Friday, November 7, 2014

Flashback Friday: a swashbuckling tale with an unlikely heroine

Bloody Jack: being an account of the curious adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, a ship's boy by L. A. Meyer,  Harcourt, 2002. Highly recommended, appropriate for ages 12 and up.

Set in 18th century England,  a thirteen-year-old orphan, Jacky Faber, signs up as ship's boy aboard the HMS Dolphin. Spunky and clever, Jacky quickly learns that life aboard an 18th century British navy vessel, chasing pirates, can be dangerous. But that's nothing compared to what might happen if someone figures out that Jacky is really a girl. For those children who enjoyed Avi's The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (Avon, 1990) and are ready for something more robust and mature,  I highly recommend Meyer's swashbuckling and adventurous sea tale.   His attention to historical and period detail gives the story an authentic voice without overwhelming it. Oh, and Jacky is in touch with her feminine side-- there's a bit of romance, too. The tenth title in the series, Wild Rover No More was released posthumously and that is how I found out that (much to my shock and dismay) that Meyer passed away this past July. The last title, ironically, hints that Jacky's luck may have (finally) run out.

 Publisher's Weekly  wrote a brief but engaging article about him and included a wonderful story on what inspired this series.

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