Friday, February 10, 2017

The Nancy Drew Files #50: Deep Secrets (1990)


Let's set this up. In previous books in this trilogy, Nancy, Bess, and George went to stay with Eloise Drew in the Hamptons. Nancy met a guy, Gary, and helped prove his innocence and keep his job as a test pilot before falling in love with George. Nancy met a Soviet dancer named Sasha that instantly decided he was in love with her. Despite having Ned, who is conveniently on his way for a visit, Nancy thinks she might be in love with the dancer because she keeps thinking about him. It's called a crush, dodo.

Deep Secrets opens with a fancy party thrown by Nancy's friend Emily. Conversation turns to Roland Lyons, a businessman who bought up a ton of land and now wants to trade it back to the city for beachfront land where he can build condos. Emily and her new “friend” Jeff think Lyons is horrible because he puts money above all else. Keith, Emily's ex-boyfriend, interrupts, they share words, and things go badly.

Later, Keith and Jeff get into it again, which ends with Keith punching Jeff. Emily explains that he's a horrible guy who treated her life a fancy toy and that he's a big supporter of Lyon. Sasha shows up, sides with Lyon, and Emily gets annoyed enough that she leaves. He then convinces Nancy to take a walk on the beach with him where they kiss for the first time.

The next morning they get the bad news that Emily went missing. She took out her boat the night before and never came home. The marina manager explains to Nancy that she saw Emily come back around 9:30 but when she got there at seven the next morning, the boat was gone. Emily's dad says he thought he heard her come home the night before but never saw her.

After heading back to Eloise's home and finding her with some new friend named Seth, they start calling around to see if they can find anything. Nancy shocks her friends when she announces that it's possible someone kidnapped Emily the night before. Emily's dad finds the theory as disturbing as her friends do. Basically, no one believes it.

That all changes when Nancy and Sasha find Emily passed out on her boat while out on a sail. When she comes to, Emily tells them someone kidnapped her, took her boat somewhere, and left her locked down below with enough food for a week. The guy came back, partially unlocked her, and left again. She got out and was sailing back when the boom hit her and knocked her out. Since she wasn't there for the city council vote, Lyons got everything he wanted.

Though Emily assumes Keith was behind it all, they get a call that he was in a serious car accident and is now in serious condition in intensive care. They decide to focus on other suspects. Complicating matters is the fact that Ned just showed up. Though I have a soft spot for good old Ned, he really is the best boyfriend ever. He lets Nancy run off to investigate and never complains, while Sasha calls and bitches about her spending too much time with Ned. Sasha also lets her know that he has a chance to stay in America for a year but will only stay if that's what she wants. Not any pressure at all.

Ned makes reservations for dinner but agrees to go with her to see Lyons in person. Lyons finds the idea of being a suspect ridiculous, just as ridiculous as a teen detective. I kind of love him because he makes comments about how he got rid of all his blood stained shoes before she got there. He has a rock solid alibi and a fear of boats, so he clearly didn't kidnap Emily. Before they leave though, he tosses in a comment about her Russian boyfriend.

Since they missed their reservation, they decide to meet up with their friends for pizza. Ned brings up Sasha, and Nancy being Nancy can't tell him the truth. She just tells him that nothing ever happened, but it's clear by his strong jawline that he knows the truth. It doesn't help that her friends and their boyfriends keep bringing up Sasha and telling stories about him.

Just when things couldn't get anymore awkward, Nancy sees her aunt making out with Seth on the beach. After a short chat, she trips him up when he tells her he went to the movies on the night of the kidnapping and names a movie that wasn't playing that night. They also find where the boat was that night and find a shoe print left behind.

In other news Sasha gets Nancy alone and embraces her. Right as he leans in for a kiss, Ned shows up, sees them, and runs off. Nancy chases him and finds him on the beach by himself. She finally tells him about their flirtation and how she has feelings for another guy. Instead of just dumping her, Ned tells her that he loves her more than anything, that they have something special, and that he'll do whatever it takes to prove that to her.

They wind up water skiing, to which Ned invites Sasha along. Sasha falls off his skis, but Ned actually goes back, finds him, and drags him to safety. After that, Ned gets cold with Nancy but still agrees to help her search Seth's boat. She finds a photo of him with his wife, poor Eloise, and shoes that match the print she found. Seth catches them and comes clean. He was out of town to finalize his divorce and Eloise actually knew. He just didn't tell Nancy the truth because he didn't want his divorce spread around town.

In the hopes of finding the kidnapper, Nancy goes back to Keith. She finds out that he went missing on the night of the kidnapping and quit his job the next day. After breaking into his car, they find shoes that match the print. Before she can do much else though, she finds both Sasha and Ned flirting with two hot Russian chicks. Ned then asks to borrow her car to take them home, which I find hilarious.

Nancy somehow puts it together that Lyons was behind the whole thing. He thought Emily had dirt on him and got Keith to help. Lyons then emptied Keith's brake lines to cause the accident. Nancy finds out from a reporter friend that Lyons previously had a construction company that went out of business after he cut corners and buildings collapsed.

