So, the super mystery books came out way after I stopped reading these books. This is the first time I ever read one, and it ticked me off a lot!
It's summer for the 700th time, and it conveniently falls in between Dawn moving back to California and Abby joining. Stacey is also out because of her whole thing with the bad girls, so Shannon fills in sometimes. When the book starts, Kristy has just demanded that everyone skip out vacations so they can work as much as possible. Claudia also learned that she failed English class, but her teacher was nice enough to let her do one last paper over the summer to make up for it.
They get a call from Lisa, Karen and Andrew's mom. Seth's, her husband's, assistant got hurt and they need someone to watch the kids. Their schedules are so full that only Claudia can take the job. Lisa calls a few days later with an even bigger job. Her friends, Mr. and Mrs. Menders, recently inherited a house in Maine. They and their four kids are heading to check it out and decide whether to live there. Since they want to open a health food store and need some help, Lisa and Seth go too. They need someone to watch Karen, Andrew, and the Menders' kids.
Kristy automatically assumes that she should get the job since they're her siblings. Everyone else doesn't agree because she's the one who demanded they work. Tons of people want to go, so they decide to ask their parents for permission and decide the next day. Dawn, Claudia, Mary Anne, and Kristy all get permission. Dawn wants to help them open the store, Mary Anne wants to see all the historic sites, and Kristy thinks she should still go anyway. Lisa hears the story and invites them all to come without pay. Nice, right?
After a long drive in which Mary Anne puts everyone to sleep reading from travel guides, they get to this big ass mansion and meet the family. Lionel is 14 and obsessed with everything California and wanting to be an actor. Jason is quite and standoffish. Jill is around 11 and wants to be just like Dawn. There's also Martha who is basically Mary Anne at nine. They also meet the Coopers, who are the caretakers. Mrs. Cooper has chronic laryngitis and can't talk, but they seem fine.
Naturally, a bunch of random and weird things happen. The uncle who passed away and left them the mansion also left behind a black cat that bursts out of nowhere. Dawn hears a screeching noise in the hallway late one night. They also see candles flickering in the windows. The girls then meet Georgio, the grandson of the old caretakers. He wears all black and is pretty much a goth kid, but they can't decide whether to trust him or not.
Dawn and Claudia find orange candle wax splattered across the hallway and catch Lionel watching them. While coming back one night, they see someone walking across the fourth floor. Mr. Cooper says that it's impossible because no one can get up there. They also catch Lionel and find out that he was the one with the candle. He swears that he wasn't upstairs though. To make matters worse, Georgio warns them to stay away from that floor.
That makes it odd when he shows up the next day and asks Claudia for help. Since she's “so artistic,” he suggests that she help him decide on the layout for some rose bushes. They bond a little when she tells him that the kids want to participate in a parade for the town's anniversary, and he seems disappointed when he learns she's leaving soon. Complicating matters is the fact that Georgio is much older. Not only does he have his license, but he's in college, eek.
Mary Anne checks out the historical society and finds plans for the house. The woman in charge tells her that another woman was there recently and had an accent. She finds that there is a dumbwaiter in the house that they never noticed before. The girls go to a fair in town and spend the whole time following around women who speak with an accent but find nothing. They do uncover the dumbwaiter and find something inside. Dawn climbs in and discovers that the pulleys make the noise she heard and finds a tape recorder inside of a woman screaming, which explains another odd noise they heard.
The Coopers show up unexpectedly, leaving Dawn trapped inside. She conveniently overhears Mrs. Cooper talking with a Scottish accent. Claudia gets the chance to meet the old caretakers, but Georgio keeps changing the subject every time she brings up the fourth floor, which makes her suspect him. The kids finally get inside but only find a missing dress and a bunch of antiques. They also learn that before the uncle died, he kept talking about a treasure in the attic.
One night, Mr. Menders casually mentions that if they turn down the house, his cousin gets it. They only get if they live there full time, which he never thought to mention before. Also, his cousin moved to Scotland. Mary Anne winds up seeing Mrs. Cooper running away from the historical society.
