When Claudia arrives for a sitting job at the Braddocks, she finds a new rule in place: Haley has to finish her homework before she can watch tv. As soon as her parents leave, though, she sits down with the remote. Claudia reminds her of the rule, and makes her go do her homework. Haley is uncharacteristically grumpy about it, but she heads to her room anyway. Not long after, Claudia notices that someone in the house in on the phone. Since Claud and Matt had been playing a video game, and the Braddock parents still aren't home, it's got to be Haley. Claudia goes upstairs and listens just long enough to figure out that Haley is talking to Vanessa Pike about some movie they want to see. As soon as Claudia knocks, though, Haley pretends they were talking about homework. She tells Claudia that she's almost done, but isn't happy when Claud asks to see her work when she's finished. Later, Haley brings her a neatly typed book report, which Claudia shows to Mr. Braddock when he gets home. The trouble? It was the same book report that Haley had done the previous month. She'd just printed it out and shown it to Claudia so she could watch tv. Haley ends up grounded, and she blames Claudia. Kristy and Stacey find out the hard way during a practice for the girls' basketball team that Haley's on, and Haley's started turning other kids against Claud as well.
The following week, Mrs. Braddock calls the BSC, wanting another sitter. Claudia asks for the job so she can straighten things out with Haley. That doesn't exactly happen. First, Haley lies and says that Matt has homework when he doesn't, and then she gets involved in another phone conversation with Vanessa Pike. It goes on so long that Claudia has to get on the line and tell them to hang up until Haley's finished her work. She does, and then promptly calls Vanessa again. Claud overhears them talking, and Haley's saying some pretty harsh things about her. Claudia is kind of hurt; she and Haley had always gotten along really well before. Then, things get even worse when the Braddock parents get home. Haley claims that Claudia tried to prevent her from doing homework by trying to interrupt her phone conversation with Vanessa (which Haley claimed was about homework), and then by telling her that homework wasn't important. Luckily, the Braddock parents don't believe Haley's lies; she's pulled that kind of thing before.
Haley's allowed to go to her next basketball practice, and she uses the time to try and turn the girls on the team against the BSC in general. She claims that all the club members are spies, and they tell their parents everything the kids do during sitting jobs. Kids stop trusting the BSC members, and the club starts to worry that the parents will stop trusting them as well. Meanwhile, things are just as bad (if not worse) with Haley. At Claudia's next sitting job, Haley again lies about something Matt needs for school, causing trouble for a lot of people. She then lies about it to her parents, making it look like Claudia intentionally let Matt go without what he needed for school. Again, the Braddocks don't believe Haley, but they decide to hire a different sitter for the time being. That doesn't do any good; Mary Anne has just as much trouble with Haley as Claudia did. Mary Anne then suggests trying a role-playing game that she learned in therapy to reenact some of the instances where Haley lied. The club hopes that doing so will get to the bottom of her problems. The Braddocks agree, and Stacey, Mary Anne, and Claudia are the lucky ones who get to help. Haley doesn't want anything to do with the game at first, but when her parents tell her that her grounding time will be lessened if she participates, she agrees. The experiement has its desired effect; Haley breaks down and admits that she's been causing so much trouble when it comes to homework because she's having a tough time in school. She feels stupid, and NOT doing the work seems easier to her than asking for help and having everyone thing she's dumb. The Braddocks agree to get her some tutoring.
Subplot: Claudia and Josh realize that they're meant to be friends rather than a couple, and they break up.
Thoughts and Things
- Is it just me, or shouldn't the Braddocks have considered that Haley may be having trouble with her school work before anything else? Of course, that would have meant that the BSC wouldn't have been able to save the day. :)
- It's a shame that Claudia's last book in the series had to be so lame, and that they had to turn the otherwise likeable Haley Braddock in to such a brat.
- So glad that Josh and Claudia broke up; the whole relationship just felt wrong to me, like she was dating a little kid. A BORING little kid....
- Holy cow, I can't believe how close I am to the end of the series!!!!