So we have our first Super Special...and our first hiccup in the publication order. This one definitely came out after #14, but Mallory isn't in the club yet, and there's no mention of Jessi. Stacey is still in Stoneybrook (the Mc Gill's Ping Pong table is mentioned, and that gets sold at the garage sale in #13), and the time of year that this is supposed to take place is unclear. The back of the book says it's summer, but what summer? The only summer that's happened so far is the one from book #6 through book #10, and the Pikes have definitely already been to Sea City (that's why they ask Mary Anne and Stacey to go with them on this little excursion). I suppose taking both trips in one summer is possible, but Sea City happened the first two weeks of August. Did they just turn around and leave on another trip right after? I've thought about this WAY too much...here's the rundown of what happened in the book:
Dawngets to experience the very first Super Special romance! She (literally) runs into Parker Harris, her very own dream boy, at the beginning of the cruise. Back in the day, I thought Parker sounded pretty awesome myself, but now, I just think he's a jerk. He talks Dawn out of snorkeling (Something she wanted to do) and he has all these nasty things to say about his step family, who seem perfectly nice. Oh, well. At least Dawn wore a dibble outfit on their Disney World date: a white tank top under lavender overalls, lavender push-down socks, lavender high top sneakers, and a beaded Indian belt. There were bird clips, too. I totally wanted that entire outfit when I was younger! One interesting thing to note about Dawn: in her first chapter, she claims she's flown back and forth across the country 11 times, since both sets of grandparents live on the East Coast. First of all, would that mean that Jack Schafer grew up in the East? For some reason, I just can't see that. Second, wouldn't Dawn have been to Stoneybrook before moving there? I find it hard to believe that she'd come across the country to see her dad's parents, but not Granny and Pop Pop.
Mary Annepretty much just sits for the Pike girls. She also develops a weird sort of friendship with Alexandra Carmody, a "sophisticated" compulsive liar who claims to be an orphan, a movie star, and the niece to a countess. As it turns out, she's really just the daughter of celebrities, and tells lies to get attention. I guess no one's perfect; at least Alex fills out her bikini top, as Mary Anne is so kind to inform us. :)
Staceymeets and bonds with Marc Kubacki, a boy confined to a wheelchair because of a heart problem. He's due for major heart surgery not long after the trip ends, and his parents wanted to take him on it so they'd have something good to remember him by. Normally, I'm not into the sick or "special" kid storylines (I know, I'm horrible), but I really like this one and I've always thought it was well done. All's well that ends well, though; Stacey receives a card from the Kubackis after the trip is over, telling that Marc is fine and will eventually be totally healthy.
What were Sam and Charlie doing during this trip? They're only mentioned in passing...