Sasha comes to see Nancy and tell her that he's leaving because he can't get the training that he needs in the States. He also realized that her heart belongs to Ned and tells her that he wishes she would look at him the way she looks at Ned. They agree to be friends, and she tells him all about the case. While on the way home, she detects the scent of chloroform and the world goes black. I should keep a running total of how often she gets knocked out.

Lyons reveals that she was right all along about him setting up Keith. He then kidnapped both Nancy and Emily, stole his neighbor's boat, and set the boat up to explode. After getting to the right spot, he hops on the dinghy, makes sure they know the radio doesn't work, and takes off. Nancy gets to the broken radio and manages to send an SOS, unties Emily and herself, they jump off the boat and find the Coast Guard waiting. The Coast Guard gets them to safety just as the other boat explodes.

At the station, the cops bring in Lyons. They checked Keith's car and find Lyons' fingerprints to prove he tampered with it. After a short recovery, they go to the big regatta and see Bess' new boyfriend's team win while racing a boat owned by Seth. Nancy learns that Ned left, heads back to her aunt's house, and finds a note asking her to meet him on the beach. Ned freaking apologizes for being upset that she cheated on him, and Nancy apologizes for being a bad person. They kiss as she thinks about how life is now absolutely perfect.

*This part of a trilogy, officially A Summer of Love trilogy. Sadly, I'm not sure if I have any of the other books. I kind of hate when series do this because I never know if I can follow along or if I should put books back until I complete the set.

*So, Nancy thinks she's in love with Sasha before they ever even kiss. Yup, sounds like a crush to me.

*Nancy wears a white silk skirt to the party, which seems so impractical to me! I love how all the late 80s/early 90s books had teenagers decked out in silk.

*Sasha calls and complains that her line was busy every time he called and how he almost gave up on asking her out to lunch. Instead of calling him a dick, Nancy just laughs, calls him outrageous, and invites him over.

*George, trying to be the voice of reason, points out that Sasha is going back to Russia in a few weeks, but Bess points out that Ned will go back to college, which isn't too different. Yup, college an hour away is just the same as dating someone in another country.

*When Sasha ends things, Nancy thinks about how she kept worrying about breaking his heart and now he's breaking her heart. Um, okay?

*As much as I agree that Ned and Nancy are perfect together, I really wish she would meet a guy and just flat out tell him to stop hitting on her because she has a boyfriend who she loves!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Baby-Sitters Club: The Summer Before


Even though my blog was up and running when this book came out, I never actually picked up a copy until I saw one for sale for a buck at a flea market.

So, it's the summer before seventh grade. Kristy, Mary Anne, and Claudia are all starting to drift apart, and Stacey is just about to move to Stoneybrook.

Kristy is less than happy that her mom is dating Watson. While she likes that her mom keeps paying her to sit for David Michael, she doesn't want some stranger always around. It doesn't help that her mom invites him over for family dinners too. When he asks if she'll watch his kids one weekend, she turns him down and lets him know pretty bluntly that it's because she doesn't want to, not because she's too busy.

The worst part is that she really misses her dad. She remembers how he came through at the last minute the last year and sent her a birthday card, but she isn't sure if he'll remember this year. Though she does send him a card, it comes back as addressee unknown. Kristy eventually confides in Mary Anne about how she hopes he will show up and surprise her.

Mary Anne finds a box of her mom's stuff that includes a few dolls. She starts imagining her mom playing with them and thinking about her a lot. It also makes her want to make clothing for them. Kristy refuses because she doesn't know how to sew, and Claudia refuses because playing with dolls is so immature.

When Mrs. Pike calls and needs two sitters, Kristy asks Mary Anne. She then asks her dad for permission, which he refuses because she's way way way way too young. After some discussion, he agrees to let her sit, if she calls and checks in every 30 minutes. Mary Anne keeps freaking out about everything that could possibly go wrong, including a fire breaking out and Claire falling down the stairs. Since this is a BSC book though, the job goes amazing. She has so much fun that she even forgets that the Pikes are paying her and almost asks why they gave her money at the end of the night.

Claudia decides to celebrate her birthday at the Goldman's house next door. They have a swimming pool that they let all the neighbors use for free, and she plans on a boy girl party. Janine invites a few friends from her summer statistics class, including the super cute Frankie who will be a freshman in the fall. Frankie almost instantly goes after Claudia. He makes her a hot dog, gets her drinks, and promises to buy her a new single. Janine is extremely pissed, especially after falling fully dressed in the pool. It takes Claudia way too long to realize her sister likes Frankie.

They quickly become the IT couple of the summer. They go to the pool, out with his parents, shopping, and all this other stuff. Her parents aren't happy in the slightest. Frankie shows up one day and asks to see her art. Her mom follows them upstairs but gives them some privacy, and Claudia winds up giving him a drawing she made.

Richard agrees to let Mary Anne sit, but she can only sit if there is something with her. When Mrs. Newton calls with a job offer, the poor lady is a little doubtful at having two kids watch her young child. Kristy can't do it, and while Claudia thinks it's a stupid rule, she does go with her.

