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Magic Marks the Spot

(The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  3,524 ratings  ·  457 reviews
Admiral Westfield sucked in his breath and released it in a tremendous gust. “My dear,” he said, “let me be clear: You are a young lady. You will not tell silly tales and you will never be a pirate.”

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. She particularly enjoys
Audiobook, unabridged edition
Published September 10th 2013 by HarperCollins
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4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,524 ratings  ·  457 reviews

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This is the most unadulterated fun I've had reading in quite some time. I wanna kiss this book square on the mouth.
Allison Tebo

Well, me hearties, I’m a disappointed pirate. This should have been a ripping good voyage, but I’d be a liar to say it was. I may be a burglar, but I like to think I'm an honest one.

This ship’s log was as dry as powder – it was very difficult to read as far as I did. There were one or two singularly funny entries which stood out all the more because the rest of the log was decidedly not funny.

Aside from that, we’ve a rum crew onboard. Other than a very cute stone gargoyle with a
i love this book sm

it's so cute and fluffy and adventurous and funny
Aug 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned

"Magic Marks the Spot" Misses the Mark!

"The Very Nearly Honorable League of Good Pirates: Magic Marks the Spot" has all the elements of a good story: a precocious girl, a talking gargoyle, a Great Enchantress, pirates, and a hidden treasure map.

"Magic Marks the Spot" started slowly. After the first few chapters, the story appeared to be a bit silly and far fetched, but still a good yarn. Hilary's pet gargoyle is cute (I imagined him as a cross between a talking dog and a cat with wings) and whi
wow, i have been looking everywhere for a story about a gargoyle and finally... ^^

it was such a wonderful book about pirates, heroes, GARGOYLES, really, can't express my love for these creatures enough :)

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
A copy of Magic Marks the Spot was provided to me by HarperCollins/Edelweiss for review purposes.

After recently being denied admittance to The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates simply because she's a girl, Hilary is now being forced into attending Miss Pimm's Finishing School for Delicate Ladies. Not that she has any desire to become a Delicate Lady. She can tread water for 37 minutes, can tie a knot that cannot be undone and hates dresses because dresses make clim
A pleasant, but ultimately unsatisfying, read. The strong premise just didn't really blossom as the story went along, and I felt a bit underwhelmed by some of the "big" moments. I like the idea that magic is a commodity and that anyone can use magic--this is kind of a nice change from all the stories in which one has to be extra-special to use magic, but then it turns out that some people are better at using magic than others. I like the idea of "Very Nearly Honorable" pirates--but I found this ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
After my last middle grade was such a terrible dud, I was a bit afraid to embark into these pirate-laden waters. What if I felt like they'd shivered the timbers of these books unfairly, robbing them of a better life for inferior content? Or stole away my precious time, better spent with other books? Thankfully, Caroline Carlson's pirates aren't such vicious fiends. They're quite honorable, as pirates go anyway, and entirely lovable. Magic Marks the Spot is pretty close to perfect for what I want ...more
Jul 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not quite what I expected but it was enjoyable with lots of funny moments..
The story started with a rather slow pace, it could've contained a lot more adventures and action, the characters were good,
Hilary Westfield, daughter of admiral James Westfield, a wanna be pirate, gets sent to Miss Pimm’s Finishing School for Delicate Ladies against her will, and wasn't accepted in the "Very Nearly Honorable Lague of Pirates" because she's a "girl"..
Her Gargoyle, with magic in his heart, who I found to b

The letters and notices at the end of each chapter seemed interminable. I started to dread the end of the chapter because of them (then I started skipping them, tralala).

This was too unbelievable and ridiculous, and coming from me, that's saying a lot. I mean, Hilary's own father doesn't even recognize her? I don't care how detached you are. You'd recognize your own daughter.

Besides that, I don't know if I'd want my hypothetical kids reading a book in which the heroes say, 'We are always o
The audiobook for this is FABULOUS!
Catie Currie
This book is charming, hilarious, and well written. Part of the reason I found it so enthralling (and funny) of course was the narrator. I primarily listened to the audio book and she is one of the best of not the best narrator I've ever heard. I really enjoyed her work on the Incorrigible Children series and I was over the moon when I started the audio book and heard her voice. Interestingly enough, this book was perfect for all the same reasons as the Incorrigible Children, she must have a typ ...more
Apr 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a fun adventure, and the slightly steampunk world was a pleasant surprise! Still, I thought some parts of the world and plot could have been explained better, and ultimately, I think it will be a fairly forgettable story, even though I enjoyed it while reading it.
6/7/18 bought Kindle for $1.99
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You can also read this review on my blog

In short: Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson is a whimsical and light-hearted story that never takes itself too seriously.

