Thursday, March 31, 2011

“You’re only eighteen, yet you command the entire New York fashion industry”…..BSC Mystery # 29: Stacey and the Fashion Victim

Memory Reaction

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.

Revisited Reaction

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’sbad,” 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.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

“My Nancy Drew books have taught me to notice things like that”……BSC Mystery # 11: Claudia and the Mystery at the Museum

Memory Reaction
I don’t completely remember the circumstances for how Claudia meets the artist she admires, but I do know that she starts running around the museum with her, looking for something and hiding from some guy she suspects. And he’s just totally amused by it and goes along with her (amused in a good way).

I also remember how the thief had hidden what he stole in some secret compartment of a statue. I always thought that was kind of a cool concept. I actually used it as inspiration for a story I wrote in college. The rest of the story was totally different though.

Revisited Reaction

There’s a new museum in Stoneybrook, with a special exhibit by an artist Claudia really likes. She brings Corrie Addison and the Arnold Twins to see it, because it just wouldn’t be fun if she wasn’t baby-sitting. They all have a great time, but some ancient coins are stolen and they don’t get to see the sculpture Claud was interested in. Of course, Claudia’s obsessed with solving this “mystery” and gets the rest of the BSC to help.

She goes back to the museum to investigate and gets to see the art exhibit. It’s one where people are allowed to touch the sculptures, and Claudia thinks that one sculpture feels different than the time she saw the same thing in New York. She thinks it might be a fake, but when she tries to tell the curator he basically throws her out. Then of course, the BSC suspects him. They even do research and find out that several museums he worked at in the past were also robbed. But that is all a red herring.

Meanwhile, Claudia calls the artist of the sculpture (he’s from Stoneybrook, amazingly enough), and he actually takes this call from a random 13-year-old. When she tells him about it, he says a lot of his sculptures had hidden compartments that he used to hide toys for his (now grown) kids. He thinks maybe one of the toys got left in, and that’s what Claudia was feeling. But Claudia has a working brain in this book, and points out that hidden toys from a long time ago wouldn’t explain why it feels different from last year. This gets the artist curious, so he invites her and her parents to some fancy party the museum’s having, saying they can check the sculpture together.

At the party, the artist and Claudia go to look at the sculpture, but it has already been packed up to move to another museum. They head to the storage area, and they just happen to get there when a custodian’s taking the missing coins out of a compartment in the statue. Apparently, he found the compartment while setting up the exhibit and used it to pull off the theft. The night of the party was the first chance he got to retrieve the coins. After reaching this climax, we skip ahead to Claudia and the rest of the BSC writing a letter to Dawn (in California) about what happened, because it’s not an important part of the story or anything. Exposition is much more interesting than seeing actual events. Anyway, it turns out the curator wasn’t involved, another guy they suspected was really a federal agent, and Claudia gets a whole bunch of credit for “solving” the crime.

Subplot: Claire Pike has decided she wants to be a star. At the mall she gets to make a video of herself singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in front of a Wizard of Oz backdrop, and she keeps showing it to everyone she can. Claudia takes her to see Rosie Wilder to get advice, and Rosie gives Claire the name of some talent agents. But later, Jessi tells Claire the downsides of show business, and Claire decides she doesn’t want to go through with it. She’s still a little upset when the agent rejects her though.

