This is the instalment where most of the gang graduates high school. Claire is somehow valedictorian. During the graduation ceremony Jake is onstage rThis is the instalment where most of the gang graduates high school. Claire is somehow valedictorian. During the graduation ceremony Jake is onstage receiving an athletics prize and as he’s looking down and shuffling his feet and saying, “Aw, shucks” Lucas’s mom says to Kate, “He seems sweet, your new boyfriend” as if Jake is someone she doesn’t know. Maybe I’m being weird, but if my son was jailed for killing someone in a drunk-driving accident, I would remember that person’s only brother. Especially if I lived on an island with only 299 other people. Especially if this person’s dad runs the marina and my husband works on a fishing boat. What she should have said was probably something like, “Your new boyfriend seems like someone I’ve known since he was born.”
Lara wakes up at rehab. The last thing she can remember is being drunk and running Kate off the road. Which supposedly happened about a week before this. She spends the book yelling at the people she’s rehabbing with, hits on her therapist and escapes with little to no effort making for Chatham Island on foot. Good luck, Lara.
Books 1-5 Zoey was the feisty, romantic optimist. Books 6-18 she was the whiny, passive-aggressive, moody, prude. Now it seems she’s the selfish, obtuse, gymbot. Nina is sad Zoey’s leaving for college in California and is feeling self-conscious about her looks. Zoey’s response: “I’m going to an aerobics class, gotta be fit for California. I’m gonna buy all new make-up and a hideous-sounding, midriff-baring halter-top. Gotta look good for California.” Ugh, Zoey. Just stop.
Aisha and Christopher are now engaged. Christopher’s sister Kendra has arrived on Chatham Island. Christopher forbids her from speaking to Aisha. They eventually meet. There are strong overtones of Christopher having a secret past. Also, despite Christopher getting his job at Passmore’s back in the last book, in this book he’s still working at Jimmy’s. Okay.
Jake has a new summer job! I guess working at the marina for his dad isn’t as good as working at Burger Heaven, “…a Chatham Island staple. Especially for athletes” I find this hard to accept considering Jake is the only athlete on the island, and in the last book it states that Jimmy’s and Passmore’s are the only restaurants on the island. But no, “Jake and his teammates always went to Burger Heaven for a burger and fries after their games” Really? Jake and his teammates all got the ferry to Chatham Island after their games to get a burger at Burger Heaven? And then everyone except Jake got the ferry home? Late on Friday nights? When all they seemed to do after games in the earlier books was get high/laid/drunk on the mainland? Gah!
Kate keeps bothering Jake at work, and is becoming more erratic in her behaviour. She reveals she used to be on medication for depression.
Claire the unlikely valedictorian and Aaron, newly minted siblings, are spending some quality time together before Aaron goes on tour with his band, the previously unmentioned Wicked Undertow. Claire’s dad catches them making out. Creepy.
So, I wasn’t exactly impressed with this book. It felt ghost-written and Sweet Valley High-ish. Kate Finds Love is an inferior product, riddled with inconsistencies. I remember the books being full of this sort of thing but so far there’ve been only a couple of flubs, like Kate’s name changing from one book to another, and the gradual phasing out of Jake’s sister Holly until she just didn’t exist anymore. I have high hopes for the next book though, it’s called Never Trust Lara and I’m thinking maybe Lara is going to stick out her foot and trip Zoey or something....more
Now that I’ve finished book 18, there are only 10 books left in the series. What the heck am I going to do with my Sunday lunchtimes if I don’t have aNow that I’ve finished book 18, there are only 10 books left in the series. What the heck am I going to do with my Sunday lunchtimes if I don’t have a Making Out book to read while I eat my traditional sunday lunch? Which for me is two slices of cheese on toast with tomatoes, see below.
This one’s called Zoey Speaks Out and the cover features new-Zoey-the-busty-redhead gazing at the reader with the kind of frank insouciance I might associate with Nina but never with Zoey. Why can’t they get it right? It’s enough to make a girl (read: almost middle-aged woman) toy with the idea of creating her own fan covers and pasting them to the fronts of her books.
