Tuesday, August 20, 2013

“All those plant things look the same to me.” BSC Mystery #19: Kristy and the Missing Fortune (1995)

Guess what, BSC fans! I’m once again sitting in an airport. This time, I got bumped from one flight to another. But it means that you get another BSC book, so there you are! I know I am ridiculously behind, and I apologize. I’m going to see how quickly I can catch up, but we’re in the midst of bridezilla-rama right now, so be patient.

This one is totally full of ludicrousity. (I’m aware that’s not a word, and I don’t care!)

There are two mysteries that combine into one at the end. First, Kristy discovers that a girl with almost her same name, Christina Thomas, disappeared in 1863 and took a fortune with her. Kristy decides they must be related because their names are so similar. Meanwhile, the BSC is helping to fix up the arboretum, which is at threat of closing unless some wealthy lady decides to buy it. It turns out the arboretum is on the grounds of Christina’s old family estate, and Kristy and company don’t find the treasure, but they do find the deed to the house with a note leaving it to the city, so the arboretum is saved.

Interesting tidbits

Emily Michelle is mini-Claudia. Not only are her academic skills on par with Claudia’s (ouch!), but she’s also Asian and a baby fashionista. Her new favorite word is ‘tylis,’ which means stylish.

Kristy makes fun of the fact that Andrew has a goldfish named Goldfishie. A) I totally remember reading the Little Sister book when Karen and Andrew got goldfish and B) I had two goldfish when I was much older than Andrew, and they were named Chris the Fish and Fisher. She has no place to make fun.

If Kristy knows that Boo-boo bites, why does she even bother petting him?

Heh. Kristy feels the need to explain that it’s okay to act like a kid, you shouldn’t throw tantrums. Good sitting advice?

Karen drops EM on the ground (hard, on purpose) and only gets a time out that lasts about a minute. I’m not for corporal punishment, but I’ll make an exception for Karen.

Kristy gets mad because she suggests 1000 activities for her sibs to keep them busy and they automatically veto all of them. Then Karen gets a lame-o idea and all the kids decide to do exactly what she suggests. Shut up, Kristy. At least they’re quiet and found something to do that doesn’t involve killing each other. Plus, it helps you find a mystery!

I love how Charlotte skipped a grade, yet she’s the same age as Becca and they’re in the same grade. (The same is true of Karen, but at least in her case, we got to see her have an extra birthday, so it makes a little bit more sense.)

Ew. Kristy chews pencils when she’s agitated. When MA points it out, Kristy says she sounds just like her third grade teachers.

Claudia lies to her mom about the nature of why she, Kristy and MA are researching things at the library.

I’m always amused by the names they use for old-timey characters in these series. Christina’s brothers are Edward (which works) and Devon (which is a little odd.) Even funnier is the fact that Devon had a single son, Devon II, who had a single son, Devon III, who had a single son, Devon IV. Meanwhile, Edward had a son named Scott. In the 1870s, not the 1970s.

Poor Watson. Kristy takes Karen and DM to the arboretum, and Watson has to go back home and watch Barney. I bet he would have loved to change places with Kristy.

How has Mrs. Abbott, Christina’s great-grandniece, heard of the BSC? Forget that, why would she invite a complete stranger to her house, even a thirteen year old girl? For all she knows, Kristy might have been planning to rob and murder her.

Kristy gets a letter from Mrs. Abbott that was the last communication Christina ever made. It basically just says, “If I never see you again, look in our special place” but MA actually cries because she thinks it’s so romantic.

When Cokie first shows up in the story, Kristy says Cokie tried to steal Logan from MA. But that’s not true. When Cokie made a play for Logan, he and MA werebroken up. It was Grace who wanted Logan while he was dating Mary Anne.

When the girls all discuss what they’d do with the fortune if it were theirs, Dawn says she’d buy a private jet. Sounds like a stupid choice for someone who complains about how bad RVs are for the environment.

Claudia spelling: statchew.

The BSC decide the treasure must be in the rose garden, and they completely “f” it up in the name of finding the treasure. And get into trouble with the arboretum’s curator.

