I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE ROAD TRIP by Melissa de la Cruz Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!
An original novel inspired by the hit Disney+ television series HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL, by the #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Descendants series, Melissa de la Cruz.
Join everyone’s favorite Wildcats from the Disney+ smash hit original series High school Musical: The Musical: The Series in this novel by New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz.
On the heels of their wildly successful run of High School Musical, the gang learns of a can’t-miss opportunity—a High School Musical convention in the next state. There’s something for everyone: panels about mounting your next hit show, cafeteria-tray-dance workshops, Wildcat cosplay, and even a special appearance from the pooch who played Sharpay’s dog (well, one of her puppies, that is).
Ready to hit the road, the crew immediately begins making plans. Nini can’t wait to use the weekend to show how much she cares for Ricky (especially since they just got back together). Kourtney debates signing up for a singing workshop (especially if she’s maybe, just maybe, considering auditioning for the next show), and Gina and Ashlyn decide it’ll be the perfect trial run for living together (especially because Gina has never actually had a friendship last this long). Carlos can’t wait to help Miss Jenn prep for the spring musical, even if Seb has to stay behind to help with the family farm. But car breakdowns, late starts, and a lost E.J. throw a wrench in their plans.
Will the East Highers get the weekend getaway of their dreams? Or will the bumps on the road get the better of them?
Title: High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: The Road Trip
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult, Contemporary
I’m so glad this book exists! I’ve sorely missed HSMTMTS so this was a good way to get me back in the story and ready for season 2.
This story picks up right where season 1 of HSMTMTS ended. Even though it brings up all the problems each character is facing, each decision, each relationship, etc; it does a good job of putting that aside (so we can see it all resolved on the show) and focusing instead on a new experience. Our wildcats get to go to a High School Musical convention (and honestly, who wouldn’t want to go to one of those) where they experience new problems and face new challenges that they must solve in this book.
I think what I most enjoyed about this book was the craziness of it all. Like any good road trip story, things do not going according to plan. And with this group of Wildcats, it was especially fun for things to go wrong. Each character brings so much to the table and made this book such a joy. As well, this book had all the humor of the show, plus some! We get to see each quirky character try to handle each situation in their own way (and mess it up in their own way). It was loads of fun to sum it up!
De la Cruz did a fabulous job of keeping the characters true to the characters we first met in the show. She brought in each of their quirks and personalities with finesse and absolutely killed it. It’s a multi-POV book so we really get a look into each of our main characters’ heads throughout this crazy trip. I especially loved that she would put in little “extras” in between some of the chapters. For example, we get a fun list at the beginning of the book of things that need to be done to prepare for the trip (all from Ms. Jen’s POV). I laughed so much during this short list because I could hear Ms. Jen saying these things.
Overall, this book was an absolute delight! The plot, the characters, and the top-notch humor all came together for one crazy, Wildcat road trip. And you don’t want to miss it!
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed a gifted and advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Let me bring you up to speed.
High School Musical: The Musical—over. Huge success. HUGE. Kiss-and-cry backstage, then in the foyer with all our dumbstruck parents still waving their glitter signs and autographed programs, their hair crazy with Robotics Club confetti.
Cast-party time. Plan A is go crazy at Ashlyn’s—part deux—but cast + crew + hangers-on = way too many people. Wouldn’t want anything smashed, broken, or spilled. So Miss Jenn suggests we do what East High musical casts have always done: go to Denny’s on West 500th and pretend it’s a diner on the corner of Hollywood and Vine.
If we can make our school gym into a theater and a skateboarder into our star, then we can turn a Denny’s in Salt Lake City into Radio City Music Hall—especially when E.J.’s father is paying for all the milkshakes and onion rings.
We’re all there (in this together, right?) screeching and singing and making Miss Jenn do her Is that the last apple? line again when my phone dings. It’s not my sweet Seb, because he’s holding court nearby—still in his Sharpay makeup—reprising his big number with the help of some built-in plastic seating and E.J.’s knee.
It’s something much, much better. An HSM alert!
Picked out the colors for your dressing room yet?
One week till the HSM Convention in Jackson Hole!
What. The. Wildcats.
How did I miss this? I’ve been so consumed with our own show—choreography, drama, homecoming, Miss Jenn almost getting fired, the theater burning down, break-ups, make-ups, more drama, having to go on as a last-minute understudy and say things like bro—I haven’t been paying attention to my HSM alerts. I didn’t want to mess with the flow and now: Oh no!
