this book is hilariously ridiculous. it’s amazing that the plots of the super specials went off the rails so early. the premise is that stoneybrook is suddenly right on the water, complete with a community center where people can take boating lessons. dawn & claudia have both completed sailing training, & they decide to have a race to a nearby island & back again. during their first race, with instructors, claudia’s billowing button-down gets tangled around her face & one of her
dawn’s brother jeff will be visiting from california during the re-match, & he likes to sail as well (must be a california thing, amirite?), so she invites him to come along. the girls won’t need instructors this time, & dawn thinks it will be useful to have another hand on deck. but this makes things somewhat unfair, so claudia decides to invite becca ramsey to accompany her. even though becca has never been on a boat before & could not possibly be as helpful as jeff. becca is psyched & calls her friends, including haley braddock. apparently haley is bummed about always being in the shadow of her deaf brother, & she wants something special for herself, such as stealing becca’s thunder by wanting to go on the boat as well. claudia generously acquiesces. but now claudia has two deckhands & dawn just has jeff. so dawn does the obvious thing & invites along four-year-old jamie newton. way to handicap yourself, there, dawn. the newtons bizarrely think this is a great idea. but dawn & claudia realize that jamie might prefer to be on claudia’s boat (jamie is claudia’s special babysitting charge), so they swap haley & jamie. it really seems like dawn has the stronger crew, but…whatever.
in the lead up to the race, dawn decides to get an edge by carb loading & working out. during one of her work-outs, logan calls to let mary anne know that he’s been drafted into some last second babysitting & won’t be able to meet her for their hot study date at the library. dawn takes the message, but forgets to pass it on to mary anne because she’s so into her exercising. when mary anne comes home later, she’s pissed at logan for tanding her up. dawn realizes the miscommunication is her fault & tries to let mary anne know, but mary anne just shushes her so she can call logan & yell at him. he explains that he left the message with dawn, but he’s still really mad at mary anne for thinking he’d stand her up. so logan is mad at mary anne, & mary anne is mad at dawn for causing this problem. mary anne goes so far as to tell dawn that she never wants to see her again. mary anne is supposed to be so sweet & innocent, but she she gets angry, she really doesn’t pussyfoot around.
so the girls & their motley crews head down to the dock for their race. a good portion of stoneybrook turns out to see them off, but mary anne & logan skip it. the newtons tell the girls to make sure jamie wears a jacket because he’s getting over a cold. so he’s not just a four-year-old on a sailing race–he’s a sickly four-year-old on a sailing race. the girls decide it might be fun for the kids to have a picnic, so they decide to just race to the island & then stop there for some snacks & playing, before a leisurely sail back to stoneybrook. accordingly, they have packed coolers with sandwiches, fruit, candy bars, & juice boxes.
& they’re off! now, supposedly, this island is about three miles off the coast of connecticut, but the girls are already at sea for an hour when a big storm kicks up. a few questions: 1) couldn’t a sailboat probably make it three miles to an island within an hour? 2) especially if there’s wind, due to an incoming storm? 3) did no one think to check on the weather for the day before sending two 13-year-olds off in charge of a bunch of children on some sailboats in the atlantic ocean?
of course, if people were thinking clearly, we wouldn’t have a story. the boats get caught in the storm. jeff is very helpful, securing the food under plastic tarps & such forth, but the boats begin to drift away from each other. & then a wave overpowers dawn’s boat & it starts to sink. she manages to steer close enough to claudia’s boat for jeff to throw their food in, but then dawn, jeff, & haley have to swim for it. if you stop & think about it, this is actually really scary. there’s a raging storm, with waves serious enough to take out a sailboat, & three children have to swim in the open ocean for another small sailboat piloted by another crew of children. i’m 31 & i wouldn’t want to be anywhere in this mixed up situation. they all make it safely to claudia’s boat, but there’s not enough room on board for three more people, so they just have to hang on to the side & dangle in the ocean, like leonardo dicaprio clinging to the lifeboat at the end of “titanic”. cray-cray.