Kristy gets into 1863 gossip about why the baker’s wife left him.

They discover that the circle drawn on Christina’s letter means the full moon, which conveniently, is two days away and on a Friday. Any time the BSC needs to sneak out of the house or hang out at night, it’s a weekend.

Add to that, why is Charlie always so cool with dropping the BSC members in the middle of nowhere late at night?

Kristy: “This is a stakeout, not a fashion show.”

While the BSC is on their “stakeout” waiting for the full moon, someone sneezes. MA blesses them before she realizes it’s not one of her friends.

Cokie has been following the BSC around for like six chapters before the BSC finds out that she’s Mildred Abbott’s granddaughter.

When the BSC and Cokie finally find the “treasure,” it’s a letter to Christina’s fiancĂ©, Henry, a locket and the deed to the house.

Ahh, Cokie is the voice of reason for once: she suggests that a lawyer will need to look over the documents to make sure they’re legitimate.

Apparently, Mal and Jessi like being hired help.

For some reason, Mrs. Abbott gives the locket to Kristy, rather than Cokie.

Outfits (there are tons of outfits in this one! sweet!)

Claudia: blue and green tight stretchy shirt; huge overalls, green floppy hat. (Sounds exactly like what I was wearing back then. Well, minus the hat); black jeans, black cowboy boots, black suede jacket with fringe (She’s wearing the jacket on the cover, only with a pair of wellie boots that make her look like a pirate.); tuxedo

Stacey: baby doll dress, with really high cork soled platforms (She’s straight out of Clueless); black leggings, black high tops, dark green sweater and matching hat; black dress

Jessi: black leotard, jeans, red leg warmers

Mal: jeans, purple sweater, button that says “I read banned books”

Kristy: white button down shirt, blue sweater, panty hose, green corduroy skirt, brown loafers; black velvet dress with high neckline

Dawn: green, “floaty” dress

MA: flowered dress with lacy collar (yes, but is it a Laura Ashley?)

I hope to have another book done by the end of Friday but we’ll see how that works out. The next book is #53, Kristy for President.

Friday, August 9, 2013

"Other days I just want to crawl into my shell like a teenage, mutant, injured turtle." BSC #71: Claudia and the Perfect Boy (1994)

Sorry this has been so late in coming. I am still having trouble with vertigo, and then my six week old nephew passed away. I am looking at the BSC, even this god-awful story, as an escape. So here I am again.
In this simple plot, Claudia gets a job on the school newspaper, writing a personals column. She decides to help herself to some of the eligible bachelors, but none of them is quite what she’s imagining. So instead, Stacey makes up a man and lures Claud in with it. It’s really as pathetic as it sounds.
In the subplot, Marnie Barrett is revealed to allergic to Pow the dog, so the Pikes, who don’t have enough critters in their home, take him in.
Interesting tidbits
Before I even begin. A) There is no such thing as a perfect boy. B) Claudia is thirteen! Kids at that age go out with people for two weeks, two months, not life. She needs to get over the idea of trying to find a perfect boy and just be happy with herself.
Mary Anne and Logan are apparently Claudia’s romance role models. They are so sappy they make me want to barf, so this makes me even more nauseous.
Claudia’s requirements for a perfect boy (her spelling intact): hansome, mussels (not too many, not to few), taller then me, funny (extreamly), atheletic, sensative, easy to talk to (a good lisner), intresting (lots to say), artistic, good dreser, good spellar (willing to corect mine), not criticul, crazey about me. Auto correct meant I had to go back and fix several of those to the bad spelling.
Ooh, this one has Kristy wearing a sweatshirt instead of a turtleneck! Madness!!!
Mary Anne actually thinks that Mrs. Barrett could have forgotten that Marnie is allergic to chocolate.
Heh. Claudia finds the idea of a mother with a boyfriend—even a single/divorced woman like Mrs. Barrett—weird. Especially because she’s scatterbrained (okay, I’ll buy that and old—because she’s “over thirty”. I’m offended on the behalf of all single people over that age, including me.
Claudia suggests that a woman using the personals ad has the personality of Homer Simpson. D’oh!
Okay, let’s talk about a personals column in a middle school paper. We weren’t allowed to have a personals column in my high school paper for legal reasons, and we were a Tinker school, meaning it was in our paper charter that we could not be censored by the school administration. No way would most schools do anything that could lead to a law suit. They especially wouldn’t print the students’ home addresses the way Claudia does.

