Author: Kenneth Oppel
What it's about: Matt Cruse is the cabin boy on the airship the Aurora. One night, he helps the crew rescue a stranded balloonist, who dies after speaking cryptically about creatures in the sky. A year later, the balloonist's granddaughter is a passenger on the Aurora, and she's out to find the creatures her grandfather told her about. A shipwreck gives Matt and Kate the chance to investigate, but they have to contend with more than just Kate's annoying chaperone before everything is said and done.
What I thought: So, remember Gilda Joyce and Suzumiya Haruhi? Kate de Vries is totally their kindred spirit. Spunky to the point of being annoying sometimes, you really have to sympathize with Matt, who really plays the Kyon to her Haruhi. Kate's responsible for a lot of the humor in the book, but on the whole, there's just a good sense of humor throughout it. It's pretty light-hearted, but with plenty of real emotion in it, too. Plus, airships. Plus, pirates. Super cool, am I right? The story is simple but told with great detail that really brings the Aurora and the world of the story to life. This is a great adventure.
Overall: A fun adventure story that has long been one of my favorites.