THE SNOWDEN JUNIOR SNOOPS
Snowden Elementary School, Mrs. Entwhistle’s Fifth-Grade Class
No one messes with Charity Mabrey, easily the most all-around capable student in Mrs. Entwhistle’s entire class! One of—if not the—tallest kid in the class, slender but strong and quick and indefatigable, she is not only a top athlete, but also a top student, with an appetite for all possible accomplishments she can acquire. She’s the captain of every team, the leader of every group, the energy behind every adventure and misadventure. And her round, freckled face with its arresting green eyes and raven-black pigtails is one of the most charming in the whole school; adorned in either comfortable casual clothes or decked out in girlish finery, she is perhaps the most striking girl there!
But she does have one vulnerability—and his name is Clinton Maser. She had long like-liked classmate Colton Walters, but his indifference to her girlish charms was the one frustration of her life, which had only driven her the harder to try to gain his eye—until the invading kidnappers at Camp Evergreen had stolen her away. It hadn’t been stocky blond Colton who had run to her rescue, but lithe brown-haired boy Clinton, her frequent teammate or opponent on the basketball court or the baseball diamond! The amazing truth that Clinton had run like the wind to save her, had fought valiantly against an adult so much bigger than him, and indeed fought like a demon until the kidnapper broke his arm and concussed him, staggered the young lady into the realization that her lifelong acquaintance had been her lifelong admirer—nay, adorer! And ever since then, her girlish little heart has been completely Clinton’s! But she still plays hard against him in all sports, and bluntly expects him to do the same in return—woe to him if ever he doesn’t!
She embraces mysteries with all the energy and sagacity she brings to her sports and her studies, and rarely lets fear get in the way of her sleuthing. On the other hand, her big sister “Weirdo” still puts her through paces she rather dislikes…
Charity Mabrey Fun Facts
- The only thing she adores almost as much as Clinton Maser is anything to do with flying! She loves airplanes and spaceships of all sorts, and in an era when it is quaintly anachronistic, wishes to be an astronaut when she grows up.
- She hates pink. No, she really hates pink! Loathes, despises, vituperates against all things pink! Did I mention she really doesn’t like pink?
- She loves basketball, baseball, and will even cheerlead for Clinton’s peewee football team. The only things she hates about cheering for Clinton are 1) being the base of the pyramids and 2) the prissy attitudes of many of her fellow cheerleaders and their moms.
- And don’t mention the Accelerated Reader standings in Mrs. Entwhistle’s class—at least until she finally gets ahead of Jillian Burton!
Only Jillian (and don’t call her Jilly anymore!) could pull off the combination of brainiac and diva quite like she has! She may not be the most obviously prepossessing girl in the class with her average height and build and her long brunette hair and brown eyes behind her omnipresent glasses, but that’s only until your second look. The brown hair is cut stylishly, the glasses are a bright red fashion statement as bold as her wardrobe (at least as bold as Mom allows her wardrobe to be!), and the brown eyes have a knack for seeing every little detail of a mystery!
And they’re also usually turned in the direction of Colton Walters, towheaded star of the peewee football field—but despite all the painstaking effort she puts into her appearance, she still cannot seem to get him to notice her! The ease with which she devours her studies—she’s the perennial leader in the Accelerated Reader standings, much to her BFF Charity Mabrey’s frustration—allows her to concentrate on what she considers the much more important business of getting Colton to like-like her. But she’s also found that in the absence of any interest from Colton, she can occasionally enjoy the presence of other boys, especially if they happen to give her the notice Colton doesn’t; as a result, she’s already earning herself a bit of a reputation as a flirt, especially with her babysitter Abbie Dwight’s boyfriend Jaden Ross!
While she’s naturally quiet of voice, she still has her ways of letting you know she’s the smartest kid in the room, egged on by increasingly regular battles with her baby brother Grayson, whose intellectual prowess, even at merely five years old, threatens to unseat her as the smartest Burton! Home time spent keeping Grayson in his place has made her more assertive with her peers at school, so that nobody takes Jill Burton lightly anymore!
Jillian Burton Fun Facts
- Is it any real surprise that her favorite color is red?
- She prides herself on having read every single Nancy Drew story, and is now working on finishing off all of Trixie Belden!
- Her only serious goal in terms of physical fitness is to be the first girl in the class to be able to wear high heels! And if it makes her almost as tall as Charity, so much the better…
No one, perhaps, has ever had a nickname more appropriate to her personality as has Merri Howland! She’s a plump, blue-eyed, redheaded, freckled bundle of cheerfulness and goodwill who never seems to have a bad word to say about anybody, and is an unconscious genius at making friends. She’s far from the sharpest knife in the rack of Mrs. Entwhistle’s class, but has a taste for mysteries like her BFFs Charity and Jillian, and an instinctual and profound knowledge of animals, perfectly befitting the youngest child of the town’s veterinarian.
The sunniness of her disposition seems to clearly trace from her mother, whom she so closely resembles in physique and temperament, but her sunny nature seems so much brighter than her mom’s, whose disposition seems marred by a cautious edge Merri herself can’t fathom. She is the youngest, and her bright outgoing nature is very different from her eldest sister’s hard-shelled introversion and her big brother’s bouts of depression. In fact, the only clouds among the sunshine of Merri’s personality are from missing that big brother Christopher, currently toiling as a college hockey prospect at Yale, thanks to another Junior Snoop’s mom who knows a few people.
She and Jill are BFFs, but the one strain in the relationship is that the same Colton Walters who seems so indifferent to Jillian’s flirtations is ardently crushing on Merri! And in the cruelest irony of all, Merri takes no amatory interest at all in the boy Jill would sell her brother to obtain! Rather, Merri focuses on her friends, her animals, and the Junior Snoops’ mysteries. But there seems to be someone out there who has stolen Merri’s heart…
Merri Howland Fun Facts
- The only way to get Merri really mad at you is to hurt animals! Or her friends, too, of course.