“Miss Jenn.” I grab her arm and she twirls so fast she takes out half the basketball team with her mermaid waves. “We have to do this.”
She stares at my phone, her blue eyes wide.
“Next weekend?” she says, and pulls out her own phone. It has a green cover to remind her of when she was the understudy for Glinda in Wicked—I think it was in Peoria. Miss Jenn is pretty speedy with Google searches: You’d never guess she grew up in the old flip-phone days when people still used paper maps and never took pictures of their food.
“Panels,” she says, scrolling with one pink fingernail. “Vocal workshops. Choreography workshops. Cosplay. And . . . oh! Oh!”
“What is it, Miss Jenn?” She looks like she’s about to faint. That, or hyperventilate.
“Lucas Grabeel,” she whispers. “Lucas Grabeel is going to be there, in person. Not a dream, Carlos. Actually in person!”
“Um, a dream?” I ask, and Miss Jenn whips her phone away.
“I have to go.”
“Now?” There are more curly fries coming. Nobody leaves a party when curly fries are on the way.
“I mean, we have to go. To Jackson. Help me up.” Miss Jenn elbows Seb off his perch and waves her hands to get everyone’s attention. This doesn’t work.
“Hey! Everyone! Quiet!” E.J. shouts in his best captain-of-everything voice, but that also doesn’t work. Some of the chorus-line tap-dancing doesn’t work, though it does bring the manager out to ask us to “Mind the floors, kids.” And Gina leaping so high in the air she practically brushes the ceiling with her fingertips—no, that doesn’t work either.
Finally Kourtney clambers up next to Miss Jenn and starts singing “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” at the top of her voice. Everyone’s whooping and clapping and then Kourtney stops mid-line.
“Miss Jenn has something to say.”
“Not a speech,” says Miss Jenn. I haven’t seen her face this pale since the day the principal wanted to fire her. “An opportunity. You know how I always say to trust the process?”
More clapping and whooping. We have to shush everyone all over again.
“Well, sometimes you have to trust providence as well. You have to trust fate. You have to trust that the universe will provide.”
“Has she got a Broadway callback or something?” Seb mutters in my ear.
“You’re not leaving, Miss Jenn?” calls Nini. It’s the first time she’s taken her eyes off Ricky since we got here.
“Not leaving, Nini. Going. We’re all going.”
“To Disneyland?” asks Big Red, and everyone laughs.
“To Jackson Hole,” Miss Jenn announces, and no one’s laughing or whooping now.
“Skiing?” someone says, but no one looks too enthusiastic. They’re all thinking about the curly fries, which are—let’s face it—more exciting than Miss Jenn’s announcement. She’s selling it the wrong way.
“You guys, wait!” I shout. “It’s a High School Musical convention—in Jackson Hole. Next weekend!”
Now everyone’s talking. People are practically bouncing off the walls. I wish they’d put this amount of energy into their dance rehearsals.
“It would be the most amazing thing ever,” Ashlyn says. “Meet-and-greets with some of the original cast and crew? Wow.”
“But how would we get there?” Natalie asks. I hope she’s not planning to bring her emotional-support hamster. The last thing we need is for that thing to escape in another state.
“Yeah,” says Ashlyn. “I mean, E.J. can drive because he’s old, but—”
“I can drive the school van,” says Miss Jenn. “Mr. Mazzara gets it all the time for his robotics whatnots. I’ll send permission slips to all your parents. I mean, they have to say yes. After seeing you all on the stage tonight—”
“Well, the gym,” says Natalie. “Strictly speaking.”
“It’ll be a theater field trip,” Miss Jenn continues. “A celebration of our amazing show. Research and nourishment for our creative souls.”
She starts wobbling on her high heels with excitement, and Ricky helps her down from the chair. He’s beaming so wide, his face almost splits in two.
“We have to make it happen,” he tells her, and the dog tag around his neck glints in the fluorescent light. Since when does Ricky Bowen wear necklaces?
“Do you think Principal Gutierrez will agree?” Nini asks. Her face is still shining from the night’s success. I mean, we did kill out there tonight. “Will we have to take time off school?”
“We really can’t,” Natalie tells Miss Jenn. “We have tests, and after school we have to rehearse every day.”
