Saturday, May 1, 2010

68 Knots (2007)

If you take this book for what it's worth and from the perspective of the audience for whom it's intended, 68 Knots is a good read. Eight teenagers, approximately junior year in high school, take over a schooner and spend the summer sailing around New England. There's lots of action to include boat races, treasure hunts, and storm sailing. They climb the mast, repair the hull, and perform man-overboard drills. As the story progresses, they learn how to operate as a team and a highly-functional crew.

The kids aren't Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy types. They drink rum and even resort to pirating when their cash flow is compromised. Unfortunately, they are stereotypical and author Michael Robert Evans over emphasizes their traits so heavily they never develop into multi-dimensional characters. To give Evans his props, though, he covers a wide spectrum of the sailing world and creates Bonnie, a consumer-weary cruiser who comes across as original even when the prototype is not, and Smudge, a drifter, who tells an engaging story about Annie's contest with the devil.

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