Jessi and the Awful Secret is the sixty-first book in the original Baby-Sitter's Club series.
Only Jessi knows what's really wrong with Mary.
Jessi Ramsey is at her regular ballet lessons in Stamford, when Madame Noelle announces that The Stamford Ballet School will be giving a free six week dance call to some of Stamford's less privileged children. Jessi voluteers to help out, and is surprised when only one other girl in her class volunteers, Mary Bramstedt. Because Jessi is the youngest person in her ballet class, along with being the only black member, sometimes she feels left out, and sees this as an opportunity to get to know some of her classmates. However, she immediately begins to sense something off about Mary, and Mary's obsession with dieting.
Jessi tells the sitters about her suspicions, and they borrow some books from Janine and do some research on anorexia. After Mary falls down in class and keeps getting skinnier, she takes her suspicions to Madame Noelle.
Jessi also feels close to the underprivileged kids in her class. She is especially fond of a small, shy girl with natural grace and talent named Martha. She writes to Quint in New York and he suggests a scholarship fund for the kids. Kristy asks Watson about corporate scholarships, and he decides to fund it out of his own pocket. Martha and Devon receive scholarships to Stamford Dance School.
Kristy Thomas is upset because suddenly her friend Shannon Kilbourne has a lot of free time and wants to hang out. However, Kristy has no free time, with baby-sitting, school, and club meetings. She tells Shannon to hang out with the other sitters, and then becomes jealous of their new friend, thinking that they want to replace Kristy with Shannon.
Other plot information
Kristy plays "Let's All Come In" with the Papadakises, Karen Brewer and Nancy Dawes during her sitting job. Stacey watches David Michael, Karen, Andrew, and Emily Michelle at Kristy's house. Emily Michelle has learned to "put away", but she is actually hiding everything in the house. Claudia builds a snow village with the Kormans.
Clients in this book
- Kristy sits for the Papadakises
- Stacey watches the younger Brewers
- Claudia sits for the Kormans
- The sitters set up a job for Charlotte Johanssen
- Madame Noelle, Jessi's ballet instructor
- Mary Bramstedt
- Madame Dupree
- Kate Beth Parsons
- Carrie Steinfeld
- Lisa Jones
- Vince Parsons
- Devon Ramirez
- Mindy Howard
- Mr. John Tsuji
Places in this book
- Claudia was wearing a neon green tank top under a white oversized man's shirt and fuschia pink stirrup pants. The shirt was rolled at the sleeves and belted with a colorful woven belt. Claud finished the outfit with ceramic-bead earrings she'd made herself in pottery class.
- Jessi attends ballet class in Stamford every Tuesday and Friday, after school. Her dad picks her up when he gets out of work and drives her home. There is no mention of how she gets to ballet.
- Jessi thinks that after you know Mallory for awhile, she starts to look pretty.
- Stacey actually lets her charges watch television. They watch Pete's Dragon