The Baby-Sitters Club Wiki
The Baby-Sitters Club Wiki

Claudia and the Terrible Truth is the 117th book in The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin.

Back Cover Summary[]

Getting to know new kids and their families is one of the best parts of baby-sitting. So when Claudia goes to sit for the Nicholls kids, she's excited. Only something's not quite right at the Nicholls house. Joey and Nate are sweet, but they don't seem very happy. In fact, they seem scared of their own father.

Claudia thinks he's hurting them. But saying or doing the wrong thing will only make matters worse. And what if she's mistaken?

One thing is certain: Claudia needs to find out what's really going on. And if she's right, she needs to get help—fast.

Main Plot[]

The Babysitters Club gets a new client; the Nicholls Family. When Claudia first sits for them, she notices some strange things going on with the kids. Joey and Nate make sure everything they touch goes back into its place. They are too worried to go to a friend's house without Mr. Nicholls' permission. But Mr. Nicholls seems fine enough.

However, as Claudia continues to sit for them, she notices that Mr. Nicholls is unusually strict. He yells at the kids, calling them dumb. He punishes them by cleaning the house after they touch his briefcase to make room to play. He doesn't allow Joey and Nate to have stuffed animals.

Later, Claudia thinks she hears Mr. Nicholls slap his kids in the face. The BSC then discuss what to do. They aren't sure if Mr. Nicholls is abusing his children, but Claudia's positive he abuses them, even though she never saw him in action.

They decide to tell an adult, and Claudia tells her mother. Her mother asks Mrs. Nicholls about Mr. Nicholls at the library, but Mrs. Nicholls clams up. Claudia and her mother are both sure Mrs. Nicholls is lying, because of her body language.

Erica Blumberg sits for Joey and Nate only to find one of them with a black eye and bruises. Erica calls Claudia, and Claudia calls her mother. Later, her mother pulls up with her car to the Nicholls house, and everybody piles in the car, expect Mr. Nicholls. In the end, Mrs. Nicholls, Joey, and Nate Nicholls leave to live at their relatives house, to get things sorted out.



Claudia's Family

Extended Family

BSC Members




  • Mr. and Mrs. Nicholls
  • Maggie O'Meara - Coordinator of the St. Patrick's Parade
  • Nikki Stanton-Cha (mentioned)


Pop Culture and Real-Life References[]

  • Pumas
  • Nancy Drew, The Runaway Bunny (books)
  • Star Wars & C3PO
  • Encyclopedia Brown
  • Johnny Tremain

Continuity and Inconsistencies[]



  • Claudia takes a regular sitting job, in previous books Kristy had something negative to say (such as in Stacey McGill, Super Sitter), yet here she says nothing.

Ann M. Martin's Dear Reader Letter[]

Dear Reader,

In Claudia and the Terrible Truth, Claudia learns a disturbing secret about a new family in Stoneybrook. When she thinks that Joey and Nate are being abused, she isn’t sure what to do. What if she’s wrong? Finally, though, Claudia decides she must talk to an adult. This is a good rule to follow for any serious baby-sitting problem. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Don’t worry about bringing up an issue that turns out not to be a problem. Trust your instincts. Chances are, if you think something is wrong, it probably is. And the best thing to do is to talk to any adult you can trust. Claudia chose her mother. You might choose a parent, a teacher, a clergyperson, or your doctor.

For more information concerning child abuse, you or an adult can call:

