As the son of famous Black Jack Valera, the best whaler on the eastern seaboard, thirteen-year-old Lucky Valera led a charmed life at sea, until his father dies and his estranged older half-brother, Fortuna, kidnaps him.
Lucky’s hopes of joining the crew of the whaling ship, Nightbird, are dashed as Fortuna forces him into servitude at the nearby mill. But when Lucky meets Emmeline, a spirited girl with abolitionist sympathies, and Daniel, a fugitive slave from the South, his dream to return to his old life seems to be within reach. That is, if he and his new friends can outwit and outrun Fortuna and an enraged slave trader, both of whom will stop at nothing to get back what they believe is their rightful property.
Krista Russell’s action-packed historical adventure, following a brave young protagonist willing to risk everything for his freedom, offers a glimpse into a unique historical time and setting and will leave readers on the edge of their seats.
“Solid work, featuring a strong-minded protagonist bent on doing the best he can with what he’s been given.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Without slowing the story’s pace, Russell gives readers plenty to think about… Strong-willed and good-hearted, Lucky is an especially vibrant hero in this multifaceted and suspenseful historical adventure.” ―Publishers Weekly
Parents’ Choice Recommended Award ―Parents’ Choice Foundation, 2011
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People ―National Council for the Social Studies, Children’s Book Council, 2012
Massachusetts Book Awards (Must-Read Children’s / Young Adult Literature) ―Massachusetts Center for the Book, 2012
Young Adult Top Forty ―Pennsylvania School Librarians Association 2012
AR Level: 4.6
F&P: X, Gr 6, Genre HF
Themes: Cape Verde, Freedom, Quakers, Slavery
BISAC 1: JUV001000 JUVENILE FICTION / Action and Adventure / General
BISAC 2: JUV016000 JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / General
BISAC 3: JUV016200 JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)