I love me some Napoleonic War era British Navy fiction (how's that for a specialized taste) and this fits the bill nicely even if it does stretch the bounds of reality. It is told in the voice of 12-14 year old Jacky Faber, who in order to escape life on the streets in late eighteenth century England, pretends to be a boy in order to get a berth as Ships Boy on a royal navy ship. Adventures ensue.
This is definitely young adult fiction so nothing too complex but its a fun rollicking adventure.
Jacky's is a good narrator but her company did become a little tiresome for me. This,I think, is a weakness of telling a story through one character's voice. They are the only character you get to know well and that can be very limiting to the story and for me to my enjoyment. I also, and this is solely my problem, have trouble with the cockney slang and accent - to my brain it sounds comical and clownish - I can't take it seriously and therefore there was little change in the emotional tone of the book.
Despite these negatives, I did enjoy it and have moved on to book two in the series. I think this would be a great book for 12-14 year olds, especially girls.