Summary: Heading down a troubling path with a nineteen year-old boyfriend named Ty, fourteen year-old Libby takes it hard when her mother divorces her father to marry a new man named Duncan. Despite her attempts to break them up including her claim that Duncan has abused her, Libby still finds herself on a year-long sailing trip with Duncan and her mother. But when Libby’s stalling means their boat leaves for their Red Sea journey after the others they’ve been travelling with, an encounter with pirates changes all of their lives forever.
Number of Pages: 169
Age Range: 13-14
Review: Having trouble with her parents’ divorce and her mother’s quick remarriage, fourteen year-old Libby acts out by dating an older guy, skipping school and generally hanging out with the wrong crowd. In the past, Libby has made some self-destructive decisions, and her mother and Duncan decide to take her on a year-long sailing trip to remove her from her harmful environment and give her a new start.
But it doesn’t seem to work. Libby remains as bitter as ever, emailing her best friend at every port to check up on her boyfriend and even making false claims against Duncan about inappropriate behaviour and abuse. When her mother and Duncan want to get an early start on the Red Sea part of their journey so they can travel in a group, Libby purposely stays late in town, forcing their boat to leave well after the others.
When pirates attack their lone ship though, Libby transforms overnight. The only one left to care for her mother and steer the ship, Libby deals with the nightmare she finds herself in with remarkable maturity, despite dealing with understandable fear and post-traumatic stress. Her survival is astonishing and riveting as her determination triumphs over a seemingly hopeless situation.
Its resolution changes Libby. Going back to her old life is not an option because what she has seen and experienced sets her apart. Libby re-evaluates the path she has been on and actively works to change, but a terrible price has been paid to inspire this change.
“The pastor told us that in one country he went to, if you brought supplies to a village to build a new well, the bricks and mortar might end up in one family’s possession if the village deemed that the one family needed the supplies more than the village as a whole. The village is happy for the one family. In that country, the people have a different concept of need. It’s not wrong, the pastor said, just different.
Apparently, the pirates too have a different concept of need.” – Libby from Red Sea by Diane Tullson, pages 110-111
“She’s crying now, and I let her be. The pirates blew a hole in her life; I never used a gun, but I leveled some emotionally lethal shots, at her and at myself. Her leg will heal faster than her heart.” – Libby talking about her mother from Red Sea by Diane Tullson, page 162