Books with nautical elements have been all the rage in YA for the past couple years. From pirates to privateers and even some unwilling passengers, the voyages take these characters on adventures miles away from everything they know. It’s always an exhilarating ride and I know I’ll be swept away to the open water whenever I pick up a book with a ship on the front cover. I’ve just finished reading Nicole Castroman’s Blackhearts and Blacksouls (which are a free read and extended excerpt until April 24th, go check them out), and I’m still reeling from the excitement and dangers Anne and Teach faced. There’s nothing quite as thrilling as an adventure on the unforgiving seas! To prove it, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite books with nautical adventures.
7 Books with Nautical Adventurers
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles, but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.
Daughter of the Pirate Kingby
Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map―the key to a legendary treasure trove―seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.
Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society.
The Girl From Everywhereby
Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.
As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.
But the end to it all looms closer every day.
Song of the Currentby
Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.
In this lush, atmospheric fantasy, Gwen is kidnapped to an island inhabited by fairies, a roguish ship captain, and bloodthirsty beasts—and she must save their Queen before it’s too late.