Claudia, Stacey, Kristy, and Mary Anne formed the Baby-sitters Club a few weeks ago, and since then, things have been going well: they’ve had plenty of business, and no big trouble with the kids they’re baby-sitting. Lately, though, there’s been news of a thief, dubbed the Phantom Caller, who calls people, hangs up, and then later steals their jewelry. And he seems to be moving closer to Stoneybrook, where the girls live.
On top of all this, the boy Claudia likes, Trevor Sandbourne, doesn’t seem to know she exists, and the school dance, the Halloween Hop, is coming up. Claudia’s sister, Janine, is as unbearable as usual, and although Claudia tries to work on their relationship, like her grandmother suggested, there’s just not enough time!
Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls is a middle-grade novel, the second in the Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin. It’s told from Claudia’s point of view.
The change from Kristy’s point of view in Kristy’s Great Idea to Claudia’s in this book is good. Despite Claudia repeating a lot of events that happened in the previous book, it’s still interesting, since we get to heat her perspective on the events and on her friends. It might get a little old if there’s that much repetition in future books, but it’s not too bad, this time.
The story is great. There are several plotlines going at once. Primarily, the girls are trying to be brave and babysit while they’re worried about the Phantom Caller, and this just intensifies when they start getting mysterious phone calls, with the caller hanging up without speaking. This plotline is great, and there’s some real suspense when they’re babysitting and they hear strange noises and receive phone calls like those from the Phantom Caller. You know that they’re bound to be all right in the end, but could there be a thief, waiting to break into the homes, while they’re babysitting?
The second plotline, with Claudia hoping that Trevor will ask her to the dance, gives us plenty of opportunity to see how all the girls feel about the subject of boys, and is a good secondary plot for the novel.
Finally, Claudia’s desire to improve her relationship with her sister, though showing up rarely throughout the book, provides a good reminder that these characters have more going on in their lives than just the main events of the book, and gives a sense that they’re real people with real relationships, rather than just characters in a story, serving only the purpose of furthering the plot.
Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls is another great middle-grade novel, and a good followup to Kristy’s Great Idea. It’s definitely worth reading, and, like the previous book in the series, will be available as an ebook for the Kindle starting October 1, 2011.