This book came out after I stopped reading. I’ve been saying that a lot lately, mainly because I’ve recapped almost all the books that I read when I was a kid.
Stacey goes to work with her mom on Take Your Daughter to Work Day, and gets invited to take part in “Fashion Week.” In this case, Fashion Week’s a few small fashion shows, one big fashion show, and photoshoots for Bellair’s national catalogues. They are looking for some “fresh young faces” to go along with the professional models.
The main models we meet are Sydney (the latest it girl), Cynthia (the previous it girl), Harmony (girl with a crazy stage mother), and Blaine (some other girl from Stoneybrook). Cokie Mason is also there, being surprisingly friendly with Stacey.
Stacey notices right away that modeling’s a pretty competitive thing. Then, some “pranks” start to happen. First Harmony’s tea is “poisoned,” giving her stomach cramps. Then someone destroys the clothes for the photoshoots and starts writing creepy messages on mirrors. The culminating event’s when Stacey and Harmony are posing on the roof and a railing comes loose, causing them to fall down to another section of the roof (only about a foot below where they were). Stacey, Claudia (who’s acting as an intern), and Mary Anne, and Mallory (who are working at the store’s “kid center”) try to investigate by roaming around the set watching people, but don’t really come up with anything.
The day before the last event, the director announces that Harmony will be “Princess Bellair,” and get to marry Will Smith. Or maybe she just gets to star in the big fashion show. Stacey notices that Harmony looks disappointed when she hears the news, and realizes Harmony has been trying to sabotage herself. So, the next day, Stacey, Claudia, Mary Anne, and Mallory show up early to catch Harmony in the act of writing on a mirror. It turns out Harmony wanted to quit modeling, but was too scared to tell her mother. But, of course, Stacey gives her the strength to do so. She ends up giving the “princess” role to Blaine, and I guess this is good news, but I can’t remember a single thing Blaine did, so I’m not really sure if she deserved it.
Subplot: Even though this has never been mentioned before, a whole bunch of parents in Stoneybrook smoke (which is probably realistic). Kristy’s siblings get the idea to have a “Stoneybrook Smoke Out” to get Watson to quit for a day, and hopefully more. They also reach out to their friends, who extend it to other people in Stoneybrook. And of course, everyone they ask goes along with it and is grateful. We’ll probably never find out if people quit for more than a day, because the books won’t mention it again either way.
- Stacey says she once entered a modeling contest at Bellairs, but it was a bad experience. I don’t remember this happening…does anyone know what book it was? I know one of the videos had her getting into modeling, but they generally wasn’t connected to the books.
- The over-the-hill model’s 16. Now, I get that modeling celebrates the young, but 16 being old? Really?
- Would the hottest model of the moment be involved in a fashion show at a department store in Connecticut? Or a catalogue shoot for the store?
- How come the culprits in stories always stand around explaining what their crime was and why they did it? This isn’t a problem specific to the BSC books, but it’s still annoying.
- Harmony’s mother says she knows her daughter was poisoned on set, because it’s late afternoon and she hadn’t eaten anything since dinner the night before. Yup, that’s something she should be proud of.
- They tell us early on that all the events are after school hours so that they don’t interfere with the models’ educations. But then we hear the models (other than Stacey and Cokie) talk about not being in regular school.
- Harmony’s last name’s Skye. Harmony Skye seems a bit like a porn star name or something.
- There are a ridiculous number of outfits in this one, since modeling’s basically the only thing that happens. I’m only going to mention the crazy-ish ones. For instance, “a raspberry-colored ROMPER….accessorize[d] with white sneakers and a white baseball cap.” The emphasis on the romper’s mine, because who the hell wears a romper?
- Stacey spends a whole bunch of time trying to pick out an outfit to impress the woman running Fashion Week. And it was all a waste, because she has to take it off right away to get into her clothes/makeup for the shoot.
- Isn’t Claudia too young to be an intern? I know they’d make exceptions for models being young, because they need people to fit certain clothes. But there are plenty people over the age of 16 who would be happy to intern at something like this.
