Book Review: Under the Jolly Roger, by L.A. Meyer

Under the Jolly Roger
(a Jacky Faber adventure, Book III)
By L.A. Meyer
Harcourt Books
Copyright 2007
Paperback, 526 pages
12 & up

Reviewed by Mayra Calvani

In this the latest installment in the Jacky Faber adventures, young and impetuous Jacky sails back to England after leaving the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in Boston.

Jacky is now in search of her beloved Jaimy, but when she shows up at his house, his insufferable mother turns her away. Later on, she finds an ingenious way to meet him at the races by dressing up as a boy. To her dismay, she finds him holding hands with another girl. Impulsive and passionate as always, she assumes the worst and storms out of the place without asking an explanation, only to fall into the hands of kidnappers. When she opens her eyes, she finds herself aboard a ship far from coast. But the worse happens when they realize the inevitable—she’s a girl! Now Jacky has to prove herself as an accomplished sailor, keep the filthy captain away from her, and earn the respect of her fellow mates. Of course, her dilemma doesn’t end here, for soon enough she’s mistaken for a pirate and the authorities put a price on her head!

This is a book that will be utterly enjoyed by young fans of pirate adventure stories. Non-stop action and thrills fill the plot, but what really stands out is the well-drawn, utterly adorable character of the sensitive yet head-strong teenaged protagonist, Jacky Faber. Her interaction with other characters and sharp wit are a delight to follow. L.A. Meyer has an unusual, original style that is fresh and engaging. The author uses the present tense to tell the story; since it is a historical novel, I would have preferred the past tense, but this is purely a personal choice. Also, at times the technical descriptions of Jacky as she handles the ship can be a bit tedious, though I suppose this can be appealing to hard fans of pirate stories. The book can stand on its own in spite of being the third one in the series. The ending leaves at a crucial point, leaving the story unfinished and readers begging for more.

*This review originally appeared on