Buddy, describing the Dewitts: “They’re not a s big toadheads as I first thought.”
Oh, lordy. After Mrs. Barrett tells the kids Pow has to find a new home, they all cry. Then she starts crying, so of course, Mary Anne starts crying too.
Claudia and Stacey think spell check will fix all her spelling problems. Riiiiiiight….
How can the (weekly) middle school paper get by with one computer? My (monthly) high school paper had three, and even that wasn’t enough.
Suzi says her room looks like a prison cell, and she knows that because Shredder had one on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Claudia replies to an ad with many of her requirements. Here’s her spelling errors: skool, gess, fashun, peepul, mystury. She also uses no for know (twice), hare for hair, and grate for great (twice). She makes a second try with the following spelling: pashionate, laffter, freinds, sumone, nuthing, sincerly. She also uses mite for might.
Claudia’s first choice for a date turns out to be Alan Gray, which is funny after last week’s book.
Ahh. The newspaper staff actually cuts and pastes the newspaper. Just a couple years after this, (1997), we did everything with the words by computer. By 1998, we even had exclusively digital photos.
Gag. MA writes a personal letter to Logan that’s too saccharine for me to even repeat. Trust me. If I post it, you (and I) will be in a diabetic coma. Humorously, her “call me” line gets switched with an ad stating the girl wants to dump her dud boyfriend, so Logan stops talking to MA for a while.
You all are quite lucky: my flight was just delayed for the third time, so I will probably get the whole thing posted before I ever get on the plane that was supposed to leave over an hour ago.
Kristy tries to give Claudia fashion advice for her date. Yup.
Claudia’s second date attempt, a guy who calls himself Rock, says he didn’t know Claudia was a “Japanese chick.” How does he know she’s Japanese as opposed to another Asian background?
Rock’s real first name is Richard, as is his fathers. Yet he has an older brother named Russ. Don’t most families with juniors name the first son after the dad? (I actually have an aunt who named her younger son after both of his grandfathers, which means he has the same first name as his grandfather and father.)
More Claudia spelling: wunder and hapening. She also uses new for knew.
The fake guy Stacey creates for Claudia allegedly looks like Jason Priestly.
Claudia: pink socks, gold stretch pants (horrors!), gold turtleneck, pink sweater (Replace stretch pants with jeans and she sounds like Kristy), blue jewelry; brown suede pants, yellow button down, Native American earrings, silver jewelry, bangles, brown and yellow vest
Next week: We’ll actually start August two weeks late. I think I will probably start with a Kristy mystery.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I have created a monster...

...and its name is By and Hay's Excellent Adventure.

It's the story to read if you like...
*Road trips!
*The Pike Triplets!
*Crappy singing!
*Stupid jokes!
*Lots of swearing!
*Or any number of other things you could end with an exclamation point!

“Who knew Alan could be such a wimp?” BSC Forever Friends #12: Claudia and the Disaster Date (2000)

I have a confession to make. Of the 14 Forever Friends books, I've read 9: both super specials, 3 Kristys and 3 Mary Annes. I've never read any of the Staceys and I thought I hadn't read any Claudias, but three chapters in, I suddenly had a flashback to a scene with Claudia and Erica Blumberg that happens during her fight with Stacey. I think that's FF#4, which I also own.

So there are three plotlines in this one. The title refers to Claudia secretly dating Alan Gray. She's embarrassed for Kristy to find out they're together. Alan knows how she feels and has been acting very fake, because he's afraid she'll dump him if he acts like himself. She eventually confronts him and tells him that who he is going to keep changing as he ages, but he should always just be himself.

