The Baby-Sitters Club book that launched one of my favorite conversations with my college roommate, Kelly, on Halloween in a cab home from the party we'd attended. And because I feel the need to write about random topics and what I'm thinking about like I used to in college, this book and that conversation led to the creation of this very website. Regardless, on with the discussion...
As a child, I was a voracious reader. The kind of child who would bring books on the school bus every day and ignore the taunts of the other children for the endless reading from bus stop to school and school to bus stop. The kind of child that would strain her eyes beyond belief to try to keep reading as dusk comes and night falls because she's so engrossed and doesn't want to move even to turn on a light. The kind of child who preferred adventures in her favorite books to whatever real-life adventures awaited just outside her door. Yes, I was that kid. And I was awesome. Obviously.
Regardless of my actual or simply perceived awesomeness, this is all to make it clear how much I read. A lot. I didn't always read books that were above my reading level. Sometimes a reader of any age prefers something dumb, but fun. (Kind of like The Douche on Parks & Recreation. But less bro-y.) This led to me reading basically every Baby-Sitters Club book (including Super Specials and Mysteries) that came out before or during the time I was in elementary school. Some (most, who am I kidding) many times over.
One such BSC book that I have essentially committed to memory is Kristy's Mystery Admirer. Good old BSC #38. Ann M. Martin came to my local public library when I was a child and I could not have been more excited to meet her. And to have her sign my favorite BSC book - the very one I'm discussing today. I understand how much lead up there has been, but I feel like I needed to properly set the scene and, to a certain extent, explain how and why I am able to have so many and such intense feelings on this book.
Shall we begin?
Indeed, we shall.
To sum the plot of this book up in as few words as possible (assuming a basic working knowledge of the Baby-Sitters Club, generally, and who our characters are): Kristy gets secret (or mystery, if you will) admirer letters. She thinks they're from Bart (who she likes), so she asks him to the Halloween Hop and he accepts. Stuff about softball. The letters continue and get super creepy. Kristy is afraid she likes a psycho who's going to kill/kidnap her and/or who may or may not just be trying to psych her out so her team loses softball. Surprise - Bart sent the nice letters, but Cokie sent the creepy and gross ones. Kristy and Bart go to the dance and everyone hates Cokie. The End.
I mean, it's obviously not the workings of the next great American novel, but it's entertaining and fun. Here are some general thoughts:
1. I've never really liked Kristy that much. Yeah, she had a "Great Idea" and all, but she's kind of the worst. (At least of the original/non-junior members. We can all agree that overall, Mallory is the worst. Obviously.) But this book managed to overcome my general dislike of Kristy because it was fun and engaging. I always seemed to enjoy the pre-Mystery mystery-focused books (The Ghost at Dawn's House is another favorite.) Now, keep in mind, I haven't read this book in YEARS, so for all I know it's actually pretty terrible and not nearly as fun and engaging as I remember it being.
2. Looking back, I completely adore the fact that Kristy and Bart dress up as lobsters. I read this pre-Friends, obviously, but it's just so adorable in retrospect. "She's your lobster!"
3. We can all agree that Cokie Mason is going to grow up to be a serial killer based on her actions in this book, right? I mean, what 13 year-old girl trims her fingernails and puts the clippings in a threatening and creepy letter. Even in one that is meant solely as a prank.
3.1. And let's not even get into the ridiculousness of her thinking that this was at all something reasonable to do. Notwithstanding that she terrorized Mary Anne in a vaguely similar way the previous Halloween.
3.1.1. Wait - this is only book #38. And Mary Anne's Bad-Luck Mystery is #17. But they're in 8th grade in both, right? These book series from my childhood are so bad about time passing and continuity. Sigh.
So to sum up, this book is amazing and Cokie Mason will kill the entire BSC at some point. Likely slowly and methodically while psychologically toying with them.