Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L.A. MeyerTeen Adventure/Historical Fiction
Jack's life is hard--like Oliver Twist hard, except without the happy ending. It's a day-to-day existence stealing food, or scamming for food, and serving under the protection of a harsh, but loving, master. And, Jacky, is a girl which is the worst thing to be in this time period, England in the 1800's.
When Jacky's leader is killed, she finally sees her opportunity. She cuts her hair, puts on his clothes and decides to become a ship's boy. Her fist priority is fitting in with the boys. She tapes her breasts flat, figures out how to urinate standing up and alone, and makes herself a sock penis, called by the euphemism, 'codpiece'. Then, of course, she falls in love with a sailor, acts wildly inappropriate with him and makes him question his own sanity and manhood when he responds to this ship's "boy".
This is a great book for budding teenage feminists and a great history lesson to show how girls/women were viewed in Victorian times. It's definitely a PG13+ book with lots of sexual issues, homosexual overtones, and a near rape. But, I really liked it. I really liked the parts where Jacky had to deal with her own maturing body growing and changing. I think a lot of teen girls will relate to these quite normal aches and pains of adolescence and then they will be horrified seeing how much worse times were for girls back then.
This is only the first in the series and it doesn't have a satisfactory ending, so naturally I'll have to keep going. But, that's okay because I really want to--I can't wait to see what misadventure she gets into next!