You got to bet this one caught my eye immediately because a) I love cute middle grade books with cute middle grade covers, b) I love fun titles, and c) I love pirates. And Magic Marks the Spot delivered exactly what it promised: a whimsical and light-hearted story that had me chuckling at its brilliant tongue-in-cheek humour. Hila
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
genre: fantasy/adventure

summary: Hilary wants to be a pirate more than anything else. Unfortunately, she is being sent to Miss Primm's School to be a proper young lady. She escapes with her friend (a magic talking gargoyle) and finds herself employed on a pirate ship in search of the lost treasure of the Enchantress.

notes: piracy is regulated via the "Very Honorable League of Pirates" (similar to the guilds in the Discworld series)

for kids who like: Tale of Despereaux, Peter and the Star Catche
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do enjoy books about pirates! MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT tells of Hilary Westfield's journey to become a pirate, complicated by the facts that she's a girl and the daughter of an admiral. I have always enjoyed girl-crossdresses-as-a-boy stories, but that is not this one. Hilary is determined to do it all as a girl.

MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT is a very fun story, filled with a search for treasure and mysterious thieves and unexpected magic. I'm not sure it's a great start to a series, because it stands very
I adored this book, I found myself chuckling to some of the antics and happenings for our young Hilary. Hilary longs to be a pirate on the open seas and skip finishing school for high society girls.

How is a GIRL with a pet gargoyle going to escape her governess and Miss Primm's finishing school to become a pirate?

This will make a SHIVER ME TIMBERS bedtime read-aloud for parents to enjoy with their kids. Be warned, they will probably be begging for one more chapter each night :) Or your indepen
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
So, I'm giving this 5 stars because I read it to my kids, 1 chapter per night, & they stayed engaged the entire time. We had a blast reading this together. Myy 8-year-old son laughed non-stop at the gargoyle & Charlie. My 6-year-old daughter dressed-up as Hilary for their book day at school this year. It has adventure, humor, mystery, and age appropriate swashbuckling. This book was also a ton of fun to read out-loud. I loved being able to swap back & forth between the "High Society ...more
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Awesome book for the whole family. There are many books with female lead characters but it's refreshing to read a book about a little girl who doesn't care about being girly, pretty, or being a princess. It's just as refreshing to read a pirate story that features a heroine. A girl who wants to be pirate. How cool is that?! This is a book full of excitement, fun twists and turns, and humor. It's such an enjoyable read for grown-ups and children alike.
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun reading! A wonderful creation of another world, full of adventure. Loved the ending.
Deni Neni
Fun and light to read

This book was a delight to read. It was funny from beginning to end. I know this book was definitely written for children but I don't care. I laughed and enjoyed this book a lot. It's a fun book to read if you have four hours to spare on the weekend to laugh at this ridiculousness.

The book was about this girl called Hilary Westfield whom is the daughter of an Admiral of the Navy and she wants to be a pirate. But of course, girls can't be pirates. She gets denied by the pirat
4.5 stars. A very pleasant adventure book with a nice girl who wants to be a pirate.

There are many good things to say about this book, especially with a premise like a girl who sees herself as a pirate, even if women are forbidden on boats in this society. Hilary had a strong minded desire to be herself, even if she was challenged by several persons, and it was clearly pleasant to witness the world adapts to her desire rather than the contrary. She was nice and friendly, not just fierce, and she
Daisy Paquet
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is soooo cute! I love it so much! Adorable MG fiction is the panacea, I am quite sure.
Basically, I love this book because:
1. Gargoyles
2. Pirates
3. Magic is an ORE SO UNIQUE
4. Super-cute writing style
5. Relate-able characters
6. Gargoyles again
8. Over-the-top and insane
9. Easy to read
10. Makes me laugh

So, in a nutshell, read this because of crochet hooks, magical uniqueness, pirates, and gargoyles.
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The story was okay, but even though there was action, it felt slow. I did like the magic in this story, and that it was available to everyone. I liked the gargoyle and Jasper; they were amusing. Hilary and her governess were okay, but I didn't like the other characters. I was surprised by the villain.
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, fantasy-sci-fi
I cannot even with how perfect this audiobook is. Definitely a new favorite!
Selah Pike
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book itself is hilarious, and Katherine Kellgren’s narration puts it over the top!
Leigh Anne
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-elijah
Lots of swashbuckling fun.
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was soooooooo delightful! I actually laughed out loud a couple times. Katherine Kellgren did an amazing job reading it - such fun to listen to. Just what I needed. GREAT audiobook.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
A funny and smart middle grade pirate/finishing school adventure. Very much for the target age group in that it's a little too simplistic to have much cross over appeal. It's definitely something to read/listen to along with children.

I found the premise to be very strong but the execution slowly unraveled throughout the book. I did however love the message to girls here; you can be fierce and capable whether you're a pirate in trousers or a 'proper' lady in skirts. Femininity is not weakness and
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Caroline Carlson is the author of funny and fantastical books for young readers, including The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates trilogy, The World’s Greatest Detective, and The Door at the End of the World. Her novels have won accolades from the New York Times, the American Booksellers Association, Bank Street College of Education, the American Library Association, and Junior Library Guild, ...more

Other books in the series

The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates (3 books)
  • The Terror of the Southlands (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates, #2)
  • The Buccaneers' Code (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates, #3)
“A good pirate fights back," said Jasper, "and a good pirate finds treasure.” 6 likes
“If you want to know the truth, pirates can be even sillier than Miss Pimm’s girls, although they are not nearly as cruel.” 3 likes
More quotes…