We know by now not to let the titles of the books (or even the cover blurbs that supposedly describe the events of the book) set our expectations for what will actually happen in the story. Much to my surprise, the title of this volume accurately refers to an event in the book. However, in a book where a blind man regains his sight and someone goes to rehab (guess!) and a teenager agrees to marry a douchebag, it’s a fairly small, insignificant event that’s hardly worthy of a book title. Also I’ve started to become resentful of how many books Zoey gets, especially because I dislike her again. She’s a judgemental, self-righteous pill and she is faaaaaaar from the star of the show.
Fave moments: -Someone confides in Lucas again and he loves it as much as ever: “Time to hear another terrible secret that will put you in a really awkward position and ruin your life for a while.” -Claire on her feelings about breaking up her dad and Aaron’s mum: “I’ve never felt more ashamed” YAY CLAIRE YOU ARE HUMAN AFTER ALL! -Claire is nonplussed when a newly-sighted Benjamin fails to be bowled over by her beauty. Zoey is lurking nearby (of course. This series should be re-named Lurking Nearby) and captures her reaction on camera. ...more
I really enjoyed The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, it really spoke to me, especially because one of the only books Kimmy has while she’s kidnapped is thiI really enjoyed The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, it really spoke to me, especially because one of the only books Kimmy has while she’s kidnapped is this Babysitter’s Club Mystery. It’s not one of the ones I read when I was going through my BSC phase, and it piqued my interest. A mystery? A surfer? A GHOST?!
Spoiler alert, it’s not a ghost. Because whatever else BSC is, it’s not Sweet Valley High (don’t know if this is a good or bad thing) so you’re not going to get werewolves or vampires, there may appear to be a werewolf or a vampire, but there’ll end up being a perfectly reasonable explanation.
It’s my first BSC book in a really long time. I’m disappointed to find the books are more MG than YA and that there is a LOOOOTTTT of babysitting. I know right, big surprise the Babysitter’s Club books feature babysitting…I just don’t remember it being so prevalent.
There is a crazy amount of hair description in this book. Every time a new character is introduced, the first piece of information we have about them is what kind of hair they have, second thing is what illness do they have, apparently Mallory has ME? This is news to me. The surfer ghost, whose name is Thrash has shoulder-length, platinum blond hair, and his illness is wearing lots of tacky jewellery.
In this book Dawn is living in California, for good apparently, and oh my God Dawn writes to the BSC a LOT. Every other day she’s writing to one or another of the club, Claudia I wish you were here to help me pick an outfit, Kristy I wish you were here to help me deal with my grief over the death of the guy from the surf shop I spoke to once, Mallory, gee, having ME must suck. She’s moved away from Stoneybrook to be in California even though she thinks about Stoneybrook constantly and it seems like her dad is never around and her brother couldn’t care less. Go back to Stoneybrook, Dawn. They love you in Stoneybrook. In California you’re just another surfing blonde, sucking down raw broccoli as a fun snack (?!?!?!).
I read the UK version so it’s been changed a bit for UK audiences, like I guess “math” has been changed to “maths” and every so often I’d come across something like “ I put on my tracksuit trousers” and think hang on, would an American say this? And in the case of “tracksuit trousers”, would a human say this? It’s another example of children being underestimated by publishers (the other one I’m specifically thinking of is updating 80s/90s series to appeal to today’s youth). They’re not stupid and would probably figure out that “math” means “maths” and that when Americans say cookies they’re referring to any type of biscuit. The cover for the UK version is whack too. On the US cover Dawn looks like a kid. She is a kid! On the UK cover she looks about 25.
Anyway, this Babysitters Mystery did not stir my ardour to re-read any of the others. I might though? I sort of remember some good stuff happening, like they go to camp and Disney World and a Jersey Shore knockoff that I can’t remember the name of. Sea City! So I might have to revisit some....more
This is quite an exciting instalment because it’s the one with the prom! Eeeeek. When I left high school we had a “prom”, which was just a party in thThis is quite an exciting instalment because it’s the one with the prom! Eeeeek. When I left high school we had a “prom”, which was just a party in the basement of the Queen’s Hotel in Leeds. There were no dates, we didn’t wear big-deal dresses, there was no king and queen and the dance floor was about 3x3 yards. When it was over we tried to go out to the bars in Leeds but we couldn’t get in anywhere because we were 16. SOOO my point is that the American prom experience as represented in TV and books is unbearably exotic and fascinating, especially when it’s as drama-filled as Weymouth High’s prom.
