Clauda and the Middle School Mystery (RS#40)

Original Publication Date: 1991

Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles


Janine helps Claudia study for a big math test, and when she takes it, Claudia is happy to find she actually knows the material well. Her test even comes back with an A-. But after class, she and another student, Shawna Riverson, are called to the teacher's desk: their tests are identical. Since Shawna is usually a good student, the teacher believes her when she says she didn't cheat and pins it on Claudia. But the BSC and Janine stick up for her, and her parents, after a brief moment of doubt, do too. However, Claudia can't come up with a way to prove Shawna cheated. Claudia and the BSC do find a note in her locker about her having cheated (Shawna and Dawn switched lockers), but they can't use it because they'd have to explain how they got it. And when Claudia overhears Shawna talking about it, the conversations confirms that she cheated, but Claudia wasn't recording it.

Finally, Janine talks to the principal about how hard Claudia studied and the unfairness of the blame being placed on her with no way to prove it. The principal and math teacher have Claudia take a different version of the test over, and she does even better on it than the first one. When Shawna is told she'll have to repeat the test the next day, she confesses that she can't, because she won't pass it. She's doing too many extracurriculars and didn't have time to study, so when she found out Janine had helped Claudia, she copied the test.

The subplot is meant to mirror the main one: the Pike triplets are playing baseball outside and break a window. They're grounded until they tell who did it. The grounding lasts most of the book, until Mallory has them reenact it and they show it was an accident.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Cheetos in her desk drawer, Fig Newtons, Mallomars, M&Ms, Fritos, whole-wheat crackers, Oreos (these all sound really good, but I'm sure they have too much salt, which I'm supposed to cut down on until I deliver...why a Claudia book now?)

Probably not intentional, but Claudia dismisses the idea of measuring a set amount of chocolate for baking cookies (regarding a story problem in math). She later proves herself not quite adept at cooking in one of the mysteries.

Stacey's still feeling weak.

Their Families:

Claudia and Janine seem to understanding each other better. Their personalities are too disparate for them to ever be best friends, I think, but they seem to realize they they've got each other's back.

Vanessa Pike is still a slowpoke and Claire is still bossy.

The Club: nothing new


Mr. Zorzi is introduced as a math teacher (there is also a math teacher named Mr. Zizmore).

SMS students: Susan Taylor (8th)

PSA time:

Yes, Claudia, you would need a search warrant to look through someone's thing even if you weren't looking for a gun. And you would need to be a proper authority to look through the things, such as a police officer.

Also, speaking of (audio) recording people: in some states (such as mine, Washington) it's illegal to record people without their knowledge. Cases have been thrown out on technicalities like that.


There's an orphaned parenthesis on page four.

Cokie Mason is Cokie Gray in this book, like she was in RS#38.

FYI, I'll be having a baby before Thanksgiving, so while I'll do what I can to put up a book a week, there could be a bit of a lag at some point. Maybe in a few years she'll be enjoying the BSC books!

The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 3

Halloweens in 8th grade: 2 (plus one in seventh)

Summers after 8th grade: 2

BSC Fights: 5

SMS Staff: 17

Students (other than the BSC): 56; 33 8th graders, nine sixth-graders, nine unspecified

Clients: 24

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 44 (bubble gum, Butterfingers, butterscotch candy, Cheese Doodles, Cheetos, a chocolate bar, cookies, Cracker Jacks, crackers (unspecified and whole wheat), cupcakes, Ding-Dongs, Doritos, Fig Newtons, Fritos, gumdrops, Gummi Bears, Heath bars, Hershey's kisses, Ho Hos, jawbreakers, licorice, licorice whips, Lifesavers, M&Ms (regular and peanut), Mallomars, marshmallows, Mentos, mini candy bars, Necco wafers, Oreos (Double Stuf), Planter's Peanut bar, popcorn, potato chips, pretzels, pretzel sticks, Ring Dings, root beer barrels, salt water taffy, Snickers, taco chips, Tootsie Roll Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Twinkies)

