The Unbinding of Mary Reade

LIST PRICE $8.99
About The Book

A clever, romantic novel based on the true story of a girl who disguised herself as a boy to sail with the infamous pirates Anne Bonny and Calico Jack—and fell in love with Anne Bonny.

There’s no place for a girl in Mary’s world. Not in the home of her mum, desperately drunk and poor. Not in the household of her wealthy granny, where no girl can be named an heir. And certainly not in the arms of Nat, her childhood love who never knew her for who she was. As a sailor aboard a Caribbean merchant ship, Mary’s livelihood—and her safety—depends on her ability to disguise her gender.

At least, that’s what she thinks is true. But then pirates attack the ship, and in the midst of the gang of cutthroats, Mary spots something she never could have imagined: a girl pirate.

The sight of a girl standing unafraid upon the deck, gun and sword in hand, changes everything. In a split-second decision, Mary turns her gun on her own captain, earning herself the chance to join the account and become a pirate alongside Calico Jack and Anne Bonny.

For the first time, Mary has a shot at freedom. But imagining living as her true self is easier, it seems, than actually doing it. And when Mary finds herself falling for the captain’s mistress, she risks everything—her childhood love, her place among the crew, and even her life.

Breathlessly romantic and brilliantly subversive, The Unbinding of Mary Reade is sure to sweep readers off their feet and make their hearts soar.

About The Author

Miriam McNamara earned a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she won the Norma Fox Mazer award for a historical young adult manuscript work-in-progress. The Unbinding of Mary Reade is her first novel. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Sky Pony (June 2018)
  • Length: 280 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781510727113
  • Grades: 9 - 9
  • Ages: 14 - 99

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Raves and Reviews

The Unbinding of Mary Reade is a rollicking, breathtaking adventure full of heart, passion, wit, and intelligence. I was turning pages fast as a wind fills a sail, marveling at the talent that is Miriam McNamara.” —An Na, Printz Award Winner and National Book Award Finalist for A Step from Heaven

"The sexy, high-seas swashbuckler we've been waiting for." —Rita Williams-Garcia, winner of the 2011 Newbery Honor Award, Coretta Scott King Award, Scott O'Dell Award, and the PEN/Norma Klein Award, and the author of One Crazy Summer

“A captivating account of gender, feminism, agency, and all manner of desire—most importantly, the desire to be free. Badass, through and through.” —M-E Girard, Lambda Literary Award Winner and William C. Morris Award Finalist for Girl Mans Up

“Issues of gender identity and who and how to love make The Unbinding of Mary Reade resonate as strongly in the present as in the past. Action-packed, this romantic tale is bound to entice teen and adult readers alike.” —Cordelia Jensen, author of Skyscraping and The Way the Light Bends

"The Unbinding of Mary Reade is a stunning debut—intense and unforgettable, thrilling to the very last page!" —Melanie Crowder, author of Audacity and An Uninterrupted View of the Sky

"I dare you not to yell huzzah! at least ten times while reading The Unbinding of Mary Reade, a swashbuckling girl-power adventure about owning who you are and loving who you want. Mary is an unforgettable heroine who is tough yet tender, a survivor who's got swagger and courage. I'd join her pirate crew any day!" —Heather Demetrios, author of Bad Romance and Exquisite Captive

"This is the pirate novel we’ve been waiting for. Epic and confident, with a plot that sizzles and then ignites like a powder keg. Longing and love tangle in nuanced, powerful combinations as Mary takes to the high seas and meets her match in Anne Bonny. An unstoppable romance, an unforgettable adventure." —Amy Rose Capetta, author of Echo after Echo

“Fantastic, unique, and inclusively diverse young adult fiction . . . You had me at ‘queer pirates.’ *grabby hands*” —Tor.com

“Canonically queer pirate girls? Yes, please.” —Barnes & Noble Teen Blog

"In her debut novel, McNamara creates a compelling backstory for legendary female pirate Anne Bonney, as well as folding accurate historical details into a plot about how and why youth took to sea in 18th-century England, the physical and social hazards of social class clashes on land and at sea, and the gender politics that, then too, made the simple fact of being female constantly dangerous. . . . Delightful reading for anyone who enjoys pirate stories or is seeking LGBTQ+ fiction that is positive as well as fairly realistic. VERDICT: A great choice for historical fiction collections." School Library Journal

"The connections to issues today will inspire readers to think beyond the adventure and root for a happy ending. An auspicious first novel." Booklist

The Unbinding of Mary Reade is a rollicking, breathtaking adventure full of heart, passion, wit, and intelligence. I was turning pages fast as a wind fills a sail, marveling at the talent that is Miriam McNamara.” —An Na, Printz Award Winner and National Book Award Finalist for A Step from Heaven

"The sexy, high-seas swashbuckler we've been waiting for." —Rita Williams-Garcia, winner of the 2011 Newbery Honor Award, Coretta Scott King Award, Scott O'Dell Award, and the PEN/Norma Klein Award, and the author of One Crazy Summer

“A captivating account of gender, feminism, agency, and all manner of desire—most importantly, the desire to be free. Badass, through and through.” —M-E Girard, Lambda Literary Award Winner and William C. Morris Award Finalist for Girl Mans Up

“Issues of gender identity and who and how to love make The Unbinding of Mary Reade resonate as strongly in the present as in the past. Action-packed, this romantic tale is bound to entice teen and adult readers alike.” —Cordelia Jensen, author of Skyscraping and The Way the Light Bends

"The Unbinding of Mary Reade is a stunning debut—intense and unforgettable, thrilling to the very last page!" —Melanie Crowder, author of Audacity and An Uninterrupted View of the Sky

"I dare you not to yell huzzah! at least ten times while reading The Unbinding of Mary Reade, a swashbuckling girl-power adventure about owning who you are and loving who you want. Mary is an unforgettable heroine who is tough yet tender, a survivor who's got swagger and courage. I'd join her pirate crew any day!" —Heather Demetrios, author of Bad Romance and Exquisite Captive

"This is the pirate novel we’ve been waiting for. Epic and confident, with a plot that sizzles and then ignites like a powder keg. Longing and love tangle in nuanced, powerful combinations as Mary takes to the high seas and meets her match in Anne Bonny. An unstoppable romance, an unforgettable adventure." —Amy Rose Capetta, author of Echo after Echo

“Fantastic, unique, and inclusively diverse young adult fiction . . . You had me at ‘queer pirates.’ *grabby hands*” —Tor.com

“Canonically queer pirate girls? Yes, please.” —Barnes & Noble Teen Blog

"In her debut novel, McNamara creates a compelling backstory for legendary female pirate Anne Bonney, as well as folding accurate historical details into a plot about how and why youth took to sea in 18th-century England, the physical and social hazards of social class clashes on land and at sea, and the gender politics that, then too, made the simple fact of being female constantly dangerous. . . . Delightful reading for anyone who enjoys pirate stories or is seeking LGBTQ+ fiction that is positive as well as fairly realistic. VERDICT: A great choice for historical fiction collections." School Library Journal

"The connections to issues today will inspire readers to think beyond the adventure and root for a happy ending. An auspicious first novel." Booklist