They wind up stuck in the house with the Coopers during a massive storm. Claudia thinks Mrs. Cooper poisoned the kids hot chocolate and flips out. Nothing happens at all. The next day, they finally tell the adults what happened. They search their rooms and find a list they left behind of all the things they planned to do to screw with them. The Menders then go to the police.
Since the mystery is over, the girls all head to the parade and then the fair following. Georgio invites Claudia to spend Homecoming weekend with him and tells her how much he likes her. Mary Anne thinks that she sees the Coopers, which is impossible because they apparently hopped on a plane and took off. They pretty much just get over the whole thing that same day.
Back in Stoneybrook, Jessi and Mallory are left with the club. Shannon and Logan can barely make any meetings. They wind up so overloaded that they consider asking Stacey for help and actually give Janine a job. Things get so bad that they wind up turning jobs down. Mrs. Pike is particularly upset over this. They also forget to turn on the answering machine and miss out on some other jobs.
Becca is ticked because Jessi promised to give her roller blading lessons but has no time. Their clients are ticked because no one can sit for them. Eventually, people just stop calling. They flip out and think they ruined everything. After making some calls though, they find out that their regulars just have plans. They get a bunch of kids together to walk in the Celebrate America parade and have a great time. Mallory even convinces Sam to ride in front on his unicycle and films him so Kristy can see later. Huh, Sam just gets better and better.
In the end, we get a bunch of letters. Claudia confesses to Georgio that she's only 13. Andrew and Kristy write to let the Menders know that a boat he found on the fourth floor has treasure on the side and was the treasure all along.
*Mary Anne says that Karen is precocious, which means that she's smart for her age. I want to strangle Karen though. She's so annoying in this book, and every time she does something irritating, they just laugh and say she's precocious. No, she's an annoying pain in the ass.
*Multiple times they mention that Lionel is pompous or whatever, but I have a hard time believing that none of them would find him attractive or develop a crush on him. He winds up volunteering to coach Jason's new baseball team and gets a job working in the theater.
*Despite her reason for going, Kristy spends most of her time with Jason. She takes him to the clubhouse to meet kids and gets pissed because they don't bend over backwards to make him feel welcome. The kids admit that they don't play with summer kids anymore because it lost them the championship before and how they always leave. Kristy thinks the best way to fix this is to talk smack about how they don't have a sponsor and how they suck on the field. Yeah, that will make things all better.
*Jill becomes obsessed with Dawn as soon as she meets her. She dresses like her all the time and won't leave her side. Dawn tries to get her to join the swim team with Martha, but she refuses unless Dawn joins too. It would make me scream. They finally convince her to start sitting, which leads to them both joining the swim team.
*Karen goes overboard trying to find Martha new friends. She then gets irritated when Martha says her best friend is back in Boston. Even though she can have other best friends, Martha should only like her. Martha eventually makes friends all on her own.
*Georgio is 19, which makes the whole Claudia thing super creepy. He thinks she's 16, which still seems a little weird to me. She also spends most of the book trying to decide if he's evil or a good guy, but then winds up with a crush on him anyway. I'd love to get a response back from him regarding the letter she sent!
*Seriously though, even if she was 16, what parent lets their teenager go to college Homecoming weekend and spend the whole weekend with a guy she spent a total of 19 minutes with one summer?
*In Stoneybrook, Jason, Lionel, and probably Jill would be too older for sitters. Yet, Lionel is the only one who doesn't need one. They have four girls sitting for five kids, and Jill then becomes a sitter all on her own.
*This whole not getting paid thing is ridiculous! They basically spend all their time watching over the kids, the parents are never home, the adults literally never do anything with their kids, but they pay the girls with food and a place to stay.
*Also, on the Georgio story, he and Claudia wind up on the ferris wheel. Despite him clearly being into her and asking her to spend a weekend with him, he's happy just giving her a kiss on the cheek. Sure.
*Even though Shannon promised to help as much as possible, she skips most meetings and can only sit a few times. I guess it's good that all parents in Stoneybrook suddenly decided to stay home at night?
*There is no way I would forgive Kristy as easily as they do. She literally tells them that no one can go on vacation because it will make the club look bad if there aren't any sitters available. She then decides that all four of them should just take off for an extended trip. Did she not even look at the schedule first??