  • One nice thing about Claudia books is that they almost always start with an outfit. This one is, “a red-and-white striped shirt that hung down almost to [her] knees, red leggings, and black high-top sneakers.” It actually sounds kind of cute.
  • Janine’s talking to Claudia and starts going off on some tangent about Greek and Roman mythology, so Claudia just leaves the room and goes upstairs. Which seems a bit rude, but maybe Janine’s used to it.
  • Janine also gets to be surprised/impressed by Claudia talking about art, and sounding like a critic. It’s nice when Claudia does get recognition by her family…..I think she doesn’t think they’re proud of her at all.
  • There’s actually something (relatively) interesting in the backstory chapter – Claudia tells us which animal each BSC member would like to be (if they had to). Apparently, they talk about stuff like this. Here are the picks: Claudia, colorful parrot; Kristy, dog; Stacey, panther; Mary Anne, koala; Dawn, dolphin; Shannon, cat; Logan, Hawk; Mallory, horse (shocking, right?); Jessi, some kind of stallion that can dance.
  • Speaking of koalas, does anyone else remember a Nickelodeon cartoon where a stuffed koala came to life, and had adventures with it’s owner? The girl (Jenny?) just had to rub noses with it. And she just happened to have a eucalyptus tree outside her bedroom? Oh, and because the internet is awesome, I found a clip. (I apologize for the randomness of this comment if no knows what I'm talking about).
  • Claudia’s outfit for visiting the museum: “Pink lace leggings and a long black sweater. [Her] hair was tied back with a pink ribbon, and [she] was wearing pink ballet-type flats.” Again, not too bad, at least for the 80s. But she claims she’s “dressed up,” and she totally isn’t.
  • The day of the theft, Claudia notices a custodian with a mop and pail, the guy with one blue eye and one green eye, and a brownie troop. She suspects the guy with two eye-colors, but not the custodian, which I thought seemed pretty obvious, since he could have hid the coins in his pail. But I think I may have subconsciously be remembering the end. I am guessing I don’t need to say that she doesn’t suspect the brownie troop.
  • Claudia wants to go to the museum with someone, so she arranges to take Carrie and the twins. In a situation like this, do you think she charges? Cause it seems kind of weird for her to call up Mrs. Arnold or Mrs. Addison and ask to get paid to take their daughters somewhere.
  • Before leaving for a trip to the mall, Adam Pike tells his mother that Mallory’s making Nicky change his socks, because he’s been wearing the same ones for three weeks and will be trying on shoes. But would they not have made him change his socks if he wasn’t trying on shoes? Three weeks is a long time.
  • The BSC thinks the coins must still be inside the museum, since everyone who had been there the day of the theft had been searched. They think maybe the coins were mixed in with the fake coins sold at the gift shop, but it turns out those were actually chocolate. However, they’re arranged in a locked display case. Why the hell would CHOCOLATE coins be locked in a display case?
  • The BSC also tries to find the coins in a fountain by the front of the museum and the donations box by the entrance. I’m not sure why that seems like an important detail to me, but it does.
  • Rosie suggests that Claire make copies of her video and send it to a bunch of agents at once. Claudia convinces Claire to only send it out one at a time, so they don’t need to make copies (since this is pre-digital). So, Claire dictates a note to Claudia and they send it off. But isn’t it A) a bit reckless to not even make a copy for herself in case the agents don’t return it, B) not really professional to have a five-year-old compose the note, and C) a bit inappropriate to just send out the tape without talking to Claire’s parents?
  • Why would a random custodian have keys to the display cases with valuable artifacts? Wouldn’t they have more security about that?
  • The day of the crime, Claudia sees that the case with the coins is covered with shattered glass, and thinks that the coins must have been taken before it was broken, therefore being an inside job. Now, I would hope that the cops also knew that and were checking on the employees, but I guess that’s silly, since the cops can’t really do anything without the BSC’s help. But my more pressing question is, how does a girl that can figure that out have so much trouble passing eighth grade?
  • The outfit Claudia wore to school, that Kristy thinks is acceptable for a formal party: “Bright red leggings topped by a white man-tailored shirt and a vest that used to belong to [her] father.” I feel like all of Claud’s outfits in this book are the same.
  • All the Pikes just watch Claire’s video again and again so she doesn’t have a temper tantrum. That’s a way to not spoil a child.
  • Claudia’s father tells the reporters who write about the incident that he had no idea his daughter was a detective (or something like that). But this isn’t exactly the first time the BSC has gotten attention about “solving” mysteries. I guess this may be earlier in the series, but I know they at least got mentioned in the paper with the dog-napping case, and MAYBE the counterfeiting one.
  • The back of the book says that “Claudia can’t wait for the new museum in Stoneybrook to open….” But that isn’t really true. The museum has already opened, and Claudia can’t wait to get to see it.
  • When Claudia gets credit for catching the thief, she at least acknowledges that there was a lot of luck involved. Something other BSC members fail to do.
  • The tagline on the front of the book says, “What kind of thief would steal art?” Now, first of all, it was ancient coins stolen from the museum, not art. But even if it WAS art, that’s not exactly an unheard thing to steal.
  • Towards the end, we find out that the guy with two different colored eyes is a federal agent. But the last chapter also includes a letter to Dawn, where Kristy says that he was a private eye. I’m wondering if that was a last minute change in the manuscript or something.
  • This book takes place when Dawn is in California, but I totally didn’t even notice she was missing. I only realized it when they talked about Mallory feeling sick, and figured out it was build-up to her having mono.
  • Because she helped catch the thief, Claudia’s named an honorary trustee of the museum. At first I thought this was just a meaningless name-only thing. But apparently she’s allowed to go to any open night parties the museum has, and the curator wants her to help him display local student work. That seems a bit excessive as a reward for what she did. Not that we ever hear of her being involved with the museum in later books, or even that a museum exists.
  • Claudia wore a kimono that used to be Mimi’s to the formal party at the museum. The scene where she’s figuring out what to wear was a really familiar one. I remembered it as soon as I started reading it.
  • This museum has a discovery room, a science center, a music exhibit, art rooms, an Egypt room, and possibly more. How big a museum is this exactly? I can buy Stoneybrook having an art museum or a history museum, but one that has everything listed above? Unlikely.

