Watson's aunt and uncle want to leave him the cabin they own at Shadow Lake, MA, in their will. Watson spent some happy summers there as a kid, but he isn't sure he wants the responsibility of a second home. In order to better help him make his decision, Watson takes the Thomas/Brewer clan to the lake for two weeks. He also, of course, takes half of Stoneybrook along with them.
Kristy decides that everyone needs to keep a diary of their trip, so they can show Watson how much fun Shadow Lake is. She also comes up with a system so that all the little kids are looked after, and gets the brilliant idea to camp out on the (possibly haunted) island in the middle of Shadow Lake.
Dawn uncovers two mysteries. The first would be the Lake Monster, a Nessie-like creature that supposedly inhabits the waters of Shadow Lake. Dawn spends most of the trip convinced that she keeps seeing it, but no one else ever seems to have any sightings. The second mystery is a little more legitimate, and a little less ridiculous; the Bayard family, who used to live out on "Shadow Island," disappeared years and years ago, along with their servants. There was no sign of violence, and no clues as to what might have happened to them. Needless to say, Dawn isn't thrilled about the idea of spending the night on a potentially haunted island when Kristy makes the suggestion, but she toughs it out. She even gets brave enough to explore the ruins of the Bayard's old house by herself, and finds a gold locket there.
Claudia baby-sits a lot, and enters the little speedboat that comes with the cabin in the Shadow Lake boat parade. She decorates it as the Lake Monster, but almost chickens out at the last minute when she realizes that they'll be up against yachts and other fancy boats that are dressed to the nines. Kristy makes her go through with it, and they even win a prize for having the "Most Spirit."
Mary Anne also baby-sits a lot. That's pretty much it....
Sam teases Stacey endlessly, because he likes her and doesn't know how to tell her. When he finally gets up the nerve, she doesn't quite know what to think. All's well that ends well, though; they end up getting together at the lodge dance on their last night at Shadow Lake, and Stacey realizes that she's liked Sam all along. Finally...a Super Special romance that actually lasts!
Mallory gets eaten alive by bugs, and embarrasses all her friends by wearing bizzare protective gear to try and keep the insects away. She also suggests that the Bayard family disappeared because they were abducted by aliens. Good gravy, Mal....
Jessi meets Daniel, a boy about her age who she's hot for at first. She realizes, though, that Quint is her "true love," and that nothing can happen with Daniel. She's scared that Daniel wants to date her, and doesn't quite know how to let him down easily. Jessi gives him this speech at the dance about how she just wants to be friends, but as it turns out, that's all Daniel wanted, too. Awkward!
Karen, Hannie, and Nancy find an old shack in the woods, and they decide to turn it into a secret playhouse, complete with secret garden. When David Michael and his friends discover them, the boys want to use it, too. The girls don't want to relinquish their house so easily, so the boys decide to build their own fort. They make a bet with the girls that it will turn out better than the girls' house; losers do chores for the winners. The girls end up winning the bet, seeing as the boys' fort falls apart, but they only make them do chores for one night. They also lend the boys their playhouse.
Linny and Nicky didn't know each other all that well before David Michael invited them to Shadow Lake. David Michael is surprised when they don't get along, since they're both good friends of his. They spend most of their time arguing, until they bond when Shannon goes missing.
Watson decides to keep the cabin. :)
Thoughts and Things
- I don't get why Dawn is so freaked out by ghosts all of a sudden. She's gone looking for them in other books; you think she'd be thrilled to spend a night on a potentially haunted island!
- I definitely think the middle Super Specials (6-9 or 10) are the best in the series.
- When I was younger, my best friend and I used to make fun of the cheesy way that Stacey and Sam get together at the dance. I secretly thought it was romantic, though. :)
- How convenient that this cabin has two HUGE dorm rooms in it and can sleep so many people. Are lake cabins usually that big?
- The original terms of Karen's bet were that the girls would get both big dorm rooms if they won, leaving the boys to sleep on couches and stuff. David Michael and the others were all set to agree with this; I wonder what Sam and Charlie would have thought about it if the terms had stayed the same?
- Poor Mallory; she really gets dumped on in this book, and she seems dorkier than ever (i.e. the whole alien theory). Plus, why can't Hodges and whoever does the inside illustrations draw some decent glasses on the girl? Glasses can be cute; huge old-fashioned granny glasses aren't necessary!