Mayday, Mayday! Five souls on board! Dive into the thrilling new Junior Lifeguards book #5 by CUPCAKE DIARIES author Elizabeth Doyle Carey. What started off as a fun jaunt to Nantucket quickly turns dire as Junior Lifeguard Jenna Bowers and her pals encounter a boat in distress at sea in Cape Cod. With the Chatham Coast Guard off on another emergency, it’s Jenna’s dad’s fishing boat to the rescue. Will they get there in time? Will they save the passengers? Packed with action and adventure, as well as sleepovers, cute boys, and plenty of tasty baked goods, this book will get pulses racing as readers follow the latest adventures of the wholesome and diverse Junior Lifeguard crew.Junior Lifeguards are #brave and #strong. Join the squad!
About the Author
Elizabeth Doyle Carey is a former book editor and bookseller. She is the author of 36 books for young readers including 15 titles in Simon & Schuster's Cupcake Diaries series, 6 titles in Simon & Schuster's Dear-Know-It-All series, 3 titles in Simon & Schuster's forthcoming Sprinkle Sundays series, and 4 titles in The Callahan Cousins series (Little, Brown). She lives in New York City.
Read an Excerpt
Ugh, I am SO TIRED of Samantha Frankel's bragging.
Today we were posted together out at Sea Spray Beach with Jamie, one of the town's senior lifeguards. Sea Spray is a busy ocean beach with lots of riptides and frequently big waves, and it demands a lot of attention from its guards.
But all Sam wanted to do was talk about all the celebrities she's met and all the fancy places she's been (most of which I've never even heard of), and the gourmet meals she's eaten, and the designer clothes she has. It's such a bragathon. Yuck!
Samantha is a rich and beautiful summer girl who comes over from London to Cape Cod to stay in her seaside mansion each year, usually only for two weeks. But this year she's here for the whole summer and she's doing Junior Lifeguard training with me and my three best friends, so we've been forced to interact with her. She's also Selena's landlord and kind-of boss, or at least her parents (Somalian model turned newscaster Jemima Imari Frankel and Israeli billionaire David Frankel) are. Selena's parents run the Frankel estate and live on the property with Selena and her brother, Hugo, and their new kitten, Oscar.
As usual, Sam could not stop talking to me today.
"So, Jenna, at the dinner afterward — it was held at their palace on the coast — they released all these live butterflies to announce that dessert was being served on the cliff ..."
"Uh-huh," I yawned. I didn't know who any of these people were that she was telling me about and I had tuned out when she was still describing the appetizers. I was sure Selena would kill to be hearing all this, being as celeb-obsessed as she was, but for me it was in one ear and out the other.
The water was rough today — not huge but a strong pull to the left, three-to-four-foot waves, rips everywhere. We'd had a storm yesterday, the day after Fourth of July, and the ocean had gotten really stirred up.
Earlier, Jamie had radioed in to Bud Slater, our head lifeguard, to ask about closing the beach to swimmers. But it was very warm and the sky was clear and — because it was the tail end of a holiday weekend — there were a ton of people on the beach. Bud said to give it an hour and we'd evaluate then.
We figured between me, Sam, and Jamie and the other senior guard, Steve, and his assistant, Kate, we could handle anything that came our way.
Technically, Junior Lifeguards aren't supposed to save people in danger. We're supposed to defer to the senior guards and watch and learn, like apprentices. But a few of the JLs had already had the opportunity to make a save and I was always hoping for a chance to shine like them. I wanted my turn to be singled out by Bud Slater at the end of the day so everyone could do the "three cheers" they always do for the guards who make saves, and then carry me to the water and toss me in, like always. And then the Cape Cod Times would do a small article on me, the way they usually do when a guard makes a good save. Even if it only made the online edition ...
It was about more than the glory, of course. I wanted to save someone — to be a hero, the person who made a huge impact on someone's life, in a good way. And it was also about one simple fact: I never wanted anyone to drown. Especially not on my watch!
Now there were a bunch of younger boys in the water, probably around ten years old, riding the waves and hooting and hollering. We were observing them pretty carefully but then a little toddler girl wandered down to the water's edge without an adult and we took our attention off the boys for about forty-five seconds. I jumped down to grab her but Jamie got there first and swooped in just in the nick of time. A big wave was building and if it had hit the toddler, she would have been swamped and pulled under. I'd seen it happen a dozen times already over the summer: parents took their attention off a little kid for a minute and the kid got creamed by a wave. It was so scary because it can be hard to find little kids in the rushing whitewater aftermath of a wave, and most of the time, these kids couldn't even swim. I hated to see it.
My arms yearned for the muscle-pull feeling of a saved kid in them, and the joy and power of saving someone's life, but it was not to be. Another day without a save for me, I thought in frustration. Another day without becoming a hero. Yet as I climbed back onto the stand, Sam called out to us and pointed: one of the boys we'd been watching had been swept into a riptide and was being pulled quickly offshore to the deep water.
"Jenna! Cover! Get everyone out till I get back!" Jamie yelled at me, jumping down from our stand. Her zillions of tiny brown braids slapped against her strong, dark shoulders as she ran into the water.
