Sunday, July 8, 2018

BSC Super Special #8: Baby-Sitters at Shadow Lake

Tagline: Campfires, ghost stories - summer vacations are the best!

Wish you were here!

Kristy's rich stepfather has invited all the Baby-sitters to his family's cabin on beautiful Shadow Lake.

What a way to start off the summer! At the lake there's water skiing, cute guys, plenty of kids to baby-sit for - and even a mystery.

The Baby-sitters don't know where to begin. The just hope the fun never ends!

Super Special Gimmick: Kristy wants to make sure that Watson decides to keep the cabin, so she keeps a diary (and of course, makes her friends join in) to show him how awesome the place is and all the great times they can have as a family.

Watson gets a letter from his aunt, saying that she and her husband are re-configuring their wills. Despite not having seen Watson in a bajillion years, they remember that he used to always have fun at their cabin on Shadow Lake every summer as a child, and want to know if he wants the cabin when they die. They invite Watson to come up to the cabin this summer with his family, so he can check out the property and make a better informed decision, and so they can have a chance to reconnect with him and meet his new extended family. Watson takes them up on their offer, and even extends the invitation to the friends of his kids. Sam and Charlie decide they're too old to invite friends over (they probably just didn't want to subject their friends to Kristy and all the little kids for 2 whole weeks!), and will instead "scope out the chicks at the lake" and make friends there, Andrew's and Emily Michelle's friends are all too young to be away from parents for 2 whole weeks, leaving Kristy to invite the whole Club, Karen to invite her two best friends, (Nancy Dawes and Hannie Papadakis) and David Michael to invite two of his friends (Linny Papadakis and Nicky Pike).

Kristy discovers a small motor boat under their dock and learns how to operate it. She gets really excited and decides to invite all her friends to come with her on an overnight trip to the tiny island on the other shore. Thanks to Dawn (more below), the girls are sufficiently freaked out, but ultimately decide to go. On the island, the girls girls make s'mores and tell stories and gossip and have a great time, however, in the middle of the night, they all get freaked out and try to convince Kristy to take them home. Kristy tells them how silly they're being, and they all stay until morning.

Dawn being obsessed with mysteries and ghost stories, of course decides that she must figure out the secret behind Shadow Lake's name. She soon finds out that not only is its name a mystery, but there's also a monster à la Loch Ness Monster. Dawn starts interviewing and questioning people at Shadow Lake, and she discovers that on the small island just off the shore, there used to be a family that lived there. They were very isolated, and never left the island, sending all their servants out instead. On the night when one of the townsfolk was going to marry the eldest daughter, the whole family disappeared without a trace! A year later, family home burned down! No one knows what really happened to them. On the island, the girls find the old burned down foundation of the house, where Dawn finds a locket with the daughter's initials in it. She takes the locket and returns it to the girl's fiancé. Dawn feels better, knowing that she helped put the girl's spirit at rest, but still wants to return to solve the mystery of Shadow Lake.

Claudia finds out about this boat show that's taking place on the shore. She then decides that she wants to submit Kristy's boat as an entry. After thinking about it all week, Claudia finally comes up with the idea of decorating the boat and turning it into the Lake Monster. Because she's working with limited time and resources, the results aren't great, but Claudia is fairly proud. The day of the boat show arrives though, and Claudia realizes that their little motor boat is up against all these yachts and houseboats and essentially REAL boats. She wants to back out, but goes through with it anyways. Of course, she wins a prize. They give out 1st place to 3rd place, and then Claudia wins a ribbon for "Most Spirit".

Jessi meets a cute African-American boy (because of course) and feels guilty because of her "relationship"with Quint Walker. She spends the first half of the book ogling him from a distance, before he finally notices her. Turns out his name is Daniel, and this is his family's first time up at the Lake. He sees her practicing ballet at the lodge's studio barre, and asks for lessons. It's here that Jessi discovers that as cute as he is, as nice as flirting with him is, they have nothing in common. Daniel loves sports and hates reading. While Jessi doesn't hate sports, she definitely doesn't have too much experience with them, and of course, she loves reading. However, she does enjoy the flirting and companionship, so she agrees to go with him to the dance at the end of their vacation. Jessi is then worried about how she's going to let Daniel down at the end of the two weeks, and is really awkward and nervous at the dance. Daniel surprises her, saying that he just wants to be friends and that he has a girlfriend back home! So Jessi feels better and immediately writes to Quint upon returning home.

Stacey spends the whole time being teased and pestered by Sam Thomas. He keeps complimenting her in an exaggerated British accent (calling her "dahhhhling!!") and poking at her perm. At first, she totally doesn't get it and is just annoyed with him, but eventually he tells her how he feels. Stacey's all confused, because while she did have a huge crush on him in grade 7, she hasn't really thought much about him lately, plus he's just been super annoying. Sam accepts that, and leaves her alone. At the big dance though, he asks her to dance, and she says yes. She realizes that she really does like him, and they end the vacation off together, holding hands and being really cute.

Sam gets a single chapter, where we see his side of things. He's all insecure about being 15 with no facial hair, looking up to Charlie and what not. He doesn't understand why Stacey is so annoyed with him, despite him paying so much attention to her. Charlie finally tells him to cut the crap and just TELL STACEY EXACTLY HOW HE FEELS. Which he does. Sam's disappointed to see that Stacey once liked him, but currently isn't on the same page. Of course, we see that eventually everything works out.

Mallory is devoured by mosquitoes and other bugs, and is just generally miserable the whole time. She starts covering up TO THE EXTREME, wearing all sorts of long-sleeved loose clothing, draping towels around her, big jungle hats, mosquito netting, and practically bathing in bug spray. It really annoys the other girls, while she's all hurt that they don't understand and that no one wants to hang around her like that. She doesn't have much of a plot other than just being miserable outside.

