Friday, September 24, 2010

Scout by Nicole Pluss

Title:  Scout

Author:  Nicole Pluss
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher:  Penguin
Publication Date:  30/08/2010
ISBN:  978-0-14-320458-9
Stand alone or series:  Stand Alone
Pages:  240 
Book Received from:  Penguin Australia
First Lines:  This is not shipboard journal.  I was unable to write one while aboard and find myself even less able now.
Synopsis:
As the Scout sails from England, Kit Lovell cries for the life she is leaving and the life she could have had. Her father was a sea captain who went down with his ship before she was born. Now her mother is to marry a stranger, a lighthouse keeper in the remote colony of South Australia.
But it soon becomes clear to Kit that this voyage across the world's vast oceans is setting something loose inside her, something she doesn't understand. Her secret encounters with Angel, a mysterious young sailor, seem at one moment completely bewildering and at another crystal clear. And her friendship with the bold and brash young Clarissa is opening her eyes in ways she never thought possible.
Yet Kit's internal turmoil is nothing compared to the power of the sea in all its moods as the Scout's melting pot of passengers and crew sail into an adventure that will change all their lives forever.

My Thoughts
Scout is the unusual story of Kit a 15 year old girl who leaves the comfort of England with her mother, to set sail for Australia.  I must admit that, had this not been sent to me I don't think I would have picked it up.

When I began reading the Prologue I was instantly drawn in.  It gave me just a hint of what was to happen throughout the book so I was eager to get started.  The story is written from Kit's point of view in first person.  I do enjoy reading first person stories because you're getting an inside view into their world.

Nicole Pluss is brilliant in her decription of Scout and setting the mood of the voyage to Australia.  Kit and her mother are placed into the steerage of the ship when they board.  They are squeezed in with many other travellers and I could almost see the conditions in which they lived in. 

It's set back in the days,  I'm not sure when exactly, but it's easy to tell by their mannerism and the way they are conveyed.  For instance a certain character joins in on some fun aboard the ship.  It's all harmless but when another character sees, they shake their head and mention something along the lines of having no respect for herself and what would these men think.  So that's a fairly big factor. 

The pacing is steady and the description is quite vivid.  I've never been on a sailing ship but I could easily imagine the men working to keep Scout afloat.  There were some parts that annoyed me a little though.  Kit's mother becomes quite overbearing throughout the book and at times I felt like saying "Oh Come on wake up to yourself".  That being said, I can guarantee that was deliberate and I give Nicole a thumbs up for getting me wound up a little.

Scout is one of those books that kept me reading just to find out what happens next.  In saying that, I feel I need to point out that even though I cared for the character/s in Scout I thought this one would stir up a little more emotion in me than it did.

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