The Death-Defying Pepper Roux

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9780061836664: The Death-Defying Pepper Roux

Pepper's fourteenth birthday is a momentous one.

It's the day he's supposed to die.

Everyone seems resigned to it—even Pepper, although he would much prefer to live. But can you sidestep Fate? Jump sideways into a different life? Nave and trusting, Pepper sets a course through dangerous waters, inviting disaster and mayhem at every turn, one eye on the sky for fear of angels, one on the magnificent possibilities of being alive.

New York Times bestselling and Printz Award-winning author GeraldineMcCaughrean has created a gripping tale filled with dark humor and daringescapades, where the key to a boy's lifelies in facing his own death.

Join him on the run—if you can keep up.

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About the Author:

Geraldine McCaughrean is the Printz Award-winning author of The White Darkness. She has been honored with England's most prestigious children's book award, the Carnegie Medal, and is the only three-time winner ever of the Whitbread Children's Book Award. She also wrote Peter Pan in Scarlet, the first official sequel to the treasured masterpiece Peter Pan, and the critically acclaimed The Death-Defying Pepper Roux. Geraldine lives in Berkshire, England, with her husband and actress daughter.

From School Library Journal:

Starred Review. Grade 6–9—A charming tale about Pepper Roux, whose jealous and cruel Aunt Mireille foretells, at his birth, his death at age 14. A devout Catholic, she insists that he learn Last Rites rather than nursery rhymes. When his 14th birthday arrives, Pepper runs away to sea in an attempt to stay a step ahead of death. He steps into many different lives, largely because, as the author repeatedly points out, people see what they expect to see. Pepper becomes the captain of a coffin ship, has a brief career as a journalist who will only write good news, and joins the Foreign Legion (until he realizes that he'll have to kill people). Each role is an adventure that leaves chaos in its wake and good-hearted Pepper one step ahead of getting caught. The story is set in France and has a 1930-ish feel. While the episodic plot may not be its strongest draw, the memorable characters and lyrical prose make the novel hard to put down. Pepper, in all his endearing innocence and goodness, will capture readers' hearts, and Duchesse, the cross-dressing steward, may be the most hilarious yet wise character in children's literature this decade. McCaughrean tackles big issues here: families, faith, loss, jealousy, and the expectations of others. The question with this book may be one of audience: Will kids understand its subtleties and some of the references, particularly the religious and political ones? But in the hands of the right child, this novel will be savored.—Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
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