One of our favorite twins is marooned on an uncharted island! You can’t miss this – it’s Sweet Valley High meets Gilligan’s Island in a way you won’t be able to forget – no matter how hard you try! 😉
“Lost At Sea”
Sweet Valley Scale: 4.5 out of 5 Twins
On a beautiful, sunny day a group from Sweet Valley High set sail for Anacapa Island, on a special science field trip. Jessica Wakefield is looking forward to a few hours of sunbathing and flirting while her twin sister, Elizabeth, can’t wait to get to the island to study the marine life. Neither of them could have ever imagined the nightmare the trip will become. On the way back from the island, a sudden and violent storm sets in and the group is forced to abandon ship in the middle of a raging sea. Then the lifeboat that is carrying Jessica and Winston Egbert capsizes and they disappear into the fog. Once the storm clears, Jessica’s life preserver turns up, and soon the Coast Guard finds the missing lifeboat, but it’s empty! Will Jessica and Winston ever be found? Alive?
Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are taking a field trip to Anacapa Island, which is about an hour away from the mainland. Jessica has to go because she is flunking Chemistry and needs the extra credit (same story for Lila Fowler, Ken Matthews and a few others) while Elizabeth is going because she’s all about the learning (as is the rest of the kids including Winston Egbert and Enid Rollins). Jessica is determined to make the best of the trip, which means she plans on getting out of any actual work and just lying out in the sun and making some moves on Ken Matthews. Why? Because he is the only eligible bachelor on the trip. Seriously – that is the only reason, even if the field trip will only take up a single afternoon.
Mr. Russo, the chemistry teacher who is in charge of the trip divides the students into four groups of four, and from there each student is paired with a “buddy” in case an emergency situation comes up, and for this reason alone, you know that it will. On the boat and on the island, Winston is being a real pain and cock-blocking (someone told me the female equivalent, but I see myself losing a few readers if I repeat it) Jessica’s attempts at flirting with Ken. He even puts a crab on her head! Jessica is about to commit murder by the time they get back on the boat, so Elizabeth distracts Winston so Jessica can finally get some time alone with Ken. But I’m confused because the whole idea was to have someone while she was on the field trip…
On the way back a storm rolls in quickly and all of a sudden the boat is filling up with water and sinking. But it’s a big charter boat, and they didn’t hit anything and lightning didn’t strike, so why are they sinking? I’m confused. Everyone abandons ship and gets into lifeboats according to their assigned buddies. And now I have to take a moment to say something. This ghostwriter cannot do math – like basic addition and subtraction. It bothered me because it was so “HERE I AM!” and there were so many mistakes within a short period of time. When they were first divided into groups, Mr. Russo said they had the perfect amount of students so that each group could handle its own scientific area since there were three scientific areas and four teams of four. Do you see the uh-oh yet? Then when they were abandoning ship, it was two people per boat – buddies only. Four boats went into the water before Jessica and Winston’s did. They had the second to last boat while the last boat was for Mr. Russo and the captain. So they just left six students to drown? Because the students were in four teams of four! I mean, wouldn’t this bother you? It’s second grade stuff! Anyway…
In the water, Elizabeth and her buddy Aaron Dallas are missing an oar, but Winston has an extra one so he and Jessica row over to them and Winston stands to throw them their extra oar, when a huge waves crashes upon them and the boat capsizes. There is no sign of Jessica or Winston, and twenty minutes later when the storm clears up there is still no sign of them. Mostly. Jessica’s life jacket (she was wearing the only yellow one) and Winston’s baseball cap are found a little ways away in the water – but no Jessica or Winston…
Jessica lost her life jacket when a second wave hit her and she swims like a motherfucker until she reaches a deserted island. She is so exhausted she falls asleep on the beach and doesn’t wake up until the next morning. After she wakes up she decides to try and find some food and wanders into the jungle when she is frightening by a large animal in the bushes making angry noises. An animal named Winston Egbert! It turns out Winston was able to right the boat after it capsized and just kept rowing. Jessica is so excited that Winston has the lifeboat, but wait for it… Winston didn’t pull the boat up on the shore far enough and by the time he woke up it was gone. Jessica is seriously pissed, and I have to say I would be too. He had a boat and now he doesn’t because he didn’t think… damn him!
