Steel, by Carrie Vaughn
Sixteen-year-old Jill is devastated when she loses her fencing tournament. So instead of enjoying her family vacation in the Bahamas, Jill spends her time sulking. On a stroll down the beach, Jill discovers an old, rusted sword fragment. But the sword tip is magical and transports Jill back in time to pirate infested waters. Rescued by a pirate ship with a female captain, Jill is given a chance to join the crew. But the longer she’s there, the more Jill wants to find a way home.
When story begins, Jill is a moody girl, constantly feeling sorry for herself. But when she’s forced into a hard life on a pirate ship, Jill’s outlook changes dramatically. She’s a hard worker and compassionate. Vaughn’s pirates are not overly dramatized nor made into Hollywood-like heroes. Though at times Jill’s captain makes heroic choices. The pirates are still thieves and murderers, yet governed by a democracy of sorts, live by a code, and cherish their freedom.
Steel is a surprisingly fantastic adventure for teens and adults alike. A time-travel fantasy with swashbuckling pirates, danger, and suspense – this is a must read. This exciting voyage was well-paced and impossible to put down. This is a story I didn’t want to end. Full of swordplay, strong characters, and a bit of romance, I enjoyed every minute of it.
Steel releases from HarperTeen on March 15, 2011.