the first things the cops asked was who the teenager in the house was hanging out with. Also, maybe if Claudia and Kristy spoke up, the cops would have known the cases were connected and solved the crimes before someone was almost killed.
  • Mary Anne and Logan have one subplot that is sort of out of place. Mary Anne keeps getting notes in Logan’s handwriting, saying things like, “stop crying.” We find out later that Logan has been getting notes saying things like, “Don’t you dare” in what looks like Mary Anne’s handwriting. So, they are both pissed at each other, but too passive aggressive to say anything.
  • Mary Anne and Logan finally settle things, but never learn who writes the notes. Mary Anne thinks it was Cokie, but Logan doesn’t, because he is clueless about her.
  • There is very little in this book in terms of personal story line. Half the time, a girl is not even describing things that happened to her. For example, a Kristy chapter tells us about Stacey getting stuck on the chair lift, a Stacey chapter tells us about Mary Anne seeing a guy watching her house, a Mary Anne chapter tells us about the vandalism at Kristy’s, etc.
  • Becca sees a guy in town with a blue tattoo and gets scared. This causes the BSC to think about the counterfeiter they caught had. Stacey, specifically, can’t remember what kind of tattoo he had. Now, I would think that if I caught a counterfeiter, I would remember the details. Especially, if it happened at the same time I met somebody who told me about his secret life.
  • Also, Becca actually helped the BSC on one of their stakeouts in that book. She had no problem with tattoos then.
  • They kind of make a joke out of how Mal and Jessi are marginalized in the mysteries…the “picture” that the stalker found was originally of the seven original BSC members. But, Jessi and Mal were cropped out in the paper, and so they don’t get stalked.
  • When the Rodowsky boys make cookies, they insist on calling them “pogs.” Wow, that takes me back.
  • Since Mary Anne doesn’t go on the Shadow Lake trip, Karen gets the role of sitting in the front seat reading pointless travel information out loud.
  • Stacey is worried that being at Shadow Lake will make Sam want her again, and makes a point of telling him she is serious with Robert. But it turns out that while he enjoys flirting with her, he only thinks of her as a friend.
  • Claudia says she thinks she sees Karl Tate in the woods outside their cabin. And the other girls are like, “Claudia, he’s in jail.” But Stacey did hear Mary Anne say something about Karl Tate on the phone. What does she think the rest of the sentence was, if not a warning?
  • I actually got confused reading the final scene, but then I realized it was bad writing. When the Shadow Lake crew decides to walk to the lodge they ask “Woodie” (the stalker/neighbor) to come with them, and he says no. But then, he ends up on the path with them.
  • When the son tries to attack Stacey, he is all, “You remember my father right? Karl Tate? You ruined his life!” And I kept thinking…of course they remember him, he was there five minutes ago! They thought he was trying to kill him! I don’t know…maybe he rehearsed the speech ahead of time, and didn’t get a chance to rewrite.
  • So back at home, stalker-boy had a photo of the BSC (from the paper) with a big X over it. Now…I’ve never stalked anyone, but I don’t really see the point of having a photo like that. Does he think he is going to forget what his objective is?
  • Most important takeaway from this book…the girls decide to keep a mystery notebook. Mallory starts it, by going through the existing notebook and reorganizing it. This is the basis for everyone writing their “notes” of this book.
  • Kristy says she almost got in trouble for not telling her parents what was going on. Um, almost?
  • Kristy’s reasoning for not telling was that it could give Watson a relapse, which is slightly better than their usual, “we are baby-sitters, we should handle this ourselves” crap. But that is no excuse for anyone else.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

“Tinker Bell is supposed to tinkle”……BSC Super Special # 9: Starring the Baby-sitters Club”

Memory Reaction

I remember having several different reactions to this book, including 1) When the hell did the BSC all turn into talented singers/actors? 2) When did Jessi turn into such a bitch? And most importantly, 3) Why did they ruin the end by putting this on the cover? And this one doesn’t just give away an end that you know is coming, it actually gives away a whole plot point. I remember just waiting to find out why Jessi is in the crocodile costume on the cover, when it doesn’t happen until the end. It totally ruined the experience.

