"Amazing, dahling. You arrived unscathed…" or Baby Sitter’s Club Super Special #8, Baby-sitters at Shadow Lake

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.  

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About nikkihb

Wife. Mother. Reader. Blogger.
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14 Responses to "Amazing, dahling. You arrived unscathed…" or Baby Sitter’s Club Super Special #8, Baby-sitters at Shadow Lake

  1. Sadako says:

    The black love interest for Jessi always pissed me off, too.And I always thought that in the TV show, Kristy was way prettier than anyone else. Especially Stacey.Though my personal theory is that Mary Anne is the hottest of the BSC members. I'm a sucker for a good makeover story!

  2. I can't say it enough – I hate Karen Brewer.I had stopped reading BSC by the time this one came out, but sounds like the same basic formula. So glad they finally went there with the Stacey/Sam storyline – it only took how many books?Didn't Mallory get a lot of bug bites in another super special, too?

  3. I'm sure Ann M. thought she was being progressive by giving Jessi a black love interest. But yeah, it was stupid–Claudia did have an Asian love interest in the camp Super Special, but I'm pretty sure Timothy (her secret admirer in Baby Sitters on Board) was white.Though I always really liked Quint–any boy who's proud to be a dancer is A-OK with me.I LOVED the Stacey and Sam storyline. I always hoped something like that would happen with my friend's cute twin brother. Sadly, he only liked me as a friend.

  4. Was there a Little Sister version of the Shadow Lake trip?I remember reading about the cabin being winterized and a dance where the girls foxtrot.Hm…

  5. Michelle says:

    I read every BSC Super Special… except this one. Sounds just the same as the others 😀

  6. Caroline says:

    I wanted to be TV Kristy. She was cute!Reading your recap reminded me that this one had NO PLOT. And the illustrations were worse than usual, especially the one of Stacey and Sam dancing. Maybe Daniel was dating Jack Schafer's Carol!

  7. Mia says:

    Oh how much I loved Stacey/Sam. I'm pretty sure I used to read just their parts of this book over and over again. @Literary Crap – I think there was a super thriller set at Shadow Lake in the winter. It had a stalker in it. That's pretty much all I remember.

  8. Sada says:

    Leave it to frigging Watson to inherit, like, a 12-bedroom cabin. I'm so sad I never read a BSC book with a Sam chapter. Apparently I've been missing out.

  9. Anonymous says:

    i love this.as for stacey always looking ugly on book covers, her best is the one where she makes that documentary film. Most of the guys Claudia went out with were white, one was Asian and one was obsessed with "Asian stuff," including our favorite barely literate artist. _AL

  10. Naomi says:

    Finally someone says what I've always been wondering – why is it an unwritten rule that black characters can only have black love interests? It happens in Sweet Valley, BSC, Clueless, Scrubs, need I go on?I live in Australia, so I don't really understand the whole race issue. And it seems ridiculous to me because isn't skin colour just a spectrum of how much melanin pigment you have?In fact I'm starting to get annoyed with the whole "black" "white" thing. Australia is pretty multicultural, and getting more so each day, so I'm pretty sure that in time there will be lots of people in between black and white.Maybe its also just that I have 120 colour pencils and I love drawing people, so I am one of those horrible young fiction writers who would prefer to refer to someone's skin colour as "mocha" or "burnt sienna" or "sandy rose" etc, because that seems more descriptively accurate (and individual), and because race is unimportant to me other than for background information. Maybe its also that yes, I suppose I fit into the category of white, but that's a pretty broad term and it doesn't mean anything to me (similar to how I've recently realised that I don't fit the typical "Australian" stereotype either), so I'd much prefer someone to describe me as having a "light apricot blush" (I don't have my pencils handy to find out my exact colour) skin.I mean, I'm fine with a relationship in a book/TV show not working out because of cultural differences (its particularly understandable, though unfortunate, if both partners are young and their families/friends are unsupportive), but if its not even an option to try out that relationship in the first place?

  11. nikki says:

    Hi Naomi – thanks for the comment, and for the most part I agree with you. But I'm gonna have to defend my favorite show ever, Scrubs. One of the main relationships, Carla/Turk is multicultural. Turk is black and Carla is hispanic. Also, JD did date a black girl, Kaylee for a few episodes. And…I must admit to being a huge JD/Turk shipper (don't tell me that they weren't knockin' boots!) which makes for a third inter-racial relationship.

  12. it always irritated me too whenever they make black people only date their kind. Why cant we all just get along. Im white and I would love to date a black guy, a hispanic or any other type of guy. Im so thinking about moving to Japan or any other country.By the way in the television show " Boy meets World" Shawn dated a black girl and stayed with her till the end of the show. And in "Saved By the Bell" i think Screech dated a black girl. So idk.Im kinda glad they did a Stacey/Sam plot in this book, even though I'm a fan of the Stacey/Terry pairing.

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