Tuesday, December 30, 2008

“How could I not explore my own personal secret passage?”……BSC #9: The Ghost at Dawn’s house

Memory Reaction

I remember almost nothing about this book. I remember Dawn had a secret passage that she finds in this house, but I don’t think that is based off my memory of this specific book. I just know about it because it is mentioned in every Dawn book, and probably most of the non-Dawn books. The only thing I really can place being in this book is that Nicky Pike finds the passage first. But again, I think they mention that info in a lot of later books.

Revisited Reaction

Okay, this is an early book, and Dawn hasn’t lived in Stoneybrook that long, so she hasn’t searched the house fully for her precious secret passage. That is what she spends this book doing, including a search with the rest of the BSC. At first she only succeeds in scaring herself. Then one day she is sitting in the barn, and she falls through the floor into the passage.

Once she finds it, Dawn still keeps scaring herself. She keeps finding “weird” things in the passage, and they are different every time. Like, on day there is a key on the ground and the next day there is a pile of peanut shells, etc. She becomes convinced it is a ghost leaving/taking all these objects. Because, you know, she is an idiot who still believes in ghosts at the age of 13. (And even if she believes in ghosts I would think she should wonder why a ghost would be eating so much junk food…I think most ghost stories say spirits don’t need to eat, or can’t eat).

Then Dawn reads this book on the history of Stoneybrook, and she finds a story about some dude disappearing between his house and his barn. Dawn decides this MUST be her house, and the guy that vanished MUST be haunting the passage. When Dawn talks about this in later books, I always thought the book Dawn she read that story in actually referenced her house. But it doesn’t, it just says a house in Stoneybrook with a barn.

Meanwhile, whenever anyone sits for the Pikes, Nicky runs off and doesn’t come back for hours. He is sort of allowed to do this, but it still makes Dawn worried. She realizes that he might be in the passage (I don’t know how she figures this out, but she does). She checks it out, and of course, Nicky is in the passage. He admits that the stuff Dawn kept finding was his. But she still thinks the passage is haunted, because she hears noises at night. I can’t image any other reason a 200-year-old house would be making noises….but that’s Dawn for you.


  • Dawn talks about how on her recent flight to California, Jeff saved all the little packets of salt and pepper, etc. in a barf bag. I just thought it was cool because in the first Super Special, Dawn tells Karen and Andrew to use the barf bag for the same purpose.
  • Claudia gets a hollow book to hide her junk food…I remember her using that all the time in later books.
  • It has got to be really weird to sit for the people who moved into your old house…especially if it is only a couple weeks after you moved. Anyway, Kristy has to do that when she sits for the Perkins.
  • It is kind of weird how sometimes Jeff is old enough to stay home alone, and other times he gets a baby-sitter. I guess that is more normal though…I was allowed to stay home alone in the afternoons before being allowed to at night.
  • Ha. Kristy calls Karen out on how she always changes what part of the house Ben Brewer haunts.
  • Bratty Dawn doesn’t tell anyone she found a secret passage because she wants to keep it to herself.
  • Dawn talks about how her mom dates a lot of people…I know some people try to get right back out there after a divorce, but in the BSC world, her mom remarries in about a year. There doesn’t seem to be enough time to play the field and still get serious enough about someone to get married.
  • I totally remember this part. Dawn’s mom goes out with a guy name “Trip” so she calls him the Trip Man. I think she talks about him in other books or something.
  • Dawn and Jeff are both idiots. Or deprived or something. They find an ice cream cone in the secret passage. It is a sugar cone, which is what you get at most ice cream parlors (At least ones that I have been to). But Jeff thinks all ice cream cones are “flat and airy looking.” Meaning wafer cones, I guess. Dawn decides it must be an “old-fashioned cone.” But seriously, I worked for two summers at Baskin Robbins, and never heard anyone think a sugar cone was old fashioned.
  • Of course, later Nicky says he bought an “old-fashioned” cone from an ice cream truck, so maybe Ann M Martin is the idiot. But either way, it annoyed me.
  • This has what I think is the first mention of Cam Geary, that actor Mary Anne is obsessed with.
  • Since when do the Pikes pay extra for the BSC to do chores?
  • Dawn tries to move her furniture in front of the secret passage to keep the ghost from coming in. Her mom laughs at her, because, if you believe in ghosts you usually assume they can get through walls.


SJSiff said...

I don't know how young I was when I read this, but I hope I was really young...because it scared me so much that I stopped reading it and hid it under my bed. After a while, my older brother read (pretty sure it's the only BSC he ever read) and told me that the end wasn't scary. Now it's one of my favorite nostalgia ones. Ah, how I long for the days when Dawn was nice and only a little stuck-up about how healthy she was.

nikki said...

I loved this book. This is probably my most-read BSC book. It encouraged me and my sister to search our own house for a secret passage. Of course, being that our house was built in like 1960, that was pretty lame...

This is also the last BSC book in "real" time. Starting with #10, we begin this weird BSC-time where it's always the 8th grade....

SJSiff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SJSiff said...

Oh, yeah! I forgot about looking for secret passages. My older brother and I looked for one at our great-grandparents. We found a hollow spot, told our mom (their granddaughter) and found out that they did have a hollow spot in a wall where they kept valuables and important documents.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

I looked for secret passages too....my house was newly built when I moved in, so I knew it didn't have any, but we used to search my friends house.

We claimed we found one, but really, we just realized that if we cleaned out a closet, there was room to put a chair.

zanne said...

This is one of my favorites. I wished my house had a secret passage!

Anonymous said...

It's bad enough that Dawn believes in ghosts, but Mary Anne actually believed that a ghost was haunting the secret passage and scaring her, which prompts her to move out in Dawn's Wicked Stepsister. And somehow to Dawn that seems more reasonable than just proposing they have their own rooms? Lame.

Susan--you're right about Dawn getting stuck up. It was painful when she read everyone the riot act in Dawn Saves the Planet.

Sada said...

I think Dawn may have been my favorite BSC-er purely because of the secret passage.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this one!