What is Bubblegumshoe? BGS applies the fantastic GUMSHOE system to the teen detective genre. Your sleuths assemble clues, expose secrets, snarl relationships, avoid the police, solve crimes, and generally get into trouble. And since it's high school the stakes are incredibly high and incredibly low. The GUMSHOE skill list is refined to bare necessities and more specialized information is obtained through WHO you know, rather than WHAT you know.
There are three ingredients that differentiate these stories from their adult counterparts: sleuth focused, entangled relationships, and verbal sparring. When creating a Sleuth you define their place in school through socio-economic class, clique, clubs, etc. and their Goals. Goals are outside the investigation and ground the character in the larger narrative, ranging from being class president to evading that bully. Accomplishing your goals feeds into your character's Relationships, increasing their ratings. Defined by a paradigm, (Like, Love, or Hate) that's how your get access to university book learning and adult resources (a car if the characters don't drive or a weapon from your mom's gun safe for example.)
Physical conflict isn't really a point of focus in these stories, in parallel BGS emphasizes social over physical confrontations. Called Throwdowns, they emulate the verbal cut-and-thrust of teen double speak and questioning. Interpersonal skills fill the role of more traditional fighting skills, allowing the characters a wide array of social tactics to get what they want. Reassurance, intimidation, flirtation, and more provide creative, and complicating, strategies than just talking at GMC's with an anemic diplomacy check. I could write another blog post about Throwdowns.