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Race to the Bottom of the Sea

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  428 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Can a clever young inventor uncover a ruthless pirate’s heart of gold?

Thrilling sea adventure takes on a hint of steampunk in the second book by the author of the acclaimed Hour of the Bees.

When her parents, the great marine scientists Dr. and Dr. Quail, are killed in a tragic accident, eleven-year-old Fidelia Quail is racked by grief — and guilt. It was a submarine of Fi
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Candlewick Press
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Right after finishing this book, I messaged the author to let her know I would read the phone book if she wrote it. This was a wonderful, powerful, inspiring book with a spunky girl scientist at the helm. Definitely a must-read for all fans of pirates, marine biology, and super-smart girls in STEM!
Aleesha Bass
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I didn't know it until this moment, but this is the book I have been waiting for since I was ten years old. Exploration, sharks, pirates, plundering, treasure, love, adventure, mystery: this book has it all. I think Fidelia Quail embodies exactly what ten-year-old me wanted to be. She was smart, nerdy, and brave, but she also had a lot of heart. I love her for that. What a great character for middle-grade girls to look up to.
Shelby M. (Read and Find Out)
I received a finished copy of this book from Candlewick Press in exchange for a free and honest review.

Race to the Bottom of the Sea follows eleven year old Fidelia Quail, who is the product of two world renowned marine biologists. Fidelia herself is a young genius inventor who helps her parents with their work and studies. At the beginning of the book, Fidelia experiences a great personal loss that shakes her entire world, and causes her to feel some discomfort with the aspects of her life that
Elise Filka
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a sweet, atmospheric, adventurous tale with so much packed into its tiny sweetness that you forget how good it really is and how "deep" (pun intended) it can be and let yourself be swept away with the tale of pirates, treasure, love, loss, and some amazing animal creatures.

A 4.8 for me but rounded up to 5 for good measure. I was sad but satisfied when I finally finished the tale :)
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Originally posted at Log Cabin Library

Opening lines: "Two scoops of mashed fish guts. Four gallons of blood. Mix together in a barrel then pour into the ocean."

There are a lot of interesting elements going on in Race to the Bottom of the Sea that I didn't expect. For one, it's a pirate story filled with high sea adventure, cannons, and a corrupt Navy Admiral in pursuit of Captain Merrick, his crew, and the treasure they have hidden. There are lovely descriptions of life on the Jewel, hoisting m
Ms. Yingling
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
This is not set a very long time ago (there are radios), but it had a distinct pirate-y sort of feel. There was also the grief that afflicted Fidelia. My students don't care for either of those things (or Steampunk, no matter how much I push it), although many of them are hugely interested in marine biology, which is weird considering how landlocked central Ohio is.

Will probably pass, but I can see it being popular if students like Patterson's Treasure Hunters series.
Dec 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There's nothing better than a good pirate book, and this is a good pirate book!

Fidelia is a fantastic character. She's brilliant, but realistic. There are so many fun, suspenseful moments, but my favorite thing is that this novel deals with death and loss in such a profoundly beautiful and accessible way.
Hannah Moy
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was SO good! Thanks to my amazing school librarian, I wouldn't of read this but luckily for me I did. Race to the Bottom of the Sea is a book about a girl called Fidelia Quail whose parents died in her own invention. She gets kidnapped by a notorious pirate who wants her to retrieve a precious treasure.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the second novel of Ms. Eagar's that I've read and it did not disappoint. 11 year old Fidelia is the kind of character I would love my girls to look up to. She is intelligent, loyal, creative, spunky, and doesn't allow the doubts of others to deter her. She knows more about the ocean and sea life than most adults, thanks in part to growing up with marine scientists for parents. She keeps her cool in the most intense situations and can come up with solutions to most of her problems. Fidel ...more
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
I loved Lindsay Eager's HOUR OF THE BEES, but I loved this one even more. A fantasy adventure that is written with lyricism and doesn't shy away from deep, difficult feelings—with tons of marine exploration and beautiful descriptions of the sea, plus pirates and TONS of bittersweet emotion, it has all my favorite things together in one book. Highly recommend! If you enjoyed thoughtful, lyrical fantasies like THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON or Grace Lin's fantasies, you'll love this one.
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

Pirates, ships, and adventures on the open sea—Race to the Bottom of the Sea embodies every single one of those elements (and so much more!) and is an action-packed adventure that is a blast to read.

Despite its fun, adventurous aspect, Race to the Bottom of the Sea does start out with a fairly grim beginning when eleven-year-old Fidelia's parents are both killed in a storm while studying out at sea in a device that she invented. I'm always a bit he
Nov 21, 2017 rated it liked it
First sentence: The recipe in Fidelia Quail's observation book was for chum, and at eleven years old, she could recite it by heart.

Premise/plot: Love orphan stories? Love sharks? Love pirates? Love adventure stories? Love non-traditional narratives that jump back and forth in time? Love unhappy endings? Then have I got a book for you: Lindsay Eagar's Race to the Bottom of the Sea. Fidelia Quail is a clever, inventive eleven year old who is kidnapped by pirates just a few weeks after her parents
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Solid 4.5
Not what I was expecting, but still in a direction I liked. Some cutesy, easy to digest commentary on death and it's meaning. A hopeful tune wrapped in a light, hopelessly romantic pirate adventure.
Characters had great drive, and concrete personalities that weren't comprised for plot purposes. The main characters trauma after her parents death stay with her throughout the novel and the reader bares witness to her emotional strength of pulling through her grief. This type of sturdy chara
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is most definitely a five-star read for me! Any book that makes me laugh and cry and think and wonder gets all the stars.
This book grabbed me right from the start and never let up.
The action is non-stop, but it never feels rushed or overly detailed.
I loved Fidelia from page 1 and she got better with each passing page. She is smart, funny, caring, smart, independent, imaginative, smart, adventurous. Did I mention smart?!!? Hah!
The Quails are a wonderful family, and even though Mom and Dad pe
‘“Fidelia’s jaw dropped. “An admiral in the Queen’s Own Navy shouldn’t be drooling over treasure.”