- It’s kind of bizarre how these books almost never mention cigarettes unless it’s to show that someone’s “bad,” then suddenly have this book where we hear about a bunch of regular characters who smoke. I understand why they wouldn’t mention it, and I think it’s realistic that adults in BSC-land do smoke, but it’s still jarring.
- We only see one Claudia outfit, “A pair of white jeans with drips and squiggles of colorful paint all over them, a smocklike denim shirt, her favorite red high-top sneakers, and a hairdo that said ‘creative’ – a loose bun held in place by two red lacquered chopsticks.” If she has a favorite pair of red high-tops, does that mean she has multiple pairs of them? That seems excessive.
- Mallory’s such a dork (and I say that with love). She hears about the drama at fashion week and complains that she doesn’t have the Mystery Notebook to take notes in.
- Stacey tells us the mystery notebook was Kristy’s idea. Was that really the case? I can’t find my copy of the Mystery Super Special where they started it, so I can’t check. But I thought they all came up with the idea together. Maybe these girls are just brainwashed to think that Kristy’s the only one with ideas.
- Early in the book, Abby catches Buddy Barrett and Lindsay (his step-sister) about to try one of Franklin’s cigarettes. The say how they were tempted to try smoking because the “ads make it look so cool.” I can’t believe anyone would say those words outside of an after-school special. It’s horrible dialogue.
- One additional outfit that Stacey has to model’s a “flowery, ankle-length dress” that she “likes,” but it doesn’t sound at all like something she’d normally wear. It actually sounds more like those Laura Ashley dresses they’re always talking about.
- Stacey criticizes another one of her outfits as “too trendy.” But isn’t she all about being trendy?
- Jessi says how she couldn’t be a ballet dancer if she smoked. But don’t a lot of dancers smoke? Or am I just thinking of an episode of the Simpsons?
- So Watson, who changed his entire life style after his heart attack, didn’t bother to stop smoking? And no one commented on this when he was trying to become healthy in all sorts of other ways?
- So, other smokers in Stoneybrook - Aunt Cecelia, Franklin DeWitt, Mrs. Hobart, and random guy who works at the hardware store. The Aunt Cecelia one surprised me….apparently she tried to be “sneaky” about it and not do it in front of Jessi and Becca, but they knew anyway.
- On the day of the Stoneybrook Smoke Out, Watson puts on a tux, asks the rest of his family to dress up, and then proceeds to bury and say good-bye to a bunch of expensive cigars. I’m picturing that scene and it just seems hilarious.
- Stacey’s staking out the food table at Bellairs to see who drinks tea (to try and figure out if Harmony was the real target of the “poison”). No one’s taking any, and Stacey’s all, “hmmm, I wonder if people are avoiding tea because of what happened with Harmony.” And this is right after she said she didn’t want tea for that very reason. So, shouldn’t she assume others would feel the same way?
- Stacey and Harmony are doing a shoot on the roof, and it’s supposed to be them sitting on lawn chairs. Harmony suggests they pose by the edge instead, because it seemed more natural. Really, it was just a way to make herself look like a victim of the prankster (and make it really obvious she was the culprit). But, they made it seem like it’s the easiest thing in the world to change the angle of a shot. In reality, they would have needed to change all kinds of lighting and camera set ups before making a switch like that.
- I really like that they don’t have Stacey being all gung-ho over modeling. She has fun, but she doesn’t want to drop out of school to become a star or anything.
- Stacey makes a couple comments about how she’s glad her mother’s busy and hasn’t heard about any of the accidents, because then she would make Stacey quit. Now Mary Anne and Mallory both hear gossip about this when they’re working at the store’s day care center, so the gossip’s clearly going around the store. Are we really supposed to believe that no one mentions anything about it to Mrs. McGill? When they know her daughter’s involved?
- You know, when I was a kid I never noticed how these books tend to encourage lying to your parents. The BSC acts all goody-goody most of the time, but in all the mysteries they don’t let their parents now how they’re spending their time, and acknowledge that they wouldn’t approve of all the detective work.