Revisited Reaction

Stoneybrook Middle School is putting on a production of Peter Pan. It is apparently the first time the school has had any kind of school play, because everyone talks about how nothing like this has been done before. The play is open to high school and elementary school kids as well (since you know, they need to work in some baby-sitting).

When Jessi finds out about the play, she is convinced she is going to get the part of Peter. This is because the part is usually played by a woman and Jessi is an awesome dancer. But apparently she is not an awesome singer or actor, because she doesn’t get the part. Instead, Kristy gets the role of Peter, Dawn gets the role of Wendy, Stacey gets the part of Mrs. Darling, and Logan gets the part of a pirate. In addition, Claudia is the set designer, Mallory is the apprentice costume designer, and Mary Anne is the “backstage baby-sitter.”

But, back to Jessi. She is cast as a pirate, then quits, but ends up being the assistant choreographer. Her quitting happens off-screen (off-book?), so we can’t really verify her story about how this happens. I’m better the director did not really “beg her to stay in the production.” However, since the cover shows Jessi dressed in a crocodile costume, it is a safe bet that she’ll end up in the actual performance. Pete Black originally gets the part of the crocodile, but breaks his nose at the last minute and can’t perform. Which would have been a surprise if not for the stupid cover.

Now, it has to be said that Jessi is a raging bitch in this one. Seriously, I don’t know where it comes from, it really isn’t in character. First, she just assumes she’ll get the part of Peter. I am not sure why. Yes, she has her dance training, but in ballet she is always worried that she won’t get a good part. I think in the blizzard Super Special she was cast as the Mouse King in the Nutcracker and she was cool with it. So, why would she assume she’d get the lead in something that isn’t just dancing? On top of that, she is the one always the one to worry about her race. And here she doesn’t even do her usual, “I hope people are okay with a black Sleeping Beauty/Clara/Peter Pan/etc. I am not saying this is right, just that it is what she usually does.

Jessi is so obnoxious about it, that when she doesn’t get the part, it is kind of funny. Normally, I would feel bad about someone looking like such a fool, but I don’t because she was just such a bitch about it. And I feel bad for everyone….I don’t even like watching the Olympics because I feel bad for the people who come in fourth.

Okay, now that the rant is out of the way…..I’ll get back to the book. The framework of it is that Jessi is writing an article on the play and everyone is collecting notes for her. The girls have various adventures, but everything comes together at the end and the play is a success.


