Throwback Thursday: Claudia and the Lighthouse Ghost

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".

Cover Comments

This portion inspired by a former livejournal account that would snark the covers and, of course, the legendary blog, What Claudia Wore, which now lives on as an instagram account. I highly recommend both links as she is deliciously snarky and hilarious.
I like how fashion has cycled around and Claudia's outfit doesn't look particularly dated.
The beret + scoop neck tee + business casual jacket + thinly sculpted eyebrows + natural makeup with a bold lip whisper mid 90s fashion, but throw in a hipster scarf, add a novelty print to the shirt, and a cup from Starbucks and she could easily blend in today.

Although, I can't really picture a 13 year old dressing like that.


When Did I Read It?


I didn't.
I never got into the mystery series because they were harder to come by than the original series. To top it off, this one was released in December 1996, which is when I was in the 7th grade. I definitely read the series in junior high, but I became self-conscious about reading and acquiring them in public.

(A note to my past self. And technically the books are for ages 9-10... and up.) 

Basic Plot


The Hatts, a family that used to live in Stoneybrook about 8ish years ago, move back. They need a place to stay, so the Kishi household comes to the rescue. The Hatt's own a plot of land with a lighthouse on it and scary things start happening. Threatening letters, grafitti, and an old man claiming the lighthouse should be his and that Mr. Hatt is a murderer.
Also, a comet is coming.

How Does It Hold Up? 



This one is a Lerangis installment so the writing is better than some of the other ghostwrittens.

This book has way too much going on.
You have the main mystery which actually loops into a second smaller mystery which loops back into the first one, Claudia's family with their home sharing chaos (with bonus school drama stemming from it), a couple of random and unrelated babysitting jobs, a big party being planned by the BSC, the actual party (which was fairly lackluster), and, oddly enough, Janine involved in a love triangle which is never completely explained.

Y'all this book is less than 100 pages.
The result is a giant mess of very loosely tied threads. Everything is resolved, but it's not very satisfying. 

The mystery itself is pretty basic and half of it could have been solved in a matter of minutes if any of the girls had gone and asked their parents what happened at the lighthouse that caused the Hatt's to leave in the first place. The second mystery was more straightforward because no one really knew the truth.
Side note: The above is not a complaint. I have a 12 year old and the whole "I'm a spy/detective/ninja" thing is very real with that age. I have to give the authors credit for having the girls do some realistic investigation (going to the library to look at microfilm copies of old newspapers) instead of having them sneak out at midnight and bribe a taxi to take them on a 45 minute drive without parental permission or something.
I have to admit, Claudia's home chaos was well done and hilarious. Sibling rivalry where they are forced to share a room, but bonding over mutual dislike of their (admittedly awful) guests. Oh, and them both crushing on the same guy, priceless. (Shortlived on the drama though) One of the guest girls then low key mean-girls Claudia to give herself a better rep at school and get in with the popular kids.

via GIPHY

I know, I know. This is the Baby-Sitters Club, so it's a little weird to complain about that there are baby-sitting chapters in it. They just didn't fit in well. Normally, it serves to push the plot forward or  establish some sort of character moment. These do neither.

Kristy has the brilliant idea to have a big comet viewing party for all their charges. There is some mild drama about where they can have it and will they be able to get a telescope. One of the suggestions is the lighthouse and borrowing Janine's. Naturally, Janine's telescope is out of the question and unsurprisingly, one set of Baby-sitters' parents buys it as a gift for their own children, but the club is welcome to use it! I don't remember where they ended up having the party, but it wasn't at the lighthouse. Seriously, the party was one tiny portion of a chapter. 

The weirdest part of the book goes to Janine and the love triangle. It just didn't make any sense to include it. If you remove it, the whole story remains unchanged. It also doesn't make Janine look very good. 

#spoilernotspoiler

Janine has a boyfriend. He stands her up one time. As in, they have been dating for a while and this is the only time it has ever happened. Janine is (understandably) upset. Luckily, there just so happens to be a boy her age staying at her house, Steve, and he's cute! Janine starts ghosting the boyfriend and then basically breaks up with him (not confirmed, but implied) to get with the new guy. Later, Janine says she's not very impressed with Steve and gets back with her boyfriend. Claudia remarks that Steve looks a little annoyed when she does.

At no point in the book does it say that Steve returns her feelings or acts as if he does. He barely says more than a few sentences (and it's remarked on!) and other than getting help on his homework he has almost no interaction with Janine.

Was it just in the sisters' heads?

*Unavailable at this source at time of posting.

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