"Wait, let me come!" I cried.
"No! Stay and cover!" shouted Jamie over her shoulder as she ran to get the kayak. "And get everyone out!" Steve jumped down from his stand and joined Jamie to help her. I wished it could have been me heading out there with her.
I blew the whistle for everyone to get out of the water. People looked a little panicky but Jamie was right — it was the best choice, since trainees weren't allowed to cover the beach without a senior guard.
Samantha and I stood on the lifeguard stand, watching helplessly as the strong current quickly pulled the boy offshore. It was so frustrating to just stand there and do nothing!
Jamie and Steve finally reached the boy and hauled him onto their kayak. His friends were clustered on the sand at the water's edge, their arms wrapped tightly around themselves, as a band of parents tried to get them to take towels. The boys waved them away, riveted to the drama out beyond the break. It was as if the boys wanted to suffer along with their friend until they were sure he was safe.
"I wish we were out there!" said Samantha, at my side.
"I know," I agreed, surprised she felt the same as I did.
We watched on in silence.
Soon Steve and Jamie had the boy aboard the kayak and were beginning to paddle back, but they didn't move. No matter how hard they paddled they just stayed in place. I could hear the anxiety building in the crowd on the sand below me: "What's happening?" "Why aren't they coming back?" "They're stuck!"
"They've got to get out of there!" said Samantha. "They need to try something else!"
Despite my confidence in Jamie and Steve, I was beginning to feel anxious, too. Their paddling wasn't a match for the strength of the riptide. Finally, Jamie jumped out of the kayak. There was a gasp from below as people wondered what she was doing.
She went to the back of the kayak and began kicking, pushing it from behind as Steve paddled, and finally they were able to position themselves parallel to the beach and break out of the rip. You could almost see them propel outward as they got released from the whirlpool, and Jamie pulled herself back on board the kayak. They caught a wave and came skidding up onto the sand. The boy's parents fell upon him with a towel and hugs and then the dad turned to Steve and Jamie and began thanking them while the mom took the boy up to their beach setup.
Moments later, Jamie was back up on the stand with us, breathing heavily and toweling off. The water beaded off her muscles, and to me, she looked like a superhero.
"Wow!" I said. "Great job, Jamie!"
"Thanks," said Jamie, but she didn't look happy. "That shouldn't have happened. That was my bad. The little girl distracted me and I should have been watching the boys while you dealt with her. Sloppy. Dangerous." She shook her head and sighed heavily as she wrapped her towel around her shoulders.
"I guess," I said. She was right. It shouldn't have happened. But she had handled it all really well. "At least you'll get the 'three cheers' today from Bud and then the dunking! I'm dying for that to happen to me one day." "I've had it. It's great," bragged Samantha.
But Jamie gave a short bark of a laugh. "Yeah. Just what I need!"
"Don't you think it's fun?" I asked. "The dunking and everything?"
Jamie smiled, her teeth bright white and even. "I don't mind it. I just don't need all that celebration to tell me I've done my job. I mean, it's my job."
I thought about that for a second, and I knew she was right.
"But it's still nice," I said quietly.
* * *
Earlier in the summer I had quit swim team after seven years. I'd been traveling all over and competing at a really high level for a long time, but I'd lost my passion for it and my coach let me take some time off to try Junior Lifeguard training. It was fun to do something new and to have so much free time all of a sudden. But it was weird to never know how I was doing.
Swimming is all about stats: times, team rankings, town rankings, state rankings, and more. I was used to getting constant feedback on my performance, for better or for worse. I always knew where I stood. Now, even though I knew I was one of the better — if not the best — swimmer on Junior Lifeguards, I had no metrics; there was no way to measure myself against anyone else. Well, there were two ways, I guess, but I hadn't really experienced them yet. One was doing a save. If you saved a swimmer, you got the cheering and the dunking, and maybe a notice in the local news. But the other way to measure yourself as a junior guard was by how our director, Bud Slater, treated you.
Bud was stingy with his praise, though sometimes you could tell what he was thinking by what beach assignment he gave you for the day. Even though the senior guards have cautioned me not to read too much into it, I knew that when he was happy with something I'd done, he'd give me a sweeter position for the day — with a really accomplished senior guard on a busy ocean beach. But if he wasn't happy with me for some reason, he'd stick me at a baby beach up on the bay where nothing ever happened and the "senior" guards were amateurs.
I was grumpy after training today. I'd cheered along with the group for Jamie and Steve and watched them get tossed back in the water by the other guards. They handled it well, with Steve fake crying and fighting them off, and Jamie going rigid as a surfboard as they flipped her in feet-first.
Plus Samantha had kept up a monologue the whole time about how she would have gone in for the save if they'd let her, and how she certainly would have gotten the boy out faster. I was so annoyed from listening to her all day that I thought blood would pour from my ears if she said one more word!
The afternoon had left me in a funk and as we walked up to our bikes, I knew my bestie Piper could tell. She's good like that.
"What's up, missy? Were you not impressed by Jamie's save today?" she teased gently. She let her bright blond hair out of its ponytail and shook it free.
I sighed. "I just wish it could have been me for a change." I can always tell Piper the truth, which is part of why she's such a great friend.
