Monday, April 1, 2013
"Mallory and the Mystery Diary" by Ann M. Martin
This may or may not have been the first Baby-Sitters Club book I read. I had pretty much made my way through the entirety of the library's Little Sister collection and was home sick. At lunch, my mom brought me three books (there was major benefit to having a mom who worked at the library- Claudia didn't know what she was missing!); Kristy and Mr. Mom, Mary Anne + 2 Many Babies, and Mallory and the Mystery Diary. I can't remember which order I read them in. I only remember that I struggled with parts of this book. I was learning cursive in school but I wasn't quite ready for Sophie's somewhat sloppy and poorly spelled cursive. However, by the time I had finished these three books, I was completely hooked on this series.
This novel opens right after Stacey and Mrs. McGill's move back to Stoneybrook (side note, I just helped my mom move...how on earth did they unpack so fast??) and when they discover an old trunk amongst the items left in their attic, Mallory bribes the triplets to move it into her bedroom. She and Vanessa find a lot of old clothes and, more importantly, an old diary. This diary brings in Old Hickory and Jared Mullray (come on BSC fans, keep up) and a mystery about the fate of a painting of Sophie's mother. This book is set pre-mystery series and frankly I like most of these better. Mysteries like this one seem much more realistic than some of those in the later spin-off. Granted, I sometimes have a hard time suspending disbelief with these books- afterall, these are the girls that celebrate summer vacation about 57 times during one school year...but that doesn't make me like these books any less.
Something that especially appeals to me about this book is how the mystery is solved by BSC clients (more or less anyways). Charlotte points out that everything isn't always what it seems and Buddy reads through the diary looking for clues even though reading isn't his best subject. Since I was roughly the same age as these kids, it's cool that they were able to help the older kids and be important to the plot. I don't think I realized that then, but looking back I'm sure it had at least some sort of impact. Also nice about this book, Mal has a strong plot that doesn't involve her as sick, with an unemployed parent, or being totally overworked. There aren't enough of these in the series.
Glad to know I'm not the only one crazy enough to attempt this challenge. Head over to Sarah Millar's blog and see what she and other bloggers have to say about the good ole BSC.