5/19/12

Stacey and the Haunted Masquerade (M#22)

Original Publication Date: 1995

Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles

Synopsis:

Stacey joins the decorating committee for the latest SMS dance: the Mischief Night Masquerade (held the day before Halloween, called Mischief Night in some areas). But while she and the committee are working hard, strange things keep happening. Some are harmless pranks, like switching the contents of adjacent lockers, while other are destructive or downright scary. A heretofore unknown group calling themselves the Michief Knights claims responsibililty for the harmless stuff, but not the rest. What is going on?

Stacey and the BSC decide to investigate. It turns out that the reason there hasn't been a Masquerade in almost three decades is that at the last one there was a stampede of panicked students and a teacher died of a heart attack during it. Further investigation reveals that the teacher who's advising the committee was at that dance with a date that he was dared to take as a joke. Only she didn't know it was a joke. When she found out, the lights suddenly went out then the fire alarm went off, causing the panic. Despite the concern, SMS goes ahead with the Masquerade as planned. But who should come to the dance but the jilted date herself, by now filled with a crazy obsession about that night. Fortunately she's taken to a mental hospital without further incident. The next school day, the Mischief Knights are back to their old tricks. Is the new student Cary Retlin behind the group?

Subplot: the BSC clients are obsessed with the Ghostbusters movie.



Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Twizzlers

Okay, everyone knows Claudia can't spell and Claudia herself acknowledges it. So tell me, when she's creating artwork for whatever activity, why doesn't anyone write out the correct spelling on a scrap of paper for her? Then she could make it all artistic and it still have the right spelling.



Their Families:

Stacey narrates that it's impressive how Abby not only remembers all the names of the Pike kids but something specific about each one. But with the triplets, she asks Jordan how his piano lessons are going, and just says what's up to Adam and Byron. Because Byron's personality is that he's sensitive and Adam's personality is that his brothers are Jordan and Byron.



The Club (and clients): nothing new.


SMS:

Good continuity with teachers' jobs: Ms. Levine is still homeroom, and Mr. Fiske, Mrs. Simon, and Mrs. Hall are still English.

SMS's mascot is the Chargers. Horses, maybe? Cavalry?

Alan Gray shows a bit of maturity in this book. Just a bit, but it makes sense in retrospect if you've read the Friends Forever series (which I'll eventually get to for this blog).
New student: Cary Retlin (8th).

New teachers: Ms. Dwyer (art), Mr. Rothman (6th grade science). A substitute named Ms. Bryan also gets mentioned.


PSA Time:

If you're trying to keep a rodent out of somewhere even temporarily, cardboard won't help you. Rodents have crazy-strong jaws.


Misc:

This is the fifth Halloween Stacey and her friends have celebrated in her 8th grade year.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 8

Halloweens in 8th grade: 5 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Christmases in 8th grade: 1 (Hanukkah is also mentioned, but no one in the BSC has celebrated it--yet)

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Summers after 8th grade: 8

BSC Fights: 10

SMS Staff and Faculty: 53

Students (other than the BSC): 177; 113 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified. Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students.

Clients: 33 families

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 116

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-9
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1
Abby-0

5/3/12

Welcome to the BSC, Abby (RS#90)

Original Publication Date: 1995

Ghostwriter? Yes, Nola Thacker

Synopsis:

This is Abby Stevenson's introductory book. She's just moved from Long Island to Stoneybrook, and is enjoying life so far. The plot centers around a funding problem with SMS, which will lead to cuts in the school's art and music programs. Since the only reason Abby attends SMS rather than Kelsey Middle School, whose district she lives in, is that her twin sister needs the more challenging orchestra of SMS, this could be a problem. Abby is spurred into action, organizing a fundraising fair. The whole town gets really into it, and it's a huge success.

Although it would seem Abby in integrating well, a particularly bad asthma attack concerns Kristy enough that she wonders if Abby should be sitting as much as she has. What if Abby has another bad attack during a job and can't get help? But Abby proves herself capable, and Kristy lets her worries drop.

There's also a very touching moment when Abby and Anna find a box of their late father's things while unpacking. They show their mom and bond over memories.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Dove chocolates, barbecue potato chips, and pretzels

Kristy and Mary Anne are both described as stubborn.

Mallory gets Abby's jokes better than the rest of the BSC. Perhaps because she's a writer?

Until this book, Shannon had never been in a food fight (Anna helped her out with that).



Their Families:

Anna Stevenson is more serious than Abby. Her passion is playing classical music, violin in particular. She has none of Abby's allergies or asthma, but needs corrective lenses like her twin. However, she prefers glasses to contacts. She ends up becoming good friends with Shannon.

Abby's mom is a widow, Abby's dad having been killed in a car crash four years before this book. She throws herself into her work as an editor. She commutes to New York every day for her job, about a two-hour trip on the train.

Abby and her family are Jewish, of eastern European descent.


The Club (and clients):

Abby is Dawn's official replacement as alternate officer.


SMS:

Two new SMS students: Abby and Anna Stevenson.


PSA Time: nothing stood out.


Misc:

There was no ghostwriter for this book. It's nice.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 8

Halloweens in 8th grade: 4 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Christmases in 8th grade: 1 (Hanukkah is also mentioned, but no one in the BSC has celebrated it--yet)

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Summers after 8th grade: 8

BSC Fights: 10

SMS Staff and Faculty: 48

Students (other than the BSC): 176; 112 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified. Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students.

Clients: 33 families

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 116

Crushes:
Stacey-11
Claudia-9
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1
Abby-0