The title of this book is Two-Timing Aisha. It’s an appropriate title, for once. Aisha’s on the cover, her springy curls are nowhere to be seen. Christopher is back from army. Great. Coughhesuckscough. Aisha is going to the prom with David Barnes. She also invites Christopher and enlists Claire’s help in distracting one while she’s off making out with the other. Aisha is kind of a dorky bookworm type and should have read enough Sweet Valley High books to know that these types of plots don’t even work when you have an identical twin sister, so what hope does she have? It goes as well-but-farcically as you’d expect until Aaron shows up and whisks Claire away to dry hump on the floor of the hotel spa, so Aisha ends up alone when her two dates meet and figure everything out.
Lucas and Zoey, Jesus H. Christ. These two are not cute, they’re not dramatic, they’re just boring. Zoey writes a short story that Lucas has published without telling her. She’s mad at him, what’s new? She’s determined to never speak to him again but when they’re crowned prom king and queen she melts into his arms and they kiss and kiss as I puke all over myself. High romance indeed.
Kate finds out Jake is the man of her dreams and they date a bit. Jake’s not convinced she likes him for him and thinks she’s just falling in love with an idea of a guy who will carry her around, and his theories are cemented when Kate stands him up for prom. Little does he know Kate can’t come to meet him, she’s injured because Lara ran her off the road in a fit of jealous pique. Oh Lara!
Benjamin does not attend prom as he’s off looking for Nina, who ran away at the end of the last episode.
Favourite Moments: -Lucas falls down at the prom. -Zoey’s short story is a hilarious Jane Austen-style re-telling of the Nina-ran-away situation.
I wish this had happened: -Benjamin finds Nina in time to bring her to the prom. There are balloons everywhere. They get married on the dance floor. Patrick Swayze is there, doing martial arts kicks. ...more
A really good one, not one of my absolute favourites, but notable for its sheer drama. It’s Lara’s first book, she’s on the cover sporting a bleached,A really good one, not one of my absolute favourites, but notable for its sheer drama. It’s Lara’s first book, she’s on the cover sporting a bleached, cropped do and an inebriated-looking smirk. Perfect!
My favourite part of it is Kate’s search for the guy who carried her out of Benjamin’s birthday party when she got punched out 2 books ago. She thinks she’s destined to be with this guy. Now, if she had any sense she’d figure out it was Jake. There were four guys at the party:
-Aaron: been there, done that. Plus he probably couldn’t/wouldn’t lift another person. -Lucas: Kate’s already said he’s like a brother to her. -Benjamin: He’s blind. He’s very capable but I’m not sure he’d be able to lift a woman off the floor and walk outside with her. -Jake: The only person who could possibly be the person she’s looking for.
Kate decides to confide the details of her search in Lara. Kate has a strip of shirt from her rescuer, which she shows to Lara. Lara sees Jake in the shirt, figures out he’s Kate’s hero-boy, and due to her own Jake obsession, conspires to make Kate believe Benjamin is the guy who carried her out of the party. KATE TOTALLY BUYS IT!!! GAH!! She slathers herself up in aloe lotion (she thinks Benjamin will like this because he’s blind and but can still smell things. She knows he’s blind…but she still thinks…anyway…) and ambushes Benjamin with a kiss. Naturally Nina is lurking outside Benjamin’s room, sees the kiss and is so heart broken that she flees Chatham Island.
Aisha has a bit of boy-drama in this book. She tells her scholarship rival David Barnes that he’s no Christopher, but he’ll do in a pinch. He’s into it because she’s so pretty and he likes her so much. I’m glad Aisha is getting some attention for something other than her scientific prowess and her terrible dancing. They have a blissful date, David asks her to the prom, she accepts, he walks her home (which is pretty good considering she lives on an island and he lives on the mainland), and then Christopher shows up. Cripes. Get out of here Christopher.
