Gold Winner of the Literary Classics Book Awards for Best Tween Series, 2018 Brought to you by a writer of the best-selling CUPCAKE DIARIES series...The JUNIOR LIFEGUARDS series is wholesome summer fun! Dive back in! Life lessons abound as this new title in the series focuses on the lifeguards’ courage and confidence, along with dinner picnics, chowder tastings, summery shopping and cute boys on the beach. Junior Lifeguards are #brave and #strong. Join the squad! Praise for Junior Lifeguards: The Test by Elizabeth Doyle Carey “Delivers believable surprises…authentic…An enjoyable start to [an] engaging series for tweens.” —Kirkus Reviews “Brings to mind the cheery it-all-ends-well tone of books from another era…brimming with wholesome tween drama.” —School Library Journal Life lessons abound as this new title tackles courage and confidence, along with dinner picnics, chowder tastings, summery shopping and cute boys on the beach.
About the Author
Elizabeth Doyle Carey is a former book editor and bookseller. She is the author of 33 books for young readers including 15 titles in the Cupcake Diaries series and 4 titles in The Callahan Cousins series. She lives in New York City. Tracey West has written more than 200 books for children and young adults including How to Draw Pokémon and the Dragon Masters series. She lives in Pearl River, New York. Katherine Noll is the author of Animal Jam, Big Book of Activities, and Sailor Scouts Unite!. She lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Read an Excerpt
A Rash Decision
I whipped my head around to locate the source of the squeal amid this morning's crowd on the Cape Cod beach. Was it a child screaming? A mom shrieking for help? But no, it was one of those annoying plover birds wheeling overhead, trying to scare everyone off "her" beach. I turned back to the water and resumed my vigilant stance.
A gust of salty sea air rushed into my lungs as I wiggled my toes in the cool, wet sand at the surf's edge If you had told me this time last year that I would be trading in my riding boots and jodhpurs for a bathing suit, I would have said you were crazy. What's more, if you'd told me I'd be volunteering for a summer job rather than making money, I'd have said you belonged in the nuthouse!
But here I was, standing oceanfront and keeping an eye on the tourists splashing in the waters of Westham, Massachusetts, my hometown, instead of mucking out stables. I was supposed to be a horse lover. My best friend Jenna was the champion swimmer. Those were our roles in life, and I liked it that way. Until Jenna joined forces with my grandmother Bett to convince me to try out for Junior Lifeguards with her. I might have been able to say no to one of them, but trying to stand up to both at the same time was like trying to ride a wild mustang: pretty much impossible.
Scanning the water again, I saw a wave break hard and early over two younger kids who had their backs to it. When only one head bobbed back up to the surface, I knew I had to take action, and fast. But first I had to take off my rash guard, or I'd be useless in the water. I'd learned that the hard way when my rash guard had dragged me down during a rough day of lifeguard tryouts.
Now in my haste I fumbled with the clingy material, getting my head stuck in it and wasting valuable seconds. Come on, I thought, frustrated, as I wrestled the shirt off of me.
I had just thrown it down onto the sand and was starting to run into the water when Jamie, the lifeguard on duty, went flying past me and splashed through the whitewash. Her tiny braids smacked against the dark skin of her back as she ran. Jamie dove a wave, then she swam quickly with broad, smooth strokes to where the boy had last been seen. Just then, he came up on his own, gasping for air. He had been tumbled by the surf and was disoriented. He looked around, clearly confused as to which way he needed to go to be back on dry land. Jamie put an arm around him and helped guide him back to the beach. A crowd had gathered around to watch. I was standing by, feeling helpless, when I heard a voice shout my name.
"Piper, a word. NOW!" Bud Slater barked at me, and I felt my heart sink into my stomach as I followed him over to the lifeguard chair. Bud had been the director of Westham's lifeguard program for thirty years and I knew he liked me. But if I was in trouble with him already, my summer of lifeguarding would be over before it had even begun
"Why were you wearing that rash guard earlier? It was out of uniform!" he scolded, his light blue eyes drilling into me as his voice boomed out. "This is life and death, not a fashion show."
As soon as he said that, I realized that I wasn't wearing my rash guard anymore. It was still on the sand where I had tossed it. I crossed my arms over my chest to relieve the wave of self-consciousness that flooded over me.
