This was my first time reading this one.
In the latest edition of completely unrealistic class trips, Jessi, Mallory, Stacey, Abby, and Kristy are off to London and Paris. SMS is traveling with a group from another middle school from Toronto. I didn’t catch how or why this partnership happened, but I don’t think it really matters. Anyway, the girls each have their own little adventure.
Jessi finds out that the group she danced with in NYis performing in London. She gets tickets for herself and the BSC members. While backstage saying hello, a dancer – who just happened to be dancing a part Jessi knows – injures herself. Since her understudy’s also sick, they ask Jessi to fill in and perform.
Mallory has dinner with some second cousins that live in London. They show her a family tree stating that William Shakespeare is a distant relative (great x17 grandfather). I guess they thought this book wasn’t unrealistic enough. Or maybe it’s not unrealistic, since great x17 works out to less than a hundredth of a percent. Lots of people must be related to him that much. Anyway, Mal’s inspired and spends the rest of the trip working hard on some story, and doesn’t pay attention to what she’s actually seeing until Jessi points it out to her.
Stacey’s got a couple of things going on. First, her mother’s a chaperone, which she finds super embarrassing. Understandable for a 13-year-old. Then she picks up the wrong suitcase at the airport, which I feel like has been done before, but can’t think of when. I may be thinking of Sleepover Friends. This lets her whine about clothes a bit and go shopping. But, then we get to the real point: The bag she grabs includes an urn with the ashes/remains of someone. When they reach the owner of the bag, they find out he’s a WWII vet, and was traveling to Europe to spread his army friend’s ashes on the beach in Normandy. Mrs. McGill tells the guy that she and Stacey will bring the ashes to him in person when they get to Paris, to make sure the airline doesn’t lose them again. Stacey starts reading up on WWII and gets interested in it. She ends up going with the guy (and her mother) when he spreads the ashes on the beach in Normandy.
Abby gets to be the focus of our interactions with Victoria. All of the BSC members go visit her, but Victoria only invites Abby to come along when she’s in some ceremony where she gives flowers to the Queen. Abby thinks this means she will meet the Queen, and gets all nervous about it. But really, she’s only in the back of the very large room. Later, she manages to accidentally step on the feet of some prince.
Kristy gets the vacation romance story in this book, which I think is a first for her, at least in a Super Special. She meets this guy Michel, from the Toronto middle school, who she “hates” on site. They spend the whole trip fighting and driving each other crazy. Then when they get separated from their group in Paris, they decide to “pretend” to get along until they meet up with everyone else. They end up having a lot of fun and people they see on the street call them a cute couple. On the last night of the trip they kiss goodbye.
Back in Stoneybrook, the rest of the club’s working at a playground camp. Cokie Mason’s also working there, trying to get her hands on Logan, who’s totally not interested. So, nothing new there. The head counselor at the camp’s Janine’s ex-boyfriend Jerry, who’s kind of a jerk to her. This makes Janine take out her anger on Claud, making her miserable. But in the end Janine tells off Jerry, and she and Claudia come to a bit of a truce.
- In the backstory chapter, Jessi says that Stacey has a normal life, other than having to give herself daily injections. I have to say, that’s not exactly a minor detail.
- Someone mentions that Elvis was in the army and may have been “overseas.” Then Abby guesses that it was for the Civil War. Seriously? Has Claudia been tutoring her or something?
- I’m guessing there was another book between the Playground fight one and the actual Super Special one, because they give no explanation whatsoever about how Stacey’s mom ended up as chaperone. I know I said I liked having a set up book, but having two seems to be pushing it.
- There’s this ongoing story surrounding the fact that the teacher chaperoning the trip (Mr. Dougherty – Mallory’s creative writing teacher) keeps disappearing on his own to look at things and always shows up late. So, Mrs. McGill ends up having to cover for him. Now, they don’t say how many kids are on this trip, but only two chaperones? That seems seriously low. There are teachers from the Canadian school, but they are watching their own kids.
- I remember in the Hawaii Super Special, it was a big deal when Abby wanted to go to the beach to shoot that commercial, because people needed to stay in the group. But in this one, all the girls have side trips on their own, and it doesn’t seem to be an issue.
- Claudia says she’s never worked as a camp counselor before. I guess technically that’s true, but what about when she was a CIT?
- Alan Gray purposely acts suspicious at the airport, because he thinks it’s funny. It’s just a thing that jumps out at you reading, because the scene wouldn’t have played out that way in current times.
