Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

This author, Avi, is good at hitting home runs. This book is out-of-the-ballpark.

It takes place in the early 1800's. Imagine a prim, proper, well-dressed young lady from that time boarding a ship to sail from Europe to America. She is, of course, well-chaperoned, clean, and carefully tended to according to her station in life.

Except that through a series of unusual events, poor Charlotte ends up unchaperoned, alone in a tiny cabin, sailing with a mutinous crew intent on revenge upon their cruel captain.

Charlotte, naturally enough, takes the side of the captain at first. And when trouble arrives, it takes over fast. Soon enough, she is complicit in the death and scourging of a man via information she gave to the captain. It suddenly becomes shockingly clear to her that his authority and station in life has been a mask over a vicious and ruthless heart.

In sorrow over her previous decision, she becomes one of the crew.

The life of a sailor, the intrigues of a mutinous ship, the turnabout from all the protections she previously knew, and being put on trial for her life, has made her an entirely different person by the time she arrives back in America.

This story will bring home that period of history in a way tweens will never forget. It's no history textbook; it's absorbing.

Rating: 3 Vatican Flags
Historical Fiction: 1832


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