The Teen Reader

Your source for reviews and ratings on every type of YA fiction.

Bloody Jack

Posted by Danielle on March 21, 2009

Author: L.A. Meyer

Genre: historical fiction, action/adventure

Reading Level: Intermediate to Difficult

Rating: R for violence, some language, and sexuality

Summary: “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 daring sailor as the crew hunts murderous pirates on the high seas. There’s just one problem: Jacky is a girl…”

Danielle’s Review:

If you happen to be looking for a fast-paced, adventurous, realistic, swashbuckling and occasionally unsettling historical fiction, this is it.

Bloody Jack is the first of a very long series of books about the somewhat daring, sometimes hilarious, and always honest female heroine, “Jacky” Faber. Jacky is not a very sweet little girl, but she’s always poignant, clever, and emotionally raw. Bloody Jack draws from the real and true horrors of history, as well as the real and true wonders of it, to create a world that feels vivid and un-biased. This book manages to teach mountains of facts about what life was like in the eighteenth century, especially if you keep reading on into the many sequels, which all take place in different wonderfully-portrayed historical settings. Yet, it manages to do it without sounding like a history book and boring you out of your seat. In fact, you probably won’t have any clue that you’re actually learning until afterwards.

This book is rated R mostly because of the gruesome realities portrayed in it in vivid detail. It’s a worthwhile read, if you’re over sixteen or so, but don’t go for it before then. There is a great deal of death, and quite obviously, it being a book about sailors, there is also a great deal of blatant sexual references. The real scene that pushed this over the edge of PG-13 is an attempted rape–do be warned about that, but realize that the author was attempting to portray the realities of the time.

Even if you don’t care about history at all, trust me, you’re going to have fun with this book. Leastways, you’ll never be bored.

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