This is my all-time favorite BSC book, no contest. I used to read it out loud to my siblings, who weren't even BSC fans. :)
The BSC members are back from their various family vacations, and eager to make the most of the rest of the summer. Dawn decides to really search for a secret passage in her house, and actually finds one by falling through a trap door in the floor of her barn. How did they not notice the door before? Was there hay on top of it or something? Anyway, as she's exploring it, she finds some old-looking items and convinces herself that not only were they left there by someone who was locked in the passage to die, but that her house and barn were now haunted by that person's ghost. The strange noises that she hears coming from the passage at all hours of the day and night only confirm her theory (or so she thinks). Mr. Ghostie gets an indentity when Dawn finds the legend of Jared Mullray in an old book of her grandmother's. The book doesn't specify the location of the Mullray farm, where Jared supposedly disappeared, but Dawn is sure it's her house. The mystery of the strange noises and the appearing/disappearing items is at least partially solved when Dawn catches Nicky Pike in the passage. His trouble with the triplets has gotten even worse, and he'd been going there to escape. Nicky was only using the passage during the day, though, so the nighttime noises are still a mystery. I think we're just supposed to assume that it's the wind or something, but I'm with Dawn on this one: I think it's a ghost. :)
Thoughts and Things
- At Dawn's BSC slumber party, Mary Anne wants to watch Sixteen Candles. I would've pegged her as more of a Sound of Music type.
- Dawn doesn't tell the other BSC members (besides Mary Anne) about the passage until the aforementioned slumber party. Why in the world would she keep it a secret, and why did Mary Anne not tell anyone? Secret passages are kind of a big deal, and the girls usually tell each other everything.
- I can't even tell you how many secret passage searches I went on as a kid. I never found anything, but I probably made lots of friends and relatives think I was crazy for knocking on walls and looking for trapdoors everywhere.
- Dawn describes her room as the calm eye in the center of a hurricane. In later books, her room's a mess. I definitely see her as more of an organized type. She'd have to be, with her mom being so out of it.
- Nicky buys a fancy ice cream cone from the ice cream truck that costs a WHOLE DOLLAR. I wish fancy ice cream cones only cost a dollar in real life....
- Fried baloney sounds absolutely revolting. I can't even stomach non-fried baloney.
- The Trip-Man doesn't sound all that bad. I wouldn't date him or anything, but I think Dawn and Jeff were a little hard on him.
- I ALWAYS wanted to look like Dawn does on this cover!