Cast Off: The Strange Adventures of Petra de Winter and Bram Broen by Eve Yohalem.

Published by Dial Books

Summary: When Petra de Winter’s wealthy father threatens to kill her, she runs away and hides on board the Golden Lion a ship sailing from the Netherlands to the East Indies.  Bram Broen, the mixed-race son of the ship’s carpenter discovers her and helps her stay hidden.  She disguises herself as a boy, which turns out to be fortunate when she is eventually discovered.  After surviving a keel hauling, she is put to work as the surgeon’s assistant, using skills she learned back home in Holland.  Told in alternating voices, Petra and Bram relate a story that includes piracy, mutiny, and lots of adventure.  Grades 5 and up.

Pros:  While more of a middle school book, good fifth grade readers will enjoy this page-turning adventure.  It would also make an exciting read aloud.

Cons: Pretty much every aspect of life for anyone living in 17th century Europe who wasn’t  wealthy, white, and male.

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