Crushes: Claudia-7 (Guy, Terry, Austin Bentley, Timothy Carmody, Woody Jefferson, Trevor Sandbourne, Will Yamakawa), Dawn-3 (Travis, Lewis Bruno, Parker Harris), Mary Anne-2 (Alex, Logan Bruno), Stacey-6 (Toby, Kelsey Bauman, Pete Black, Pierre D'Amboise, Scott Foley, Sam Thomas), Kristy-1 (Bart Taylor), Mallory-1 (Ben Hobart)


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your new baby!

The World of Lurlene Mcdaniel said...

congrats on the new baby also and looking forward to reading more of your posts.

omg i remember this book. This is the one where claudia mentions how she looks up to miss frizzle from the magic school bus and admire her outfits.

and where shawna of all people would cheat off of claudia, who's known for not being so smart and have spelling mistakes.

this is also the book that janine totally rocks in the series too. You go janine. Gotta love janine kishi.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the baby, appreciate the smiles and giggles your posts have been providing. One can tell you'll be a cheerful mommy. Hopefuly when the baby is bigger, there will be a large group of 13 year olds willing to babysit for 3 dollars an hour and of course taking your kid for free on random parties and outings ;)

Laura said...

Congratulations! Do you know for sure if the baby's a girl? (Not that it matters, really, I'm just naturally nosy.)

Lurlene: I also wondered why Shauna would cheat off Claudia. It's not as if it's a new thing, Janine helping Claud study and isn't it pretty well-known too, or is that just among the BSC and/or the Kishis?

Yes, Janine does rock pretty hard in this book. I loved that she believed Claud right away when she said she didn't cheat.

I'm sure I didn't notice it back in the day, but re-reading as an adult, Janine seems to be a pretty great sister in Claudia and Mean Janine, too. (Among other books - for instance, I totally melted when she comforted Derek Masters when he broke down about lying about having kissed a girl to his friends. This was in MS#6 when Claud was trying to trap Janine into confessing about what she was hiding from her and their parents.) I totally agree with the other BSC blog(ger) that renamed that book Sweet Janine and Claudia the Mean.

Anonymous @ 9:43 p.m.: GRIN

BSC AG said...

Lurlene: Yes, this has the Ms. Frizzle outfit. And yes, Janine is great in this book.

Anons: Thanks! I too hope I can find a BSC that charges $2-3 an hour.

Laura: Yes, girl for sure. I had a second anatomy ultrasound a week ago (at 37 weeks), and she's still a girl. I also agree that Janine wasn't as bad as Claudia sometimes thought, although I can understand how Claudia would get frustrated.

Laura said...

Great. I apologize if I missed the first baby gender announcement.

I absolutely understand how/why Claud would be frustrated by Janine and the treatment she received from family and teachers. I was just trying to get across that I am amazed that we were supposed to completely sympathize with Claudia and think Janine was the just an unrelatable braniac freak when in actuallity she seemed like a pretty great sister. (Or so I assume. I'm an only child so I don't really have a frame of referrence for what does and does not make a great sibling.)

BSC AG said...

Laura, I agree about Janine and Claudia. While I get that Claudia would be frustrated, Janine's just not that bad.

nikki said...

Congrats on the new baby! We'll understand if you need to take some time off (and SLEEP!). We'll still be here whenever you get a chance to blog.

When my son was about seven months old, his babysitter, who was pregnant, was put on bedrest at thirty weeks. So I had to rush to find a replacement. I found an ad for some girls on craigslist called NGBSC - Next Generation Baby Sitter's Club! They were all on summer break between senior year of high school and freshman year of college. I called and asked one to come to my house for an interview. She never showed up!!!!! Kristy Thomas would shit a brick over that.

LauraTheWonderTart said...

OMG!!! NGBSC would be fantastic if they weren't flakes. I want to like them, but now can't on principle for your sake.