"You need to be prepared. Always. No exceptions," Bud said. "Frankly, Piper, I'm surprised at you. I thought you were more levelheaded than that."
I looked at him, unsure what to say. I hadn't been wearing the rash guard as a fashion choice. I had been wearing it because I was embarrassed to stand around all day in just a bathing suit. It was like one of those nightmares where you wear just your underwear to school and wake up in a panic, thinking it was real. But I didn't know how to tell a man in his fifties that. There was no way Bud would understand.
"I'm sorry, sir," I managed to squeak out.
"It's dangerous and unprofessional. What if there'd been a shark? Or rough seas? Don't let it happen again," he said before turning quickly on his heel and walking back to Jamie. The boy's mother had her arms around him and was thanking Jamie over and over again.
That could have been me, I thought. The hero who saved the day. Instead I was the dummy who got tangled up in her rash guard.
I was extra vigilant as I resumed my spot on the water's edge, scanning the surf. I looked at the crumpled rash guard in the sand and, as tempted as I was to put it back on, I kicked it back toward the lifeguard stand and left it there — for now. Maybe if I got a red rash guard instead of the blue and white one, Bud wouldn't notice if I wore it. And I could practice taking it on and off so it wouldn't hold me back, and then Bud wouldn't chew me out again. No matter what, I had to make this training program work for me. I had been surprised to have made the squad — but now I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
It was funny I cared so much since, at first, I hadn't even wanted to do this training program. I'd always been a solid swimmer and years of working at the stables and riding and handling horses had made me strong. (Sometimes I felt like it had made me too strong. I was taller than the other girls my age, bigger, more developed and more muscular.) But I am a landlubber. I had surprised myself by excelling at the Junior Lifeguard training and discovered that not only did I like it, I loved it.
"Succeeding is in your blood, Piper," my grandmother Bett always told me proudly. "Horse people are hard workers. You can do anything you set your mind to because you'll always work hard at it."
Now I doubled my efforts, working as hard as possible to pay attention and stand ready. I was so intent on watching the swimmers in the ocean and scanning the horizon for sharks that I didn't hear Luke Slater come up behind me until someone tapped me on the shoulder.
"I'm going to start calling you Eagle-Eyes Piper." Luke smiled at me. "Nothing's gonna get by you!"
Even though I was already standing on a sunny beach, my cheeks flushed at his compliment. Luke was so handsome and friendly, always joking around and teasing everyone. His blond hair was bleached almost white by the sun, and his big green eyes twinkled with mischief. His tanned skin was smooth and he didn't seem to have any problem walking around in just his bathing suit.
Luke was Bud Slater's son, but he and his dad were nothing alike. While Bud was strict and no-nonsense, Luke was fun-loving and laid back. A lot of the time his attitude drove his dad crazy, but Luke's lighthearted nature and sense of humor made him one of the main reasons why I liked being a Junior Lifeguard.
I'd been crushing on Luke ever since I met him the day when I signed up for Junior Lifeguards, but that's all it will ever be. Luke's fifteen, but I'm only twelve, so that will never work. Plus I'm too young to have a boyfriend. Bett would have a fit. (She's the boss of me since my parents moved off Cape for better jobs for a while.)
I struggled not to grin nervously as he talked.
"That's the biggest part of this job, paying attention," Luke continued. "It looks like you've got that down already. Much harder is being able to go from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds. You can be out here for hours, with nothing happening, and then all of a sudden, it's go time. You've got to be ready."
I bit the inside of my cheek, thinking of the mistake I had made earlier in the day. I wasn't about to tell Luke about that.
"There's a lot to learn," I said instead. Fascinating, Piper. Really brilliant conversation, I chided myself.
But Luke didn't seem to mind. "You're a natural. When I first started training as a Junior Lifeguard, the paying-attention part came the hardest to me," he admitted. "There was always so much stuff happening on the beach to distract me. My friends would always come by, wanting to talk. I goofed off a lot. My dad was not happy."
An unhappy Bud was not fun, and that was only for a few minutes on the beach. I didn't have to go home with him, eat dinner, and do all that family stuff, too.
"Uh-oh," I said in sympathy, but my mind was still mostly on Luke's compliment. A natural, huh?