the storm starts to lift & someone sees land. they don’t know if it’s the island they were trying to get to, but it beats the ocean, so that’s where they go. they unload their supplies & find a fairly dry cave. claudia & dawn begin to realize that this is not the island they were aiming for, but they opt to keep it from the kids. jeff heads out to scavenge dry twigs for a fire…& here’s where i have another question: wouldn’t starting a fire in a cave be a little dangerous? without proper ventilation, they could all die of smoke inhalation, Y/Y?
this is where our castaways start to display their similarities to various characters on “lost”. dawn thinks she’s going to be the fearless leader, but instead she’s kind of bumbling & over-emotional & ends up being jamie’s nursemaid when he gets sick again. so she’s jack. claudia proves herself surprisingly inventive & capable, & is really the only one on this godforsaken rock that has any ability to ensure anyone’s survival, so let’s call her sayid. haley wants to gather rocks & make a big “HELP” sign in the sand, so obviously she’s bernard the dentist, complete with the fascist overtones (haley panics & screams when she discovers that the boat is missing). becca just kind of amiably goes along to get along, never really distinguishing herself in any meaningful way, so…maybe she’s boone. someone surely could have convinced her to scale a cliffside & die a tragic death if they’d stayed on the island long enough. jamie is useless & sick, so i guess he’s claire. jeff is a crackerjack fisherman, so he’s jin.
meanwhile, on the mainland, we discover that the pikes are big on sailing, & they’re out on a boat in the ocean looking for the castaways all day everyday. so…convenient boating & navigational abilities combined with relentless desire to search despite all signs of futility? must be penny. mary anne cries & feels guilty about having said she never wanted to see dawn again. she’s just about useless enough to be the charlie of the group. stacey is trapped in new york city with her father, who refuses to let her go home & help search. controlled by a dominating patriarch & determined to rise up in independence? must be sun. kristy just kind of lingers in the background. at one point, she joins the pikes on their boat. contributes pretty much nothing, despite being a bossy britches who talks a big game? kristy is john locke. she certainly fancies herself as possessing the omnipotence of a smoke monster. jessi is extremely concerned about becca’s disappearance, & it’s worth noting that she was in charge of her younger siblings for the weekend. when her aunt cecelia hears about what happened, she comes straight to stoneybrook & takes over, blaming jessi for becca’s involvement in the accident. jessi bristles at this injustice. so…blamed for something over which she has no control & oppressed by authority? maybe she’s the man in black. & we’ll say logan is jacob, & that he & jessi together are the puppetmasters behind this entire tragedy, just because i think that’s a hilarious concept. i like the idea of them back in stoneybrook, watching all their friends freak out, idly playing a little backgammon & having murderous philosophical debates.
our castaways spend two days on the island & then they find another group of survivors, one of whom shoots jamie newton in the gut. wait, no. they spend two days on the island & then a polar bear kills them all. wait, that doesn’t happen either. they spend two days on the island & then haley is kidnapped by a technologically advanced tribe & is forced to perform surgery on their bug-eyed leader. wait, that doesn’t sound right…they spend two days on the island & then claudia builds a raft that results in becca being kidnapped. no? maybe they find a nuclear warhead? or maybe wes ellenburg, student math teacher extraordinaire, parachutes to the island to tell them that they’re flashing through time? or maybe they find a mysterious hatch & ben hobart is inside, armed to the teeth & rocking out to the mamas & the papas? or maybe they are lured to a temple guarded by peaches & russ, where they are informed that dawn is pure evil & must be tricked into eating a poison capsule encased in bulgar wheat?
what really happens is that they survive by rationing their picnic supplies & collecting rainwater, & then claudia finds a piece of mirror in the woods & uses it to signal a search plane flying over the island (no word on the pilot, but i’m going to go ahead & assume it’s lapidus wearing a badass hawaiian shirt–& keamy is lurking in the cargo hold with a remote incendiary device strapped to his arm just in case dawn says anything about peak oil). the plane gets the coordinates (from eloise hawking in the lamp post?) & they send a rescue ship, which is in fact a normal rescue ship & not some kind of crazy freighter loaded up with explosives. though that would have been a great way to end the book. everyone is rescued, dawn & mary anne make up, jamie comes to terms with his bad wig & decides he can be a good mother after all, &…scene.