''The Basic Eight'' is a 1998 novel by Daniel Handler, better known as [[Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents Lemony Snicket]]. It is told as the journal of one Flannery Culp, a highly intelligent and sarcastic teenage girl doing a life sentence in prison for murder. The premise is that she is editing her own journal from the months leading up to the murder, so that it can be published as a true-crime book.

The novel itself centres on Flannery and her group of friends, known collectively as "The Basic Eight". They are:
* Flannery herself, a DeadpanSnarker and our UnreliableNarrator.
* Kate Gordon, the semi-LovableAlphaBitch and the Queen Bee of the Basic Eight.
* Douglas Wilde, Flan's amicably ex-boyfriend, an opera lover [[spoiler:in a TransparentCloset]].
* Lily Chandly, a classical musician and Douglas' new girlfriend.
* Jennifer Rose Milton, a sweet, shy girl who is so beautiful that Flan must always write out her name in full.
* Gabriel Gallon, the kindest boy on earth, who is in love with Flan.
* [[SpellMyNameWithABlank V___]], whose rich and influential parents had her name expunged from the story.
* Natasha Hyatt, Flan's wild, hilarious vampy best friend, [[spoiler:who is actually a figment of Flan's imagination]].

Flan's victim is the boy with whom she was madly in love, Adam State. The novel opens with her love letters to him, and it [[FromBadToWorse goes downhill from there]].

