Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2017 *Starred Review* A hearty welcome back to the Applewhites, that family of self-proclaimed artistic geniuses, whose Creative Academy is now about to win public acclaim—or infamy. The family has been selected to participate in the wealthy Rutherford family’s Education Expedition, which pits similarly inclined homeschoolers in a cross-country road trip to bring educational prowess to the masses (and money to the winners). But once the TV people get a hold of the expedition, it turns into a reality show. A new addition to the greater Applewhite family, savvy teen Melody knows what to do to make winners of them all, but how far will the clan let themselves be pushed? With the same madcap shenanigans that made the previous two books big winners, this volume gets the gang moving across the country in their reconstituted school buses, and the laughs are plentiful at every stop along the way. But the Tolans offer more than high jinks. Told in alternating viewpoints, E. D., the practical Applewhite, must reconcile her down-to-earthiness with the reality that schemers like Melody often win the day—and in this case, might also win E. D.’s crush, Jake. Jake’s chapters, meanwhile, feature introspection about the problem—problems!—with girls. There’s not much else like the Applewhites in kidlit, so enjoy the ride! - Copyright 2017 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2017 Gr 5–8—In this third installment, the free-spirited artists take their outlandish adventures on the road. Events are once again narrated from the point of view of E.D. (Edith), 13, the only organized member of this otherwise-flighty clan, and Jake Semple, onetime delinquent who arrived at the Applewhites's home school a year ago, discovered his passion for musical theater, and now is part of the family. As both teens are still reeling from the unexpected kiss shared on the final page of Applewhites at Wit's End, the family jumps at an irresistible opportunity: a wealthy couple is mounting an Education Expedition wherein groups of creative types take students across the country on refurbished school buses on an "adventurous educational quest" to be documented by video logs televised nationally, with the winners earning accolades (and a hefty cash prize). With preparations being made, rather haphazardly, E.D. has her doubts about the trip, concerns made deeper by the presence of the gorgeous and contemptuous Melody Aiko Bernstein, "troubled" niece of a family friend, whom Jake keeps staring at "like a puppy that has just caught sight of its first biscuit." Filled with humorous mishaps and roadside wonders, the Applewhites's rambling journey from Rhode Island to California provides opportunity for new experiences and emotional growth as E.D. is pushed out of her comfort zone, Jake wrestles with his rule-breaking proclivities, and both discover the importance of remaining true to one's heart—and one's art. VERDICT Great fun for fans of the series.—Joy Fleishhacker, Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Springs - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.