Sunday, August 16, 2009

#17 Mary Anne's Bad Luck Mystery

Mary Anne's cover
Outfit is ugly. Where's the
Famous cities skirt?

Summary

It's almost Halloween (the first of many for the BSC), and Mary Anne gets a chain letter in the mail. It orders her to send out 20 copies of the letter or risk bad luck not only for her, but also for her friends and family. She ignores the letter (as I probably would have done), and the bad stuff starts the next day. Mary Anne falls out of bed, spills juice on her white dress, temporarily loses her shoes, scares Tigger, and can't get her locker open when she gets to school. That's just what happens before lunchtime! During lunch, she spills a plate of macaroni and cheese in front of everyone, and when she stomps off to the library to spend lunch alone, she finds that her favorite book (Little Women) isn't on the shelf. That afternoon, she completely forgets a sitting job at the Newton's, until Mrs. Newton calls, wondering where she is. A couple of days later, she gets a little package in the mail. It's addressed not only to Mary Anne, but to Mary Anne and all the girls in the club. When they open the box at their next meeting, they find a necklace inside, with a note. The note warns the club to beware of evil forces, and tells Mary Anne to wear the "bad luck charm" - or else. Dun dun dun (scary music)! Mary Anne doesn't want to, but the other club members think she should. They've all had bad luck since the chain letter, too: Claudia flunked a spelling test, Dawn had a particularly accident-filled sitting job with Jackie Rodowsky, Jessi fell in ballet class, Kristy lost her watch, and even Stacey in New York broke her dad's favorite paperweight. Even though most of the club members didn't think anything of the chain letter at first, just about everyone is convinced at this point. They decide they need to ward off the bad luck with a good luck spell, which means a trip to the Stoneybrook Public Library. The girls each find a book on witchcraft, spells, etc. and take them back to Claudia's room for reasearch. The books are kind of a disappointment, though. Most of the spells either take too long or require stuff that the BSC would never be able to find (like ox tails).

It's Halloween Hop time again, and Mary Anne and Logan are going dressed as cats. As they're dancing, Cokie Mason (archenemy of the BSC ...this books marks her first appearance in the series) "complements" Mary Anne on her bad luck charm. Mary Anne doesn't think anything of it at the time. When she gets home, she finds a note taped to her door, ordering the whole BSC to appear at the cemetary (Old Hickory's grave, to be exact) the next night (Halloween) at midnight. Mary Anne calls the BSC the next morning, and they decide to go for it, though some members are convinced that they'll never get out alive. Rather than sneaking out of their houses so late, Kristy decides to throw a late slumber party as a cover. Mary Anne is on pins and needles the whole day, and her dad knows something's up. She doesn't tell him anything, of course...at least, not directly. She asks him if he believes in bad luck, and then feeds him a story about buying her necklace at a junk store and then having a "friend" at school tell her that it's a bad luck charm. Her dad takes a closer look at the necklace, and tells Mary Anne that it's not bad luck at all. The mustard seed inside the glass charm is a symbol of faith. That gets Mary Anne thinking; since no one in the club ever talks to Cokie Mason, and since the necklace isn't really bad luck, why did Cokie call it a bad luck charm at the dance? Duh - she was behind the whole thing. Mary Anne gets back on the phone with Kristy, and they hatch a new plan to get back at Cokie and her friends.

That night, in the cemetary, the BSC rigs up a bunch of bedsheet ghosts, with a sound effects tape, some flashlights, and scary masks for effect. Cokie and her friends show up, and the BSC scares them good. They had also come to the graveyard with masks and sheets and stuff, and had planned to freak the BSC out in front of Logan. Instead, she shows up just in time to see Cokie's gang freak out. The BSC then adjourns to Kristy's house for their slumber party.

Thoughts and Things

  • Who in the world actually has a favorite paperweight???
  • I really like the way that Jessi helps Jamie Newton with his fear of Halloween. I never really thought much about Jessi either way when I was a kid, but now I think she kind of rocks. I'll cover that more in depth when I read my next Jessi book.
  • I'm really surprised at how soon in the series the timeline gets screwed up. We're still on our first pass through 8th grade, which started in book 10. It took 8 books to get to Halloween...that's a long time. I guess it's possible, if each previous book only covered a few days, but I don't think any of them did. At least four weeks passed in Claudia and the New Girl; that's how long Claud had to prepare for her art show. About two weeks passed in this book, and the girls must have had at least that long to prepare their pageant contestants in Little Miss Stoneybrook...and Dawn. I'm guessing AMM saw how popular the series was going to be, but hadn't yet decided to just have the sitters repeat 8th grade. Hence, the dragging out of the first few months of the school year.
  • Daddy Stew=gross...but not as much as fried baloney.
  • Richard Spier listens to jazz at one point in the book. That's a nice bit of continuity; his love of jazz is also mentioned in #60. Then again, it could just be a fluke. :)
  • Nitpick: if the girls were in the cemetary at midnight on Halloween, it would technically be November 1st at that point.

6 comments:

  1. Ok, I'm coming clean- I have a favourite paperweight. It's a glass one that catches the sunlight and adds rainbows to my otherwise very lame brown/gray cubicle. It also keeps my papers from being moved around by the cleaning staff. Standards for paperweights are very low!

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  2. I can totally see having a favorite paperweight if you spend a lot of time at your desk!

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  3. i absolutely love reading your haikus!

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  4. I was kind of surprised by the witchcraft element in this book, since that isn't exactly "family friendly" for stories geared towards 8-12 year old readers.

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