- Add to Merri’s interests a devotion to her Girl Scout troop, of which her mom is a leader.
- She loves all things strawberry, and will sometimes wear pink just to irritate Charity a little…
If any girl in Mrs. Entwhistle’s class is almost as striking as Charity Mabrey, it would have to be Alyssa! As tall as Charity, with startling strawberry-blonde hair kept in a long silky mane, a pale pink complexion on a thin, wiry frame, and freckles which shine out at the first provocation of sunlight, Alyssa is hard to miss!
And few of her age have changed so much for the better, nor risen so dramatically from tragedy, as has this lissome blue-gray-eyed strawberry blonde. At the tender age of seven, she was abducted from an outdoor sleepover with her favorite cousin Kylie Duff by a vicious man who tortured her almost to death in ways which still cause vivid nightmares, only to be saved from certain death by a police raid which failed to capture the abductor but saved her from him by his escape. The tragedy left her broken and timid—until a Camp Evergreen experience which introduced her to Serenity Mabrey, and through her to her kid sister Charity, retaught Alyssa the courage she had needed to survive her abduction. So well has she learned her lesson that she is now, in her quiet, reserved way, one of the bravest kids to populate Mrs. Entwhistle’s class! While she’s not the natural leader Charity is, her peers still look up to her for her courage. And not just the kids in her class! An abduction by the evil Bastone agents at Camp Evergreen which ensnared both Alyssa and her camp-nurse mother Gayle left Mrs. Anthony shattered but for the courage her own little daughter showed during their ordeal. And it was that ordeal which brought Alyssa’s parents back together after a separation in the aftermath of Alyssa’s first abduction, a reunion which is the greatest joy of Alyssa’s young life.
She has adjusted well to the life of a young Snowdenite, living on the quiet edge of town with her reconciled parents and next door to Mrs. Parker and her infant daughter Ginny. Alyssa is very proud that Mrs. Parker allows her to occasionally babysit Ginny on Mrs. Parker’s occasional afternoon jaunts, and Ginny seems to enjoy having her next-door neighbor take care of her While Alyssa is an average student in academics, she is very interested in things like child care and nursing, just like her school-nurse mom, and is as enthusiastic about Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden as Charity and Jillian! Which has already served her in good stead more than once, and certainly will again in the future…
Alyssa Anthony Fun Facts
- She’s as brave as any girl you’ve ever met, but she really doesn’t like tie-up games! Which makes sleepovers at Charity’s house interesting, because tie-up-game devotee Serenity is Alyssa’s greatest hero.
- Alyssa is not much of a sports fan, but seeing how coordinated Charity is has gotten her just a bit jealous, so she’s trying to do her best in gym class to be less clumsy.
- She doesn’t know it yet—mostly because she hasn’t paid attention—but there are a few boys in Mrs. Entwhistle’s class who are starting to seriously crush on her!
- And despite her courage, there is one thing that terrifies Alyssa—flying!
Tess Vandiver is not so much an heiress as THE heiress! As the sole grandchild of multi-billionaire George Altamont, she is spoiled beyond anything her new peers—or even her old peers in northern California—can imagine. No extravagance was too much for either her or her mother Adrienne Vandiver, a mother as spoiled as her daughter. And with her trim build, heart-shaped face, sparkling blue eyes, and rich blonde tresses, little Tess looks the part of the young heiress with perfect panache!
Then it all went to hell. Her father, Mark Vandiver, had married her mother merely to gain influence over and secrets from Grandpapa’s shadowy tech company ADAS, and that goal eventually tore apart her privileged little life. When Vandiver made his move against the Altamonts, she and her mother had to flee literally for their lives, separated from the grandfather who was the only person she loved as much as Mama. Their flight eventually landed her and Mama in Snowden, where her new friends and their families (and the intervention of Grandpapa) unraveled her father’s relentless pursuit.
But rather than return to her “princess life” back home, Tess wanted to stay in Snowden! The spoiled little brat had learned some humility in her flight from Daddy, and her stay in Snowden, necessarily disguised as Sheri Price, gave her genuine friends for perhaps the first time in her life, friends who likes her for herself instead of her money and position. She had learned to shed her spoiled-brat attitude through the friendship of Charity, Jillian, Alyssa—and especially Merri Howland. As ten became eleven, Tess found herself at that age where first crushes begin—and hers was for Merri. Merri’s sweet temper and outgoing, friendly nature mixed with a round, cute, redheaded face, unexpectedly stole Tess’s unwitting fancy—and startlingly, Merri herself reciprocated the puppy-love affections! There was no one in the world Tess wanted to be like more than Merri, and no one’s influence has been more profound on her than Merri’s. But the spoiled heiress can still surface in Tess’s nature—sometimes for bad, sometimes for good…
Tess Vandiver Fun Facts
- The only thing she loves more than Mama, Grandpapa Altamont, and Merri Howland is animals. Lucky for her, Merri is the daughter of a veterinarian, and loves animals too!
- She loves spoiling her new friends, and they have come to expect extravagant surprises from her. If she suggests a shopping trip, don’t be surprised to find yourself shopping in Paris!
- The best reason her mom likes staying in Snowden—Tess’s friend Charity’s mom Dr. Mabrey is the one who finally identified and dealt with Tess’s odd form of dyslexia.
- And she loves uniforms, especially cheerleader outfits and school uniforms. Snowden Junior Snoop uniforms were the joint idea of her and Charity, who spotted the trait in her…