Book Review: Bone Deep by Gina McMurchy-Barber

Bone Deep by Gina McMurchy-Barber is a middle grade novel, and the third book in the Peggy Henderson adventure series. I have not read the previous books, and while I suspect they offer a broader knowledge of the characters it does not seem absolutely necessary to read the series in order.

When archaeologists discover a two-hundred-year-old shipwreck, Peggy Henderson decides she’ll do whatever it takes to take part in the expedition. But first she needs to convince her mom to let her go, and to pay for scuba diving lessons. To complicate matters even more, Peggy’s Great Aunt Beatrix comes to stay, and she’s bent on changing Peggy from a twelve-year-old adventure-seeking tomboy to a proper young lady. Help comes in the most unlikely of places when Peggy gets her hands on a copy of the captain’s log from the doomed ship, which holds the key to navigating stormy relationships.

Bone Deep is one of those great middle grade novels that are high on adventure and understanding the mind of the young characters while also teaching. Peggy is a tomboy, always wearing her favorite jersey and nonchalant about her hair. she is more interested in hanging out with her best friend and archeology than anything ladylike. so when her great Aunt Beatrix come to stay with them, just as she has engineered an opportunity to take part in an underwater excavation she thinks everything is ruined. Readers get to join Peggy as she conspires to get her SCUBA certification, goes through cl;asses, and dives. We get to read along as she explores the diary of a sea captain and negotiates family relationships and personal responsibility. I felt like Peggy was a very realistic character, and the things she learns and explores throughout her adventure will stick with readers, because you never know what small piece of information would be useful later in the story.

I would recommend Bone Deep for middle grade readers that enjoy adventure, mystery, and/or science. The combination of a head strong main character and real history and science make for an engrossing tale that will have even reluctant readers turning pages happily.

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