Throwback Thursday - BSC: The Ghost at Dawn's House

Throwback Thursday is weekly feature where I read and discuss a book I previously read or that I might have read "back in the day".

Disclaimer: This discussion reveals minor spoilers for later on during the series. Specifically about Dawn.
(Most fans are aware of some basic changes made throughout the series even without having read those specific books, but in case you haven't... you've been warned.)

When Did I Read It?

Probably 3rd or 4th grade. I was originally gifted a box of a good portion of the first ones, so this one would have been in there.

Basic Plot


Dawn lives in an old house with a barn. She starts hearing all sorts of noises and stuff at night. She goes to investigate and finds nothing. Later, she accidentally falls down a trap door and discovers a secret passage.
The logical conclusion to weird sounds coming from your house (and secret passage) is.... ghosts.

How Does It Hold Up? 



This is a Martin original.

Don't hate me, but Dawn was always my least favorite. I can't even pinpoint why. I think it's because she largely doesn't have a personality outside of being from California.


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I don't dislike her, but she's pretty boring and I have always found her books to be the least interesting. Maybe it's because she's not as much as a drama queen as the rest of them.(lol) She never quite fit in and wasn't surprised to find out (#spoilernotspoiler) she moved away permanently later on.

Anyway...

This is one of the ones that doesn't follow the Chapter 1: Major plot prep, Chapter 2: Talk about how the BSC was formed and a rundown on every single major character. I actually liked this set up better because the explanation was succinct while still hitting all the major points.
(Maybe? This may have been a rewritten one, but I thought those stopped at #8.)
It has been years since I have read books 1-8 so I'm not 100% on all the details. I'm only going based on facts I found in this particular book, but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
This is the first time reading a Dawn book, where I have real opinions on her mom, Sharon.

I know Dawn's move is a setup for a few things (the big parental romance, being the new kid, having a vegetarian represented, and Dawn's mom is a scatterbrained free spirit), but ... it frustrates me.

Sharon moved to Stoneybrook, not because she had a great job offer or family to stay with until she got back on her feet, but because she grew up there and she felt like it. What makes it worse is that Dawn's dad, despite living across the country, is still an active parent as much as he can be in the late 80s and an overall good dad.

I know divorce does awful things to people, but taking your kids so far away from the other parent (especially when they are a good parent), just because you want a change of scenery, is a really shitty thing to do. Hell, this is addressed later on by both children eventually moving back in with their father.

If she had a mandatory job move, a major job offer, or family in the area, I would feel completely different. The BSC series is pretty good at being redundant and NONE of these are listed as the reason for moving.

Not to mention the whole secret passage nonsense. So you find a secret passage that leads outside to another piece of your property that is also not locked or otherwise blocked and you don't bother finding some sort of permanent solution, ASAP!? You just assume no one will wander onto your property. Especially if you lived on the west coast during the 70s! That was prime serial killer time, Sharon. You should know better.


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Severely questionable parenting decisions aside...

I was never one for ghost stories.
I know, I know.
I'm the worst.
(It's not scary if it's not real!)

This one doesn't resonate with me very well because it is just kind of random. I think Martin was finding her footing after the immense success and popularity for the initial order of a 4 book series.
I do recall loving the idea of a secret passage and what was it's history. Unfortunately, you don't find out. They kind of imply it might have been used in the underground railroad, but you never know for sure. The ghost part was just *eh*. My first thought was that she had some creep living in her wall - except that this is the BSC and they'd never go that far.

It's not bad, but it's just about Dawn and her house. 
If Dawn's your girl, this is probably a much better book.

Of course, this one also predates the Little Sister series, so you do have to suffer through a Karen story.

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(To be fair, it's not the worst Karen story, but she always irritates me. I'm glad she lives with her mom most of the time.)


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