Thursday, July 31, 2014

BSC SS #8: Baby-sitters at Shadow Lake Part Two

Mary Anne has Three Musketeer duty yet again, and they want to take a day off from their playhouse and garden. Mary Anne comes up with idea for her to pretend to be a baby, and they sit for her. The girls love the idea, and Karen especially gets to let her bossiness out. They get bored of it by the time they’ve had lunch, though. So they decide to go check on the boys’ fort. It’s not very impressive, even though the boys have been working hard.

One thing about this chapter, though. It definitely falls under the “Ann thinks little kids don’t use contractions” category. She even has Mary Anne not using them, even before she’s playing a baby. It’s annoying.

Dawn is still on the hunt for a damn mystery. She’s watching Andrew and Emily Michelle for the day, and Andrew wants to go look at the big boats again. Dawn realizes that if she wants to find out about an old mystery, she should ask old people. And she finds the perfect person when they go into a store to get a snack. His name is Stephan, and once upon a time he was engaged to Annie Bayard. The Bayards owned the island, and their mansion was the only house on it. The Bayards were a bit strange, rarely leaving the island. One day, Stephan went out to the island, and everyone, including the servants, had just disappeared. Dun-dun-DUN! Stephan also tells Dawn that he hadn’t heard anything about a lake monster until this summer. So…doesn’t seem too likely, Dawn.

Speaking of the Lake Monster, that’s what Claudia decides will be perfect for the boat show. She fashions a head and tail out of green beach towels, which sounds kind of crappy, but she rigs them up to move, and says it’s actually quite realistic. She’s nervous right before the show, but the crowd seems to love them, and they even get an award for Most Spirit. Dawn rides home with them, and scares the shit out of Claudia and Kristy by screaming bloody murder. She thinks she’s seen the monster, but all Claudia sees is a couple of waves.

The girls are all going to spend the night on the island. Dawn is freaking the fuck out through pretty much this entire experience. Seriously, she’s almost hysterical at some points, even before they leave. The Faith Pierson can’t hold them all, so Sam borrows a neighbor’s boat to take the rest of them. He also checks out the island before he leaves. The girls do some more exploring, further into the woods, and find the scorched foundation of the Bayard mansion. Dawn knew it was gone, but not when or how.

The rest of the evening is a pretty normal campout. In the middle of the night, however, Dawn wakes up to whispers. Mary Anne and Claudia think they’ve seen a white mist in the woods. That wakes everyone up, freaking out, and they all want to leave. Except Kristy, who just laughs at them. They realize how ridiculous they’re being, and go back to sleep. Dawn stays awake until dawn (haha), and then is brave enough to go back to the house. There she finds a heart-shaped locket, with the initial A.B. on it. She’s certain it wasn’t there yesterday, and takes it as a sign from Annie that she’s grateful to Dawn for remembering their spirits. Whatever, Dawn. When they get back to the mainland, Dawn goes to see Stephan. She gives him the locket, saying it’s a gift from Annie. She also learns that the mansion burned down a year to the day after the disappearances, and nobody knows how it started. Oooooh.

David Michael and the boys work on the fort. Linny and Nicky are still fighting. They lose Shannon, form a search party with everyone, and find Shannon. And Nicky and Linny learn how to work together in the face of a crisis.

On their last full day, the fort is supposed to be done. The girls are not impressed. It’s only three walls, and when Karen leans against it, the whole thing collapses. The girls laugh at first, until they see how upset the boys are. They decide to call off most of the bet; the boys only have to do what they say that night. And they let the boys play in their house for the day.

The girls then spend the entire rest of the day getting ready for the dance. Karen has a bit of perfume, so they use up the rest of it, putting it all over themselves. Of course, that makes them stink, and they have to take another shower. But they had fun dressing up.

And the last two chapters had no contractions.

All the other girls get ready for the dance, and are just about sick over the smell in their bedroom and bathroom. Stacey doesn’t know what she’s going to do about Sam, so she and Claudia come up with a plan. If Sam starts acting really weird or embarrassing, Stacey will blink her eyes, and Claudia will come rescue her. Sam does ask her to dance, but he’s actually quite nice and normal. Stacey gives Claud a smile, and she starts rushing over, thinking Stacey blinked. But Stacey waves her away, and she and Sam “drift through the rest of the evening together.”

