Synopsis from Goodreads: "Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors, and she already owns a rather pointy sword.
There's only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.
But Hilary is not the kind of girl to take no for answer. To escape a life of petticoats and politeness at her stuffy finishing school, Hilary sets out in search of her own seaworthy adventure, where she gets swept up in a madcap quest involving a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn't exist, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas."
Magic Marks the Spot is the first book in The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series for Caroline Carlson. I've had this book on my radar since early September, so was very excited to see it was available at my library.
Magic Marks the Spot is a light hearted book with a fun, spunky character kinda reminiscent of Pippi Longstocking with her zest for adventure. I loved that Hillary went after her dream of being a pirate full force, even when The Very Nearly Honarable Leaugue of Pirates (VNHLP) told her they wouldn't take any girls. The addition of a magical, talking gargoyle statue brought lots of comical relief too. He kinda looks like one of the gargoyles from Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but I wished that he had a name in the story other than Gargoyle. Carlson also punctuated her story with extracts from A Young Lady's Guide to Augustan Society, tips from Treasure Hunting for Beginners The Official VNHLP Guide and various letters and news articles were scattered throughout. Some I admit to skimming over and others were quite amusing. Personally, I would have rather have had more illustrations because I felt the letters written from Miss Primm's Finishing School for Delicate Ladies, although highlighted perfect cursive penmanship could be difficult for some readers to read.
Overall, Magic Marks the Spot could be read as a stand alone but it is irresistibly charming and funny so I certainly look forward to see what adventures are in store for Hillary and Gargoyle next. Age range is listed as 8-12.