Mary’s family dies in an outbreak of disease and she is forced onto the streets of London and must live as an urchin. She does so for a while under the protection of a gang, but when that gang’s leader dies, she sets off on her own. She soon realizes that her chances as a boy are much better because at least she’d be able to find work. So she changes her appearance and her name (to Jack) and sets off as a ship’s boy on the Royal Navy ship, the HMS Dolphin. Even though the work is hard, it’s still an improvement on her previous life and she is content for the time being. She always knows that she will be discovered at some point, thus her time is limited and she sets out to make the most of it, engaging in all the adventure she can while she can.
I got this book from the ABC Sync site during their free summer download program. All of the books are YA and are designed to get young readers interested in books, reading and listening so there’s something for all age ranges. I think this particular book would be more suited to younger audiences, despite the references to swearing and carousing (she was on a ship in the early 1800’s so it was appropriate and only referred to, not spelled out, so to speak). The story is one that would appeal to young girls. Even though I like YA books, this one didn’t really do much for me. It was too unrealistic and fanciful for my personal taste. However, I was able to listen to the entire book and be mildly entertained, so it’s still a good book, somehow I just don’t think it’s one that would be universally appealing.