MG Takes on Thursday

This is my new weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books. I hope others will enjoy taking part in this too!

How to take part:

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence. 
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

This week, I’m celebrating …

Written by Maria Kuzniar
Cover Illustration by Karl James Mountford
Map and interior illustrations by Sophia Watts
Published by Puffin Books

Favourite Sentence from Page 11:

Bullies were like wolves: they travelled in packs and would pick your bones clean.

This book in three words:


The Ship of Shadows absolutely gripped me from start to finish:  it is brimming with magic, excitement, danger, twists and revelations, but also with strong female characters, teamwork and friendship.

Aleja is a young book-lover who dreams of adventure and exploration, of following her heart to discover all there is to see in the world.  One day, a rather unusual ship arrives in her home harbour city of Sevilla, and Aleja soon finds herself aboard the ship with a band of strong female pirates.  She’s been waiting all her life for just such an adventure … and what an adventure it becomes as she fights creatures of legend and hunter pirates; discovers her own rather unique friend; and explores both real and legendary cities in a quest for a legendary item that may change the course of her life and that of the crew …

The world-building is stunning and absolutely immersed me in the wonderful port cities of Sevilla and Tangier, in the lost city and, of course, the Ship of Shadows itself which is a real treat for the imagination.   This magical pirate ship is a wonderful character within the story and has so many secrets and surprises to discover that it kept me mesmerised throughout.  Learning the history of the Ship was utterly fascinating, and I would so love a guided tour although perhaps staying in port!

This is an action-packed, breath-taking and dangerous adventure that kept me eagerly turning pages, but it is also a story of a group of fierce, brave and diverse women:  women who stand up for themselves and for each other; stand up to an oppressor; and who bond in the trust and loyalty gained from friendship and family.

If Aleja is to become part of this family, she must earn the trust and respect of this pirate crew.  I really enjoyed the development of Aleja’s friendship with Frances who is rarely without cake, who is not averse to a little theft and who tells wonderfully embellished stories. I also enjoyed her friendship with a rather unique creature who I hope is still with her in the next book in this fantastic series.

I’d love if anyone who wants to give this meme a go would comment in the comments box and include a link to your post so I can visit, comment and find some great middle-grade recommendations. If you do create a post and are on Twitter, and would like to share your post, please use the hashtag  #MGTakesOnThursday so I can find it, read it and share it!

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