Jessi is also nervous about what’s going to happen at the dance. She tells Mal she thinks Daniel will confess his love to her. Oh my goodness, Jessi, so dramatic. He does tell her she looks gorgeous, and they dance together, of course. Jessi finally works up the nerve to tell him she’s really enjoyed spending time with him, but Quint means a lot to her… And Daniel’s all like, Calm your tits, I have a girlfriend back in Boston. Oh, snap. Sorry, Jessi, but it’s pretty damn funny.

And so it’s back to Stoneybrook the next day. Everyone’s families are there to greet them, of course. Emily Michelle, sleepy but caught up in the moment, runs into Mr. Ramsey’s arms, then freaks the hell out. I always thought that was pretty cute.

Later, Kristy types up their diary (on their computer, she would like us to know) in red ink. Claudia and Mal draw some illustrations, and Kristy and Mary Anne bind it with a nice cover. Watson loves it so much, he decides to keep the cabin. He sends the book to Aunt Faith (with the stipulation that it’s returned to him), and in his letter refers to Kristy as his daughter. Aww.

o   Claudia and Kristy wear costumes for the boat show. Kristy is a naturalist. Claudia dresses as a tourist, wearing clashing clothes and six cameras around her neck. Is that vaguely racist, with the stereotypical Japanese tourist, or is it just me?

o   The trip to the island always reminds me of the trip Rose and the boys take to their island in Eight Cousins. I freaking LOVE that book.

o   David Michael says, “What do girls know about building stuff?” I know he’s only seven, but it still bugs. It’s unnecessary, and it’s never shown that it’s untrue. I can out-build the majority of guys I know. Bitches.

o   So, do we ever hear about the cabin again?

o   There’s a reason I’m not sure about that last question. This is actually the last book I read on my original reading. I know! So early! I turned ten the month this published, and I don’t know if I just got bored with them, or maybe I thought I was too mature for them by then. Ha, if I only knew what I’d be doing now! I know for sure they were definitely below my reading level at that point. Anyway, I have read a lot more of the series in the last few years as an adult. So I’m not completely ignorant; I know there’s a lot more snark and ridiculous frustrations coming!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

BSC SS #8: Baby-sitters at Shadow Lake Part One

By Ann M. Martin. Published July 1992.

Here’s the deal: Watson’s Aunt Faith and Uncle Pierson are redoing their wills, and want to know if he would like their cabin on Shadow Lake in Massachusetts, where he spent a number of summers as a boy. They understand it’s a responsibility, so they’re checking with him first, which I think is considerate. They suggest he take the family this summer to see if they’re interested. Of course the kids want to go, and they would also like to take their friends. Which wouldn’t be a problem, because this freaking cabin sleeps about twenty-five (!), with two of the rooms being more like dorms, with a shit ton of bunk beds. Why the hell this couple has such a big freaking house is never explained. Anyway, Kristy is already planning on working on Watson to keep the cabin for good, and so decides everyone has to work on a diary of the hella good times they’ll have.

So twenty people are going on this trip. Karen is bringing Nancy and Hannie with her (the Three Musketeers), and David Michael is bringing Nicky and Linny, who really don’t know each other. Charlie and Sam aren’t bringing anyone, they just want to “scope chicks.” Kristy is bringing the rest of the BSC, of course. She gets to bring so many because they volunteered to watch the little kids for free during the day.

Somehow, they are able to fit twenty people, two animals, and all their luggage into three cars. …right. Dawn tries to find out anything about a possible mystery at Shadow Lake from Watson on the drive up, but doesn’t get anything interesting from him.

When they arrive, Jessi takes the Three Musketeers out to go exploring, and sees a hot guy about her age. Then she feels guilty when she remembers Quint. She says he’s her “sort-of boyfriend.” When they get to the lodge, she gets all excited to find one of the rooms there has a barre.

Their first full day, Stacey has off from baby-sitting. So she goes down to the lake, but Sam wolf whistles at her, so she gets disgusted and leaves. He’s bugging the shit out of her, calling her dahling and tweaking her hair. She runs into Mary Anne, who has lost the Three Musketeers, and is freaking out. They’re just in the woods, though. Later, she runs into Dawn, who apparently has discovered a mystery, and has learned about the “Lake Monster.”

Mary Anne takes the Three Musketeers swimming, and there are lots of other people hanging about, too. Dawn and Stacey are monster hunting, and being ridiculous. Then Kristy finds a small motorboat, the Faith Pierson, which goes with the cabin. Everyone gets really excited, and Watson decides anyone twelve and over can drive it, after receiving some lessons from the caretaker, Mitch. After the excitement dies down, Mary Anne realizes she has lost the girls yet AGAIN. Good job, Mary Anne.

