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Author: Justin Somper

Illustrator: Jon Foster

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Publisher: Little Brown and Company,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Grace and Conner Tempest, 14-year-old twins live with their dad the lighthouse keeper, at Crescent Moon Bay, Australia. When tragedy struck and their father suddenly died, the twins decided to take the family yacht and start a new life somewhere else in Australia. No sooner were they at sea when a great storm arose, capsizing their boat. Although they get rescued (Connor by pirates, Grace by vampires), they are alone, afraid, and fearful that their twin may have perished and nervous about their captors. Wouldn’t it have been better to go to the orphanage at Crescent Moon Bay or become adopted by Mr. & Mrs. Busby? This is a fantasy adventure.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 10 and up

Interest Level: 10 and up

Reading Level: 6.2

Age of Child: Read by a student at Denbigh High School (Newport News, VA) as part of our Use Your ABCs program.

Young Reader Reaction: I picked this book because it is about pirates and I like reading and seeing things about them. After the first chapter I knew it was going to be a good book. I liked when Grace and Conner take their boat out to sea. The book gives a lot of details in that part of the story with the storm, what's going on, and how it's happening. There are really two stories in one book.

Adult Reader Reaction: I wasn't sure what to expect, since book cover presented usual macabre ghoulishness of vampires along with a troupe of Johnny Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean wannabes. To my delight, and that of future readers, I found the book a great adventure story for teen readers. They'll have something to scare them a little but mostly a lot of fun and adventure following the Tempest twins.

Pros: Stories with vampires and pirates typically rely on blood and gore to attract and excite the reader. Not so with this story. It is entertaining and fast paced. The characters are believable and the vampires and pirates prove themselves to be empathetic and caring in regard to the twins.

Cons: Our student reviewer wished there were pictures.

Borrow or Buy: Buy! This is a great gift for young teens. It is a unique blend of fantasy and adventure that will resonate positively with its intended audience. Though pirate stories are usually filled with violence and vampire stories rely on the occult to mesmerize the reader, parents can relax. The author keeps the story moving and exciting without contrivance or exploitation. Our student reviewer liked it, but recommends borrowing it from the library.


Educational Themes: The primary story is how 14-year-old twins handle themselves under difficult circumstances. The adventures, characters, and challenges the twins face, though fiction, are believable enough to keep the reader turning the pages. There are lots of topics that readers will surely want to discuss.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 6.2

Literary Categories: Fiction - fantasy, adventure

Date(s) Reviewed: February 2007

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