cover image The Night Ship

The Night Ship

Jess Kidd. Atria, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-1-982180-81-2

Kidd (Things in Jars) unfurls parallel narratives of two nine-year-old children in her intriguing latest, based on a historical shipwreck. In 1628, after the mother of a girl named Mayken dies, she sails from Holland to the Dutch East Indies with her nursemaid to join her merchant father. Mayken’s precocious nature leads her to explore the ship, called the Batavia. While dressed as a boy in order to pass unnoticed, Mayken searches deep into the Batavia for a monster that crew members claim lives there. In 1989, a boy named Gil goes to live on Beacon Island in Australia after his mother’s death. Gil now lives with his fisherman grandfather, Joss Hurley. This is where the Batavia sank, and an excavation of the wreck is now underway. Gil is intrigued by the project and by the rumor that a ghost still haunts the island. Meanwhile, a feud escalates between Joss and Roper, another fisherman, that started years ago when Roper’s uncle drowned at sea. Kidd effortlessly navigates between the two time periods, highlighting the similarities between Mayken’s and Gil’s lives and the increasing dangers they face. Readers will be swept up in this fast-paced narrative. Agent: Amelia Atlas, ICM Partners. (Oct.)