Seafaring sorts: Compass South

Larson, Hope. Four Points Book One: Compass South. Illustrated by Rebecca Mock. Margaret Ferguson Books/Farrar Straus Giroux, 2016. 224 pages. Hardcover $15.34, ISBN 978-0-374-30043-2


TL;DR: Do I recommend this? Yes


Genre: Historical Fiction/Adventure Story (Graphic Novel)


Part of a series? Yes — the Four Points series


Plot Summary:

Cleopatra and Alexander are twins living in New York in the 1800s. Their father, a jack-of-all-trades who takes work whenever and wherever he can find it, has disappeared. When it looks like they are on their own, they join the Black Hook Gang, only to find themselves forced to turn them in when police catch Alex and Cleo. After some double-dealing adults and an assisted escape, the twins decide to impersonate a rich San Franciscan’s missing twin boys so that they can win the reward money. Cleo shears her hair, and they set off for San Francisco. In New Orleans, they meet another pair of red-headed twins bound for the same man. After a scuffle, one twin from each pair ends up together and on two separate boats headed round the Cape for San Francisco. Can Alex and Cleo (“Pat”) escape Luther of the Black Hook Gang? Will they find their father?


Critical Evaluation/Reader’s Comments:

This was a solid historical fiction/adventure graphic novel. The period felt very well-researched but not dry, and the moments on the sea were exciting. It was sometimes tough to know which set of twins was being featured, but it could be figured out as the chapters went on.


Curriculum Ties/Library Use:

This book would be a great recommendation for kids looking for a solid adventure story. This is also a fun book to hand to kids who are twins; while it is true that it can be tough to tell which set of twins is talking when, each twin is also very different, and their personalities set them apart clearly. This could also be a solid book club choice, but be prepared for readers to want to know what happens after this volume! (Ideas from myself)


Grade Level: 4-8 (Titlewave says 5-8, but I agree with SLJ’s assessment that 4th and up are a good fit)


Awards and Starred Reviews:

Booklist starred 5/15/16

School Library Journal starred 6/1/16


Reviews referenced:

Kirkus Reviews. (2016, March 30). Compass south (Review of the book Compass South). Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved from

Publishers Weekly. (2016, April 25). Compass south (Review of the book Compass South). Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from

Trischitti, J. (2016, June 28). Compass south by Hope Larson  |  SLJ review (Review of the book Compass South). School Library Journal. Retrieved from




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