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.