Girl at Sea

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
Girl at Sea Book Poster Image
Feisty heroine deals with adventure, romance, family drama.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers may be inspired to learn a bit more about archeology or the Mediterranean setting. Teens may also want to check out Suite Scarlett or 13 Little Blue Envelopes.

Positive Messages

Coming-of-age themes as Clio goes on an adventure with her unreliable father, with whom she has a strained relationship.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters manage, for the most part, to be likable and flawed. Clio is both feisty and capable.


Clio has accidents: She recalls being hit by a boat when she was a kid, and is stung by jellyfish on her current trip. Later in the book, pirates kidnap her at gunpoint.


Some kissing. Elsa, Clio's roommate, invites Aidan to spend the night with her.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The teens on the boat drink alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there isn't too much to worry about here beyond some kissing and underage drinking. There's also some family drama.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
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Teen, 14 years old Written byAlexandraSails September 12, 2018
Kid, 12 years old June 22, 2012

Girl at Sea 101

I've have read Girl at Sea at least 5 times!! This book is about a girl who's parents are divorced and she has been living with her mom. Her dad comes... Continue reading

What's the story?

When her mom goes to Kansas to restore old paintings, Clio is sent to live with her unreliable father in Italy. Once there, she embarks on a mysterious journey upon her father's new yacht -- and finds herself the chef to his secretive crew. What's their mission? Will Clio and her father continue to clash? And what exactly is going on between Clio and Aidan, the professor's young assistant? Maybe she'll end up getting her first kiss after all.

Is it any good?

All the details are well described and well woven together, and readers will find themselves engaged throughout Clio's journey at sea. There's a lot going on here, both in the background and foreground, from the strained relationship between Clio and her dad to his crew's mysterious mission off the coast of Italy. Readers will be there for Clio's first kiss -- and her dive through an old shipwreck. The author even creates a colorful backstory for Clio involving exotic childhood trips around the globe. 

Readers will be guessing until the end about which characters they can trust. They will appreciate the ambitious premise and that the characters manage, for the most part, to be likable and flawed. There's a little something for everyone: adventure, romance, family drama -- even pirates!

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about adventure stories. Can you think of other adventures that have female protagonists? Do you think there are more of these kinds of books being published today than in the past?

  • What does it mean to be a coming-of-age story? Is this something that is limited to teens -- or do kids and even adults learn to come of age as well?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventure

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