Title: Bloody Jack (Book 1 in Bloody Jack)
Author: L. A. Meyer
Publisher: Harcourt Paperbacks
Release Date: September 1, 2002
Jacky Faber is used to fighting for survival. For an orphan on the streets of 18th century London, every day starts with begging and ends with an empty stomach. But now luck is finally on Jacky’s side – a departing warship is taking on ship’s boys, and Jacky jumps at the chance to pursue pirates and riches beyond imagination.
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.
I have finally found the first book in this series, and was not disappointed. I may have started with the wrong book, but the series itself is amazing, no matter where you start from. Jacky has a vibrancy as a character that draws people to her, both readers and other characters. The fact that the characters seem to be both good and bad only serve to bring her many adventures to life. Finally reading about the first part of Jacky’s life has been enlightening. I’ve read some of her latter adventures, and in them she retells or references some of her earlier ones, so I’ve finally been let in the loop when it comes to the HMS Dolphin, an altogether fitting start for a rascal such as Jacky. She has cheek, wit, and despite her seeming cowardice, she is clever, resourceful, and humorous in her dramatics. She is a character you don’t want to miss.
The book has other perks, too. The suspense and adventure of the plot, especially in this beginning of the series where she hides her gender, is great. She has several close calls that, while nerve-wracking, are also humorous once you pause and reread certain sections. You will find yourself asking, How did she manage that? in nearly the same way she asks herself. I also love the narration. Her first person point of view is a large part of why the book sucks you into the story and is also a quick read. Reading her thoughts and prayers lends to the funny part as well as the suspense. For the majority of the book, you can’t help but empathize, or at least sympathize, with her, and for the rest, you’re taking a small break and laughing to yourself about the book, hoping the people around you can’t hear you because you really can’t help it. Meyer does a terrific job in this series opener, and I’m so glad that I picked up the books. I would recommend this book to any teenager looking for a book with pirate adventures!
**Note: I would not recommend this book to anyone 12 or under due to mature sexual content (nothing explicit) and some profanity.