Happy MMGM, guys!
Today, I'm reviewing The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Berry. It's a funny, wild adventure about a group of teens who try and figure out how to defeat some surprising foes.
MMGM is a feature hosted by the fabulous Shannon Messenger on her blog every week!
Hardcover, 224 pages
Expected publication: May 5th 2015 by Disney-Hyperion
Barry introduces us to Wyatt and best friend Matt, who are taking the usual eight grade rite-of-passage trip to Washington D.C. While Wyatt would like nothing more than a calm, peaceful trip to the nation's capitol, a spur-of-the moment encounter between Matt and two random passengers on their plane, ensures that their trip will be a memorable experience.
From the first page, Barry does a great job of balancing a slightly absurd-sounding plot - terrorists! international intrigue! kidnapping! silly disguises! - with sly humor and a touch of excitement, all of which serves to keep the plot moving smoothly, as they try and get to the bottom of the mystery of the strangers on the plane.
It's evident as the book progresses, that Wyatt, Matt and their gang of friends, including a smart new love interest, have the intelligence and youthful enthusiausm to keep toe-to-toe against their adult foes. Imaginative younger readers will especially appreciate the ability of the teens to utilize their resources at hand, including smart phones and divisionary tactics, but also Barry's subtle nods to their age, as more than one character admits to still loving SpongeBob Square Pants in an especially humorous moment.
While the adults involved in the trip are occasionally one-dimensional and show a certain degree of cluelessness reminiscent of the parents from the teen shows of the '90s, readers will still undoubtedly appreciate the moments when the teens do reach out to the adults to ask for help, especially as they realize that the plot involves the President of the United States. Even if things don't always turn out perfectly, there's an openeness to their interactions, that offer more credence and enjoyability to this wild adventure.
Of special note for educators and parents: I've seen one or two reviews criticize Barry for writing kids who initially judge others based on their appearance. Without giving spoilers away, I think that the reaction that the kids have is natural curiosity for the age. If anything, the circumstances result in them actually seeking to learn about new countries and new ideas, which is an important growth moment.
About the author:
Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize−winning author of more than two dozen books including the just-released You Can Date When You're 40. Along with Ridley Pearson, he is the co-author of the Peter and the Starcatchers series and Science Fair.. Dave, his wife Michelle and their family live in Miami, Florida.