Noted for being witty and insightful, this novel mocks teenage fiction while simultaneously being the very best of it.
----
This novel provides examples of:
* AdultsAreUseless
* AlcoholInducedIdiocy
* AllHallowsEve: The Halloween party [[spoiler: and date of Adam's murder.]]
* AllLoveIsUnrequited
* AmicableExes: Flan and Douglas are these.
* AnalogyBackfire: Flannery struggles with these, especially when describing her night with Adam.
-->'''Flannery''': I guess I mean that if the flower of my love for Adam was being stunted by any feelings of doubt, then tonight fully fertilized my seed and allowed it to grow. That works if you donít think about the fact that fertilizer is made of shit.
* {{Angst}}: Lots.
* AnguishedDeclarationOfLove: That damn postcard!
* ArcWords: "Do ''something''."
* ArmorPiercingQuestion: Combined with WhamLine.
-->[[spoiler:'''Flannery:''' Adam State, handsome senior, [...] was killed by our glamorous friend Natasha, and now we're all--]]
-->[[spoiler:'''Douglas:''' Who?]]
* AssholeVictim: Adam may or may not be this, depending on how unreliable our narrator really is. [[spoiler:Jim Carr plays this straight.]]
* AuthorAvatar: Adam State, possibly (they both happened to be the choir teacher's assistant in high school).
* BettyAndVeronica: Gabriel and Adam, respectively.
* BlackAndNerdy: Gabriel, although of the intellectual rather than academic type.
* BlackComedy: Gets continuously blacker over the course of the narrative.
* BreakTheCutie
* ButtMonkey: Gabriel, to an extent.
* CharacterOverlap: Kate and her ex-boyfriend Garth are mentioned in Handler's other book, Adverbs.
* ChekhovsGun: The handkerchief, the red croquet mallet, the baguette.
* ClingyJealousGirl: Lily.
* CoolTeacher: Millie, Hattie Lewis and Ron Piper. Mr. Baker would be this, only Flannery is hopeless at the subject he teaches.
* DanceOfRomance: [[spoiler:Adam and Kate, although Flan doesn't realise it's this until later.]]
* DaydreamSurprise
* DeadpanSnarker: Flannery is very much this. Other members of the Basic Eight have their moments too.
* DepravedHomosexual: The media portrays Ron Piper as this, despite him having nothing to do with the murder.
* {{Diary}}
* DisposingOfABody: The group struggle with this after the murder.
* DisproportionateRetribution: Adam appears to be a bit of an asshole, sure, but doesn't deserve to be murdered.
** [[spoiler: Also, arguably Jim Carr's fate.]]
* DoggedNiceGuy: Gabriel.
* DontExplainTheJoke:
-->'''Eleanor Tert''': I was in deep denial, and I'm not talking about a river in Egypt. I said I'm not talking about a river in Egypt. Well, you probably haven't learned about it yet, but the Nile is a river in Egypt, and when I said "denial" it sounded like--well, never mind.
* DramaClub
* [[spoiler:TheEndingChangesEverything: Try reading the book again after you find out Natasha doesn't exist.]]
* EpistolaryNovel: Flannery discusses an idea for one.
* EverybodyHatesMathematics: Flan, anyway.
* EverybodyMustGetStoned[=/=]MushroomSamba: The absinthe party.
* [[spoiler: ExtremeMeleeRevenge[=/=]NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: Flannery delivers this onto Adam, until he's no longer even Adam ...]]
* ForegoneConclusion: The murder of Adam. The only thing we don't know straight off is exactly how and when it happens.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: A lot, and half of it is even lampshaded by the narrator.
* TheFriendNobodyLikes: Flora Habstat, although this might be due to Flan's personal dislike leaking into the narrative.
* FreudianExcuse: Flannery's childhood best friend died in a car crash. They were very close.
* [[spoiler:{{Gayngst}}: Poor Douglas.]]
* GrammarNazi: Flannery frequently corrects her (and occasionally other's) grammar, even in dire situations.
* GreekChorus
* HeroicBSOD: [[spoiler:Flannery at the Halloween party]]
* HighSchool
* HighSchoolDance
* HollywoodSatanism: What the Basic Eight end up characterised as.
* IconicItem: Each of the Basic Eight have one, which Flan steals and hoards for reasons unknown even to her. They are:
** Kate's navy blue sweater.
** Douglas' hat.
** Lily's tortoiseshell glasses.
** V___'s silk scarf.
** Jennifer Rose Milton's earring.
** Gabriel's pocketknife.
** Natasha's claw-handed nail file.
* [[spoiler:ImaginaryFriend: Natasha.]]
* [[spoiler:IncompatibleOrientation: Douglas to Lily.]]
* InformedJudaism: Flan is Jewish, although this is seldom brought up.
* IntoxicationEnsues: A large part of the plot is induced by this.
* InvisibleParents: Flan seldom ever mentions her parents.
* KarmaHoudini: Defied by Flannery.
* LoveHurts: Oh, yes.
* LoveLetterLunacy
* LoveMakesYouCrazy: Our narrator may not have been fully there to begin with, but her love of Adam certainly doesn't help.
* LoveDodecahedron
* ManicPixieDreamGirl: Natasha could be considered a platonic version of this for Flannery.
* MindScrew: Just try to work out what actually happened, what Flan thought happened but didn't, what Flan didn't think happened but made up, and what Flan added later during the editing.
* MoralGuardians: Eleanor Tert, Winnie Moprah, and the various other people who chime in after the murder occurs.
* ObliviousToLove: Flan to Gabriel, at first.
* PhallicWeapon: Adam lampshades Flannery's baguette as this.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Mr Baker.
* RedHerring: Handler labels foreshadowing and reveals the ending early in the novel, distracting the reader from the hints about the real twist ending.
** The baguette is lampshaded as one. [[spoiler:Later subverted as Flan uses it to pummel Adam's flailing hand.]]
* RichInDollarsPoorInSense: V___ is described as this.
* SadistTeacher: Jim Carr. Not only does he sleazily hit on his teaching assistants, but he also [[spoiler:molests Flannery]].
* SanitySlippage: Flannery is a bit ... unbalanced to say the least.
* SchoolPlay
* ShoutOut: At least two of the covers involve a croquet mallet, which is both the [[spoiler:murder weapon]] and an allusion to [[Film/{{Heathers}} that other one with the murderous high schoolers]]
* SingleGirlSeeksMostPopularGuy: V___ for Steve Nervo.
* SpoiledSweet: V___.
* StalkerWithACrush: Flannery gradually starts to edge into this territory.
* StickyFingers: See IconicItem.
* SympatheticMurderer: It's her diary, edited by her, so of course.
* TakeThat: [[TheOprahWinfreyShow Winnie Moprah.]] Also pop psychology and the media in general.
* TamperingWithFoodAndDrink: Natasha's weapon of choice [[spoiler:to take out Jim Carr.]]
* TheReveal
* UnreliableNarrator: UpToEleven. Not only does she not have a full grip on what's going on, but sometimes Flan outright makes things up to make the narrative work better. Even lampshaded at one point:
-->'''Flannery''': Could it be that our narrator is unreliable? [[BlatantLies No such chance. Mind like a steel trap, I have.]]
* WeightWoe: Flan thinks she's fat. Upon being forced to look in the mirror by Natasha, she realises she's thinner than ''Kate'', at any rate.
* WildTeenParty
* WhatDidIDoLastNight: Played for drama after the Halloween party.
* WhamLine: See ArmorPiercingQuestion above.
* YourCheatingHeart
----