Meanwhile, Claudia and Erica are working at the library in the kids' room. While that's exhausting in and of itself, Claudia gets into a fight with her mom because Claud wants to redo the dated children's mural. They eventually talk it over and get past it, and Claudia learns that her mom's actually jealous of her art skills.

Erica, who had previously learned she was adopted, decides to find out the names of her biological parents. She and Claudia break into her parents' safe and learn the names of her bio 'rents, but she then confesses to her parents, who decide she's old enough to decide for herself if she wants to hunt them down. Erica's honesty with her parents is what leads Claudia to be honest with her mom and Alan. See how that works?

Interesting tidbits

The final sentence on the back cover: "Will Claudia find luv?" I don't know if that's the middle school version of lust, or a bad Claudia misspelling.

Heh. I think I need to list all the annoying things Alan is listed as having done: burping "Row, row, row your boat;" putting M&Ms on his eyes at Mary Anne's birthday party (#10); getting suspended for throwing a cherry bomb in the bathroom; getting a fireball stuck up his nose in second grade; sticking crayons in his mouth as fangs; wearing underwear on his head.

Claudia refers to Alan's past as "besmirched", which I found really amusing.

Apparently, Stacey once got a lump of gum stuck in her ear. I'm always glad when they don't write her as all mature and sophisticated. (Of course, she was a little kid when that happened, but that still counts.)

Real books: Jack and the Beanstalk, Black Beauty, A Baby Sister for Frances, Fell, Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye (I like this because Claudia mentions it to Erica as a story of someone who looks for her birth parents, which is how it came up the first time); Harold and the Purple Crayon.

I like this: Claudia has realized that Janine talks the way she does, not because she's a genius, but because it throws people off their strides.

When Claudia tells Kristy she's been out with Alan, she thinks Kristy's head might explode.

Mistake! Stacey points out that Kristy once went out with Alan, to a dance (true.) Kristy says she learned her lesson and never went out with him again. She went with him to a dance in #2 and mentions she had been to the school end dance with him in #6 also.

When Claudia tells everyone she went out with Alan, Kristy goes apoplectic. Stacey (who knew) says, "Good for you." MA does what she always does and tries to smooth things over. And Dawn just thinks the whole thing is hilarious.

Claudia's mural goes to hell when Ms. Feld (the children's librarian) decides to let all the kids "help" without asking Claudia. The result is a complete disaster.

Claudia and Alan invite their respective friends to go out for mini golf. I had to laugh when Alan brought Cary and Pete, because in my adult-BSC verse, each of those two is married to a babysitter. (I'll let that sit. See if you can figure out who is who, but it's not who you'd expect based upon this story.)

Oh, shut up, Dawn. You're going mini golfing, so we don't need to hear about how real golf courses pollute the environment.

Cary maneuvers the game play so that all the people are paired: He and MA, Stacey and Pete, Claudia and Dawn, and Kristy with Alan. Claudia pictures Kristy's head exploding, which I think was Cary's point.

Way back during the original painting scene, I thought to myself, "Why don't they just have each of the kids do the same thing, like a handprint?" And of course that's exactly what they end up doing. All the kids put a hand and their name on the wall, and Claudia gets to do her planned mural at the top.

Oh my gosh. Claudia throws a party with the BSC (current members and old members), Alan, Pete, Cary and Erica. Charlie gives Kristy and Abby a ride and...decides to stick around and grill for everyone. The poor young man really has no life. *shakes head sadly*

I'm more than a little amused by a crash that occurs when Pete, catching a flying bag of chips, runs over Mary Anne and a bowl of pickles.

Leave it Abby to laugh at corny jokes about Alan "putting Pete and Mary Anne in this pickle," and "Goodbye, Mr. Chips."


Claudia: red, blue and purple tie-dyed t-shirt, beige linen shorts, earrings made from bottle caps, purple high tops

I'm on vacation the next two weekends (Midwest Dariacon 2013 and my sister's bachelorette party) so I'm hoping to get all my school work done before I go. I've had a nasty case of vertigo the last week or so, but I have to read one more Claudia book for July. Once school is out in another two weeks, I’ll be able to catch up.