I am ashamed to admit this, but I really liked this one. I was totally jealous of Dawn and Claudia, because the book made it seem like getting stranded on an island was the coolest thing in the world. Not that I wanted to be stuck on an island, I didn’t even want to go camping. But my life just seemed so boring compared to these girls.
My most vivid memory of the book is that there are all the scenes with reporters being all over the place asking questions. And when one of them asked Sharon how it felt to know her children were missing, and she snaps back, “how do you THINK I feel.” I think Mary Anne says the same thing later, which seems a little out of character, but I still thought it was a cool moment.
This is probably one of the more ridiculous Super Specials. I mean, vacations are one thing. But getting shipwrecked on an island? Seriously? Anyway, here’s the set up:
Claudia and Dawn have been taking sailing lessons at the local community center, because apparently, Stoneybrook’s right on the ocean, even though this has never been mentioned before. After awhile, the girls decide to have a race. However, they end up in a tie and schedule a rematch. All that is relatively believable. But then they decide to bring some of their sitting charges with them. Because I know I wouldn’t have a problem sending my (hypothetical) child off on a sailboat with some 13-year-old who just learned how to sail. After all, these girls in the BSC are “responsible.”
Dawn brings Haley Braddock and her brother Jeff, while Claudia brings Jamie Newton and Becca Ramsey. The plan’s to race to Greenpoint Island, this little island off the coast that people use for recreation-type activities. Because they want to make things nice for the kids, they decide to race to the island and have a picnic/outing/whatever instead of racing there and back. However, during the race, they get caught in a really bad rainstorm. The boats drift off course, and the one Dawn’s in actually gets ripped apart – Dawn, Jeff, and Haley need to abandon ship and hold on to Claud’s boat. They make it to an island, but not Greenpoint, and they have no idea where they are. And, no one knows what happened to them.
They end up stranded for two days. They have a survival kit from the boats and some food they had brought for a picnic, so they have some supplies. They find a cave to stay in, Jeff manages to catch some fish, and Claudia sets up a tarp to gather rainwater. So, they are managing relatively well. But after the first day, the kids are all getting tired of being there and Jamie gets sick, with a high fever. Finally, Claudia finds a piece of mirror in the woods, uses it to signal a search plane and they all get rescued.
Meanwhile, everyone back in Stoneybrook’s all freaked out:
- Stacey’s in NY for the weekend, and gets in a fight with her father because she wants to go home to “help search” and he wants to enjoy his weekend with her. She ends up leaving and then talks to both her parents about putting her in the middle, blah, blah, blah.
- Jessi was watching Squirt and Becca while her parents were away (for the entire weekend! Are we supposed to believe that people who won’t let their 11-year-old baby-sit at night, let her stay alone with her siblings for a whole weekend?) But anyway, Jessi ends up calling her Aunt Cecilia, who comes over and “takes over.”
- Mary Anne’s all freaked out because she and Dawn had a fight, and the last thing Mary Anne said to her was “I hope I never see you again.” The fight was because Dawn forgot to give Mary Anne a phone message from Logan. So when Mary Anne accuses Logan of standing her up, he gets mad at her, and Mary Anne blames Dawn. After Claud and Dawn disappear, Logan calls Mary Anne to say he’s sorry about them being missing, but he’s still pissed at her. Of course, they make up later.
- Kristy cancels a Krusher’s practice to help look for “the missing.” Bart acts like an asshole, and accuses her of doing it because she’s afraid her team will lose. But, he sort of apologizes and they make up.
- Mallory doesn’t really have a plot in this one. I think she had one chapter. Basically she’s just there and her family helps search for Claudia, Dawn, et al.
The “theme” of the book, follows the standard super special, in that the girls are recording everything that happens for someone’s journal/book/etc. In this case, Dawn’s making a record of what happened because it was such a traumatic experience. Only, most of it’s told “looking back” because, obviously, they didn’t know to bring journals with them to the island. However, there’s a big difference from most super specials, in that it’s not evenly split between the girls. Most of it focuses on Dawn and Claudia because that’s where the excitement is. I think Dawn has ten chapters.
- Claudia’s outfit almost makes her loose the first race: “She’d put on a tank top and baggy drawstring pants. Over the top, she was wearing a button-down shirt of her fathers. The sleeves were rolled up, but none of the buttons were buttoned. She was also wearing big earrings that she had made herself.”
- The sailing instructor tells Dawn and Claudia that they don’t need counselors with them, they just can’t sail alone. I guess that makes it okay to bring children as young as four with them? I mean, someone that age would certainly be just as helpful as a certified instructor.
- The cover art in this book’s terrible. I’m assuming that the four non-BSC members on the cover are Jeff, Jamie, Becca, and Haley. And yet….I can’t tell which one’s supposed to be Haley and which one’s supposed to be Jeff. I guess Dawn has her hand on Jeff’s shoulder? But I’m not totally sure. And Kristy and Jessi both look….not good.
