This story gets the special distinction of being the only book in the whole series I’m going to refer to as both Extra Stupid and Extra Awesome.
Logan makes friends with a guy named T-Jam who is part of this gang of bad boys (cleverly named the Badd Boyz). They steal from lockers and shoplift at local stores. He starts hanging out with them and defending them to Mary Anne and company. Because he’s so clean cut, the Badd Boyz use him as a distraction to help them steal. Eventually, re catches on, so they blackmail and threaten him. He finds tickets to the ‘concert of the year’ in his locker, which MA sees and thinks he bought for her. He finally tells the truth and turns the Badd Boyz in.
Meanwhile, the eight and nine year olds in town are being demonized by a bully named EJ. The not-so-clever-or-original twist? EJ is a girl.
The cover: Who are those kids supposed to be? And why isn’t the one kid playing?
Also, the tagline says, “Is Logan too cool for babysitting?” Maybe Logan’s not cool enough for babysitting.
Apparently, breakfast at the Bruno house is chaos personified, with his parents yelling and his siblings arguing. Sounds rather normal to me, actually, but what do I know? My mom used to leave before I got up in the morning and my dad didn’t get up until after I left.
The first few pages of this book are chock full of awesome. First Logan refers to himself as Draculogan (which is totally how I will now refer to him for the rest of time. Or maybe just the rest of my lunch break at work.)
Then he says he’s a jock but not a stereotypical jock who can’t talk and walk at the same time and who carries a football to bed. I totally thought of Kevin from Daria, who is rarely ever seen without his football pads and pigskin, even when he’s wearing a suit. This photo was the closest I could find:
Finally, he describes his looks and says MA says he looks like Cam Geary (so we know a little of what he looks like…but since Cam Geary doesn’t exist, I can pretend he’s 4’4” and has orange hair!) Logan doesn’t want us to think he looks like Garth from Wayne’s World, which makes me laugh for so many different reasons. Party on, Logan. Party on, Mary Anne.
OMG! More dying of laughter: Nicky Cash, the subject of Mary Anne’s musical crush, used to be in a boy band called 2 Hot 4 U. He’s like a combination of Justin Bieber and one of the boys in 1Direction. He can’t really sing, but he’s cute, he can dance and he sings love songs. (Confession time: I actually kinda like 1Direction. Not enough to buy their albums or go to their concerts, but enough to know the lyrics to a couple of their songs and enjoy them. I can already feel the judging….I feel the same way about Taylor Swift, too.)
Oh, and Nicky Cash’s real name is Reginald Fenster.
The Badd Boyz (did Claudia name them?) members’ names: T-Jam (apparently, his real name is Theodore James), Skin, Ice Box, Butcher Boy, Jackhammer, G-man, D, Remo.
BSC Meetings = Nicky Cash Fan Club Convention, as Claudia, Dawn and Stacey are singing his songs when Logan shows up. Logan makes a point of saying how bad a singer Claudia is. I wonder if he has a problem with Dawn and Stacey’s singing? They must be decent singers, since they had roles in the play. He lets them know his feelings by howling like a dog while they sing.
Logan refers to Richard as Richard, which seems really wrong. I imagine he’d be the type to insist upon being called Mr. Spier by MA’s dates. (I’m picturing her imaginary future-husband having to call his father-in-law Mr. Spier and it’s really funny.) I just mean that Richard’s a little old-fashioned and traditional, and having non-related teenagers call him by last name seems more his style.
What I love is that they talk about how awkward BSC meetings are with Logan around, but this one makes the meeting seem extra fun. (I’m starting to be able to pick out which books are written by certain ghost writers, simply because they have distinctive styles. Peter Lerangis, who wrote this one, likes to have lots of joking around and food throwing.) Claudia answers the phone with a mouthful of chocolate and says ‘hewwo’ instead of hello, so Logan does an Elmer Fudd imitation of her babysitting job.
Logan’s dad once bought tofu because he thought it was cheese, and Logan says that’s as close to health food as his family gets. He also apparently thinks Dawn would fight a squirrel for an acorn. That’s a fight I’d like to see, because the squirrel would win. As someone who went to a college that almost changed their mascot to the Fighting Squirrels for good reason, I can attest that some squirrels are scary and potentially lethal.
Logan doesn’t understand why Shannon wears black eyeliner (or as he calls it, ‘outliner’) around her blue eyes. For some reason, when he points it out, I’m picturing Shannon wearing the whole ‘heroin chic’ look that went into fashion a few years later, with thick, heavy eyeliner that’s supposed to make you look like you have dark circles under your eyes, like a drug addict.
Dawn is apparently eating a bag of hay at the meeting. Can Draculogan narrate more of these stories? I kinda love him.
You know the Badd Boyz are bad because they say stuff like yo and ‘tsup. Oh, and they skip out during lunch and eat pizza in the parking lot.
Apparently, ‘crispy’ is a Badd Boy compliment.