  • Jessi applies to be the sixth-grade correspondent for the school paper. Doesn’t this seem like a job Mallory would have/want?
  • Early on, Jessi describes a scene where the bell rings at the end of class, and a kid jumps up and cheers…..leading to laughter from the teacher. Didn’t this happen in the first book? Only Kristy got in trouble for it.
  • Kristy finds a stringy gray lump of something in her lunch and she keeps eating it. Just thinking about it makes me lose my appetite.
  • The auditions are totally disorganized. Everyone has to show up early in the morning, and then sit around while the little kids audition. Why not, have separate times for different ages? It is easier for everyone.
  • Karen Brewer throws a temper tantrum at the auditions because she wants to play Tinker Bell. She is supposed to be represented by light, but the director ends up adding the part just for Karen. No wonder that child is a brat.
  • Poor Haley Braddock. Matt wants to audition for the play, so she goes with him to be a translator. Then she goes to rehearsals with him to do the same.
  • Cokie gets her own chapter. It is actually kind of interesting, but I don’t buy that she would be giving notes to Jessi….even if it meant having her name in the school paper.
  • Rehearsals also seem to be handled very badly. Now, when I was in middle school (and high school) I was in a couple plays. I never had any lines, but I was in them. And since I was barely in them, I know that the entire cast does not show up for every single rehearsal. They were usually done by scene – so people who were needed came, and others didn’t. In my 8th grade musical, I think the chorus had separate rehearsals for learning the songs. It is only in the last couple weeks that everyone goes. What is the point of having everyone there early on?
  • Cokie gets a note from a classmate and makes a comment (to the reader) about her bad spelling. I would love to hear her reaction to Claudia’s writing.
  • Mal’s is helping this girl named Savannah with costumes. Apparently this girl won’t go by a nickname, cause the only one she can think of is “Vannah.” Why not, Anna? Or Ava?
  • Mallory says she can’t wait until she gets to take Home Ec. with some teacher, because the teacher is so glamorous and cool. Really?
  • Dawn decides the play is sexist and keeps trying to change Wendy’s lines. Her version has Wendy going to Neverland to teach the Lost Boys to cook. I want to agree with her on principle, but it’s Peter Pan. Lighten up.
  • Logan is worried because the name of the pirate he plays is, “Noodler.”
  • Logan actually gets kicked out of the play because he was sword fighting with Alan Gray during rehearsal. But then he just asks nicely and the director lets him back in.
  • Mal has to measure the cast in order to make their costumes. But she is too embarrassed to measure any of the boys.
  • I don’t really get how the “making costumes” thing works. Everything seems to be done a few weeks into rehearsal, and there is no way that could happen if a couple kids were making them. Also, would they really hand make costumes for every single person?
  • Another note on costumes: The whole cast starts wearing their full costume to rehearsal everyday. This seems to serve no purpose other than require Mallory and Savannah to be at each rehearsal to keep track of them.
  • Jessi expects the director to list her in the program as “Assistant Producer” because she does so many additional things behind the scenes. When she finds out it is only going to be “Assistant Choreographer,” (the job she was given), she crosses it out entirely.
  • Sam gets a chapter too. I love when he gets chapters…even if he does start his page of “notes” by venting about not understanding women. Am I really expected to believe he gave those notes to Jessi?
  • Sam also tells us that he can’t understand why Kristy would fly off the handle at any comment he makes about her appearance. According to him, this is one of the mysteries of women.
  • Kristy rented Peter Pan for Karen, which makes Karen upset that there are no sound effects when she appears on screen. I can’t figure out why the hell anyone would rent the movie for Karen so close to the play.
  • Dawn doesn’t tell her father that she is Wendy because she doesn’t want him to feel bad about missing the play. But she still plans on sending him a program…..so, won’t that make him feel even worse? And in the end, it doesn’t matter because Richard taped the performance.
  • Mary Anne gets annoyed that Mallory is helping watch kids backstage. You would think she would appreciate the help. Granted, Mallory isn’t doing what she is supposed to be doing (keeping track of costumes), but Mary Anne doesn’t have to get mad that she is doing extra work.
  • Jessi has to fill in for Pete because the director didn’t count on needing an understudy for him. Isn’t that….the point of understudies?
  • Jackie Rodowsky has the part of Michael Darling, but he is afraid of the crocodile and screams whenever he sees him. So, it turns out to be a good thing that Jessi gets the role….otherwise Jackie would not have gotten through the play.
  • While Stacey is Mrs. Darling, Sam is Mr. Darling. Stacey is kind of embarrassed about it, since they are dating at the time. Plus, Sam keeps calling her “his darling, Mrs. Darling.” It turns out he is doing this to show his high school friends how much fun he and Stacey have together.
  • Dawn thinks she doesn’t like to be the center of attention, and says she regrets trying out for the play. Then she gets on stage on opening night and realizes she likes being a star. Well, no kidding.
  • Mary Anne, who is the “backstage baby-sitter” sits in the audience during the actual performance. Wouldn’t she be needed backstage then too? To make sure the kids don’t screw up behind the scenes?
  • The play supposedly happened on January 24 and 25. But this doesn’t quite make sense to me. There is no way all the rehearsals happen within the month of January, but there is no mention of Christmas happening during this time span.
  • It is kind of ridiculous that the BSC gets all the lead parts. I mean, other than Jessi, none of them have a theater background. Yet, somehow we are expected to believe that three of them have hidden talents as singers or actors? Granted, Stacey’s part isn’t as big as Kristy’s or Dawn’s, but it is an important role. I could see Kristy being a decent actor. And I could see one of the girls being a good singer. But three of them?
  • Oh, and for anyone interested….the BSC stopped having regular meetings during the play, but Claud scheduled jobs whenever calls came in, and they all worked in jobs around rehearsals. Since all their main clients were in the play, I guess it doesn’t really matter.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

