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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Children's Titles for Ages 8-12, 2014

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 37 minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors. She particularly enjoys defying authority, and she already owns a rather pointy sword. There's only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.

Girls belong at Miss Pimm's Finishing School for Delicate Ladies, learning to waltz, faint, and curtsy. But Hilary and her dearest friend, the gargoyle, have no use for such frivolous lessons - they are pirates! (Or very nearly.)

To escape from a life of petticoats and politeness, Hilary answers a curious advertisement for a pirate crew and suddenly finds herself swept up in a seafaring adventure that may or may not involve a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn't exist, a rogue governess who insists on propriety, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous - and unexpected - villain on the High Seas.

Will Hilary find the treasure in time? Will she become a true pirate after all? And what will become of the gargoyle?

©2013 Caroline Carslon (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best Narrator Ever!

If you could sum up Magic Marks the Spot in three words, what would they be?

So much silliness!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Her gargoyle was a great addition; love the novelty of a traveling gargoyle.

Have you listened to any of Katherine Kellgren’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Such a range of wonderfully unique and funny voice makes this story SO much better than when read in the book. Crazy, silly, funny characters are completely experienced when K.K. does them!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not required, you can stop and pick up later without losing out on the enjoyment.

Any additional comments?

Thank you for two of my favorites in one book: Magic and Pirates!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Maureen
  • BIRMINGHAM, AL, United States
  • 12-30-13

Fun! This is a real adventure

Would you listen to Magic Marks the Spot again? Why?

Katherine Kellgren gives a wonderful performance as she narrates this tale of the high seas. It was a pure delight!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Magic Marks the Spot?

Hard to pick just one and not give away the story. Hillary leaving to join the Very Nearly Honorable League got me hooked, but the adventure continued.

What about Katherine Kellgren’s performance did you like?

Her different voices for the characters.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Spunky heroine take sail!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very entertaining book amazingly performed

My seven-year-old twins chose this just because they enjoyed another book read by the same reader. I tried to tell them that that was a poor way to pick a book, but as usual they turned out to be right and I was wrong. We loved every minute of it. The narrator's voice characterizations are unbelievable.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Whispersync review

The Audible production narrated by Katherine Kellgren is delightfully dramatic and deliciously funny. I'm sure I would have enjoyed the book alone, but listening to the perfectly over-the-top characterizations enhanced the story greatly. Though this is a middle grades book, any person who enjoys humorous fantasy will likely enjoy this. It uses familiar tropes, but with new and creative variations, and tells a fine yarn along the way. It is appropriately G rated, though with scenes of tension and drama, and a remarkable lack of bumbling idiocy by anyone.

The Kindle edition has minor chapter head illustrations only and I didn't really need it to enjoy the story fully, though it does have an excerpt from the next book at the end.

I would compare this in general feel to the Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom and the less known, but quite enjoyable, My Sparkling Misfortune.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Utterly Charming and Hilarious!

This is truly the funniest book I have read in years! The characters are engaging and sympathetic. Every one is over-the-top and quirky in their own way.

Our heroine Hilary is a plucky girl with a pet gargoyle who is the daughter of an admiral in the Augustan fleet. She wants to become a pirate instead of going to Miss Pimm's Finishing School for Delicate Ladies.

The story is interspersed with excerpts from the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates (the VNHLP, serving the high seas for 152 years) Handbook and letters written by Hilary, her friends, the Queen of Augusta and many others. They're always funny.

From Hilary: "I should mention that your information regarding my appearance is not entirely accurate. First, I am not wide-eyed. Thanks to the interminable lessons delivered in a tortuous monotone by my governess, my eyes are frequently closed. Second, I am not a young man but a young woman. ...

Miss Westfield:
We are pirates. We are not easily horrified. We have seen shipwrecks. We have seen sword fights. We have seen men eaten by crocodiles and crocodiles eaten by men. We have on occasion hung skeletons from trees. None of these things horrifies us in the least.
Your letter, however, is another matter! ... No woman, young or otherwise, may join our league. ...if there is one thing upon which the VNHLP and the Royal Navy can agree, it is this: permitting girls to prance about on the high seas would be entirely undignified. Under normal circumstances, we would of course require you to walk the plank. However, our code of piracy does not permit us to treat young women in such a fashion. So we will be generous. ...
With shock and consternation,
One-Legged Jones
Membership Coordinator, VNHLP

Mr. Jones:
... I assure you that I will walk the plank a thousand times into cold and shark-infested waters before I will attend Miss Pimm's!
I remain,
Hilary Westfield
(really quite furious with you)"

Hilary answers an ad from a freelance pirate hoping to get a job on his ship. As to what happens next, suffice to say that there is a reason that Hilary and hilarity differ only slightly.

The narrator (Katherine Kellgren) is a gem and absolutely perfect for this story. She expresses sarcasm, wit and earnestness with equal zest. Her English accent adds just the right flavor. I have to find out who beat her out for the Audie in this category because I can't imagine why she lost!

I graduated from third grade decades ago but I still found this story to be thoroughly enjoyable and look eagerly for its sequel. Any child who can follow and enjoy chapter books should love this book as well.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very captivating story for both parent and child.

Thus was the first audio book that my seven year old daughter has listened too. It was a bit hard in the beginning, but after wrapping our heads around the characters she loved it! We definitely have to listen to this book again the the future.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fabulous Narration

My kids (ages 10, 12, 13...one girl, two boys) and I thoroughly enjoyed listening tot his book...great plot, well written, lots of humour. Perhaps the single best thing, however, was the narration. Katherine Kellgren is amazing - she had different voices for all of the characters, and she did them fabulously and utterly consistently! The voice of Miss Pimm is simply amazing. I couldn't believe that one person did all of the narrating.

Excellent choice.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Brilliant narration, funny story. Irresistible

As a family (3 generations of us) we are all devoted fans of Katherine Kellgren. We chose this book because of the narrator and we were not disappointed. It has to be said though that with this story, she did have some wonderful material to work with. This is an excellent story with great moments of humour and off the wall events that take you by surprise but contribute to making the book such a wonderful listening experience. A girl pirate with a governess and a travelling gargoyle. Kinds of sums up the wonderful silliness!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • JP
  • 08-18-14

Both my son and daughter loved this book.

What did you love best about Magic Marks the Spot?

The Narrator was awesome. I loved the quirky characters.

Have you listened to any of Katherine Kellgren’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Excellent performance. My kids loved listening to the life that she brought to the characters.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The Gargoyle was my favourite.

Any additional comments?

I would highly recommend this book. It was nice have a female character as the lead it a book my son could enjoy and my daughter could aspire to.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

very fun listen!

I love Katherine Kellgren's other narrations, so thought I would give this new kid's series a shot. What an enjoyable read! I took it to the gym and had to grit my teeth to keep from laughing out loud throughout. Can't wait to get a copy for my niece - I know she will love it as well.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful