New Kid Jordan Banks is back with his friends from Riverdale Academy Day School and they are headed to Paris for their eighth grade school trip. All of the students and teachers are divided into groups based on their travel interests and things go bananas when there's a mix-up with teacher itineraries, plane tickets and purchase cards. The teachers and students scramble with international travel requirements and restrictions and the trips veer wildly off course. This provides a chance for greater understanding and teamwork with Jordan's group and the reader and characters learn things about each other they did not know before the trip.
The idea that traveling is important because it opens your eyes to new cultures, perspectives, and ways of living plays out authentically during the Riverdale kids' time in Paris, including some excitement with escargot and macarons. But one of the biggest challenges while traveling as a student is how to manage yourself when you're in a group of others that may be annoying, have different values, aren't as open to exploring and trying new things, or are more adventurous. Sleep habits, grooming, and personalities are all over the place during the early teen years and this is obvious, difficult, and perfectly depicted in this middle grade graphic novel.
Now that Jordan is in eighth grade, options open up for new friendships and experiences and this trip is the perfect culmination to his time thus far at Riverdale Academy. I sure hope we find out more about what happens to Jordan, Drew, Liam, Maury, and their friends as they enter high school. If you need a refresher or haven't explored this series, yet, catch up with the 2020 Newbery Medal Winner New Kid and bestselling companion Class Act.