“A secret I would take with me to the grave”……BSC Mystery # 10: Stacey and the Mystery Money

Memory Reaction

This book is definitely at the top of the list of most ridiculous plots. Seriously. I remember it clearly, and that is probably because it is so ludicrous. The mystery is about how counterfeiters are in Stoneybrook, but that is nothing compared to Stacey’s love interest in the book. It is a boy who’s new in town, and something seems “odd” about his family. And it turns out that the guy’s father is some kind of government agent. So, the family all use aliases and are always moving around. But the kid tells Stacey. And Stacey is all, “I will always keep this secret until I die.” It is so fucking ridiculous. And this is based off what I thought as a kid.

Revised Reaction

So, a group of counterfeiters have come to Stoneybrook. Stacey ends up passing a counterfeit bill (unknowingly, obviously). The police don’t suspect her, but Stacey feels like she has to “clear her name” and the BSC starts investigating. Because they are crazy. Seriously. What kind of kids think they can catch counterfeiters?

Their investigation basically consists of researching counterfeiting and staking out an office supply store (because a counterfeiter would need ink and crap to make the bills). Their suspects are one of Stacey’s teachers (since Stacey saw him at the store where she got the counterfeit bill), a guy with a blue tattoo (because they see him looking at copy machines), and the Hoyts. The Hoyts are a family that is new in town. Stacey goes out with the son, Terry, and the BSC sits for the younger sibling a couple times. The reason that the BSC suspects them is that they moved to town right before the counterfeiting started, they haven’t unpacked yet, and they have lived all over. Very suspicious. Stacey of course, doesn’t believe it is really them, cause the son is hot.

By pure luck, Stacey and Charlotte see a guy running down the street with a sack of money. When he drops it, they look at it and see it is filled with fake money. (I guess all counterfeiters carry their fake cash around in suspicious-looking bags). Then, instead of calling the police like a normal person would do, Stacey calls the rest of the BSC and her new boy-toy and asks them to come down with a camera. The idea is that they want to take pictures of the guy when he comes back for the money and then give the pictures to the police. After they drop the film off to be developed, the other girls leave and Stacey and Terry hang out waiting for it. This is when Terry tells her about his father being in the Secret Service. He also convinces her to go right to his father with the photos. Since the guy in the photos has a tattoo, this helps the cops close their investigation. Then Terry and his family move away (because his father solved the case), and Stacey vows to keep his secret forever. Then she starts dating Sam again.

This should go without saying, but I really need to say it. WTF? I mean, catching counterfeiters? A kid telling Stacey about his father’s undercover job? Or how about a kid even knowing about his father’s undercover job? Do secret agents tell their kids about that stuff? I mean, on Alias, Sydney never knew that her father was a bad-ass super-spy (at least until the show started). From a purely practical standpoint, I would think you don’t tell kids crap like that in case they do something stupid like tell people.

