I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Life as a ship's boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of eighteenth-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas.
There's only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret. This could be the adventure of her life--if only she doesn't get caught. . .
”It's easier bein' a boy, 'cause when someone needs somethin' done like holdin' a horse, they'll always pick a boy 'cause they think the dumbest boy will be better at it than the brightest girl, which is stupid, but there you are.”
I liked this book a fair bit, but there were a couple of ways in which it disappointed me. As the quote above illustrates, there is a bit of commentary on the role of women during this time period. The basic plot is quite liberating for Jacky—she impersonates a boy and gets herself a job. She’s a sharp enough observer (trained by her time on the streets of London) to figure out how to pull it off without getting caught right away.
However, Jacky spends more time than necessary, in my opinion, bawling and dripping snot. Because apparently that’s what girls do. I don’t know about you, but my mother was the reserved one of my parents. You could make my dad cry fairly easily, but Mom was the Iron Lady. I remember that she gave me hell for crying too much at her mother’s funeral! She believed in crying in private, on your own, not in public for all the neighbours to see.
The writing style, though somehow strangely appropriate for this tale, didn’t really thrill me. Perhaps that’s because I am far older than the intended demographic for this series. I found it a decent book and a relatively quick read, but I sincerely doubt that I’ll be pursuing the series any further.