Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: "Jessi & The Dance School Phantom: The Baby-Sitters Club #42"

Jessi & The Dance School Phantom: The Baby-Sitters Club #42 by Ann M Martin
3 out of 5 stars

Didn't we already have this storyline? Jessi gets the lead in the ballet and someone is threatened by her talent? Are we already out of fresh plots and starting to repeat? I hope not! Anyway, the book starts out with Jessi at ballet auditions for Sleeping Beauty. Apparently Mme Noelle decides all the roles, but wouldn't she have someone else helping her or at least take some time to think about it? And there is only Jessi's class at the auditions. This is already not making any sense.

At the end of class, Jessi finds out she will be playing Princess Aurora and all the other girls are jealous. In particular, 3: Carrie, who is maybe 13-14 and the "old lady" of the class, this is her last chance to show her skill before she transfers to a larger, better class. Katie Beth, who did not get along with Jessi at first because she's so young and awesome. And possibly because she's black. Don't quote me on that. And Hilary, who was forced into dance by her overbearing mother, kind of like that one girl in Center Stage. (Man, I love that movie!) These 3 girls are the key suspects in a convoluted childish plot to force Jessi to quit dancing forever...or else. This plot includes stealing Jessi's toe shoes & extra outfit, leaving threatening notes written in blood red calligraphy pen stuffed into her shoes, returning her leotard completely shredded, leaving her a red rose that she pricks her finger on. (Get it? Cause she's Sleeping Beauty. I'm super smart.) And actually dangerous, spilling some water on the dance floor so that Jessi slips and sprains her ankle.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "My god, these are awful things, someone could get (even more) seriously hurt. I hope Jessi calls on her baby-sitting friends to help her solve this mystery and absolutely does NOT involve any grownups." You guys & gals are so smart, because that's exactly what she does! :) Super-sleuthers that they are, the BSC members go over all the notes Jessi has gotten, attend one of her rehearsals and observe all the suspects, and quickly narrow it down to the 3 above. Two of the girls get eliminated for some reason or another, I can't really remember, and they are pretty sure they know who it is. Then they work on a "trap" to catch the guilty one, a la Claudia's cheating scandal. It's the stupidest trap ever and of course it works...turns out it's Hilary because her mother has made her so crazed about her dancing that she'll do anything to win. But as soon as Jessi confronts her, she totally backs down and even quits ballet after the recital. Wow, okay. The ballet goes off without a hitch, Jessi is super-fab as usual, and we get What Claudia & Stacey Wore to the Ballet:

Claudia looked extremely cool and exotic, as usual. Her hair was braided with silver ribbons, and she wore a shimmery dark blue minidress. On her feet were silver sandals, with laces up the calves-kind of like toe shoes. Stacey had on a tuxedo! That's right, a tuxedo, just like one a boy would wear. But it was made to fit her perfectly, and she looked great. She must have gotten it in New York. [Also, Kristy is wearing a dress! ZOMG!!]

Oh yeah, there is some baby-sitting in this one too...Kristy has a Great Idea to have a pet show for all the kids. Half the kids are upset because they don't have pets, half are upset because they have multiple siblings and only one pet, and half are upset because their pet won't win because it's not big/cute/smart enough. (Yes, I know my math doesn't add up, I had Claudia's help lol.) Lots of animal chapters, pretty boring, Myrtle the Turtle gets a paint job, Chewy gets loose again, Boo-Boo loves Max Delaney, and Frodo the hamster has green fur. Oh and the Pike triplets come as a horse. Jessi realizes that every kid should get an award, even if they don't bring a pet, and everyone is happy. The end and in the next book, Stacey's diabetes finally does her in!

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