A sequel to Ghouls Just Want to Have Fun, Calamity Jayne Goes to College is the fourth book in Kathleen Bacus's "Calamity Jayne" series.
Tressa "Calamity" Jayne Turner is somewhat accident-prone, hence her nickname. As a magnet for trouble, it would be somewhat surprising if her fourth venture into college wasn't at least vaguely interesting. Maybe she'll even stay awake this time.
Having been rehired at the Grandville Gazette for the third time, Tressa has
been persuaded by her editor, Stan Rodgers, to get some college journalism courses under her belt.
With this in mind, she enrolls in Carson College, alongside her cousin Frank and his fiancee, Dixie, who are both studying criminal law. To those who know of Calamity's previous adventures, the sudden campus crime spree shouldn't come as a surprise.
As usual, Tressa gets sucked right into the middle of it.
Since the crimes appear to be based on the criminal law class attended by Frank and Dixie, they end up spending a lot of time with Tressa. Dixie and Tressa's constant bickering adds a little tension to the novel; the two women
hate each other. With these two, even when nothing's going on, something's going on, a factor
that only adds to the books appeal.
The "Calamity Jayne" books are almost a mix between Nancy Drew and traditional romantic fiction, similar to Meg Cabot's
"Heather Wells" series, although Calamity's adventures tend to be far more exciting, mysterious and, of course, dangerous. The mystery isn't perhaps as puzzling as it could be
- it's possible to figure out the culprit from around the halfway mark - but the novel's many good points make this flaw forgivable.
This book isn't particularly fast-paced, but it has a large cast of characters and there's always something happening. Unfortunately, the
members of this large cast sometimes merge into each other, especially Calamity's many love interests. There are several, one to practically every taste, all handsome,
but despite this, Calamity still moans about being single and unable to get a date, in traditional chick-lit style. Go figure.
The narrative is written in a mixture of first and second person, and Calamity's occasional asides and terrible blonde jokes are pretty funny, and make her very endearing. The reader can feel a real sense of compassion and empathy for the characters - those they can keep track of, at least.
In short, Calamity Jayne Goes to College is an exciting, pacy novel which keeps the reader's attention. Although any aficionado of detective stories will probably figure out the culprit early on, this only slightly detracts from the novel. A great book for anyone
loved Nancy Drew as a teenager and needs an adult equivalent.