True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by AVI, Book Review

charlotte doyleIn any list of children’s writers, AVI should undoubtedly rank near the top. He has an amazing talent for weaving together intricate plots and creating such page-turning intrigue that I can hardly bear to put his work down. He also writes with a clean simplicity that I greatly admire. His prose is beautifully precise, and he pulls a reader to the next thought so naturally, so efficiently, that a sixth-grader finds he can move swiftly through two hundred pages.

 The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle was published in 1990, but it has remained my favorite of AVI’s many titles (though I have not read them all – yet). Within, young Charlotte has the misfortune of traveling unchaperoned on the Seahawk , a nineteenth century sailing ship with mutiny simmering among its crew. Her strong sense of justice embroils her in the drama, and she falls afoul of despicable Captain Jaggery. This leads to her being accused–and found guilty–of murder.

I love the extreme transformation of Charlotte, from a timid, pampered child to a hard-working member of the crew. She captures a reader’s whole sympathy as she’s able to maintain an endearing personality despite dire circumstances. And Captain Jaggery, with his deception, hatred and rage, is an equally engaging character. A perfect foil to Charlotte’s charm. The conflict they create, coupled with superior plot twists, throws AVI’s story into four-wheel drive. Truly, it’s best to start this one on a Saturday just in case, like me, find you must read it through in one sitting.

I whole-heartedly recommend anything AVI writes, but this is especially true of Charlotte Doyle. Ages 10+

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