Winston tries to make it up to Jessica by showing her a large pile of fruit he picked and fish he caught and offers her some, but she says she’ll just catch her own [fish]. And I want to see this. This book would have been perfect if Jessica actually tried to catch herself some fish. I want to see this! Sadly, all she did was mope until she is so hungry she figures out a way to make it seem like she is doing Winston a favor by eating with him. Typical Jess. Winston knows Jessica all too well, and I did like how he was constantly playing her. Preparing for the arguments, getting her to give in to what needed to be done, etc. Go Win!
When they’re done eating Jessica wants to go and lay out on the beach to work on her tan. She is actually happy to be stranded because with a diet of fish and fruit she should lose a little weight, and if they are not rescued right away and she grows tired of that diet she can just stop eating altogether and lose even more weight. I am so fucking serious. I mean, find the silver lining – okay, but nice to know the silver lining is starving yourself to meet some impossible and ridiculous beauty standard because women are only worth their sex appeal. Winston is insistent that they need to build some sort of shelter and Jessica finally gives in – Winston will build it and Jessica will decorate it. (And the feminist in me just screamed and punched something. I hope there was no permanent damage.)
Back in Sweet Valley, everyone is fearing the worst. (I totally get this because they found Jess’s life preserver AND later found the empty lifeboat – it looks really bad…) Elizabeth is stupid and goes to school the next day because she has a test (again Liz is super smart, except with the whole common sense thing) and she hears how the Coast Guard found the empty lifeboat and how no one has much hope that they’ll find Jessica or Winston alive. And while Elizabeth is super mopey and worried, she knows that Jessica isn’t dead because of that freaky twin thing. If Jessica were dead, she would know.
Nicholas Morrow offers to help search for her with his yacht (I think it’s a yacht, but I don’t know boats – he is a millionaire so think expensive) and Elizabeth, her boyfriend Jeffrey, the twins’ brother Steven, Cara Walker, Bruce Patman and Ken Matthews set out to explore the tiny islands where Jessica and Winston might have ended up. But another sudden storm happens and they return to the mainland before they can search anything.
Back in their own little paradise, Jessica and Winston are actually getting along. It’s kind of sweet, kind of scary, but I liked it. I liked the Jessica on that island and wish she decided to become that girl fulltime, but sadly we all know it isn’t going to take. While searching for food they run into a bear. Yes, a fricking bear! I want to have a serious talk with this ghostwriter. Jessica figures out that the bear only wants the fruit that they picked so she starts throwing berries in the other direction. But her aim sucks and one of her throws landed some berries smack in that bear’s face – and it is not amused. But lightning strikes, thunder booms and it starts pouring so they are saved by an act of… convenience. The bear runs for cover.
When they get back to their shelter Winston feels ashamed for how scared he got when they were confronted by the bear (he ran behind Jessica, and yet this is the best thing I think he did the entire book – she had it coming) and Jessica comforts him. They have another bonding moment. Then Jessica starts feeling sorry for herself and all the things she’ll miss if she has to stay on the island for the rest of her life (it’s been about 24 hours). She starts bargaining: promising to be a better person, kinder, thoughtful, and not self-obsessed… you get the picture. And then the helicopter shows up and they’re rescued. I kid you not.
Back on the mainland, Jessica takes credit for everything Winston did and eats up all of the attention, from friends and the media. She is already expecting calls from People Magazine, Oprah, and Barbara Walters (she names them – yep). It’s nice to see Jessica isn’t letting any of those promises hold her back now that she’s home. What happens on an uncharted island stays on the uncharted island… or something like that. 😛
I almost rated this book a perfect 5 and I am still tempted to. My system is if it doesn’t feel definitive… don’t. But I really liked Jessica in this book and that almost never happens. Also this book was so far-fetched and crazy, and Jessica’s thoughts about being stranded were absolutely maddening – this book captures why I love this series and why I need to feel guilty for loving this series – perfectly. I didn’t highlight all of the crazy “Gilligan’s” things that Winston and Jessica came up with including curtains and a couch. Yep – Jessica made a couch out of palm leaves. I am still trying to picture this palm leaf couch… So bad, it hurts…