Natalie’s a killjoy, but she’s right. We’ve promised to do a charity show on Christmas Eve to raise money; we have to help rebuild the school’s burnt-out theater, after the fire that was (whisper) caused by Miss Jenn and Mr. Mazzara.
“And it will take us so long to get there,” Natalie says.
“Five hours,” E.J. reads from his phone. “That’s the driving time. It’s nothing. I’ve driven farther for archery lessons.”
“Plus two hours when we get stuck in the snow,” says Ashlyn. “You know, after the blizzard rolls in.”
“We’re driving a few hours north,” I tell her, “not taking the Donner Pass.”
“So we leave right after school next Friday,” says Miss Jenn, eyes fixed on some distant spot, as though she’s about to begin a power ballad. “And if we limit ourselves to one rest stop, we’ll make it in time for some of the opening sessions that night.”
“It ends on Saturday night,” Kourtney says, scrolling down the site that practically every one of us is reading right now. “That’s a shame. The final session is a group sing-along.”
“We don’t need to sing it,” Ricky agrees, grinning at Nini. “We just lived it.”
For someone who totally missed the boat on the phenomenon that is HSM—i.e., did not grow up watching it with his mom, singing it in the car, and reenacting dance moves on the down-low in our high school cafeteria—Ricky is all about it now. I used to think his feet were glued to his skateboard. Maybe it’s because being in the musical brought him and Nini back together, and he’s already thinking about the spring musical and his next chance to stare into her eyes under the spotlight. He better watch out: E.J. may be over his selfless kick by then. Seniors in their last semester can get grabby with roles. They come over all sentimental about leaving school and this being their Last Chance Ever. Ricky should be on his guard. I mean, hasn’t he seen HSM3?
Miss Jenn mutters something about going back to work right away to e-mail all our parents and break into the admin office to book the van. I hope she’s joking about that last part. She’s out the door before we can stop her.
“There’s even a songwriting workshop,” Ashlyn says to no one in particular, smiling at her phone. “I have to do that. I have to.”
“I don’t see any stage-makeup workshops,” Kourtney says, and Nini mock-punches her.
“You need to go to one of the singing workshops,” she tells Kourtney. “People need to hear your voice. You know what Miss Jenn told you—she said you were the best singer in Utah.”
“Northern Utah.” Kourtney rolls her eyes. “And she didn’t say anything about southern Wyoming.”
“Gina, you can come?” Nini says, and hugs her close. Things are way more chill between the girls these days. That’s the magic of musicals, people! “You don’t have to go back to DC right away, do you?”
Gina does some weird thing with her head that makes her look like one of those fake head-bobbing dogs in the back of old people’s cars. She and Ashlyn exchange glances.
“Maybe,” she says. “I hope so.”
“Road trip!” shouts Big Red, and everyone starts leaping around and shouting again. At this rate they’ll have no voices for the convention next weekend, whether they want to join the sing-along or not.
It’s only then that I notice something strange. Seb hasn’t said a word, and he’s not looking at his phone.
“Can you go?” I ask him. Seb looks down at the floor.
“I don’t know,” he says. “It’s a really busy time on the farm now. We have the last stock sale of the year on Saturday. It was a big deal for so many of my family members to come see the show tonight. I don’t know if they can spare me that day.”
Just like that, my excitement disappears. Not even an HSM convention will be fun if Seb isn’t there to hang out with.
“Hey,” he says, and takes my hand. “Maybe something’ll work out. Remember what Miss Jenn always says.”
“ ‘Trust the process’?”
“Nope.” He shakes his head and smiles up at me. “ ‘Is that the last apple?’ ”
We both laugh, but what I think is this: How can all these Cinderellas go to the ball? We’ve got to make some magic happen, people. This isn’t a game. It’s High School Musical.
Okay—it’s High School Musical: The Convention. We’re going to Wyoming, not a palace, and we need a van, not a pumpkin coach. A boy can dream, can’t he?
About the Author
Melissa de la Cruz (www.melissa-delacruz.com) is the author of the #1 New York Times best-selling Descendants series, as well as many other best-selling novels, including all the books in the Blue Bloods series: Blue Bloods, Masquerade, Revelations, The Van Alen Legacy, Keys to the Repository, Misguided Angel, Bloody Valentine, Lost in Time, and Gates of Paradise. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and daughter.
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