My cri de coeur for a standalone book has not yet been answered (although I think I'm going for Twisted next because Laurie Halse Anderson is coming soon to our library), but the title I'm almost done with was a standalone when it was first published in 2002 ... but she proved popular, and so now there are four. I'm talking about Bloody Jack, Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy, now out in audio. After the tortured listening (both poor audios and ghastly stories) of the past month or so, it is pure pleasure to just zip through this book -- I'm getting through a disk a day, which is fast-paced for me.
Mary Faber is an orphan on the streets of 18th century London when she takes a job (in disguise) as Ship's Boy on the HMS Dolphin, an actual Royal Navy vessel. She's an apt study, and works hard -- both as a sailor and at The Deception (even creating a little codpiece that she sews to the inside front of her pants). This morning, as the disk ended, I left her dangling from a kite in the sky as she was sent aloft to help her shipwrecked crew find the closest inhabited island in the Caribbean. I fear she is soon to be found out, and then what will happen (the end of the book, I guess!)?
This title has been nominated and I can see why. The book is written in a Cockney dialect, and the talented Katherine Kellgren is making a fine go of it. She easily slips into American, Irish, and more "proper" English to portray some other sailors (her Jamaican doesn't roll quite as easily off her tongue, but she is consistent). Jacky is prone to hysterics when the occasion warrants it and Kellgren isn't afraid to ramp the volume up and produce tears and a runny nose. The story is highly entertaining and Kellgren's portrayal more so. I think I shall go buy it for my library right now!