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Book Review: Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau is a coming of age novel taking place in Baltimore, Maryland. During the 1970's, fourteen year old Mary Jane is caught in the middle of her family's conservative ideals and the progressive ideals of the Cone family where she is a summer nanny. Mary Jane is a sheltered teen who enjoys cooking with her mother, listening to Broadway Show Tunes, and singing in the church choir. On the first day of work, she is shocked at the mess in the Cone's home and introduces them to home cooked meals and keeping the house clean. In return, Mary Jane gets a front row seat to sex, drugs, and rock & roll. This novel was the selected for the book club I belong to. Again, this is a novel that I likely wouldn't have chosen to read on my own, but I was glad I did. Mary Jane is the first novel I've read by Jessica Anya Blau, and I was impressed with her storytelling.  Touching on race, class, and stereotypes, along with drugs and infidelity, it reminded

Book Review: Mary-Anne's Bad-Luck Mystery (The Baby-Sitters Club, #17) by Ann M. Martin

Mary Annes Bad Luck Mystery The BabySitters Club #17 Ann M Martin
Mary-Anne Spier knew she shouldn't have thrown out the chain letter she received. Not only is she having the worst luck, but the rest of the baby-sitters club keep having bad things happen to them too! When Mary-Anne starts receiving letters threatening her and the rest of the club, and a bad luck charm necklace to wear, several emergency meetings of the baby-sitters club are called by Kristy so they can figure out how to counter act the bad luck.

What can I say about Mary-Anne's Bad-Luck Mystery (The Baby-Sitters Club, #17)? Holy nostalgia, Batman! This book made me feel nostalgic for my childhood . . . do kids even send chain letters any more, and do they still believe in things like breaking a mirror causes seven years bad luck?

This is one of the books in the series that I remember better than some of the others, and it was such a joy to reread. I figured out who sent the threatening letters and bad luck charm necklace very easily just as I did as a child.  The one thing that bugs me now (and remember bugging me when I first read it) was that there was no resolution to who actually sent the chain letter. It would have been nice to have that wrapped up in the ending.

I loved the fact that the story included a school dance and that it actually happened at night time like it did when I was in eighth grade. Now, if I remember correctly, the middle school dances happen immediately after school lets out, which takes all the fun out of it . . . at least to me it would. Another thing I loved was that it finally included more scenes with Logan, which made his character seem more real.

There really isn't anything bad that I can say about Mary-Anne's Bad-Luck Mystery (The Baby-Sitters Club, #17). This book made me want Ann M. Martin to write a lot more mysteries and was a major influence in making me love the mystery genre. I gave this book five out of five stars.


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