Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson

Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors, and she already owns a rather pointy sword.

There's only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.

But Hilary is not the kind of girl to take no for answer. To escape a life of petticoats and politeness at her stuffy finishing school, Hilary sets out in search of her own seaworthy adventure, where she gets swept up in a madcap quest involving a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn't exist, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas.

The way I went about getting this book was quite appropriate. Very piractical and Hilary would entirely approve. I commandeered it one evening from Jeremy. I regret nothing.

Anyway, this book is entirely adorable. Hilary Westfield wants to be a pirate in a world where ladies are simply not pirates. Why, the idea is quite unthinkable, thank you very much. But where there’s a will there’s a way and Hilary finds herself and her gargoyle off on the high seas in search of treasure as she tries to shirk all the people who want to make her into a proper young lady, including her governess, father and owner of the Miss Pimm’s Finishing School for Delicate ladies, Miss Pimm. Meanwhile, following the lead of The Terror of the Southlands, otherwise known as Jasper Fletcher, pirate.

I honestly can’t remember if or when I’ve ever read a pirate book (surprising because I love the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and ride with an intense passion) but I have to say that I’m glad this was my first. Adorable, funny and super sweet, there’s not one moment of this book I didn’t like. I like Hilary and her pursuit of her dream, even if it meant disappointing her parents and breaking all the rules. Her best friend Claire for being insanely awesome for a girl who wants to be proper and a good friend. Jasper’s second-in-command, Charlie, who is loyal and sweet and if/ when there’s another book in the series, I’d like more Charlie, Caroline Carlson, okay? And gargoyle. Can’t forget him! I mean, what insane person Miss Greyson who might just be the most swashbuckling governess ever and of course the dashing and witty Jasper Fletcher.

If you never read a pirate book (or read hundreds!) I’d recommend this light, fun book about a girl just trying to be herself in a too-proper world.

Similar recommendations: The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand and the Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter.

-Reviewed by Jennifer

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