Race to the bottom of the sea by Lindsay Eagar
Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9780763698775
(Age: Year 4+) Highly recommended. Can a clever young inventor uncover a ruthless pirate's heart of gold? When her parents, the great marine scientists Dr. and Dr. Quail, are killed in a tragic accident, eleven-year-old Fidelia Quail is racked by grief - and guilt. It was a submarine of Fidelia's invention that her parents were in when they died, and it was she who pressed them to stay out longer when the raging Undertow was looming. But Fidelia is forced out of her mourning when she's kidnapped by Merrick the Monstrous, a pirate whose list of treasons stretches longer than a ribbon eel. Her task? Use her marine know-how to retrieve his treasure, lost on the ocean floor. But as Fidelia and the pirates close in on the prize, with the navy hot on their heels, she realizes that Merrick doesn't expect to live long enough to enjoy his loot. Could something other than black-hearted greed be driving him? Will Fidelia be able to master the perils of the ocean without her parents - and piece together the mystery of Merrick the Monstrous before it's too late?
What a fantastic book for our Year 4 and up students, in particular girls, to read. Fidelia encompasses many things that girls wish to experience. This is a powerful book with a strong protagonist who encounters pirates, treasure, adventure, mystery and suspense. Fidelia is smart, nerdy and brave but also extremely compassionate. She is very strong willed and does not let those around her deter her intentions, though at times this can result in encountering sticky situations. Fidelia's knowledge of marine biology, partly due to her parents' occupations, will hopefully inspire many to look after the ocean. A must have for your library.