Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy 4th of July- Junior Lifeguards

34759361Carey, Elizabeth Doyle. The Test (Junior Lifeguards #1)
April 24th 2017 by Dunemere Books
E ARC from Edleweiss Above the Treeline

Jenna is tired of being on the swim team in her small, tourist oriented East coast town. She used to win everything, but recently she hasn't been, and she feels a lot of pressure from Coach Randall and her parents to do better. Since she's about to go into high school, she'd rather have a fun filled summer, and trying out to be a junior life guard seems to be the way to go, especially when she sees the really cute Luke Slater hanging the poster about try outs. It wouldn't be any fun without her friends, though, so she recruits several of them to try out as well. Piper would rather spend her summer helping her grandmother in the stables of their riding school, but her grandmother wants her to get out and meet people her own age. Ziggy would rather use her time for the environmental causes she supports, but has to admit that she's a bit tired of always doing what her parents want her to do. Selena would rather go to an acting camp but is being forced to go to summer school, so is enticed by the idea of cute boys and the possibility of earning good money working as a beach lifeguard. Luke Slater's father is in charge of the program, and try outs are tough. Jenna doesn't seem to impress the elder Slater, and her friends (who don't swim as well) seem to do better at tryouts than she does! There's the added drama of new but somehow dangerous Hayden, who seems to like Jenna, and the internationally jet setting Samantha, who shows up to tryouts in a bikini. Even if Jenna becomes a junior lifeguard, will it lead to the sort of summer she imagines?
Strengths: This is a great summer read, and like Bradford's Bodyguard series, is being released in paperback this summer, so there's no waiting to see how the story develops! Jenna is an interesting character, and one who will speak to many middle grade readers, many of whom have been involved in sports that have become too time consuming or competitive. While the biggest portion of the book revolves around sun and fun and BOYS, there is an undercurrent of more serious issues. Jenna's friend group is nicely diverse, and I loved how they all had their own interests. Even the covers are great, which the pictures of girls who look 13 and not 18. I would definitely have saved my babysitting money and begged my mother to drive me to the mall to purchase these when I was 13!
Weaknesses: These are only available in paperback, which is great for teens but not so good for school libraries. Follett doesn't have a prebind available yet, but I'll keep a lookout for them.
What I really think: Definitely a fun series, both for fans of beach life and for those of us in landlocked areas who only get as far as the beach on a lake!

The three sequels are all available except for Fireworks, which comes out on 25 July 2017!

Cover image for Oscar Season (Junior Lifeguards)Cover image for Shark Bait (Junior Lifeguards)    Cover image for Fireworks! (Junior Lifeguards) 
Ms. Yingling

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