Mary Anne spends most of the time worrying and freaking people out about stuff (or just annoying them), much like she did in New York. She doesn't really get much of a plot in this book. She mostly baby-sits and just kinda hangs out in other people's plots.

Karen and her friends find a small shack behind their cabin and a garden. They decide they're going to clean it up themselves and make it their secret hiding place. The problem is, in keeping secret, they don't tell anyone where they're going (not even like, "Hey, we're gonna explore the woods behind the cabin!") so people keep panicking over losing them (well, mostly Mary Anne; everyone else is just annoyed but figures they couldn't have gone far). Mary Anne eventually finds them, and convinces them to just keep the place a secret from David Michael and his friends, but to tell all the adults about it. Eventually the boys do discover it, but the girls claim it as their own, and challenge the boys to make a fort that's better than theirs. Loser has to do all the chores. The girls obviously win, but decide to be nice and make the boys only shine their shoes for the big dance.

David Michael is frustrated because Nicky and Linny aren't getting along, and he doesn't understand why not. Obviously it's because they don't know each other and are competing for his affections, but he can't see that. Anyways, they eventually discover the girls' playhouse and decide to build their own fort. It goes disastrously, since the boys can't work together and agree on anything, plus they have zero architectural skills. What eventually brings them together is when Shannon (the dog, because yes, the family brought the dog AND the cat with them) disappears, and they all have to rally to find her. She's missing for all of like, 30 seconds, before they call out enough and find her again, but the experience bring Nicky and Linny together.

Random Thoughts:
  • I am so super excited to read this one! I actually have never read it!! And I've managed to avoid reading most of the recaps and reviews of it over the years, so I really have no idea what it's about. All I know is that Sam and Stacey's romance really ramps up here. I'm excited to read this one because:
    1. I'm obsessed with Sam and Stacey
    2. My all-time favourite BSC book, Super Mystery #2 Baby-sitters Beware!, takes place here
    3. I think a few others take place here? I seem to remember a lot about it, despite not having read this particular one?
  • Yes! This one has the illustrations in it!! I guess starting from SS #7, they start having the illustrations that I always thought was super synonymous with the Super Specials. I always read #7, #10 and #11 the most, and have very strong memories of #9, so that's probably why I associate the illustrations so much with the books.
  • I like how Watson's aunt and uncle apparently have not seen him in a long, long time, almost 20 years, and the last summer he spent at the cabin was at age 12, but they are like, "OMG LET'S GIVE WATSON THE CABIN."
    • They haven't even met Karen and Andrew! Nor Elizabeth and the Thomas clan. Were they not invited to the wedding? Couldn't come? Didn't care??
  • Damn. I do not remember any particular descriptions of the cabin. I knew it was huge, because they always take Watson's entire family, plus the Club, but apparently it can house 25 people?? And two of the rooms are dorm-style, with wall-to-wall bunk beds!
    • Actually, now I'm just imagining the place having only 4 bedrooms: a master bedroom (2 people), a boys' dorm room (5 sets of bunk beds/10 boys), a girls' dorm room (5 sets of bunk beds/10 girls) and then two extra rooms that hold either 1 or 2 people. You could have a mini-camp there!
      • Oooooh. Jessi included a floor plan. I was right! Only 4 bedrooms!
  • Ooooooh. I think this is the first time they actually describe Mallory as having reddish hair!!
  • This time around, it makes sense as to why they would give Karen and David Michael chapters: they're part of the family, and of course Kristy would want them to bolster her argument for keeping Shadow Lake. Charlie and Sam are too old to do a diary project (if they like the cabin, they're just going to beg and plead with Watson in person) and Andrew and Emily Michelle are too young. I may not like it when chapters are given to random people (especially Karen), but at least they didn't give chapters to like, Nicky or Nancy or something really random! haha
  • Yep. AMM definitely hates Mallory haha
  • There's some continuity, mentioning that Claudia sometimes tutors Emily Michelle! Yay!!
  • I can't believe that Watson and Elizabeth would let Kristy take the boat out on her own. I love how their rule is that only people 12 and older can drive the boat, when there's no one there who is 12. Anyways, I'm not opposed to Kristy taking lessons to learn how to drive the boat. I'm just shocked that they'd immediately agree to let her take it out on her own and pretty much have free reign. You'd think it'd be like, "Sam and Charlie can have free reign, you can only drive if you stay by our dock for practicing purposes, or if you have someone older with you. Next time we come, we can see about you having free reign."
    • Then again, considering the parents in these books, maybe I'm not that surprised haha
  • Kristy spends an entire paragraph digressing about bikinis, saying that she'll never wear one, and that no one over thirty should wear one, but her mom looks pretty good all things considered, and how Kristy doesn't see the point in wearing a bikini when you don't have a chest to go with it, so at her rate, she probably won't wear one until she's 28 haha It's all very random and "out-of-character", except that AMM wrote this one, so it's perfectly in her character.
    • Also: Kristy is convinced by the girls to get dressed up for dinner, so she borrows a dress from Mary Anne. I love AMM!Kristy.
  • I can't believe that Watson and Elizabeth would allow Kristy and the girls to spend the night alone on the island. They don't know for sure it's uninhabited!! Or what if some other neighbour saw/heard them go over, and decided to go kill them??
  • I think it's really sweet that at the end of the novel, when Watson is writing back to his aunt about keeping the cabin, he refers to Kristy as his daughter. I also really like that Kristy notices this and is thrilled. I wish we got to see more of Kristy and her relationship with Watson.
  • I totally don't remember anything about Shadow Lake being haunted. Does this ever come up again? I know Dawn's not with them in SM #2. Do they return to Shadow Lake any other time??

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