Welcome to book spotlight where instead of giving you another book review, I’m just going to talk about books I’ve read recently that I enjoyed. Prepare yourself for the fangirl gushing.

I’m always on the lookout for books that feature certain elements, and one of those is pirates. I love reading books about high sea adventures, treasure hunting, or just simply piracy. One of my friends bought me Race to the Bottom of the Sea by Lindsay Eagar after she read it and demanded I read it too since it features, among many things, pirates. And well-written, well-explored pirates.

From the start, I knew I’d love this book. That cover, the opening chapters, the whole premise—this book is the type of middle grade story that I aspire to write. It’s a good blend of genres as it includes scientific aspects and that fantastical, adventurous element of pirates and treasure hunting. It has a timelessness to the world that I adore.

It’s also the type of children’s book that doesn’t talk down to children. It uses big, scientific words and includes deep, serious subjects without fear that the reader won’t be able to understand what’s happening. There are exciting moments and darker moments and everything in between. There is just so much wonder and emotion in this book.

And the characters! Oh, the characters are brilliant. Fidelia is a fantastic, brave main character. I love her journey over the course of the novel. Bad, sad moments happen for her but she pushes through and keeps going. Such an inspiration for the middle grade genre.

Merrick is a great foe (though I wouldn’t call him a villain) and a great pirate. I love his journey, too. I knew from the first moment he was mentioned that I would love his character, and it was true. I adore that this book really takes a look at good and bad and how nobody is all good or bad. So powerful.

The side characters are great as well, and I love how there are hints at more to the world than what is explored in this book. There are also details scattered through the story like bread crumbs that made me suspect certain things that came to pass, which was exciting and fun.

And the prose and writing style! So beautiful and enchanting. This entire book is such a great aesthetic. I wish I had written this book.

I will be recommending this book a lot. I already want to revisit the story and world and characters. If you like middle grade, pirates, and oceanography, read this book ASAP!