Childhelp Child Abuse National Hotline


  • This is the second and final appearance of the Nicholls Family.
  • This is the first time Mr. Kishi's office is shown.
    • He has a couch and Claudia says that he sometimes takes a nap.
  • Russ and Peaches haven't had a vacation since Lynn was born.
  • Claudia is a whiz at cleaning windows.
  • Claudia feels closer to her mom as she cries in her arms.
  • Claudia rearranged her junk food stash.
  • Janine has evening classes.
  • Rioko Kishi has a friend in the Department of Children and Youth Services named Mona.
  • One of the floats at the parade was full of pageant winners and sponsored by local beauty shops.
  • The kids in the parade ended up wearing name tags telling everyone what they were supposed to be.
  • Erica Blumberg baby-sits.
  • Even though it's never been shown, Claudia has been to her dad's office.
  • There's a Chinese restaurant across the street from John's office.
  • Erica comes to a BSC meeting.
  • Claudia and Erica becoming friends could be foreshadowing to their friendship in the Friends Forever series.
Baby-Sitters Club Books
The Summer Before | #1 Kristy's Great Idea | #2 Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls | #3 The Truth About Stacey | #4 Mary Anne Saves the Day | #5 Dawn and the Impossible Three | #6 Kristy's Big Day | #7 Claudia and Mean Janine | #8 Boy-Crazy Stacey | #9 The Ghost at Dawn's House | #10 Logan Likes Mary Anne! | #11 Kristy and the Snobs | #12 Claudia and the New Girl | #13 Good-bye Stacey, Good-bye | #14 Hello, Mallory | #15 Little Miss Stoneybrook... and Dawn | #16 Jessi's Secret Language | #17 Mary Anne's Bad-Luck Mystery | #18 Stacey's Mistake | #19 Claudia and the Bad Joke | #20 Kristy and the Walking Disaster | #21 Mallory and the Trouble with Twins | #22 Jessi Ramsey, Pet-sitter | #23 Dawn on the Coast | #24 Kristy and the Mother's Day Surprise | #25 Mary Anne and the Search for Tigger | #26 Claudia and the Sad Good-bye | #27 Jessi and the Superbrat | #28 Welcome Back, Stacey! | #29 Mallory and the Mystery Diary | #30 Mary Anne and the Great Romance | #31 Dawn's Wicked Stepsister | #32 Kristy and the Secret of Susan | #33 Claudia and the Great Search | #34 Mary Anne and Too Many Boys | #35 Stacey and the Mystery of Stoneybrook | #36 Jessi's Baby-Sitter | #37 Dawn and the Older Boy | #38 Kristy's Mystery Admirer | #39 Poor Mallory! | #40 Claudia and the Middle School Mystery | #41 Mary Anne vs. Logan | #42 Jessi and the Dance School Phantom | #43 Stacey's Emergency | #44 Dawn and the Big Sleepover | #45 Kristy and the Baby Parade | #46 Mary Anne Misses Logan | #47 Mallory on Strike | #48 Jessi's Wish | #49 Claudia and the Genius of Elm Street | #50 Dawn's Big Date | #51 Stacey's Ex-Best Friend | #52 Mary Anne + 2 Many Babies | #53 Kristy for President | #54 Mallory and the Dream Horse | #55 Jessi's Gold Medal | #56 Keep Out, Claudia! | #57 Dawn Saves the Planet | #58 Stacey's Choice | #59 Mallory Hates Boys (and Gym) | #60 Mary Anne's Makeover | #61 Jessi and the Awful Secret | #62 Kristy and the Worst Kid Ever | #63 Claudia's Freind Friend | #64 Dawn's Family Feud | #65 Stacey's Big Crush | #66 Maid Mary Anne | #67 Dawn's Big Move | #68 Jessi and the Bad Baby-sitter | #69 Get Well Soon, Mallory! | #70 Stacey and the Cheerleaders | #71 Claudia and the Perfect Boy | #72 Dawn and the We Love Kids Club | #73 Mary Anne and Miss Priss | #74 Kristy and the Copycat | #75 Jessi's Horrible Prank | #76 Stacey's Lie | #77 Dawn and Whitney, Friends Forever | #78 Claudia and Crazy Peaches | #79 Mary Anne Breaks the Rules | #80 Mallory Pike, No. 1 Fan | #81 Kristy and Mr. Mom | #82 Jessi and the Troublemaker | #83 Stacey vs. the BSC | #84 Dawn and the School Spirit War | #85 Claudia Kishi, Live From WSTO! | #86 Mary Anne and Camp BSC | #87 Stacey and the Bad Girls | #88 Farewell, Dawn | #89 Kristy and the Dirty Diapers | #90 Welcome to the BSC, Abby! | #91 Claudia and the First Thanksgiving | #92 Mallory's Christmas Wish | #93 Mary Anne and the Memory Garden | #94 Stacey McGill, Super Sitter | #95 Kristy + Bart = ? | #96 Abby's Lucky Thirteen | #97 Claudia and the World's Cutest Baby | #98 Dawn and Too Many Sitters | #99 Stacey's Broken Heart | #100 Kristy's Worst Idea | #101 Claudia Kishi, Middle School Dropout | #102 Mary Anne and the Little Princess | #103 Happy Holidays, Jessi | #104 Abby's Twin | #105 Stacey the Math Whiz | #106 Claudia, Queen of the Seventh Grade | #107 Mind Your Own Business, Kristy! | #108 Don't Give Up, Mallory! | #109 Mary Anne to the Rescue | #110 Abby the Bad Sport | #111 Stacey's Secret Friend | #112 Kristy and the Sister War | #113 Claudia Makes Up Her Mind | #114 The Secret Life of Mary Anne Spier | #115 Jessi's Big Break | #116 Abby and the Best Kid Ever | #117 Claudia and the Terrible Truth | #118 Kristy Thomas, Dog Trainer | #119 Stacey's Ex-Boyfriend | #120 Mary Anne and the Playground Fight | #121 Abby in Wonderland | #122 Kristy in Charge | #123 Claudia's Big Party | #124 Stacey McGill... Matchmaker? | #125 Mary Anne in the Middle | #126 The All-New Mallory Pike | #127 Abby's Un-Valentine | #128 Claudia and the Little Liar | #129 Kristy at Bat | #130 Stacey's Movie | #131 The Fire at Mary Anne's House
Super Specials
#1 Baby-sitters on Board! | #2 Baby-sitters' Summer Vacation | #3 Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation | #4 Baby-sitters' Island Adventure | #5 California Girls! | #6 New York, New York! | #7 Snowbound | #8 Baby-sitters at Shadow Lake | #9 Starring the Baby-sitters Club #10 Sea City, Here We Come! | #11 The Baby-sitters Remember | #12 Here Come the Bridesmaids! | #13 Aloha, Baby-sitters! | #14 BSC in the USA | #15 Baby-sitters' European Vacation
Portrait Collection
Stacey's Book | Claudia's Book | Dawn's Book | Mary Anne's Book | Kristy's Book | Abby's Book
The Baby-Sitters Club Notebook (1987) | The Baby-Sitters Club Postcard Book (1991) | Trivia & Puzzle Fun Book (1992) | Ann M. Martin: The Story of the author of the Baby-sitters Club (1993) | The Baby-Sitters Club Guide to Babysitting (1993) | The Baby-Sitters Club Chain Letter (1993) | The Baby-Sitters Club Secret Santa (1994) | Audio Books on Cassette Tape (1994-5) | BSC Movie Novelization (1995) | The Complete Guide to the Baby-Sitters Club (1996) | Autograph Book (1998) | BSC Graphic Novels (2006-present) | We Are the Baby-Sitters Club: Essays and Artwork from Grown-Up Readers (2021) | Welcome to Stoneybrook: A Guided Journal (2021) | The Official Coloring Book (2023)