Monday, March 14, 2011

“Shouldn’t we go through something like this together?”……BSC # 104: Abby’s Twin

Memory Reaction

This is another book I didn’t get to as a kid.

Revisited Reaction

Stoneybrook Middle School’s testing their students for “health checks” – hearing, vision, and scoliosis. When Abby’s checked, she gets a letter telling her mom to have her checked by an orthopedist. Anna gets a similar note. Abby’s very upset and scared about what this means, but Anna seems a bit calmer.

When they go to the doctor, Abby’s told her scoliosis is very minor and she doesn’t need to do anything about it. Anna, however, is told she needs to wear a brace, although it’s a “low-profile” one that’s worn under her clothes and doesn’t show. Abby feels a little guilty that she’s okay and Anna isn’t, and thinks that since she and Anna are twins they should be going through this together. She vows to be by Anna’s side and give her all the support she needs, even though it’s obvious she’s annoying the crap out of Anna.

Since Anna will need slightly larger clothes to go over the brace, Abby goes out and buys her a whole bunch of new clothes with money her mom gave her. However, Abby picks out stuff that she likes (a jogging suit, sweats, etc), that Anna would never wear. She also tries to cheer Anna up by making her play a “fun” video game instead of watching some “boring” classical music performance on TV….even though Anna was enjoying the concert. This all ends up driving Anna crazy. The two girls get into an argument at school, when Alan Gray accidentally knocks Anna down in the hallway and Abby starts yelling at him about it.

Later, Abby sees Anna sledding down a hill (at a BSC event), and is worried for a minute, until she sees that Anna’s fine. Then the girls make up. Anna admits she was acting cold because she was dealing things in her own way, and Abby realizes she was going overboard with all the help. Abby also admits that she feels worried that because Anna needs a brace and she doesn’t, it seems like they aren’t twins anymore. She fails to recognize that she and Anna are already different medically speaking, because of her asthma/allergies.

The subplot’s about a winter carnival, yet another annoying BSC event. However, this plays out a little different than usual. Instead of Kristy having the idea, then getting several chapters of the BSC meeting with kids to bake cookies, or practice a talent, or whatever, we get chapters of the BSC and their charges shoveling snow to earn money for the carnival. Unfortunately, this change doesn’t make the chapters any better. They finally get everything they need, but at this point there’s almost no snow left on the ground. The girls think they’ll have to cancel, but it starts snowing that morning, just in the nick of time to make a great event.