- Okay, so, here’s one of my main complaints. The storm Dawn and Claudia get stuck in doesn’t just happen on the water, it hits Stoneybrook too. And there are thunderstorms all weekend. So, shouldn’t all this have been in the weather report? I know meteorologists aren’t always accurate, but I have a hard time believing that so much rain wouldn’t have been in the forecast. I’m not saying that Dawn and Claudia wouldn’t have sailed with that forecast, but you would think there would at least be a mention of it. Or that the community center would tell them not to sail that day.
- In this case it ended up helping them, but I’ve always thought these girls bring too much food when talking about picnics. They brought multiple kinds of sandwiches, fruit, yogurt, salad, granola bars, and candy bars.
- They save the apples, bananas, and candy bars. Their second day there, everyone but Dawn and Jeff eat candy bars for breakfast. Dawn was planning on eating a banana, but when Jeff catches fish, she changes her mind. So the fruit should still be available, but they stop talking about it entirely.
- They ate most of the stuff the first night there because they didn’t know if it would go bad or not. I can understand thinking the yogurt and salad would go bad, but they eat the peanut butter sandwiches. I would think those would last at least a day or two.
- There’s a point where Becca has an idea to write “help” with shells on the sand, so that overhead plans can see them. It totally reminds me of the episode of Lost where Bernard tries to get everyone to write SOS with rocks. Or maybe the Lost episode reminded me of the BSC.
- Apparently Stacey has to write up a sitting job she takes in NY in the club notebook. I can’t figure out why. If the point of the notebook’s to keep track of what their clients are doing, it’s pointless to write up an out-of-town job. No one else is going to be sitting for the kids in NYC.
- The people back in Stoneybrook keep talking about reporters covering the story. As a kid, I thought that might be a little unrealistic. But, now I actually think it makes sense. Six missing children would definitely make the news these days. However, I think most reporters could come up with better questions than, “how does it feel?”
- Just to say again for the record….What kind of people let their four-year-old go on a sailing trip with a couple 13-year-olds who only recently learned to sail? Back in the early books, Mrs. Newton didn’t want to leave her newborn with 12-year-olds. But now that they are 13, they get to bring Jamie sailing?
- Claudia and Dawn say that with their “crew members,” their teams are pretty equal. Now, let’s think about this. Jeff’s been sailing before. So, how can anyone say that Jeff and Haley, are an equivalent “crew” as Becca and Jamie. I mean, let’s call the girls equal. That’s Jeff vs. a four-year-old.
- There’s a part where Jeff mentions that maybe they drifted very far and ended up in Nova Scotia. I remember how when I first read this, I had never heard of Nova Scotia and thought it was some exotic far-a-way place.
- Haley refers to the book Baby Island. I totally read that book as a kid. I can’t remember how it ended though…and the cover I remember was much less grim than this one.
- They name the island “9:00 Island” because the first two times they wonder what time it is, it’s 9:00. Once the night they get there, and once the next morning. They make a point of asking, because Dawn’s watch wasn’t waterproof, and she gets anxious about not knowing what time it is. Luckily, Jeff’s watch was waterproof.
- Claudia originally asks Mal to be her crew member, but Mal can’t because her family has “plans for the long weekend.” But, when everyone turns up missing, they cancel plans and help search. It seems like a pretty convenient plot point. I think they just wanted to find a reason there would be kids with them.
- Claudia and Dawn guess that Jamie has a temperature of 103. Isn’t that really, really high?
- Claudia references that she likes sailing because she likes feeling the wind against her, and says that must be why she likes skiing too. I’ve said this before, but I like seeing continuity like that.
- Interesting that the only time they mention the bathroom, is when they say Jamie got up several times in the middle of the night to go. (Because they were making him drink so much water). For some reason, I thought there was a scene where one of the younger girls was upset about the lack of a real bathroom.
- I really would like to know how the mirror ended up on this island.
- Bart’s really a jackass in this one. Kristy’s friends and members of her team are literally missing and he wants them to play softball like nothing’s wrong? Later, he apologizes, but says Kristy exaggerates sometimes. So then SHE apologizes for “crying wolf.”
- Jessi has the operator interrupt Kristy’s call (that it’s an emergency call), to tell her they found everyone. Can you really do that?
- One detail I really like, is that in all the image of them on the island, they are always wearing the same clothes.
- Why would Aunt Cecelia think it was Jessi’s fault that Becca got stranded? Even if she thought Jessi was the one who let Becca go sailing, wouldn’t Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey have cleared that up? Because they did give her permission to go. Also, if Aunt Cecelia lives so close to Stoneybrook, why wouldn’t they have asked her to watch the kids that weekend?
- I always knew this book is the one that introduces Aunt Cecelia, but I don’t think I realized until know that this book must have come out right before Jessi's Baby-sitter (where that happens).
- Since when do the girls take notes at a meeting? Mary Anne freaks because she’s too upset to take notes, so Kristy does it.
- Claudia has a bit of a hero arc in this one. She’s the one who figures out how to gather rainwater, and she’s the one who finds the mirror/gets them rescued. Dawn ends up “falling apart” (in her words). This really just means she sits in the cave with a sick Jamie feeling sad while Claudia finds the mirror. Dawn’s the one who says this – I actually think she and Claud acted pretty impressively, considering the situation.