The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
If there was a list on GoodReads.com entitled “Historical Fiction Girl Power Books for Middle Schoolers”, The True Confession of Charlotte Doyle would be at the top of the list. I started reading this to my daughters at bedtime, and my older daughter quickly stole it so she could read the rest to find out what happens. I, of course, then snuck into her room in the middle of the night to get it back so I could find out what happens. This is my first Avi book, and I’m looking forward to reading some more of his nearly 60 books. You can learn more about his work at http://avi-writer.com/.
The story is about a prim and proper girl in the 1830’s who finds herself in the middle of a mutiny on a cross-Atlantic journey. She is transformed by her experiences, and realizes that while her strong morals are true some of her assumptions about people are not. There is violence and more than one murder in this tale, but it is not graphic and is totally appropriate for the story. I would recommend this to any 3rd grader who is a good reader (it ranks at 6th-7th grade reading level). This is also a great book to read aloud to your kids, as the whole family will be entertained.