  • Stoneybrook must have really crappy weathermen/women. In the blizzard super-special, snow had been predicted for ages with none arriving, which explained why everyone was so unprepared when it actually happened. In the Sea City one, they didn’t believe predictions of a hurricane until the last minute. And here, they don’t know that it will snow the day of the carnival.
  • The back of the book says that Abby and Anna weren’t dressed alike as babies, but still have stuff in common. Except there was a whole section of Abby’s autobiography about them dressing alike. I don’t know which book came first, but one of them’s wrong. Probably this one, since I think the back cover of a book isn’t written by the same people as the ones who write the actual content.
  • Hey, some consistency. Abby tells us how she hates January (and February). Which is the same thing she said in one of the mysteries. But, I think other characters had the same complaint, so I’m thinking it was really Ann Martin or a ghostwriter with the problem.
  • The health checks are run really badly. They cancel classes for all the 8th graders and send them to the gym, where they all wait in line for their turn to be checked. I remember having these in elementary school (not middle school) and they just sent a few people to the nurse’s office at a time. Sending everyone at once is just a waste of time.
  • Claudia outfit: “Multicolored, tie-dyed painter’s overalls she’d dyed herself over a blue, hand-beaded long-sleeved shirt. Five colorful, bead-studded papier-mâché bracelets clattered softly on her wrist whenever she moved her arm.” I’m not really surprised Claudia dyed her overalls herself, cause where the hell would she buy tie-dyed overalls?
  • Haley Braddock has “short blonde hair (with a long tail down her back).” Have we been told this before? It totally changes my vision of Haley.
  • Abby can be really annoying. I didn’t read that many of her books, but from what I did read, I think she had a tendency to be a bit it obnoxious. Not all the time, but enough to be annoying.
  • I’m not sure why, but the BSC first tries to make money shoveling snow in Kristy’s neighborhood…where the driveways are longer and most people hire a plowing service. Also, most of the people doing the shoveling (The rest of the BSC, some charges) have to be driven over (in the snow) to do any work.
  • The one job they do get on Kristy’s street is to shovel a very long, steep driveway. After the finish, the woman who lives there gives them $10, and half of that is because she liked a snow sculpture some of the kids did in her yard (they got bored shoveling). The BSC thinks it is too low, but shouldn’t they have agreed to a price beforehand. Also, this also happened in a Sleepover Friends book.
  • Abby hasn’t heard of scoliosis before, which I find a little surprising. I remember schools making a big deal about it when I was in elementary school. That would have been before this book came out, so I assume the condition was in the public eye by then.
  • The BSC gets the kids to help them shovel, which seems a bit mean to me. I don’t know if they split the money with them, but they do charge (albeit very little) at the carnival. So, the kids helped them earn money that’s then used to make things for them to buy?
  • Abby’s sitting for the Braddocks on a day when they’re shoveling snow, and Kristy wants to start shoveling before the job starts. So, Abby calls Mrs. Braddock to see if she can start watching the kids earlier, and Mrs. Braddock’s thrilled. Parents in Stoneybrook really can’t stand being around their children, can they?
  • Abby gets her hair cut at Gloriana’s House of Hair, which she tells us once butchered Karen’s hair. I’m not sure why Abby knows that when she wasn’t living in Stoneybook at the time, but it was the subject of a Little Sister book. Maybe the BSC has a secret sitting notebook where they laugh about all the bad things that happen to their annoying charges?
  • The reason Abby gets her hair cut is because she’s trying to show support for Anna or something like that. I guess she is just doing it to make them seem more twin-like?
  • Abby asks Stacey to go shopping with her for Anna, and then proceeds to ignore her advice. However, maybe this was because Stacey recommended Laura Ashley outfits for Anna. That seems a bit young for a thirteen-year-old, doesn’t it?
  • For someone who supposedly has a connection with her twin sister, Abby sure seems clueless about how Anna’s actually feeling/thinking.
  • Kristy tries to put an announcement on the radio about the carnival being cancelled. You gotta love how important she thinks a BSC carnival is.
  • How fast was it snowing that it “saved” the BSC’s carnival? The snow was almost gone the morning of the carnival, then it starts to snow. By the afternoon there’s enough snow for sledding and making snow sculptures. It seems like that would need to be pretty heavy snow, in which case most people would not be venturing out.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

“We thought you went hoody on us”….. BSC Readers Request: Logan Bruno, Boy Baby-sitter

Memory Reaction

This was the second Logan edition. I remember most of the plot, but my most specific memory’s that at the end, Logan and Mary Anne are supposed to be going to some concert. At dinner beforehand, Logan confesses that the concert tickets were given to him by some “bad” guys at school who probably stole them. And when Mary Anne calls the person they were stolen from the girl comes to get them right away and is super-excited about it. I know they also reference it in Stacey and the Bad Girls, which has pretty much the same plot.

However, the important thing is that I also remember that it’s hilariously ridiculous, which is always fun.

Revisited Reaction

Logan’s friends are still giving him a hard time for being in the BSC, and because he tripped at a recent track meet (making the team lose). Frustration with being made fun of makes Logan easily fall under the spell of some other kids at school, a group of guys calling themselves the “Badd Boyz.” They’re the “junior version of some high school gang,” with a reputation for smoking, wearing leather jackets, and potentially being criminals. Their leader, T-Jam, notices that Logan knew what he was talking about in English class, and sweet talks Logan into giving him his paper. He also seems to have noticed that Logan was friendly with the owner of a local CD store.

Anyway, T-Jam and the rest of the Badd Boyz defend Logan to his jock friends, and Logan starts to hang out with them. He meets them at the shopping center where the CD store’s located. Logan’s going there because he wants to buy Mary Anne a Nicky Cash CD – Nicky Cash being the latest teen idol/pop-star in BSC-land. T-Jam uses Logan to strike up a conversation with the owner of the store (a friend of Logan’s father) about when the next shipment of Nicky Cash CDs come in. Apparently, they keep selling out immediately.

