Monday, March 11, 2013

"Until now, it had been hard to distinguish Jenny from lace curtains." BSC #38 Kristy's Mystery Admirer (1990)

So obviously Shannon is not the A player in this story. But out of all the ones I have, it's the one with the most Shannon in it. I know there are a couple of other Shannon-related (sub)plots (#61, #112) but I've had no luck finding them at thrift stores...yet.

So it's Halloween yet again in Stoneybrook, and Kristy keeps getting unsigned letters. First, they're sweet and love letter-y; then they start getting weird and stalkerish. Eventually it turns out that Bart wrote the nice letters, and Cokie, after hearing about the love letters, wrote the creepy ones. But all is well after Kristy and Bart go to a dance together.
Meanwhile, the Bashers and Krushers have a "World Series" which consists of one game (not a series). The Krushers rally hard and win, because they have can-do spirit.

Interesting tidbits

On the first page of the story, Kristy announces straight out she has a crush on Bart.
Bart wants to talk about something other than softball, so he asks Kristy how the BSC members are. He couldn't talk about movies, or television, or what he's taking in school? (On the interesting side, Kristy says she's worried about Stacey because she's not looking well, which sets up #43 Stacey's Emergency, a whole five books early.)

Nannie doesn't act like a grandmother because she wears pants. I guess neither of my grandmothers acted like grandmothers either...
Wow, just tons of foreshadowing. Kristy also mentions she thinks Logan and Mary Anne are having problems, setting up #41 Mary Anne Versus Logan.

I'm always amused when the BSC uses words and then defines them. Honestly, even nine year olds know how to use the dictionary, if they can't figure things out through the context clues. (I'm waiting for the books to start reading like a Lemony Snicket book.)
Kristy uses the BSC slang distant about five times in three paragraphs. It's as if the ghostwriter forgot how to use his thesaurus.

Ahh, Kristy describes herself as a slob. I still don't think that's right. There's a difference between being sloppy/messy and not really caring about clothes.
Jessi jokes that the head fell off the Barbie in her Kid-kit, but Barbies CAN lose their heads. I found that out after I smacked my sister with my favorite one. (I still kept the doll, broken neck and all, for a couple of years.)

In this one, Shannon's mom works full time.

So many inappropriate jokes spring to mind: Shannon calls Kristy to tell her that a letter for Kristy covered in hearts was delivered to the Kilbournes'. Kristy hides to take the call, and Shannon says, "Kristy, would you get out of that closet?"

When describing Shannon, Kristy says Dawn is gorgeous, Stacey is attractive, and Shannon is interesting-looking.

For once, the picture on the cover is something that actually happens in the book (on page 35-6).
Shall I type out the notes for you? Here's the first one: "Dear Kristy, I think you are beautiful. And you're the nicest girl I know. I would like to go steady with you. I wish I could tell you this in person. Love, your mystery admirer"

Nice, Kristy. She says Shannon has had millions of boyfriends and gone on plenty of dates. It makes her sound like the thirteen-year-old version of slutty.

Add to the earlier dirty jokes. Kristy thinks the letter looks like it's from a girl because it's covered in hearts and flowers. Shannon is like, a girl who wants to go steady with you?

Letter number dos! "Dearest Kristy, I can't stop thinking about you. Maybe I'm in love with you. I don't know. I've never been in love before. You are as beautiful as a snow-covered mountain. Love, your mystery admirer" Kristy says the last part is a little flowery, but no one except her mom has called her beautiful before.

And number drei: "Dear Kristy, I love you, I love you, I love you. Love (get the picture?), your mystery admirer"

Apparently, most of the BSC members don't really know Shannon too well at this point. Stacey and Shannon bond during a Krushers practice.

At this point, Maria is not athletic at all--a far cry from the swim champion in the last book, who's thinking about training for a triathlon.

Oh, Stacey. Kristy and Bart walked home together and decided to have a "World Series." Kristy doesn't tell Stacey this; she asks her to guess what she and Bart decided. Stacey guesses they're going to elope.

Kristy's being immature and disgusting at the lunch table, and Dawn says that she's surprised that, of the party at the table, Kristy would be the one with the admirer. A) Dawn's just jealous. B) It wouldn't be entertaining if the most likely person had an admirer. (Dawn is the last of the eighth grade BSC members at this point to get kissed. Only Mallory, and eventually Abby, haven't been kissed when the series ends.)

Kristy shocks Stacey when she asks Bart to the dance. Claudia and Stacey are hoping on various guys to go with, and Dawn gets all defensive when she decides to go alone. (What an individual!)

I know it's been said before, by many other people, but it's really annoying when BSC refer to an event/holiday that happened while they were in eighth grade, when they're getting ready to celebrate the same event/holiday AGAIN in eighth grade. In this one, it's when they refer back to the events of #17, when they humiliated Cokie on Halloween. In Shannon's story, it was the Mother's Day in #24.

Nannie leaves Kristy in charge in of DM and EM. Emily cries when Nannie leaves, and then asks for a cookie. DM pretends he misses Nannie, and then asks for a cookie also.