Luke smiled. "Uh-oh is right. It was tough. But I got through it, even though my dad and I still butt heads sometimes."
"Not hard to picture," I said with a grin. "No offense."
He smiled back. "None taken. Hey, before I forget, Jenna says hi. I just came from Sunrise Beach, where she's stationed today."
"Oh! Did she mention she got us a catering job for tonight?" I was looking forward to making some real money for a change.
"Nah. We barely talked. It was chaos over there. There were a bunch of seals coming ashore on the sand bar. The tourists were going crazy over them, taking pictures, but as I was leaving my dad said we'd have to close that beach."
Grey and harbor seals had been making a huge comeback in Cape Cod the past few years. The return of the animals to the shores in Westham had created mixed feelings in the locals. Conservationists were happy the seal population was returning to the area. Yet the seals ate a lot of fish, which meant competition for the local fishermen. The seals themselves were a favorite snack of sharks, especially great whites — and so the seals lured the huge ocean predators to our waters. That wasn't good for the tourist industry. Nobody wanted to swim in waters infested with great white sharks.
"Have there been any great white sightings?" I asked.
Luke shook his head. "Not in Westham, yet. A bunch of sharks that were tagged last year by Ocearch are making their way back. There are tons of seals around, though, and the scientists are saying it might be our worst summer yet for sharks."
I nodded. "Aren't shark attacks pretty rare, though?"
"Yeah, but the number of great white sightings more than doubled off the Cape in just one year," Luke reminded me. "More sharks means more chances for something to happen."
I shuddered at the thought. "But that's why we're here, right?" I asked him. "To spot a shark and get everyone out of the water before something bad could happen?" I silently prayed it wouldn't happen on my watch.
"Exactly." Luke smiled. "And with Eagle-Eyes Piper on duty, all our swimmers will be safe."
Again, I felt myself blushing, wishing I had a cute comeback. At the stables, I didn't need to be a jazzy conversationalist (the horses didn't care what I said), and there were never many young guys around. Things were going to have to change now that I was hanging out with teenagers.
Luke left and I continued to keep watch, this time trying to picture what creatures lurked beneath the waves. Last year, a fifteen-foot great white had been spotted off the coast of Westham.
I watched the tourists splashing in their bright bathing suits. The ocean is the sharks' home, we're the uninvited visitors, I thought. You had to respect that. Horses were big, powerful animals, too, and accidents did happen. You couldn't blame the horse, though. Most of the time problems were caused by human error. That's why Bett had always drilled horse safety into my mind. I wore a helmet every time I rode, no exceptions. I also had to be calm yet assertive with the horses and careful not to spook them.
I didn't want to saddle up and ride a great white, but I did have sympathy for the animals who inspired such fear. I guess it was pretty funny that I was more afraid of standing on the beach without my rash guard over my suit than I was of a shark.
At five o'clock, the lifeguards went off duty at the Westham beaches. People were still allowed to swim, but it was at their own risk. Jamie climbed down from the tall lifeguard chair. I went over to help her pull it away from the water, out of the reach of high tide.
"Thanks, Piper," Jamie said, flashing a pearly white smile. Her zillions of long, brown braids were pulled into a ponytail, with her reflective sunglasses pushed up onto her head. I felt a little (okay, a lot) in awe of her. She was eighteen years old and a full-fledged lifeguard. Jamie stood about an inch taller than me, so that made her about 5'9. Her body was lean but toned and muscular, with smooth dark skin. She moved and spoke with total confidence. Her red lifeguard bathing suit looked great on her, and she seemed totally comfortable in it. No crossing of her arms over her chest, like me.
"So how's it going?" Jamie asked. "Do you like being a Junior Lifeguard?"
"I love it." I smiled at her.
"You've got good radar for trouble," Jamie said. "You spotted that boy who had been knocked out by the wave right away."
I smiled at the praise, but then realized it would probably be followed up by a critique of how I had messed up.
"I would have gone in for him too, even if you had beat me to it," Jamie said. "After all, you're still in training."
I nodded, unsure of what to say.
"Bud said you struggled to get your rash guard off," Jamie said, smiling gently at me. Her brown eyes were kind and warm. "Is there any particular reason why you wear it?"