Anyway, Logan’s enjoying hanging out with the Badd Boyz, particularly because they defended him against his jock friends and don’t laugh at him for being in the BSC. He also gets a bit of a rush from it. He doesn’t believe that they’re actually criminals and kind of tunes out the fact that there have been a lot of thefts at school. After a while, Logan realizes he’s wrong. T-Jam and his pals have actually been stealing from kids’ lockers.

More importantly, Logan finds out that the Badd Boyz stole a shipment of Nicky Cash CDs from the store and are planning to do it again. He’s upset about it, and T-Jam tries to bribe him by giving him his own Badd Boyz leather jacket, threatening him, and then bribing him again with tickets to the sold-out Nicky Cash concert. He knows they’re probably stolen, but is tempted to use them anyway to make Mary Anne happy. Before he can decide, Mary Anne sees the tickets and gets all excited, and Logan tries to convince himself they weren’t stolen.

They go out to dinner before the concert, and Mary Anne mentions the name of a classmate who’s tickets were stolen. At that point, Logan can’t handle it anymore and tells Mary Anne the whole story. She calls the girl who’s tickets they were and gives them back. Then Logan tells his parents, and then the cops, about the Badd Boyz plans to rob the CD place again. The police watch the store and arrest the guys involved in the theft. Logan goes back to hanging out with his regular friends, and buys some legit tickets to another upcoming Nicky Cash concert for Mary Anne.

Even though Logan doesn’t baby-sit in this one, there’s still a sitting subplot. There’s a new bully named EJ who’s tormenting all the kids in town. They’re all embarrassed to talk about it, but eventually decide they want to unite and stand up to EJ. They do, only to have EJ break down in tears….so then Kerry (Logan’s sister) invites EJ to her house. The “twist” is that EJ’s a girl. Isn’t that the most original plot twist ever? Who would have thought there could be a female bully?

  • I can absolutely picture 13-year-old boys making fun of a guy who baby-sits. But making fun of a guy for kissing his girlfriend? Logan’s friends are a bit immature.
  • So, of course, Mary Anne’s worried about Logan being “bad.” And Kristy’s worried that it will be bad for the kids or hurt the reputation of the BSC. She’s so sensitive isn’t she?
  • One of Mary Anne’s complaints to Logan about hanging out with the Badd Boyz is that they smoke, and that could end up hurting Logan’s allergy-ridden brother. It seems so ridiculous that that’s what she would pick as a criticism.
  • Logan describes Charlotte as being friendly and outgoing because Stacey came into her life. Now, I never really thought of Charlotte as being outgoing. Stacey helped her make friends and come out of her shell, but I didn’t think every became “outgoing.”
  • Just like in Stacey and the Cheerleaders, one of the signs of how these kids are “bad” is that they go outside at lunch. Aren’t they rebels?
  • I think my favorite part of this book’s that the BSC doesn’t suggest to the kids to unite and stand up to EJ. The kids just decide to do it on their own, and resolve their issue without any help from a baby-sitter.
  • In this book people keep using the term “squank” when they’re making a joke/making fun of someone. I remember seeing “rank” used in other books, but I don’t think I’ve heard “squank” in another book, or in real life. Urban Dictionary does not have any definitions that seem to fit with this use.
  • The names of these Badd Boyz are really hysterical. We have T-Jam, Skin, Ice Box, Butcher Boy, Jackhammer, and G-Man.
  • When describing Stacey’s diabetes, Logan tells us that we shouldn’t feel bad for her because she can still “wolf down” pretzels and chips. But really, that’s not true. Someone with diabetes needs to be careful how much she eats, even if it has no sugar. They do a really bad job of portraying diabetes in these books.
  • If Claudia was trying to write about the “Badd Boyz,” do you think she would spell it “Bad Boys” or “Badd Boyz”? Which is the incorrect spelling?
  • Logan overhears the Badd Boyz talking about how they were really only hanging out with him because of his access to the CD store, because it wasn’t obvious enough with the plot itself. They also refer to him as “Ken Doll.”
  • Mary Anne’s concert outfit: “She was wearing this incredibly sexy outfit with sequins on it…not a dress but a shirt and pants that are attached, whatever that’s called.” Logan, I believe the term you’re looking for is fashion crime.
  • It’s slightly annoying that even though they have no problem painting Logan with flaws in the regular books, in his two books he basically worships Mary Anne, and only tells us how wonderful she is.
  • The Badd Boyz have to go to juvenile court after they get caught stealing and they also get suspended from school. But can a school suspend someone for something that happened off school grounds? I was a total goody-goody as a kid, so I really have no idea.
  • The threatening note Logan gets is so hilarious, I had to scan it.