The other thing I want to talk about is Zoey. When I first started re-reading these books I couldn’t believe how cool Zoey was, because I remember her being a total pill. Now I know that what I remember. From book 6 onwards, Zoey is a jealous, petty, pathetic little thing. I know she’s had a lot of messed-up stuff happen to her, but so has Jake and so has Nina and they’ve managed not to become almost completely unbearable.
Claire’s plot to break up her dad and Aaron’s mum comes to a head when the mash note she posted to her dad from Florida arrives and results in a fight and the postponement of the wedding.
Favourite bits: -Nina fantasises about being a guest on Ricki Lake:
“Ricki: Claire, is Nina just compulsive? Or is she plain stupid? Claire: Well, Ricki, she’s both. She’s stupid and compulsive. She’ll never have any luck with men. That’s my department. Ricki: Thanks you Claire. By the way, you’re exquisitely beautiful. You should be a model.”
I have the feeling that if Claire fantasised about being on a talk show that’s the way she’d nevision the dialogue too....more
Eeeee! Road Trip!!! The gang go down to Miami for spring break. I love it when they go on trips and this is one of the best because it’s just so goddaEeeee! Road Trip!!! The gang go down to Miami for spring break. I love it when they go on trips and this is one of the best because it’s just so goddamn awkward and that makes it funny. Zoey and Claire hate Kate, Nina and Benjamin’s breakup is too fresh, everyone except Benjamin hates Lara, Aisha is blue for the whole trip because she misses Christopher, Jake is in Miami with his hard-partying baseball team-mates but trying to stay sober and to top everything off, Aaron shows up with a dorky boarding-school buddy in tow to get drunk with Lara and tell Claire she makes him sick and to ask her if she’s so frigid because she’s a virgin. Aaron is a real prize! Not that Claire is any better. Her latest plan to split up her dad and Aaron’s mom is to write a steamy letter to her dad to make Aaron’s mom jealous. Dios mio.
I’ve really been enjoying the action whenever it switches to Jake’s point-of-view. He’s detached from the main story lines and has his own thing going on, and he’s a very straightforward character and more insightful than the others give him credit for, so whenever we see the main gang from his point of view, their ridiculousness is amped up comically and their little dramas just seem silly. His crush on Kate is nice because at the moment I feel really sorry for Kate and I think she needs more friends than just Lucas. She is nothing but outgoing, friendly and enthusiastic, but she can’t catch a break with any of the Chatham Island girls. Zoey can’t be friends with her because Zoey is too jealous of Kate horning in on the incredibly dull Zo-Cas relationship, you can’t get to Nina or Aisha without going through Zoey, and Claire hates Kate because of the Aaron situation.
Benjamin and Nina seem like they’re really through in this one. Benjamin spends “the entire vacation blowing Nina off in the harshest and most blatant possible way”, which culminates in him telling Nina that he does not love her. It’s a lie, but seems to have the desired effect of expressing to Nina that their relationship is over. It’s very sad because these two are meant to be together. It’s DESTINY I TELL YOU!
Fave moments: -Lists of what the girls buy when they go on a pre-trip mall visit. -“[Kate] pushed herself to her feet and started trudging through the sand toward the hotel. “I want to get some action shots of the surf stud.” Zoey lifted her head. She opened her mouth as if she were about to say something-then closed it and put her head back on the towel. “What?” Lucas asked. “I wasn’t going to say anything,” Zoey said innocently. “Surf stud.” -The gang have dinner together at the hotel restaurant, resulting in a super awkward series of terrible toasts. -Aaron’s pal George on Claire after she screams at Aaron in the hotel lobby: “Look, from what I’ve seen this girl is totally unbalanced. And even if she isn’t, I think you should take what happened this morning as a…kind of divine revelation. God is telling you not to get busy with your sister.” -The gang go to a teen night at a club, there’ s live reggae. Ack, reggae is possibly my second most hated music genre.
Errata: -The person who wrote the letter to Aaron that Claire read when she ransacked his room is back to being Kate again, Julie having gone the way of Holly. ...more