When the families that are supposed to accompany Charlotte to America from England don't show up, Charlotte should have known that the ocean voyage would be precarious. Luckily, the captain seems like a cultured man, and she settles herself in to her cabin for the duration, with help from the cook, Zachariah. Things quickly go awry, however, when a sailor who was badly mistreated comes back and tries to get the other sailors to mutiny. Charlotte decides to side with the crew, dons pants, and takes on the same work that they do, even though this is completely at odds with her proper upbringing. While there is plenty of danger, there is also an unprecedented amount of freedom for Charlotte, and watching her revel in this is the best part of the book.
I'd read this book years ago, but upon rereading it was struck by the classic feel of the prose. It made for a great afternoon of reading, snuggled up safely while reading about all the privations at sea through which Charlotte suffered! She's such a great, spunky character that I think I would have reread this constantly had I picked this up when I was 12! The new cover is great-- the original one does look a bit dated-- and the notes at the end are a good addition, since many schools use this as a class novel. I rarely reread titles, so I'm glad a new edition came out so I could have another go at adventure on the high seas!