Piper flung her strong, tanned arm around me. "Missing the glory of swim team, are we? All those medals, standing on the podiums, people clapping ..."
I laughed and ducked out of her grasp to face her. "How did you know?"
Piper laughed, too. "Jenna, come on! You're the most competitive person I know. I'm surprised you've gone this long without some kind of contest or competition."
"Oh no! Is it that obvious?" I cringed.
"Not in a bad way," said Piper. "Look, I get it: you're a strong swimmer, and you've been interested in being a lifeguard for a while now. I'm sure it's frustrating. It feels a little like Bud's holding you back. I can see that. But we're all still pretty green. There's a lot we don't know about technique and whatever, so it's not like he can just say, 'Okay, Jenna, you're a great swimmer. Now you're a senior guard.' You just have to be patient!"
I groaned. "It's going to take forever! I don't know how much longer I can wait before I see some action!" And some glory, I added silently.
"Look, just don't think about it, okay? You need to distract yourself from your craving for winning. Let's make a fun plan for this weekend. Something to look forward to. All four of us. Okay?"
Piper and I had reached the deck of the beach pavilion where our other two besties, Ziggy and Selena, were sitting waiting for us.
"Hey, girls!" called Selena. "Come!"
Selena was originally from Ecuador and she'd inherited her family's traditional dark hair, eyes, and complexion. She was simply beautiful — people on the street always checked her out — and her looks brought some buzz to our friend group. She and Ziggy were both petite, while Piper and I were tall and broad-shouldered and blond, raised from local farming and fishing stock: a little Irish/Scottish, a little Polish, generally strong mutts.
We joined them at their weather-beaten wood table. "We need to make a super fun weekend plan," proclaimed Piper.
"Yesss!" said Ziggy. "Great idea! What should we do? Camp out at my house?"
Selena scoffed and rolled her eyes. "Backyard campouts are for babies," she said. "Nothing personal. What about bowling in Orleans? Or the drive-in movie in Wellfleet?"
"No, we need a real adventure!" said Piper.
I had an idea. I rolled it around in my mind for a minute, and then, feeling pretty sure of its appeal, I blurted it out. "Nantucket!"
"Totally!" said Piper, smacking her palms down hard on the table for emphasis.
"Ooh! I like that! Shopping, ice cream, celebrities ..." said Selena. She was dying to be an actress one day and lived for star sightings (of which there are few in Cape Cod). Selena was convinced that all of Hollywood was out on the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket for the summer and she was missing out. We usually went once a summer, sometimes twice, and it was kind of our thing, as a group — a summer highlight and tradition.
"Ziggy?" I prodded.
Ziggy was thoughtful. "Would we go to Hyannis and take the ferry?"
"Well, it might be more fun if we could get my dad to take us. Then we could go out to Millie's for nachos in Madaket ..."
My friends and I lived for Millie's. The food was awesome and the restaurant was set right on the beach, so it was fun and casual. Also, it was named after a kind of kooky old lady called Millie who was an unofficial Coast Guard back in the day. She was tough as nails and had saved lots of people from shipwrecks and sharks and stuff over the years. She was one of my idols.
"Yes, that would be awesome," said Piper. "Will we fish on the way?" Piper loved fishing and my dad loved having her on the boat because she's strong and such a hard worker. She grew up on a horse farm here in our town on Cape Cod, so she wasn't at all squeamish or scared of touching creatures.
"I'll ask," I said. "Probably, though. All in for fishing?"
"Sure," agreed Selena. "Can I film it for Facebook Live?" Everything was potential material for Selena's "brand" and her online image.
"Sure," I agreed. "Zigs?"
Ziggy was pulling at one of her springy black curls, lost in thought. Finally she scrunched up her small, fair, and freckled face and said, "Do I have to touch any fish, or watch them die or anything? Because that would bum me out big-time and also I don't think my mom would approve."
I pressed my lips into a thin line. Ziggy was an animal rights person — as were her parents — and I did not want to get into a whole debate with her about it. Obviously, with a fisherman for a dad, I came down on the side of humans in the fishing battle. "You don't have to watch, you don't have to touch, but you probably can't avoid smelling them."
"Also, does your dad use humane fishing practices? Maybe I'll go to the library today and email him a Best Practices guide from PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, just so he's up to speed on all the new thinking about nets and stuff. That would make me feel more comfortable. What's his email address again?"
"OMG, Ziggy. That would not be a good idea." I could just picture my dad receiving an email from Ziggy telling him how to do a job he's been doing practically since he could walk, and his family for generations before that. "Just remember: freshly caught fish are organic and free-range, two of your favorite adjectives. And following proper industry guidelines, as my dad does, actually helps keep the fish stock balanced. Now, do you want to come to Nantucket with us or not?"
"I'd love to come!" trilled a voice behind me — female, with a British lilt.
I whirled around. "Uh ... oh ... hey, Samantha," I stuttered. "What's up?" I added lamely.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Junior Lifeguards, Book 5: Mayday"
Copyright © 2018 Elizabeth Doyle Carey.
Excerpted by permission of Dunemere Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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