  • Do counterfeiters really target towns? Like, they come there and pass bills all around? Wouldn’t it make sense to spread it around so they don’t get caught?
  • The BSC discusses how to tell if a client gives them counterfeit money. I am not sure what they plan on doing if this happens, but they do discuss how to tell.
  • Charlotte gets dressed up for a day of shopping with Stacey: “A pink skirt and a white, frilly blouse.”
  • Stacey wore her, “favorite white miniskirt with a new blue-and-white-striped sweater.” Relatively normal, I am impressed.
  • After Stacey passes the bill, the police want her to come to the station to answer questions. So, she calls her mom. Not, to go with her to the station. To watch Charlotte while Stacey is questioned. Because no parent would want to be present when the cops are questioning their teenage daughter (even if she isn’t a suspect).
  • Charlie drives Kristy to the Hoyt’s for her first sitting job there, and (on Watson’s advice) he walks her to the door to meet them, and to make sure they aren’t crazy people. That seems like a reasonable thing to do. Why don’t they do that all the time?
  • Kristy is surprised that the Hoyt’s have been living in Stoneybrook for three weeks and haven’t finished unpacking. I feel like this has been discussed in other books. Are they really OCD about that, or am I just really that lazy? Cause I think it would take a few weeks for a family moving to a new house to get settled.
  • Kristy finds a student ID that belongs to Terry’s sister, only the name is different. Explain to me why someone would keep an old ID when they change their names.
  • This is pathetic. Kristy worries that if their clients hear about what happened to Stacey, they won’t want to hire the BSC. I mean a thief is one thing, but who the hell would believe Stacey is a counterfeiter?
  • The book has all these explanations that explain how to detect counterfeit money, including that fake money is much smoother. So, confession: For a while after I read this, I would sometimes check how smooth my money was.
  • Apparently one way to make fake money is to take a one-dollar bill and use bleach/copiers to make it look like a twenty (or another bill). Because George Washington and Andrew Jackson look like twins.
  • Stacey’s rejected outfits for her date: “A floral sundress (too summery), a red jumpsuit (to flashy), and a pair of bleached-out jeans with bows at the ankles (too casual).”
  • And the winning outfit: “White sweater and [some]blue-and-white polka dot leggings.” Another relatively normal one. That is almost disappointing.
  • There is an awkward moment where Stacey and Terry run into Sam and his new girlfriend. But they actually introduce each other to their dates. Which, I would have thought most teenagers wouldn’t do.
  • I am apparently a huge dork, because when the girls talk about “staking out” the office supply store, they say it is a boring store. But it just made me want to go to Staples.
  • These girls are so clueless. They think some teacher could be a counterfeiter so they just follow him around school. I guess they think he is printing fake bills in the teacher lounge?
  • Jessi claims the SMS teacher lounge smells like cigarettes and stale coffee. Even in the eighties, I don’t think you could smoke in a school.
  • I really love scenes with Janine. She comes by Claudia’s room to ask to borrow markers (for a graph she is making). When Claudia asks what color, Janine starts babbling about what colors represent different amino acids. Claud of course rolls her eyes, but it made me laugh.
  • Charlotte is with Stacey when they see this guy drop a bag of counterfeit money. What is wrong with Stacey that she just lets an eight-year-old near a criminal investigation? Kristy has to speak up before Stacey even considers it. I think THAT is what would make parents not hire the BSC.
  • If you were a counterfeiter would you buy a copier and ink for your operation in a small store in a small town? And then would you keep returning to that same store for more supplies?
  • Also, this counterfeiter is running down a street when he drops the bag of money. I would think a bag like that would be heavy enough that he would have noticed that he dropped it. No one was chasing him at the time. Why not pick it up? AND if you somehow didn’t notice, would you then return hours later to pick it up? Wouldn’t you consider the possibility that someone found it and called the police? Or found it and kept it for themselves.
  • Claudia is mad that Stacey just went to Terry’s father without calling her. Considering Stacey promised to call the rest of the BSC before bringing the developed pictures to the cops, I can’t blame her.
  • The whole, “waiting for film to be developed” scene really dates the book.
  • The BSC really didn’t provide that much help, which I kind of like. The photos confirmed the investigation of the cops, but the police/Secret Service actually catch the guy with some sort of sting. That Stacey hears about, cause it was Terry’s father running it. Because, I am sure this guy tells his son and his son’s girlfriend the details of an investigation.