Leila mentioned this book on her blog a while ago, and I stuck it on my list. But, honestly, I completely forgot about it. Then, I was wandering the aisles, looking for books for M, and it jumped out at me. (It was only later that I realized it was one that Leila had recommended…) She loved it, and passed it my way with a “You HAVE to read this!” So, taking a break from middle grade books, I did.
Jacky Faber was orphaned at an early age and grew up with the rest of the orphan scrabble on the streets of 18th-century London. One day, however, when Jacky’s gang leader, Charlie, was brutally murdered, Jacky decides to make a career change. Hiking down the Thames to the sea, Jacky enlists in His Royal Majesty’s Navy, becoming a ship’s boy. The hitch (and you probably figured this one out): Jacky is a girl. She not only has to deal with not being detected, but she — in an incredibly hilarious twist — ends up going through puberty while on the ship, which only complicates things. She does make a bit of a name for herself, battling against pirates, and ends up stranded on an island (but doesn’t get there the usual way), and falls in love. In short, she’s quite busy.
As far as seafaring/piratey/girls-masquerading-as-boys books go, this one’s a winner. A rip-roaring adventure book, it’s not for the faint of heart (boasting battles, fights, an almost-rape-scene, among other things). But it is: humorous, witty, exciting, thrilling… and has something for just about everyone. And, M’s right: you HAVE to read this. (Well, you don’t have to, but you won’t be sorry if you did.)