Scary letter number one: "I love you, I love you, I love you, but beware. Love is fickle. So are friends. Watch out for your mystery admirer."

Before the mean note shows up, everyone but Kristy thinks Bart is behind the notes. After the mean one, Shannon comes over again to look at the note. Kristy's sure Bart sent them now, and Shannon isn't. I guess Kristy thinks Bart is bipolar, or crazy or something.

Vanessa, Haley and Charlotte decide to dress up as a threesome for the Krusher cheerleaders. The triplets suggest the three little pigs and three little kittens. Instead, they decide on the Three Stooges. The costumes keep falling off while they cheer.

Armageddon! Kristy doesn't call a meeting to order at exactly five thirty! The world is ending!

Second scary note: "Violets are blue, blood is red, I'll remember you when you're dead."

And the third: "I want to be with you forever--eternal togetherness. So I'm coming to get you."

Kristy starts imagining all the various ways a psycho could kidnap her in the middle of the night. Later, she shares her concerns with Shannon, who dismisses them, because if someone was going to kidnap to get a ransom out of Watson, they'd go for one of his real kids. (Earlier in the story, Mal references "The Ransom of Red Chief" wherein a kidnap ransom is never paid because the kidnappee is so awful. That's exactly what would happen if someone kidnapped Karen.)

Shannon decides to watch a Basher-Krusher game, and gets hit in the head by a fly ball. Buddy, who hit the ball, comes over and develops an instant crush on Shannon. (She asks to keep the ball that hit her.) It would have been cute if they had kept that up, with his mom calling and asking specifically for Shannon.

Ew. Next icky note: "Beware. I'm coming sooner than you think. And once I find you, this is all that will be left of Kristin Amanda Thomas." Inside the envelope? Nail clippings. Kristy saves them in case she needs them "for evidence."

Suzi keeps teasing Buddy about his crush. He shuts her up by threatening to reveal something that we (and MA, babysitting them) never get to hear about.

Worried that Bart's to blame for the creepiness, Kristy stops talking to him. Kristy even tells Sam to tell Bart (over the phone) that Kristy went to Europe.

When Bart shows up at her house, she takes him up to her room....seems so wrong. Nannie's home at the time, so why would she allow that?

When they get up in the room, Kristy's relieved it's fairly neat. She says she's not exactly a slob...didn't she say earlier that she WAS a slob?

Kristy hides the letters in the pages of The Cat Age My Gym Suit, by Paula Danziger.

I read this for the first time when I was ten, and I knew who sent the nasty notes then. It didn't hurt that, as I've said before, these books are so obvious on the foreshadowing. There was no reason to mention Cokie and last Halloween except to bring her in as a suspect. Yet Kristy keeps saying she doesn't have any enemies.

I love how BSC holidays always happen on weekends.

I find it so convenient that Charlie and, sometimes, Sam, are always willing to help out with things like driving the BSC everywhere, manning refreshment stands, and so on.

Cokie and her cronies show up to watch the "World Series." Because they're almost as lame as Sam and Charlie. And of course, Cokie lets slip that she wrote the scary letters.

Shannon tells Kristy she's weird, and Kristy takes it as a compliment.

Karen asks Kristy if Bart is her boyfriend, and Kristy says she doesn't know. This cracks me up, because I recently saw a Little Sister book where Bart is babysitting Karen and Andrew (odd, huh?) and Karen thinks Bart is in LUV with her.

Stacey gets up the nerve to ask a boy to the dance, while Claudia waits for the guy she likes to ask her out. This says something about the two of them.

There's an actual band playing at the dance. We didn't even have bands play at my high school.

Shannon dismisses all sixth grade boys as "clods" (actually Jessi's word.) Half of them have hit growth spurts and don't know what to do with their bodies, and the other half are still really short. I remember this being true, but closer to eighth or ninth grade.

Bart kisses Kristy on the cheek, and Mallory announces it to Shannon (who demands dance details at the slumber party after). When Kristy asks her how she knows, MA starts giggling and says the whole school saw it.

Shannon writes a really goofy note threatening Kristy, using the letters cut out of magazines. She says it took her all night.

Even more lame is the letter Kristy sends Cokie, signed "Your mystery perspirer."

One final thing about the book. This is one of the original ones, printed back in 1990 and so the ads at the back are awesomely vintage. First, you can get your 1990-1991 BSC school planner! Relive your childhood (assuming you were even born then.) Also, they advertise the BSC game, which I used to own (I see both that and the mystery game at thrift stores a lot). Finally, they have the VHS of the TV show. I have to admit, I've only ever seen one episode of the show, but I do know large chunks of the theme song.

Claudia: off the shoulder sweatshirts, dayglo high tops, cut up jeans and friendship bracelets

Dance wear! Kristy and Bart go as lobsters; MA and Logan, a witch and Frankenstein; Dawn, Alice in Wonderland; Stacey wears "regular clothes;" Mallory, clown (no mention of Ben's outfit).

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