Since Claudia is way too cool for everyone now, they barely talk at all. She does think it's impressive that Mary Anne takes charge and lets Jamie do things on his own. When Mary Anne puts him down for a nap, Claudia calls Frankie. They wind up talking for 20 minutes. Though she feels guilty, she doesn't feel so guilty that she bothers hanging up when Mary Anne comes downstairs, which puts more distance between them.

Kristy's whole family wakes her up on her birthday to a special breakfast. She finds a stack of presents waiting for her, but none are from her dad. They have a family dinner with no Watson but Mary Anne. She gets even more gifts and watches the sky, but she kind of breaks down when she realizes that her dad really did forget her birthday.

Knowing this would happen, Mary Anne set up Kristy Day. She gets the Pikes and other kids to make gifts for her and plans a parade down the street. Though she did ask Claudia to come, she already had plans with Frankie. Kristy is pretty touched by the whole thing and realizes that she still has a lot of people who care about her.

Frankie keeps showing up late as they get near the end of summer. He and Claudia head to the pool one day, but he doesn't want to sit where they usually do because his friends are all back in town. The girls fawn all over him and talk about how he should try out for football and how he's so cute. They act like major bitches to Claudia, especially after finding out her age. Between them treating her like a baby and Frankie practically ignoring her, she has less than an ideal time.

Frankie is super cold to her when he leaves her at home. The next time they talk, which is days later, he ends things with her because of some lame excuse. Claudia realizes that it's the age difference and that he doesn't want a kid holding him back. Since she can't call her friends, she sobs to Mimi. Mimi then encourages her to talk to Janine, and they actually make up. To her awesome credit, Janine just poo poos the popular girls as not really being competition.

Kristy calls Claudia and asks her to meet her and Mary Anne with their sitting charges the next day. Richard decided to let Mary Anne actually sit on her own because she's so mature and responsible all of the sudden. Things are a little awkward, and when Kristy mentions how she's glad summer is over, Claudia gets all ticked off that she won't tell her why, which she eventually does. They decide that their memories and shared experiences will hold them together and that they can still be friends, even as their lives change.

Meanwhile in NYC, there's a girl named Stacey who also sits. She can't wait to move away and get a fresh start, but she especially wants to get away from Laine. After way too many stories about when she was first diagnosed and how the other kids treated her, we get to hear about some of the kids she sits for and them preparing for their move. They run into Laine a few times, but the girls barely speak.

Maureen planned a big surprise going away party for Stacey. Laine gets her alone and tells her that the only reason kids from their class came was because she made them. She also makes it clear that Stacey needs to leave now. Stacey asks if Laine is scared of her, and Laine laughs in her face. The other girls make fun of her for her charges being there, and when she's too upset to eat, Laine makes all these rude comments about how she's only doing it for attention and how she always makes it all about her. She then “trips” and spills soda all over Stacey's new shirt. When she complains to her mom, Maureen tells her that she's too sensitive and it was just an accident.

They finally make their big move to Stoneybrook. Stacey thinks it's super pretty but whines about how there's only one bus, one taxi, and just one diner. She and her parents are pretty shocked that not only can they order food, but they can have it delivered! Come on, I literally lived in a township and not a town and had delivery. She winds up meeting Emily who introduces her to Claudia and pops up a few times like seeing the Kristy Day parade. Stacey is also on hand when the other three girls meet up and chat together at the very end. It then dives into the first chapter of Kristy's Great Idea.

*Kristy thinks it's snobby that Watson has a honor roll student bumper sticker on his car. Given that Karen is in kindergarten in this book, I think it's pretty bad too.

*It's a little weird that Watson comes to family dinners what seems pretty often but that his kids have never meet Elizabeth or her kids.

*Richard makes Mary Anne call him at work when she wakes up, when she leaves the house, and when she comes back. He also leaves notes about what she can eat for breakfast, what chores she needs to do, and other stuff. In real life, she'd wind up pregnant at fifteen!

*What's up with this box filled with stuff belonging to her mom? I thought she didn't find any of that stuff until her mystery book.

*The Goldmans actually leave their house so Claudia can have her party there. They have full run of the pool, their grill, and apparently their house too. Who the hell does that? As we had a pool growing up, I know that is a major liability.

*Kristy has a stack of gifts from people who sent presents through the mail before her birthday like aunts, uncles, and cousins. Is it weird that my family never did that?

*According to Stacey, everything changed when Laine went away to summer camp. When she came back, she started acting too cool for her, found new friends, and just stopped calling. Laine also stopped waiting for her, walking to school with her, or saving her a seat. First of all, Laine does not seem like the type of girl to go to camp. Second, this completely interferes with all the other stories Stacey told about NYC. When she wet the bed at that party, they were still good friends.

*Maureen kind of has her head in the sand here. While I get that teen girls fight and make up all the time, Laine has been riding Stacey for months now. You'd think she would pick up on that.