Claudia spelling! She was siting for the twines, Maralyn and Caralyn, by the way. Twise, imposable (impossible), eigth, migth. She also uses ben for been.
The twins lost their lunches (before they were eaten!) to the bully, EJ, so they’re starving when they get home. Claudia’s suggestion on what happened to the lunches is the title quote. She also gets the twins trying to think of (serious) ways to deal with a bully, which turns into a conversation about dropping EJ in the sewer or bringing bombs to school.
Stacey says that, between the thieves at school and the bully at the elementary school, there’s a lot of bad karma going around. Claudia thinks she said bad caramel. You hear what you want to hear, I guess. (Claud makes herself feel better after her sitting job by finding and eating some good caramels.)
I’m beginning to understand the whole Dawn-is-an-individual thing that’s so rampant in this series because of something Logan says in this book. He admires the Badd Boyz for their ‘independence’ because they don’t care what others think of them and aren’t afraid of anyone. But they travel in a gang/pack and aren’t really independent. They’re as much of a clique as the other kids in school; they’re just counterculture rather than mainstream culture. But these kids are supposed to be middle schoolers. When you’re 13, being counterculture does seem to mean independence and individuality, even when you’re being as much of a follower and are as insecure as everyone else. Maybe I’ll stop being as hard on Dawn. Maybe.
Logan’s pretty clueless. Now maybe I’m saying this because I’m an adult, or because I work in loss prevention (or because I’d read the book before), but it was completely obvious that T-Jam (who goes with Logan when he buys the Nicky Cash CD for Mary Anne) is a distraction so that his two friends can shoplift. He keeps pointing the store owner away from the direction his friends are in by asking about jazz CDs.
Oh, and T-Jam ‘compliments’ Logan by telling him he’s ‘quality.’ Mary Anne thinks it sounds like a word you’d use on an appliance, not a person.
Ooh, there’s a spelling mistake! Memberes instead of members.
Logan suggests recruiting EJ to be a member of the Badd Boyz.
After Logan inadvertently helps the Badd Boyz steal a shipment of Nicky Cash CDs, he threatens to tell, so T-Jam turns the tables by threatening Mary Anne. He realizes he’s being blackmailed. (Logan’s also afraid of the loss of reputation and potential legal consequences involved in telling the truth.) They buy his silence with Nicky Cash concert tickets (stolen, natch). Logan wants to return them, but MA sees them before he has a chance.
This would make a really bad afterschool special, which is, of course, the best kind.
I’d join the We Hate EJ Club, but only if it has a secret handshake.
The club gathers together to have a “stragedy” session on how to deal with EJ. They also deal with the triplets, who (well, at least Adam and Jordan) keep taunting the younger kids about EJ. Apparently, the fact that EJ is a girl is highly embarrassing, not just to Nicky, Buddy and the Hobart boys (the only boys at the “stragedy” session) but to all the kids.
Ha ha ha! The Badd Boyz have started calling Logan Ken Doll. It’s appropriate. It’s also what makes him decide to make sure the gang gets caught stealing.
Logan and MA are going for a candlelight dinner before the concert…and Charlie agrees to drop them off. (He is just too nice.) Kristy: “Charlie, have you ever tasted candlelight? It’s magnificent.”
Logan doesn’t tell MA the truth about the tickets until she mentions that some seventh grader had her tickets stolen. Suddenly the victim of the crime becomes real and he can’t go through with it anymore. MA is understandably mad…not because they aren’t going to the concert, but because he didn’t just tell her all this (and return the tickets) right away.
Here’s my REAL question at this point: Why did this seventh grader have her tickets at school anyway? 1. They’re not cheap and the concert’s sold out. 2. The thefts from lockers is one of the biggest topics going around school. I’m not blaming the victim, but if she had used common sense, she wouldn’t have been in this spot in the first place.
Logan’s dad refers to the Badd Boyz as “fellows.” And I laughed for absolutely no reason.
Kerry starts playing the Nicky Cash CD early the morning after Logan was supposed to go to the concert:
Mr. Bruno: This is what you were going to hear last night?
Logan: Pretty terrible, huh?
Even though it is the oldest BSC joke ever, I always laugh when Logan orders food when Kristy calls the meeting to order.
“Flourless, yeastless, sugarless, and probably tasteless ‘walnut fudgie bars.’” I wish those were real, because they sound like something I could actually eat. Later, Dawn threatens to feed one to Logan when he’s a smart aleck.
Dawn points out that it’s sexist to assume that a bully is a boy. Honestly, in my experience, girl bullies are worse than boy bullies. I used to teach school at a locked facility with kids that were basically the worst of the worst, and we all used to say we’d rather have a room full of boys than a room full of girls. The girls would stoop to any level and they fought viciously.
Mary Anne: sequined “shirt and pants that are attached.” EWWWWWWW! I think I’ll throw up now, if that’s okay with y’all.
Next week: We’ll celebrate the holidays with some counterfeit money (and another extra stupid plotline): Mystery #10 Stacey and the Mystery Money