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The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson

Posted by Caitie F on September 10, 2013

Title: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: Magic Marks the SpotLeague of Pirates
Author: Caroline Carlson
Hardcover: 256 pages
Pub Date: Sept 10, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

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. She particularly enjoys defying authority, 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.

Girls belong at Miss Pimm’s Finishing School for Delicate Ladies, learning to waltz, faint, and curtsy. But Hilary and her dearest friend, the gargoyle, have no use for such frivolous lessons—they are pirates! (Or very nearly.)

To escape from a life of petticoats and politeness, Hilary answers a curious advertisement for a pirate crew and suddenly finds herself swept up in a seafaring adventure that may or may not involve a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn’t exist, a rogue governess who insists on propriety, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas.

Will Hilary find the treasure in time? Will she become a true pirate after all? And what will become of the gargoyle?


While a pirate ship would have been a much more fun place than s finishing school, I think I would have passed on both. I never really got the attraction of pirates or sailing on the high seas, though I do love the Disney movie and ride. But if you love pirates or are looking for a fun adventure, this is a book to read.

It is by no means a bad book. It is an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. It is an exciting adventure that will capture your imagination. I loved that the end of each chapters had a letter to someone, so you got to see a glimpse of the rest of the story outside of HIlary’s perspective. Whenever it is done creatively, it really can add to a book, for this it gave it an entire extra + because it was done so well!

Hilary is great, as is the gargoyle, but no one really changed or grew. Hilary was brave and strong from the very beginning. She got better at everything, but the growth was minimal. Not to say she is unlikable, she is a very likable character and I hope she gives young girls a sense of bravery and adventure, I just think there could have been more. The gargoyle had me laughing out loud. It is the perfect humor for a middle grade novel that adults can enjoy as well.

The plot was rather predictable. There were several spots that seemed like they were large reveals, but there were so many hints towards them that it was never that big of a surprise.

It is a good book and I liked that it was a full story even though it is part of a series. If you like pirates, or know a middle grader who does, this book will be perfect.


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