I sighed. I felt like such a dork, but it was easier to talk about it with Jamie than with Bud. Before I knew it, the words came pouring out of me.
"I just feel so self-conscious standing there in only a bathing suit, with everyone looking at me. I feel more comfortable covered up. I promise, I'll go home and practice taking the rash guard on and off so what happened today won't ever happen again. I'm so sorry!" I said in a rush.
"Whoa!" Jamie threw her hands in the air. "It's okay. Relax. That's why it's called training, Piper. There are a lot of things you're going to learn. Learning to be comfortable out here in your suit is just one of them. We all had to deal with that hurdle."
My eyes widened in surprise. "Really? But everyone else seems just fine in bathing suits. In fact, Samantha Frankel would wear a bikini if she could!" Samantha, one of the other Junior Lifeguards, actually did show up in a tiny white bikini for her ocean test (only to be scolded by Bud for it).
"Trust me, most of us have felt that way, even the guys," Jamie said kindly. "I was just like you, too, Piper. Taller than everyone else my age, and more developed, too. I was what my mom called an early bloomer." She rolled her eyes. "I hated it every time she said that. It didn't help."
"You were uncomfortable in your bathing suit?" I asked, not believing what I was hearing. Jamie was so confident!
Jamie laughed. "Uncomfortable? I hated it! I used to wear an oversized white t-shirt over mine when I started training, until Bud had a talk with me."
"That must have been awkward," I said.
"You'd be surprised. Bud has three daughters and he can be very caring. He was really sensitive about the whole thing. And he put it in a way I'll never forget, that makes me feel proud every time I wear my lifeguard bathing suit. This suit" — Jamie pulled at her strap — "is so much more than a bathing suit. He said it's a lifeguard's suit of armor and badge of pride. It shows that you passed a lot of tests and worked really hard to earn the right to wear it. Whenever you put it on, you're taking an oath to protect people, to be vigilant, to always be ready and trustworthy. It's a privilege to wear it. You should wear it with honor, Piper. You've got what it takes to be an awesome lifeguard. Not everyone can wear this suit. You're in special group now. Be proud of that."
Wow. When Jamie put it like that, I felt a little silly for wearing the rash guard in the first place.
"I never thought of it like that," I admitted.
"That's what training is all about!" Jamie shared with a smile. "You're going to start looking at a lot of things in a new way. You're one of us now. The senior lifeguards are here to help teach you and guide you. If you ever need anything, or have a question, don't be afraid to ask."
"Thanks, Jamie." I felt a little better now. I wanted to be a confident guard like Jamie one day. The suit was something we had in common, almost like a sisterhood.
"Another tip for the day," Jamie said, reaching for the sunglasses she had pushed up on her head. "Polarized glasses can complete your lifeguard suit of armor. They reduce glare on the water and make it easier to keep watch. Here, try them."
Jamie handed me her sunglasses. I put them on, and looked out over the water. The light from the sun reflecting off the water was gone — just completely gone! There were a few people still swimming, and I could see them more clearly without the glare bouncing off the water and sand. I flipped the glasses up and down for comparison: with, then without. It was remarkable.
"These are awesome!" I exclaimed. "I can see so much better with them than my regular sunglasses."
"All the senior guards have them," Jamie said. "You should get a pair, if you can afford it."
"How much?" I wondered.
"Mine were a hundred dollars," Jamie said, wincing. "But I do this job full time, every summer, so it's worth it. You could get some cheaper, but they won't be as good."
I gulped. "A hundred bucks, that's pretty pricey."
Jamie nodded. "I can't work without them now. But I get that you're in training and not getting paid. Down the road you'll definitely want to invest in a good pair."
Excerpted from "Junior Lifeguards, Book 3: Shark Bait"
Copyright © 2017 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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter One A Rash Decision,
Chapter Two Partied Out,
Chapter Three Rule Breaker,
Chapter Four Best Friends For Never?,
Chapter Five Trust Me,
Chapter Six Semi-Famous,
Chapter Seven A Fishy Situation,
Chapter Eight Called Out,
Chapter Nine An Apology,
Chapter Ten Shark Sighting!,
Chapter Eleven Just Call Me "Eagle Eyes",
About The Authors,
More Junior Lifeguards Books!,