So earlier that day when they disappeared, the Three Musketeers had found a little shack in the woods. They thought this was the shit (I would have, too), a place they can fix up inside and out, pretend it’s their secret garden, and get away from the boys. So while everyone is busy with the boat, they sneak off, raid the cabin of cleaning supplies, and start working on their house. Mary Anne does eventually find them, and they’re in pretty big trouble. But after they explain, Mary Anne says she’ll have to tell the adults and the BSC, but they’ll keep it a secret from the boys.

The BSC has dinner at the lodge by themselves, and feel very grown-up. Claudia sees a flier about a boat show, where you decorate your boat and parade it around. She would love to decorate the Faith Pierson, but all the bigger boats intimidate Kristy. What she does want to do, however, is use the boat to take the BSC to the island in the middle of the lake, and camp out. Dawn freaks at this idea, because she, for no discernable reason as of yet, believes the island to be haunted. They also learn there’s going to be a dance at the lodge. Because what is a Super Special without a freaking dance?

Jessi has been going to practice at the barre she found every morning. She and the cute guy have also been smiling at each other across the dining room at the lodge. These two things collide when he’s creepily watching her practice one day. She says it’s cool, though.  After her barre, Jessi just dances for fun to some rock music. The boy introduces himself as Daniel, and asks if she could teach him to dance like that. She gives it a try, but he’s a bit robotic. Oh well. Throughout all this, she’s freaking out, confused about Quint. But Daniel walks her home, and they talk, and they have jack-shit in common. So I don’t think it will be much of a problem. Jessi does agree to go to the dance with him, though.

Y’all, our girl Mal is a hotter mess than usual on this trip. For some reason, all the bugs in the state of Massachusetts are attracted to her. So she is constantly going around smelling like bug repellant, and wearing a beekeeper looking outfit. Which embarrasses everyone she’s with. And then she has a very annoying day watching her brother, David Michael, and Linny. All they freaking do is fight. When Mal gets back to the cabin, she’s all sorts of bitchy, and snaps at Claudia and Stacey. Jessi takes her for a walk, and tells her to calm the hell down. Mal agrees, but then just starts bitching about bugs some more.

The boys get permission to go off into the woods by themselves, and run across the girls in their playhouse. The girls are pissed, and the boys want to take it over as a fort. But seriously, guys – finder’s keepers. They argue for a while, but it’s eventually decided the boys will go build their own fort, and they make a bet that whoever’s is the best wins, and the losers have to do their chores for a month.

Claudia is watching Andrew and Emily Michelle, and they decide to go look at all the big boats at the docks. A lot of them are starting to decorate for the boat parade, so Claudia and Andrew try to come up with ideas for the Faith Pierson. They don’t have any good ideas, though. Claud sits down to sketch, and the kids draw, as well. Claudia is glad, because she can’t let them wander around by themselves, because they’re not wearing life jackets. Or maybe also because they’re TWO and FOUR, Claud!

Yay, a chapter from Sam! He’s really quite concerned about his facial hair situation. He has already bought a razor and shaving cream, plus some cologne. And he watches Charlie shave a lot. But alas, nary a hair on his own face. Poor Sam. He and Charlie are having a kickass time though, parasailing and waterskiing and all kinds of shit. And of course, Sam’s annoying Stacey, flinging Cheerios at her at breakfast. What a way to win a woman over. Charlie agrees with me, asking Sam if he’s actually just talked to Stacey. That has never actually occurred to him, but he gives it a shot. At first, Stacey is all skeptical of his presence, worried he’s going to push her in the lake or something. But he promises he won’t, just sits beside her, and tells her straight up that he like likes her. She says he has a funny way of showing it, and she’s not even sure she can believe him now. She confesses to have liked him back in the day, but now she’s just confused. Sam is, too.

Part Two tomorrow!

o   Aagghh, Kristy! You can be so damn judgey! She proclaims that no one over thirty should wear a bikini. Whatever, Kristy. Of course, she does say this after seeing her mom in one. But if Elizabeth can rock one after having four kids, more power to her.

o   Both David Michael and Sam refer to Karen as their sister, not stepsister. I just find that really nice.

o   Even though Sam’s annoying, I really love getting more from him and Charlie both. They’re usually such secondary characters, you can almost forget they’re there. Aside from Charlie being the exclusive BSC chauffer, of course.