As always, with a BSC book, we must dissect the cover. Once again, I have no idea which is Dawn and which is Stacey. I think the one in the middle is Dawn, but damn you, Hodges Soileau….can’t you draw a gal with a perm? Mallory and Jessi are super-fug. Claudia is wearing clothes that are wildly inappropriate for a campout, natch. But this cover kind of proves my BSC-theory. Which is that Kristy is the prettiest BSC member. (And not just because she was played by an adorable teenage Schuyler Fisk in the movie). But because her kinda-boyf, Bart Taylor is FOURTEEN, and he probably doesn’t just like her for her softball moves. And because when they were at Camp Mohawk, all she needed was a little mascara and even Logan Bruno’s jaw was dropping. But I digress….Kristy’s outfit is hella-cute too. I’m all about K-Ron all of a sudden.
Watson’s Aunt Faith and Uncle Pierson are re-writing their wills and want to leave their cabin at Shadow Lake to him. Before he decides if he’d like a second home, they suggest he take his family there for a couple weeks to see how they like the cabin and the Shadow Lake community. So, summer vacation starts (again) and the Brewer clan heads off to Shadow Lake for two weeks. Tagging along are the other members of the BSC (minus Shannon and Logan), Nicky Pike and Linny Papdakis are coming with David Michael. Hannie Papadakis and Nancy Dawes are coming with Karen. That’s twenty people. Luckily the cabin oh-so- conveniently sleeps twenty five.
Everyone has some kind of separate story line.
- Kristy – Makes everyone keep a diary of the trip to help convince Watson to take the cabin.
- Claudia – Enters a little speedboat in a Boat Parade.
- MaryAnne- Basically just does a lot of babysitting of Karen, Nancy, and Hannie.
- Stacey – is bugged by Sam Thomas, who keeps teasing her.
- Dawn – is on the lookout for a mystery. She finds one about a missing family from years ago. Also is convinced there’s a lake monster. Also, is extremely annoying.
- Mallory- Once again is Ann M’s butt monkey. She gets a lot of bug bites. No, I’m not shitting you, that is her entire story line.
- Jessi-Thinks a boy is cute, meets the boy. Feels guilty about her boyf, Quint, waiting loyally for her back in NYC.
- Karen – I headdesk multiple times because two chapters are devoted to this horrible little wench and her lack of contraction usage.
- David Michael – hates Karen. As he should. Competes with the girls. Gets upset because Nicky and Linny can’t get along. Also fails to use contractions.
- Sam – yes! We get a Sam chapter! Loves Stacey. Wishes he were old enough to shave. And I wish we could get more Sam in every BSC book.
So they go to Shadow Lake. Everyone has a good time. Kristy learns to drive a speed boat and the girls have a camp out on an island in the middle of the lake, home of Dawn’s mystery. Then they go home and Watson decides he will take the cabin. Big surprise. Also, Watson calls Kristy his daughter, which makes her one happy gal. Because poor Kristy needs daddy-attention like no other.
- The BSC timewarp is actually recognized in this book. Sam tells us that he loves Stacey, even though she’s still in middle school. BUT it’s summer vacay, so really she should be starting high school. It’s like Sam knows that Stacey will be starting 8th grade for the 72nd time after the summer is over.
- Flop socks, how I miss thee. Claudia’s outfit: pink tank top over a white tank top and a pair of neon pink and black bicycle shorts. Three pairs of flop socks arranged so her ankles look like ice-cream cones and day-glo yellow sneakers.
- When they’re leaving for Shadow Lake, Charlie makes a joke about there being too much luggage, so they’d better leave Karen behind. Don’t get too upset, Karen. He’s only saying what we’re all thinking. Also, in the understatement of the year, Kristy calls Karen, “a little over-excitable.”
- Does it bother anyone else that Jessi is only allowed to have black love interests?
- In Stacey’s first chapter, she’s wearing grubby clothes and Sam teases her about it. She complains about Sam, but still goes to change her clothes. Score one for feminism!
- The BSC make all their charges wait for one hour after eating to go swimming. Because they learned that from all the 1950’s pop culture to which they’re so attuned.
- Stacey uses the word “Yo!” And Kristy wisely tells us it’s because she’s from New York. Um…what?
- Kristy has a nearly one page soliloquy about bikinis and the boobs that go in them. We get an entire chapter from Sam about how awesome Stacey is, without one mention of her bikini or her boobs that fill it. And I’m trying to decide which is gayer. A 13-year old girl obsessing over boobs or a 15 year old boy failing to obsess over boobs.
- Also, Kristy’s mom? Thirty Seven years old, four kids and totally wears a bikini. I’m initially horrified, but Kristy informs us that her mom looks good in a bikini.
- I love how Ann M. gives little shout-outs of childrens literature. And in this one, Jessi is horrified to learn that Daniel (the cute boy) doesn’t like to read. And she recommends Maniac Magee to him. If you all can’t remember, I sort of LOVE Maniac Magee.
- Sam is seriously obsessed with growing a beard and needing to shave. So much so that he watches longingly as Charlie shaves. Then locks himself in the bathroom to check for whiskers of his own. Yeah, that’s what all 15 year old boys do when they’re locked in a bathroom.
- Why did Aunt Faith and Uncle Pierson have such a huge cabin? Obviously they have no kids if they’re leaving the cabin to Watson. What’s the need for a cabin that sleeps twenty five with two large dormitory-style bedrooms? If I wasn’t so skeptical, I’d say it was a plot contrivance…..
- So the girls decide to camp out on this island. Kristy drives one boat, and Sam drives another (though he doesn’t stay overnight). Watson is so friggin worried about this, and asks Sam to check around the island to make sure it’s safe. But if he’s so worried, why doesn’t he just get off his ass and check it out himself? Or why not just say no and not let the girls go? That’s some damn fine parenting by the Brewers.
- On the island, Dawn keeps thinking she sees ghosts. And, of all people, Mary Anne is the voice of reason and Occam’s Razor, telling Dawn she’s jumping to conclusions.
- Dawn finds a locket on the island and is convinced it was left there by the spirit of a family member who disappeared many years ago. Riiiight…..
- On their last night at Shadow Lake, there is conveniently a dance at the lodge. And Stacey and Sam fall in LUV. Jessi tells Daniel about Quint and he admits he has a girlfriend, Carol. Because evidently Daniel is dating a 45 year old soccer mom.
- Stacey and Sam remain smoochie-woochie for the next couple days, grossing everyone out. And that relationship is eluded to throughout the rest of the series, but it never goes anywhere. (Except for in fanfic, where Sam usually strips Stacey of her V-card once she gets to high school).
You know me. When I review a BSC book, I normally like to do a little ficlet for you. But I’m feeling completely non-creative right now. Sorry. If anyone would like to write one for me to post, email me at nhboisture (at) gmail (dot) com. There’ll be a little prize in it for you. The only rule is that it has to have Shadow Lake in it somewhere. Other than that, you’re free to write whatever.