Books by Russell Gordon

TERRY AND THE PIRATES by Julian F. Thompson
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

This latest from the author of The Grounding of Group 6 is a confusing jumble—hard to follow and based on an unlikely premise. Terry is 16 when her mother suddenly announces she has decided to send Terry away to boarding school. In response, Terry decides to stow away on the yacht of a rich older man, Maitland Crane. Upon breaking into the boat, she discovers that Maitland's teenage son Mick is stealing the yacht so he, too, can run away. What follows is an unbelievable series of events, culminating in Terry and Mick finding a lost pirate treasure. In between, the two are the victims of a pirate kidnapping, complete with peg-legged, parrot-toting, earring-wearing, "walk the plank" pirates, a man-eating Komodo Dragon, and an unmapped island hideout. Initially, Terry appears to be a strong female character, but she is really as helpless as so many girls in current books, allowing Mick to make the escape plans, while she uses her feminine wiles to distract the pirates. Mick is an odd character, claiming he was a French marquis in a past life and slipping into that persona frequently, another hard-to-follow device. Written in a flip, choppy style that seems aimed at emulating the voice and thoughts of a teenage girl, the frequent asides rapidly become annoying. And Terry's ruminations are peppered with sexist and racist comments as well. One passage has Mick searching the island for an escape, while Terry stays behind thinking to herself, "The hardworking man of the house was off to work before she'd even made it out of bed!" Another passage finds the pirates calling Terry a "princess." Terry wonders if they "thought that was Jewish." Comments like these, combined with shallow characters, a weak premise, and outlandish situations make this an unappealing book in any case. (Fiction. YA) Read full book review >