Sunday, June 9, 2013

Jepp, Who Defied the Stars

Before I start with my review of this book, I have to say this challenge has been really great for me in a number of ways.  I am at hour 8 1/2, and I have gotten three books read so far.  If it was a regular weekend, I may have finished one book at the most. It's made me realize that many times I don't take advantage of my time to read.  I woke up this morning at 7am, and realized I should just get up and read.  And I did, gaining about 45 minutes before Gloria woke up.  I read two hours this morning, including scrambling eggs with Jepp on the counter next to the stove - perilous, but it worked out fine!  Yesterday I had very limited time to read (only 2 1/2 hrs), but I'm hoping to include more time today.  But today my girls are home, and so far they've had a lot of needs (that is the nice way of saying I've been a short-order cook), so we'll see how the rest of the day pans out.  Now, on to Jepp.

I read this because it had been one of the books in the SLJ Battle of the Books.  At first I thought it would not be my kind of book – after all, it is historical fiction, which isn’t one of my favorite genres.  But Jepp’s questioning , intelligent, thoughtful nature is all-encompassing, and you tend to forget that it is also historical fiction in a way.  Jepp is a dwarf who is living in his mother’s inn, contentedly, when he is approached by someone from the Infanta’s court, who wants Jepp  to become a court dwarf.  This sets off a series of events that leads Jepp to question the fate that he has been dealt by the stars, and what he can make of himself.  By the end of the book, I was wowed by the work that went into including a huge cast of characters, each of which has some crucial place in helping Jepp determine his destiny.  Jepp, too, is a remarkable character – someone who knows himself, even at the beginning of the book, but continues to learn more and more about who he has been and who he will become.  There are so many real, historical figures in this book, and the reader also gains so much knowledge about the time period of the late 1500’s and Europe.  Amazingly written.

Jepp, Who Defied the Stars.  Katherine Marsh.  Hyperion, 2012.

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