Benice: An Adventure of Love and Friendship by Metin Karayaka is an exciting action-adventure story that’s perfect for tweens. A boy named Levend lives in the fishing village of Yalova with his aunt and sister Ayshin. The empire they live in has fallen into disorder as a cruel king and a pirate chieftain fight for control. The children of Yalova apprentice to adults who teach fishing and Levend is drawn to a brilliant fisherman who keeps to himself, named Mr. Ben. But Mr. Ben isn’t all he seems and it isn’t long before Levend finds himself aboard a pirate ship among swashbuckling intrigues and a wild quest to locate a sunken treasure that holds the Zanzibar Elixir. Danger isn’t the only thing Levend will find, though—this is an adventure that will change his life.
This solid, carefully developed story kept me involved through its excellent writing and never-faltering character development. Benice: An Adventure of Love and Friendship is one of those rare books that really does appeal to the whole family, and while boys will get a kick out of the faintly gruesome pirates and dangerous adventures, Ayshin and her friends offer some strong female leads and adults will love the good lessons about not making the wrong decisions when life offers challenges or you believe all is lost. As in the case of the story’s dashing, well-rounded focal point, the pirate BarbaRossa, a character that’s awesome to read about but who you wouldn’t want to imitate. Metin Karayaka creates a strong conversation about friendship, compassion, and courage, and the tale grows in the telling as throughout the book Levend recounts his adventures to others and passes on the lessons he’s learned.
This is the companion for Sarah Scheele's newsletter blog. In it I share reviews for books I'd recommend/are similar to my own.