It’s time for Stoneybrook Middle School’s annual trip to Leicester Lodge in Hooksett Crossing, Vermont. The whole school gets to go (lucky!) but Logan’s family already has plans to go to Aruba, so Mary Anne is keeping a record for him. She also signed up to be the historian on the trip (to get an extra credit in school) and to write about the history of the town and its lodge. Sounds super exciting, Mary Anne. Eyeroll. But at least we know there’s a Winter Carnival and Winter War that go down at Leicester to keep things interesting.
Several of the other BSCers have roles in the Carnival too: Kristy is the captain of the Blue Team and in charge of organizing the entire War. Jessi is in charge of organizing Talent Night, and Claudia is a judge for the snow sculpture contest. Stacey is going to participate in the events but didn’t take on an extra credit role (neither did Dawn or Mallory). On the drive to the lodge, the weather gets progressively worse (a snow storm’s coming in)… the SMS crew makes it to the lodge, but an elementary school bus has an accident and two people have to walk miles in the snow to the lodge. The BSC sees them blow in and is stunned.
Kristy volunteers the BSC to go with the lodge owners the Georges and some teachers to the bus accident and help with the kids. The BSC, cool in an emergency, helps the kids and gets everyone back to the lodge safe and sound. The BSC finds out the busload of kids is from a poor school in Maine and they won a readathon to get their trip to the lodge. With several chaperones injured and out of commission, they’ll have to go right back to Maine (my home state, holla!) unless someone can watch the kids. BSC TO THE RESCUE, of course. The girls volunteer to chaperone the kids for the week. Because of course they do.
As Mary Anne starts her dorky historian job, she does some research in the lodge library. One recurring theme of every book that mentions the lodge is the rumor of a ghost. She’s freaked out (she’s Mary Anne, remember?) and asks a bunch of staff about it, but she gets wishy-washy answers. SO IS THERE A GHOST OR NOT?! Maybe she can get Dawn on the case…
Jessi is stuck baby-sitting an injured elementary schooler named Pinky, who’s a total brat and very rude to Jessi. Jessi can’t decide if Pinky is racist or just an asshole, but none of the other students like her either, so something’s obviously going on. Meanwhile, Stacey has met “the world’s cutest guy”, Pierre D’Amboise. According to Stacey, “his voice is starting to change, which is so cool…” After they have a meet-cute on the ski trail (they crash into each other, fall over a few times, ride the ski lift back up, etc.) she decides that Pierre is “probably [her] first meaningful crush… any past crushes suddenly didn’t count” (86).
Mallory is playing Harriet the Spy just like she did in Super Special #1, and she’s noticing a bunch of things: Mary Anne is mooning over Logan because he’s in Aruba and she thinks he’s ogling bikini babes; Stacey and Pierre were kissing; she thinks Ms. Halliday (the gym teacher) is in love with the vice principal but her feelings are unrequited. While everyone else seems to be deep in LUV, Mallory is having panic attacks because they’re having a dance at the lodge on Friday and she’s terrified of dances and boys. Oh, Mal. By the time I was 11 I had almost gotten kicked out of school for kissing boys on the playground…
Dawn has a shitty day in the Winter War – she humiliates herself and lost the events for her team. Everyone laughs at her, and cool collected Dawn can’t take it. She pours her heart out to Mary Anne, who barely listens and is just like “how far is Aruba from Hooksett Crossing?” Dawn really freaks out then, and the two get into a fight. They are no longer speaking. On the bright side, Mary Anne does get some information about the supposed ghost of Leicester Lodge… apparently some dude died in his bathtub there in the 1930s and, because his family wouldn’t claim his body, he was buried in the woods behind the lodge. Ever since then, some people have reported spooky happenings like creaking, moaning, windows opening on their own, etc. The lodge owners don’t believe it, but a few of the staff are sure terrified of the ghost idea.
Kristy is up to her eyeballs in Winter War stuff, even though her team is down after the snow sculpture contest. She has to nail the skiing competition on Friday, and Claudia is her biggest threat. (Apparently Claudia is the best skier in the whole school?) Claudia takes a lesson with an expert ski instructor named Guy (who might be French or Swiss) and promptly falls in LUV with him. Will Yamakawa who? Claudia thinks Guy has a crush on her, too, especially after he gives her a private lesson. Despite the fact that he’s way older than her, Claudia keeps imagining herself on romantic dates with Guy. She’s pretty sure they’re endgame.
Dawn has another mishap (this time while playing Monopoly… ???) and runs to the bathroom to cry, but finds Pinky there crying instead. She talks to Pinky and they figure out they’re both a little homesick and, even though they thought they didn’t care about what others think of them, they do care. At least this explains why Pinky was being such a bitch to Jessi… it’s not racism this time! Dawn goes and makes up with Mary Anne, and then Mary Anne gets a long-distance phone call… from Logan! She basically has to change her underwear afterward because she’s so relieved he hasn’t run away with a big-breasted Aruban babe. They also say “I love you” to each other at the end of their phone conversation… hubba hubba! (Truth be told, though, I’d rather be hearing about Stacey’s love story with Pierre…)
Jessi’s Talent Night show goes very well (including a ballet performance by Jessi) and she and Pinky make up. Jessi realizes she just assumed Pinky didn’t like her due to her skin color, and that maybe she should stop assuming that about people. The downhill skiing competition goes well for Claudia and Kristy – Claudia wins her individual event (beating Kristy), but Kristy’s team wins the overall contest. (Claudia, however, is crushed when Guy comes to congratulate her on her skiing – with his wife and two kids in tow. Whoops.) Now it comes down to the cross-country skiing event. Will Kristy, Dawn, and Stacey’s Blue Team win, or will Claudia, Jessi, and Mallory’s Red Team prevail? And does any of this matter in the grand scheme of things?
Kristy gets so over-competitive (because she’s Kristy) that she bullies a bunch of kids into joining the cross-country skiing event. The problem? None of them have cross-country skied before and they’re all terrible and nervous… and one of them breaks his ankle. God damnit, Kristy. All she can think about is how bummed she is that the Blue Team ended up losing the Winter War. Everyone else is like, “calm down… dude broke his bones.”
Mallory is still crapping her pants about the dance, and after getting dancing lessons from Jessi she’s still nervous. She convinces the teachers to let the little kids from Conway Cove to come to the dance if she baby-sits them, so she’ll have an excuse for not dancing and not getting asked to dance. Turns out, though, the kids all want to dance, so Mallory ends up alone at the punch bowl anyway. BUT Justin Prince from her math class comes and asks her to dance and she says yes and they dance a bunch and she’s like “why was I so dumb?” We don’t know, Mallory. That’s just life. On a way cooler note, Stacey and Pierre spend the whole night together, dancing and talking. They decide to exchange addresses so they can write to each other (remember this is 1989 – these days they could just text and Snapchat each other nudes) and Pierre kisses her goodbye at the end of the night. SWOON. Pierre seems like a real good egg (see his hilarious postcard below)…
too bad he doesn’t live in Stoneybrook!
Side note: this book contains another grammar error – it uses the wrong “effect” again (should be “affect”):
They should have hired me as a copyeditor. Or a ghostwriter. Or both.