And how was YOUR summer job?

Alice on Board

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

Alice on Board.

Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2012.

288 pgs.

Kindle Edition.

. . . . . . . .

Or:  Adventures on the Murphy’s Law Cruise

Murphy's Law Cruise
Check it out! This site lets you make your own pulp-style book covers!

Or:  Alice McKinley’s Guide to All the Problems You Might Encounter While Working on a Cruise Ship and How to Handle Them.

. . . . . . . .

In spite of that exciting premise, I was bored half the time.  Sure, some of the TV episodes chapters were exciting enough –

  • An estranged husband and wife coincidentally take the same cruise.  How will Alice and the other crew members handle this awkward situation?
  • A passenger may have fallen overboard.  Can the Seascape crew save the day?

– but they felt like little islands in a sea of more mundane shenanigans.

  • One of the staff members buys a turtle for her little brother’s birthday.  Can Alice and friends help her keep it hidden from the senior staff?
  • Alice and Mitch spend an afternoon exploring Tangier Island.  Alice tries a soft-shell crab sandwich.

And I know that’s how most of the Alice books are structured, but as I noted in my review of Incredibly Alice, (which, as mellow and emergency-situation-free as it was, was still a quicker/more compelling read) it just works better in some books than others.  In Reluctantly Alice and Dangerously Alice, for instance, there’s a stronger overarching theme or thread connecting the different chapters.  It feels like the story is actually going somewhere, the different episodes building toward something.

With this latest book, at least on the first read-through, it felt like the story was just floating along (yes, yes, obvious metaphors like woah!), and every so often the engine would kick into gear, and then it would settle down again, and so on.  At least the final chapter was one of those more interesting parts…though, there was this weird conversation (no spoilers, I promise):

Paul, burnished bronze now by the sun, put it more bluntly: “I swear, Alice, if you were ten years older and could pass my genetics test, I’d propose,” he said.

            With a guy like Paul, you can never tell when he’s joking, because he’s usually so serious.

            “And if you were a few years younger and didn’t walk around with a genetics test in your pocket, I’d accept,” I said, and that got a laugh.  “What’s it for, anyway?  You’re not a white supremacist, are you?”

            “Oh, God, no!” he said.  “It just makes sense to be sure we’re not carriers of the same diseases.  I’m a big believer in the power of recessive genes.”

            “Oh, boy, I’ll bet pillow talk with you is really exciting,” I said, and he blushed a little.  I guess he’s not sure when I’m joking either.

            “Oh, I wouldn’t bring it up right away,” Paul said, taking a seat at the dinner table.  “But there are certain hereditary diseases more common to Scandinavians or Middle Eastern women, for example, than to other nationalities.  It’s fascinating, but I’d never use it to fall in love.”

            “I should hope not,” I said. [1]

anime sweatdrop2

Anyway, at least the final chapter got me back into the What-happens-to-Alice-&-co.-next mood, and of course I’m going to read the next (and apparently final!… *nostalgic sigh*) book.  I’ve stuck with Alice since I was eleven and want to see her to age 60*.

*  Phyllis Reynolds Naylor says Always Alice “will take Alice from age 18 to 60.”

. . . . . . . .

P.S.  Not to nitpick (much), but the dialect of Tangier Island isn’t Old English.  Old English is Beowulf.  The Tangier accent (also called Tidewater English, which I think is a really cool name) is closer to Early Modern English, which is what the American colonists spoke.

. . . . . . . .

[1] Pgs 263-4


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