Mystery #14: Stacey and the Mystery at the Mall
There's so much going on in this picture - all of it bad. Stacey's bangs have that distinctly crispy look to them (anyone who can remember the late 80s and early 90s knows a thing or two about crispy bangs), Claudia's flares are too short (sure, so were mine when I was a teenager, but I wasn't a baby fashionista who should really know better), and Zingy's is selling pink floral jumpers paired with long-sleeved white blouses. Isn't Zingy's supposed to be the Forever 21 of the Washington Mall? Not even Mallory would consider these duds trendy.
"She believes clothes should do more than cover our bodies and keep us warm. Instead, she sees dressing as one more creative outlet, and it shows. She always looks fabulous, and she never looks just like everyone else. She'll pair a long white shirt with a colorful vest, accessorize with handmade jewelry, pull her hair up into an outrageous ponytail, and look like a million dollars."
Girl slow down. What the heck is an outrageous ponytail? Is she wearing a Jem & the Holograms scrunchie? And where are her pants?
"'One of these days we're going to have to stay a little late and do some serious shopping,' said Claud, eyeing a white lace baby-doll dress. 'I'll ask my dad if he can pick us up one day next week.'"
Dude, can you even believe this book has the nerve to promise shopping and not deliver? You'd think you'd get at least one actual shopping trip in a Mystery at a Mall. But no. We get one lousy sentence about Stacey gazing "at a pair of black lace-up boots and wonder[ing] how they would look with this old-fashioned floral-print dress my mother had given me."
Not great. Now get shopping.
"The next day, Sunday, my friends and I headed over to the mall for the painting party. Charlie drove us in Watson's van. 'You guys sure look different from the last time I saw you,' he said as he dropped us off. It was true. That afternoon, we had been dressed in our best clothes. This time we were wearing stuff we'd found in the rag-bag. Claudia, for example, had wrapped a neon-pink bandana around her head, and she was wearing a humongous pair of overalls over an ancient striped T-shirt."
I don't know, Stace. That sounds like a pretty typical Claudia outfit to me.