Cheapshot Charlie raised his eyebrow. “People aren’t like your infernal sea creatures. You can chart their behaviors, observe their habitats, make predictions, but…” His gaze suddenly left Fidelia; she followed it behind her to the stern, where Merrick stood at the helm.

“But people don’t always act the way you expect them to,” Fidelia finished for him.”’ (264)

I picked up "Race to the Bottom of the
Jacquelyn Casazza
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved it. A feisty, bookish heroine who invents all sorts of whimsical scientific devices suddenly finds herself captive aboard a pirate ship with a motley crew and the most infamous pirate of the nine seas. Lindsay Eagar creates a magical voyage for the reader through places like Medusa’s Grotto and the Coral of the Damned, and introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters. Not only Fidelia and Merrick, but Charlie and Bloody Elle, Bridgewater, and Niccu and his crew. I got completely ...more
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
This wasn't my kind of story. It was too slow and weird for me. I didn't like the romance at all. I think that was the weirdest part of the story. I didn't like the time jumps either. Although, I did like the island and the ocean. The characters were okay. The MC was more likeable than anyone else in this story. I did like her parents, but they were only in a couple of chapters at the beginning of the book.
Brighid Walker
Feb 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Race to the Bottom of The Sea was a good interesting book in the beginning but it kinda fell apart towards the end and didn't exactly give me the ending I was expecting/wanting. It had a sad twist but also was a beautiful book and showed strength. I liked the beginning not the middle and the end was meh. If you plan on reading this book I wouldn't.
Wendy MacKnight
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-reads
What a gloriously thrilling/heartbreaking adventure! Fidelity is a heroine with a heart and brain as large as the entire ocean, and this swashbuckling pirate adventure story is a wonderful story of grief, hope, and resolution. Beautifully written.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fun, enjoyable, well written, emotional, masterpiece of a book. Highly recommended.

Girl scientist + pirates + sharks. I loved every second of it.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
stayed up till two to finish it, soooooo
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book that addresses grief in a tangible way instead of the usual dismissal. There is an ebb and flow to the prose that mimics one of the main characters beautifully.
Yay girls interested in science! Yay nasty pirates!

For the full review and more, head over to The Pretty Good Gatsby!
Nostalgia Reader
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

I started out a bit uncertain of this book, but the blurb made it sound much too intriguing to give up after just the first two chapters. And I’m very glad I kept with it, since it had a perfect mixture of adventures, pirates, science, inventing, and conflict, both real and emotional.

Although I had most of the plot figured out from early on, I kept reading not only because the writing is beautiful, but because the “how and why” were still not clear, which is always good. I don’t mind a
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this one. I love the ocean, the sea creatures, and the science. I also loved the story, the characters, and the emotions. I can't wait to read it again.
Hayley Chewins
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know how much I needed a book about inventor-girls and sharks and sweet shops until I read this. RACE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA is a book about those moments that change a person forever, about how one goes on after the Most Awful Thing has happened. And yes, it's also about monstrous pirates who aren't all that they seem.

There was literally nothing about this book I didn't like. The characters are fully fleshed out and nuanced, so alive you feel you could reach out and touch them. The
Cindy Vallar
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Saying goodbye to the sharks on the last day of summer is a ritual for Fidelia Quail. She has studied her favorite fish for eleven years – her whole life. But this year, the sharks just aren’t cooperating. Not a single one is anywhere to be found, even though Fidelia entices them with their favorite chum. While she hopes and waits, her parents are down below in the submersible Fidelia invented. They are famous oceanographers who study the fish and flora of the nine seas. Fidelia is on the resear ...more
This was a solid second book by Lindsay Eagar. Hour of the Bees was a hit for her, and rightly so because it was an amazing story with amazing characters. I was so excited to see her next book was going to be about pirates, one of my favorite subject matters. When I saw this book, I fell in love with the cover and with the idea of what it promised - a high-stakes pirate adventure, featuring a strong, scientifically-minded female protagonist. It checked so many of my boxes. And I have to say, it ...more
I wanted to like this novel. It features a curious girl with a brilliant mind, a keen desire to learn, a love of the ocean and a gift for invention. Yes, she’s my kind of heroine. But then matters take an ugly turn.

The novel proceeds to put the intelligent Fidelia Quail through the literary wringer. First, her parents die at sea. Cue the sad Disney music. She faces being taken away by a strait-laced aunt to the inland, away from her beloved ocean shores. Then little orphan Fidelia gets kidnapped
Jaina Rose
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blogged
This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.

First I just want to say that Race to the Bottom of the Sea was actually really good. I didn't know exactly what it was going in–I knew lots of water was involved, and was actually envisioning a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea-esque submarine–but the whimsical description drew me to the book to try it out in the first place. And I'm glad I did!

You'd think that this would be a really sad and depressing book considering how much death appears/i
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