Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Baby-Sitters Club Mystery #3: Mallory and the Ghost Cat

The Craine family randomly pops up when their daughters’ aunt/babysitter breaks her leg. Mallory takes on a sitting job for them, probably because she’s the only one available. The first day that she’s there, she hears a cat crying but the girls tell her that they don’t have a cat. Mallory mentions it to Mrs. Craine and gets the same response.

After hearing the crying a second time, she decides to track down the noise. She and the girls find a white cat in the attic. Since the cat is so pale, they start calling it Ghost Cat. The family decides to keep him, but they put an ad in the newspaper first in case someone is missing him.

The family keeps him locked in the laundry room because he keeps running away. When they open the door to show him to Mallory, he runs off. They search the entire house, and Mallory finds a stack of letters in the attic. She reads the letters from Kelsey Graham to the girls and learns that he had a cat that looked exactly like Ghost Cat. The cat died one day and he never recovered. Suddenly, the girls start thinking that maybe their cat is the same one and that it’s actually a ghost.

Mallory invites Dawn over to the house, and Dawn does a bunch of experiments. She finds out that the cat is real because it breaks a string, doesn’t photograph weird, and does other normal cat stuff. Mallory gets a call from someone who says he owns the cat and that it’s name is Rasputin. He can’t make it for a few days, but he will get his cat.

The cat suddenly starts acting like a normal cat once they use its name, including rubbing up against people. The guy comes by while Mal is sitting and gives each girl $5. Mal can’t help noticing that he looks just like the photograph of Kelsey from the letters. Since Mal still heard a cat meowing, she wonders if they really do have a ghost cat. Oh, and the family gets a new white cat in the end.

The B-plot is all about Uncle Joe, Mr. Pike’s uncle. He tells them tons of stories about his uncle that make him sound like a cool guy. When he shows up though, he’s just old and crotchety. He complains about everything, doesn’t want to play with the kids, and won’t do any tricks. The whole family has to eat bland food and they hate it.

Nicky goes missing one day, and they find him sitting with Joe. Uncle Joe does one of his old tricks and seems a little better. They go to visit him in the nursing home and he seems better. Mr. Pike explains that he has Alzheimer’s and that he’ll never be the guy he was before. At the end, he pulls out a bottle of Tabasco sauce and tells Mallory that he hates bland food.

*Mallory worries that aunt “Bud” will offer her a beer or wear all leather because she has a motorcycle. Suddenly, Mallory seems even younger than ever.

*Mallory reads the letters to the girls and they cry when the cat dies. She decides to read through the letters before reading them to the girls. Why the hell didn’t she stop in the middle when she got to that part?

*Dawn has a “ghost detector” that she bought out of a ghost comic for $5.99. I don’t know what is more ridiculous: that she read the comic or bought what Mallory describes as a cardboard box.

*One of the girls explains that white cats with blue eyes are usually deaf, which is something I just learned a few months ago LOL.

*I wish I read this book as a kid because my grandma actually had Alzheimer’s and I had some similar experiences to Mr. Pike with her forgetting who I was.

*Mr. Pike is kind of a dick though. He tells them that his uncle will be different from the guy in his stories, but he waits until almost the end to tell them what’s going on.

*It doesn’t help that Mallory brings her friends over to see him without telling him. Claudia thinks he’ll be just like Mimi and actually calls him uncle Joe, which pisses him off.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Baby-Sitters Club Mystery #33: Stacey and the Stolen Hearts

Pete Black comes up with a new fundraiser idea just in time for the 700 Valentine’s Day in the BSC world. They will sell valentine-grams that students can fill out and send to their classmates. For some reason, he thinks that Stacey is the best choice to help him. They set up every day in the cafeteria, make sales, and get ready.

Stacey sees a ton of people buy the grams. Ben and Mallory write them for each other, Claudia and Josh do, and so do Mary Anne and Logan. She also sees Rose (remember her?) writing a couple, but none are for her boyfriend Brian. Even Alan buys one, and she sees Cary holding one, but he disappears before buying one. Then there’s Cokie who buys a ton for her boyfriend, but he never buys one for her.

One day, the bag of grams goes missing and no one knows what happened. The next day, Cokie’s notes appear on the lockers. Before long, other grams are photocopied and passed around school. Stacey blames Cary, but he claims that he was at the dentist. She tries to trick him by bringing up his doctor’s appointment later, and he reminds her that it was the dentist and even tells her to call the dentist.

The entire BSC gets involved, stalking the various suspects. They even think it might be Pete because he keeps acting suspicious, but Mary Anne discovers that he had a crush on Emily and sent her one, so he’s worried that someone might see it. Rose was sending a bunch of messages to Clarence King as a joke and she’s acting weird because she thinks he might take it seriously.

Eventually, Stacey goes to Cary and he kind of tells her what happened. He says that “someone” was the brunt of a bunch of girls’ jokes. They sent him grams and he sent one to one of the girls because he thought she liked him. She realizes that it was Alan, so she goes to his house. She starts to confront him, but then decides that she will let him off easy. She basically tells him that whoever stole the bag should bring it back or she’ll go to the principal. The bag shows up the next day, though the ones for Alan have mysteriously disappeared. Everyone gets what they should and everything is fine.

There are two B-plots in the book. One is about Robert. Andi gets in touch with Stacey because they recently broke up and she’s worried about him. Stacey talks to him a few times and tries to make him feel better, though he still seems down in the dumps when the book ends.

The other B-plot is some lame valentine’s fair that the BSC helps the library hold. Matthew Hobart gets a crush on Mary Anne and eventually asks her to be his valentine. She agrees, but she lets him know that he has to share her with Logan, and he totally agrees.

*Where does this money go? It’s explained that it’s an eighth-grade fundraiser, but then why would so many other students buy them?

*Vanessa is selling poems in this one. I know she tries to do it when their dad loses their job, but didn’t she try that in another Valentine’s Day book?

*The outfit she’s wearing on the cover is the exact outfit that Stacey wears in the book for Valentine’s Day.

*They never bother telling us who Alan likes, which is kind of annoying.

*Andi sure has some balls on her! She’s making out with Robert all around town while he’s with Stacey, and then she runs to her with their problems.

*The library fair sounds really lame. It’s basically some cupcakes, Vanessa’s poem stand, and a few other random things.

*For some reason, the library has Romeo & Juliet in the kids’ section. I think I was a freshman in high school when I read that.