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!