Collages5Author: Caroline Carlson | Website
Release Date: September 10th, 2013
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Pirates!, Humor, Mystery, Adventure| Pages: 368

This week my MMGM is courtesy of Lit Lushes! I was so excited that my post office actually delivered it (ps…I’m missing about 3 packages of book, Grr!) because this is a book right up my alley! It drops tomorrow, and if you love pirates, this is a MUST READ!

I was provided an ARC copy of this book from Literary Lushes. I was not compensated in any way for my review (cross my heart) nor did I promise a good rating. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine.


Miss Hilary Westfield has escaped from finishing school to chase her dream. She wants to be a pirate more than anything, and right now all of the grown-ups in her life are standing in her way. So when she finds herself in possession of a treasure map–and since it meets the regulations according to the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates– Pirate Hilary is bound and determined to find the treasure no one believes in, and prove that she is fit for a life of piracy.
Soon she is swept away on an adventurous quest with a gang of pirates unfitted for the league: a rogue governess, a talking gargoyle, & some misfit scallywags, all captained by the most treacherous villain on the high seas. It’s up to Hilary to fulfill her dream–and to find the country’s missing (and largest) treasure!

5 Reasons Why This Book is Marvelous!

  1. Oh goodness! I think I’m quite ready to leave my dull and boring life and find some adventure on the high seas! I’m beginning to think that pirate stories are the next big thing in MG literature, and with stories like Carlson’s, this is a genre fit for library shelves! I know I’ve talked up pirates before (even multiple times), but Magic Marks the Spot was a book that wasn’t even on my radar before a few weeks ago. After reading it, I have NO IDEA how I’ve missed it. There’s action! and adventure! And misfits, and treasure, sword fights, magic, villains, and Enchantress, and even a great sidekick!
  2. Let’s talk pirates. But not just any pirates. Pirate Hilary–a female protagonist determined she’s got what it takes. I admit. I have this soft spot in my heart for pirates (honestly, I’m not sure why. Is it because Hook from Once Upon a Time is pretty good looking? Or is it the treasure?) Whatever the reason–pirates are the thing right now is my MG book world. But they are always guys. What’s up with that? What can’t a hard core pirate be a girl? (And I’m not talking the pirate wench who’s usually off to the side.) No. I want a female pirate captain who is as brave as her counterparts and willing to brandish a sword against the villains. Who can decipher a treasure map. Who can be the terror of the high seas. Who can…oh wait–Hilary can! Seriously though, I found Hilary to be such a strong character and not just a show off-y girl who is all “I can do anything boys can do.” She is genuine, and a dreamer, and just simply wants something different for her life. She’s an inspiration to all who read her–both girls AND boys.
  3. As with most of my favorite components, Carlson has created a wonderful adventure. She puts together this band of unlikely pirates all working for the common good, and readers cannot help but fall into this story. Between her lively descriptions of life at sea–or even at finishing school–the setting and action of the story are ones that will sweep readers out to sea. So many times I had to shake my head and realize, yes, in fact I was only in my living room and not on Gunpowder Island!
  4. A. Talking. Gargoyle. You all know my love for sidekicks and well, this story is not without a fabulous one! If only our house had a gargoyle!
  5. Finally, my most favorite reason of all to love this book: it’s a series!!!! Or at least that’s what I’m guessing from the spine of the ARC cover that says Book 1. But seriously–with all of this adventure and fun, how could there not be more of Pirate Hilary’s life on the high seas?
  6. Ok–I lied. I’m giving one more marvelous reason for this story–it speaks to my inner fantasy nerd. At the beginning of the book there’s an illustrated map of the lands, AND interspersed throughout the story we get letters to and from characters, typed up in font that looks like handwriting. It’s so fun and just adds another element to the story that helps my imagination create this wonderful world around me!

must-readBook Talk: Have you heard of Magic Marks the Spot? If not–what do you think now? Think it will fit that genre of skulduggery and adventure?

Hopeful reading!