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I would like to thank Heidi Schulz for once more giving me the opportunity to use my "pirates" tag on this blog.

The Pirate Code is the second book to feature young Jocelyn Hook, daughter of the famous Captain James Hook. As with the first book, Schulz continues to delight readers with not only a fantastic story, but lots of humor, and a view of the Neverland that is quite different to our childhood imaginings.

Official blurb:
Fresh off a fearsome encounter with the Neverland crocodile, Jocelyn Hook decides the most practical plan is to hunt down her father's famous fortune. After all, she'll need the gold to fund her adventuring in the future. (And luckily, Hook left her the map.)
But the map proves to be a bit harder to crack than Jocelyn had hoped, and she's convinced that the horrible Peter Pan might be the only one with the answers. Of course, he doesn't really feel like helping her, so Jocelyn takes the only reasonable course of action left to her: she kidnaps his mother. Evie, though, is absolutely thrilled to be taken prisoner, so Jocelyn's daring ploy doesn't have quite the effect she'd planned for.
Along with the problem of her all-too-willing captive, Jocelyn must also contend with Captain Krueger, whose general policy is that no deed is too dastardly when it comes to stealing Hook's treasure. And with the ever-shifting Whens of the Neverland working against her as well, Jocelyn, Evie, Roger, and the rest of the Hook's Revenge crew have their work cut out for them.
In this rambunctious showdown between characters new and old, Jocelyn puts her own brand of pirating to the test in a quest to save her future and those she loves.

My thoughts in a few words: Funny and clever, unpredictable, beautifully imaginative.

Funny and clever.
The grumpy pirate narrator returns (never letting us forget that he really can't stand children and we are being quite a bother to him) and tells the story, interrupting every once in a while for a well-timed aside that's sure to make you smile.

While there are serious elements to the plot and character development as Jocelyn must overcome complications and re-evaluate how she views her friendships, there is a general lightheartedness about the book that makes it very easy to read and balances the serious bits very well.

I really appreciate that despite this being a novel aimed at younger readers, Schulz doesn't go the route of creating the invincible protagonist--Jocelyn is, in the end, still a child and of course cannot single-handedly defeat adult pirates. Because of that, she must come up with alternative ways of overcoming her enemies. There are plenty of twists, unexpected defeats, and even the plot's resolution might come as a surprise to many readers.

Illustrations by John Hendrix
Beautifully imaginative.
There were a few scenes in the book that really stuck with me and which I thought were really brilliant. One is the forest that is fed by things children have left behind. What a fantastic concept. I love the concept of a tree that survives on a child's abandoned belief in magic, or fear of toads, or other things children at some point give up as they grow.

The other image I loved was the Jolly Roger sitting atop a mountain. I love abandoned things, so the idea of a lonely ship that once was a terror of Neverland's seas sitting on a mountain covered in snow was very evocative.

Definitely recommended for all ages of folk who like a rollicking adventure.

For more about Heidi Schulz, visit her piratey website. To buy The Pirate Code from your local independent bookstore, visit IndieBound.


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