Hello, fellow young adult lovers (I’m assuming)! I’m Caitlin of I’m Going to Read Your Mind Next and I’m here to talk about a book that was very near and dear to my heart as a child. That book is the sole Super Edition of the Sleepover Friends series, Super Beach Mystery.
I love this cover. From left to right: Patti in the huge bangs and hideous orange shorts/hot pink shirt combo, Kate actually looking kind of good just because I really like those purple shorts, a giant machete defying gravity, Lauren with the least offensive outfit (Though the shirt is kind of baggy), and Stephanie with a hideous shirt, but awesome hair and a kick-ass bow making up for it.
To start out, the Sleepover Friends was a book series about four girls who formed a club to have sleepovers. That’s pretty much it. The girls are:
Lauren: Brown hair, tall, sloppy, eats a lot, athletic
Kate: Blonde, short, neat freak
Stephanie: Dark, curly hair, short, bubbly, dresses in red, black, and white
Patti: Tall, shy, smart
In the Super Beach Mystery, the girls are off of school and taking a trip with Patti’s Uncle Nick and his wife Tara to visit the city of Puerto Delfin, Florida. After two seconds of searching, I’m pretty sure this city doesn’t exist. Tara has inherited a house and property from her Aunt Mary and they are traveling to check the place out and clean it up. She plans to donate the house and land as a wildlife preserve.
On the way down to Florida from Riverhurst, Stephanie notices a dollsome fellow at the unfortunately-named seafood restaurant Galley-Ho. She thinks she will never see him again because “the United States is a big place.” Because this is a young adult novel, Stephanie ends up encountering the boy at the hotel they stop at. Unfortunately, she ends up falling victim to Vacation Book Cliche #1: the missing suitcase. Our fashion plate has to endure a trip without her signature color combo!
After arriving in Puerto Delfin, they find out that Aunt Mary’s house has been completely trashed, the phone lines have been cut, and a lot of the furniture has been stolen. Rumors have been circulating that the house is haunted, confirmed by Lauren who is convinced that she saw Aunt Mary on an episode of Stranger Than Truth. The girls are woken up by strange green lights at night, which seems to confirm the ghost theory…until the house gets ransacked a second time. It looks more like the trouble is being caused by actual humans, but for what reason?
While walking through the jungle to Aunt Mary’s house, Stephanie and Lauren encounter a strange creature in the creek: a baby manatee. The girls name him Tug after a high school quarterback at Riverhurst. They visit nearby Wonderworld amusement park for more information on manatees and have yet another encounter with Stephanie’s dream boy, Josh Marcus. The girls overhear Josh’s parents on the phone and “logically” assume that they plan to steal Tug and his mother.
The only other suspect is Greg Grandy. He owns pretty much everything in Puerto Delfin and he really wants to buy Aunt Mary’s house. Other than some encounters soon after a burglary, there isn’t much to support Grandy as a suspect.
It turns out that the burglars and manatee stealers are the Goodwins, a trashy couple that the girls encountered briefly while swimming at the beach. The Goodwins had purchased two large bathtubs for their RV so that they could steal Tug and his mother and sell them on the black market. Patti and Stephanie get to the beach and sneak into the RV while the Goodwins are having engine trouble. Tug is inside one of the bathtubs! Unfortunately, before they can do anything, the RV starts and the Goodwins take off with Stephanie, Patti, and Tug inside.
Stephanie gets the idea to wave her sweatshirt out the window in hopes that Josh, who had been on the beach looking for them, would see it and get them help. In the end, the girls are saved by Greg Grandy, who was jogging and nearly run over by the RV. After hearing his voice, Stephanie and Patti shout for help. He stops the Goodwins long enough for the police to show up. The Goodwins get sent to jail, and Tug and his mother are reunited. Manatee hugs!
It turns out that the Marcuses work at the San Diego Zoo and were trying to acquire a manatee from Wonderworld. Mr. Grandy wanted to buy the house because his grandfather designed it. Stephanie will be getting her suitcase back tomorrow, but doesn’t really mind. And, as always, Sleepover Friends forever!
* Stephanie was always my favorite of the Sleepover Friends. The whole red, black, and white thing seemed really cool to me.
* It’s a little weird that the Sleepover Friends feel the need to be an actual club just so they can sleep at each others’ houses once a week. Though I’m really just jealous because nobody ever wants to form any clubs with me.
* When I was rereading this, I suddenly realized that I have no idea in what state Riverhurst is supposed to be located. Connecticut seems logical, but probably just because I am thinking of the BSC. It’s also really kind of annoying that it’s always mentioned how Stephanie and Patti are from “the city.” Um…what city?
* I always loved these books because the Sleepover Friends would have incredible pig-out sessions at their sleepovers, with all kinds of crazy dips and fudge. This book was a little disappointing when it comes to food description, but it does make me want a hot dog.
* It seems strange that the girls call Nick “Uncle Nick” but they don’t call his wife “Aunt Tara,” just Tara.
* The girls freak out when they see a giant bug. Tara tells them that it’s just a palmetto bug. Well, I looked it up, and this is a palmetto bug:
AKA A FRICKING COCKROACH! I’d definitely be freaking out if I was them. I was imagining some cute horned beetle or something.
*There’s a part where Tara tells the girls to check their shoes before putting them on and to shake out their bedding thoroughly because scorpions like to hide in dark places during the daytime. That used to freak me out so much when I was younger. Actually, just today I was slightly concerned that there might be a spider in my shoe.
* Whenever someone loses a suitcase, I always wonder what they do for undergarments. I know, I’m weird, but is it so much to include a little sentence like, “Uncle Nick and Tara took me shopping for a new toothbrush and other essentials”? I’m just hoping that the Sleepover Friends aren’t so close that they share underwear.
* I was incredibly emotional about endangered animals when I was younger, which was one of the reasons I loved this book. I remember crying when the girls see manatees at Wonderworld with scars from a boat propeller.
* Tara finds her aunt’s stolen table at an antique’s store in a town called Hoopin’ Holler. That is an awesome name, but it also doesn’t exist.
*When Mr. Grandy is trying to stop the Goodwins, he jumps on the hood of their RV and yells, “I know karate!” Is it wrong that I find him kind of adorable?
*It seems kind of obvious that the Goodwins are the actual bad guys. They act all kinds of shady the first time the girls encounter them, and then they freak out when the girls peek into the back of their camper.
* Maybe I’m hopelessly naive, but how would you sell contact the black market to sell a manatee? Is it in the phone book? Hypothetically speaking, I would be so incredibly lost if I were to steal a manatee. I don’t think that the Goodwins had a very good plan.