'Twelfth' Book Club: Day 1

By: Shanleigh Klassen

"The ghost light – the light that should never, ever go out –
was flickering."

Hello, everyone! It’s time for another OwlCrate Jr read-along book club, this time for our June 2022 book, Twelfth by Janet Key. Featured in our CAMPFIRE STORIES box, this story follows Maren Sands at the Charlotte Goodman Theatre Camp as she attempts to solve a sixty-year-old mystery.

Our reading schedule for this book will be as follows:

  • July 18 — Pages 1 - 113
  • July 21 — Pages 114 - 232
  • July 25 — Pages 233 - 335

This averages out to about 50 pages per day from now until next Monday. If this is too much to fit into your day, no need to fret! Feel free to read at your own pace and come back when you're ready to discuss.

Discussion questions are listed below, and anyone who participates in the comments will be entered to win a free OwlCrate Jr box, one per post! This read-along is open to comments until Wednesday, July 27.

Just a reminder that this will be a spoiler discussion for pages 1-113 of Twelfth, so there be spoilers ahead!

The Story Begins . . .

. . . in 2015 where we first meet Miss Maxine Bradley, the Acting teacher for the Charlotte Goodman Theatre Camp, the day before another batch of campers are set to arrive. Actors are a superstitious bunch, and Miss Bradley has performed the same dance ritual every summer for the camp’s sixty years. But as she dances across the empty stage, the ghost light begins to flicker. Miss Bradley moves closer to inspect and sees someone reflected in the mirror behind her. Before she can scream, the trapdoor beneath Miss Bradley opens and she falls through. The ghost light stops flickering as if nothing happened.

The next day, Maren Sands arrives at the camp with her estranged father, Ed. Maren has never been to Camp Goodman before, but her older (and more outgoing) sister Hadley went every year and loved it. But ever since Hadley dropped out of her first year of college, returned home, and stopped coming out of her room, their mother has had her plate full and sent Maren to stay with her dad — and since he’s touring every weekend, he thought sending Maren to camp would be for the best. Great.

Like it or not, Maren heads off to her cabin and meets the camp diva, Allegra. Later on, she also meets her bunkmate and aspiring filmmaker Theo. Though Maren hoped to keep her head down, Theo’s boisterous attitude makes that pretty much impossible. At the opening night ceremony, Camp Goodman’s owner and manager Jo welcomes everyone and announces the annual play will be Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, the same play that was performed in the camp’s first year.

As Maren and Theo grab their copies of the script and cookies — where Maren has two set aside for her from Jo as thanks for deducing the location of her lost phone — Theo bites into the cookies Maren gave them and discovers a handwritten note with a quote pulled straight from Twelfth Night.

Our story then shifts to Charlotte “Charlie” Goodman's timeline back in the 1940s, as she and her sister Rosalie tour the lot of a movie set where their mother works as a dancer and their father as a set dresser and painter. Though the prettier Rosalie is fawned over by the other dancers, Charlie is awed when she meets Dorothy Arzner, the film’s director.

Back in 2015, Maren selects her classes for the summer before heading off to the first reading of Twelfth Night. As she enters the auditorium, Allegra causes a scene by pointing out how Theo said Macbeth in a theatre — a common superstition where it’s thought that saying the name brings bad luck. Jo explains the origin of the superstition and proceeds to lead everyone in the reading of Twelfth Night, which Maren enjoys to her surprise.

Later on, Maren overhears a few of the campers discussing how Miss Bradley is still missing and how they’re going to pull a prank on Theo for them saying Macbeth earlier. Maren tries to get Theo to come back with her to their cabin, but Theo refuses. When Graham turns up and explains how Theo is probably searching for their camera in the vast depths of costume storage, Maren goes off to help them.

Maren is able to quickly deduce where in costume storage Allegra most likely hid Theo’s camera case, and just as the two are about had back to their cabin before they’re caught, they both hear the front door open. Maren and Theo hide as a person with heavy footsteps stomp about, all the while speaking in another language on a cell phone – which should be impossible at the camp. The person soon leaves, only for Maren and Theo to run straight into a bewildered Miss Bradley.

At Jo’s house, Miss Bradley claims she was kidnapped and interrogated for the location of a diamond ring by Charlotte Goodman’s ghost. Jo explains how the camp was named after Charlotte by her sister Rosalie after Charlotte died in a fire. According to camp legend, another woman died in the same fire and she had given Charlotte a very valuable ring, only it was never found. Apparently, towards the end of her life Jo’s mother believed the key to finding the ring is in Twelfth Night.

In Playwriting class, Maren meets Sal who she likes but who, unfortunately, is also friends with Allegra. Maren enjoys the class until they’re instructed to write about a time when they needed something and Maren writes down her very personal thoughts about her sister. Later at the auditions for Twelfth Night and after Maren reads for the part of Viola, her Playwriting instructor Monty asks for her to read out her monologue. Miserably she does and then runs out of the auditorium.

Back at her cabin, Maren hears footsteps but isn’t able to discover who’s sneaking about. On her dresser is another card with a quote from Twelfth Night and Maren understands that there really is a ring and that someone wants her to find it.

Discussion Questions:
  1. Why do you think Maren sees being clever and smart a burden?

  2. If you were to go to Camp Goodman, which do you think you would prefer more: the acting classes or the behind-the-scenes classes?

  3. Maren now understands that Twelfth Night really is the key to where the missing ring is hidden. How do you expect the play will point Maren to the ring's location?

See you again on Thursday as more of the mystery is revealed!

While you're at it, be sure you tune in on Wednesday, July 20th at 2 PM PT / 5 PM ET on Instagram Live for our monthly OwlBabble live author chat with Janet Key!

Pick up your own CAMPFIRE STORIES box now in the OwlCrate Jr shop!

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