Jessi's just won the role of Princess Aurora in her dance school's production of The Sleeping Beauty. From the first rehearsal, though, things start to go wrong. Jessi's toe shoes go missing from her dance bag (even though she knows she packed them), her spare dance clothes go missing (and eventually turn up torn to shreds), and she slips and falls on a puddle of water, injuring her ankle and putting her out of commission for a few days. She also gets a bunch of threatening notes, warning her of even more impending danger. Does she tell her parents and/or Madame Noelle that someone is out to get her? Of course not. This is the BSC, after all.
After the club finds out what's been going on, they decide to attend one of Jessi's rehearsals and try and "finger the suspect" (which just sounds dirty) based on their observations. Afterwards, they narrow it down to three of the girls: Katie Beth, who Jessi has had problems with in the past and who got to dance the role when Jessi was hurt; Carrie Steinfeld, who is the oldest student in the class and really needed a lead role to help her get into a more advanced school; and Hilary Morgan, who was shooting Jessi some pretty nasty looks during the rehearsal and is under a lot of pressure from her former-dancer stage mother.
Over the next few rehearsals, Jessi watches all three suspects as closely as she can. Carrie is the first to be ruled out; she's absent on a day that Jessi gets another note. Katie Beth is ruled out next; she pushes Jessi out of the way when a heavy piece of scenery is about to fall on her. That leaves Hilary, and Jessi knows she needs to trap her into confessing what she's done. The club notices that the writing used in the notes is very distinctive, so Claudia suggests that Jessi convince Hilary to write something, and then compare the notes with that sample. It actually works, and Hilary confesses; she thought she could scare Jessi out of the role, which would give her a chance to audition for it again, and might get her pushy mother off her back. Jessi agrees not to tell anyone, but only if Hilary stops her tricks. She agrees, and the rest of the rehearsals (and the performance) go off without a hitch. Hilary even decides to quit dance after The Sleeping Beauty; she just doesn't love it like Jessi does, and realizes that she has to start living her own life rather than trying to please her mother.
Meanwhile, the BSC is holding a pet show for their charges. There are all kinds of fights and arguments between siblings over who's going to enter the family pet, and arguments between friends over who has the best pet. At first, Becca Ramsey is excited to enter Misty the hamster, but then develops a sort of inferiority complex when she thinks about all the bigger and better pets that are entering. She's even on the verge of not entering at all, but decides to after all. All the entrants get prizes, and Misty ends up winning "Best All-Around Pet."
Thoughts and Things
- Jessi says that Mary Anne and Logan have stayed good friends since their break-up. Really? I always got the impression that they kind of stopped talking. Why else would Mary Anne freak out over having to work in the same group as Logan in #46?
- I would far rather read about Jessi's dance adventures than Kristy's softball stuff.
- If this book had happened later in the series, how much do you want to bet that Jessi would have assumed that race played a part in why someone would want her out of the role?
- Boo Boo wins "Best Personality" at the pet show. I love it. :)
- I don't think that pushing Jessi out of the way of that scenery really proved Katie Beth's innocence. There's a big difference between wanting someone to give up a lead role and wanting them to come to serious bodily harm. In fact, saving Jessi like that would have been the perfect way for Katie Beth to deflect suspicion, had she been guilty.