- I can’t believe everyone was cool with Mallory just going (alone) to the house of some people she’d never actually met, just because they’re related.
- I’m surprised more teachers wouldn’t want to chaperone. Yes, they’d be working on their vacation, but they’d be in Paris/London for crazy-cheap prices.
- When the SMS students meet the other school they are traveling with, their chaperones make them do this lame icebreaker where they all put one shoe in a pile, then take someone else’s and walk around trying to find the owner. Kristy’s actually thinks this is a great idea and is all excited about doing it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone excited about that kind of thing.
- At camp, they have to move things inside because of a rain storm. Mary Anne ends up going back outside, because she’s looking for a camper that Cokie lost track of. When she comes in soaking wet, Cokie says ”Is this a BSC wet T-shirt contest?…not that anyone would notice.” Is she saying what I think she’s saying?
- At first, I thought the Jessi dancing thing was ridiculous, but they did give her a little time to practice at first, and she mentions not doing everything perfectly, so it’s somewhat realistic. Especially since she was just one person in a group dance scene.
- The BSC all thought Victoria lived in a castle, just based on her telling them that back at home. But I would think they knew Victoria well enough to know she exaggerates…she’s in a relatively normal house.
- Abby mentions how she and Mary Anne were the closest BSC members to Victoria. However, this isn’t really how I remember it, considering Mary Anne narrated the two books where Victoria was featured. I bet Mary Anne would have known Victoria was lying about a castle.
- Robert gets a chapter because he’s contributing to the trip journal the BSC’s doing. I’m not sure how Stacey convinced him to do this AFTER they stopped dating, but whatever.
- One day, Dawn ends up missing a day at the Playground Camp to fill in at this other camp for kids with disabilities. They should have had Dawn have reference her experience with cerebral palsy. I actually thought they would make a point of saying she was picked to fill in because of that experience, but I guess I was too optimistic. They do reference her experience with Down’s syndrome, so I’ll give them some credit.
- At the camp, we get a run in with Susan Felder, from way back.
- Dawn’s an idiot. The camp head tells her about this machine Susan has, and says that kids with autism use because it comforts them physically without having to touch other people (which they usually don’t like). Then, when Dawn brings Susan to the machine, and sees it “touching her,” she calls the person back all worried. The councilor’s all, “I thought you got that it was a hugging machine.” Really I don’t know how Dawn could have thought something else. I was surprised that she was confused, because it was so obvious what the councilor was saying. It’s like in the second Twilight book, when I couldn’t understand how Bella didn’t get that Edward left to protect her.
- How come Mallory always writes stories where the main character is her? Seriously, it’s annoying.
- Abby thinking for even a second that she was going to meet the Queen was ridiculous.
- Every room in their Paris hotel has a balcony looking at the Eiffel tower. Is that even possible? Don’t some rooms need to be on the other side of the building?
- I understand Stacey getting interested in WWII based on what happened with the suitcases, but it seems a bit pushy when she asks to go with the guy to spread his friend’s ashes.
- In the Playground Fight book, they say that the Europe trip is in the middle of the camp session. But in this book, the camp starts at the same time as the others leave for the trip.
- Kristy and Michel get separated when touring the Louvre with their group. They say the backup plan for when this happens is to go to some group meeting place at the end of the day. So, the two of them just go off on their own for the afternoon. They leave a message at their hotel that this is what they are doing, and the teacher leaves them one back saying that it’s okay. Now…what the hell kind of chaperone would be okay with that? I can’t believe they would even leave the museum without doing a head count.
- Apparently, Janine broke up with Jerry, got back together with him, then dumped him again. Which, leads to their tension at the camp. I would like to know which book this happens in, cause I want the story about this breakup.
- Michael (Kristy’s love interest) plays a “prank” on her, that Kristy claims humiliated her. Basically, he told the girl working at the counter of a café to pretend that she doesn’t speak English, so Kristy had trouble ordering. Then she’s embarrassed when she finds out the girl really spoke English. I don’t get what’s so humiliating about that. Isn’t it sort of expected that communicating will be hard when you don’t speak the native language? The girl didn’t yell at her or anything.
- Jessi convinces Mallory to stop working on her latest story and enjoy the trip. You would think she would mention how she went through the same thing in Hawaii, but she makes no reference to it. Maybe she was purposely avoiding it because she thought it would make Mal feel bad (since Mallory was the person Jessi was writing everything down for)? Or maybe the ghostwriter completely forgot. I’ll let you decide.