Find out what happens when two 12-year-olds from vastly different worlds are thrown together in a high-seas adventure packed with action, secrets, and intrigue.
The year is 1663. The place, Amsterdam. When her abusive father almost stabs her with a red-hot poker, Petra De Winter flees and stows away on a merchant ship bound for the East Indies. Bram Broen, the illegitimate, half-Dutch/half-Javanese son of the ship’s carpenter, finds her hiding place and agrees to help Petra disguise herself as a boy and keep her hidden in exchange for help with chores. The stakes are high, as Petra lives in constant fear of discovery (stowaways are often executed), and Bram risks the only family he’s ever known to help her. Halfway through the journey, Petra foolishly (or perhaps cannily) reveals herself to help the ship’s doctor save a grievously injured crew member. Now out in the open, Petra roams freely and becomes indispensable as the doctor’s assistant. But their troubles don’t end there. Yohalem throws a lot at them: superstitious crew members (a girl onboard is bad luck), a pirate attack, devastating illness, and mutiny—the friends must overcome very dire straits indeed. The story brims with luscious detail (urine shampoo and butt-brooms and more), the product of copious and enthusiastic research, engagingly summarized in an author’s note.
This novel has all the required elements to appeal to zealous historical-adventure buffs. (map) (Historical fiction. 9-14)