Shadowing the Carnegie Medal is without doubt my favourite time of the school year as it affords me the opportunity to read books that I normally wouldn’t pick up. I have discovered some great authors this way. This year, I have a Year 9 group from the independent girls’ school where I work. Their differing (generally very strong!) opinions are as entertaining as the books themselves – sometimes more so. So far, we have read three of the books on the short list.
The Death Defying Pepper Roux – Geraldine McCaughrean
Personally, I was disappointed with this book as I had loved one of her previous novels, “The Kite Rider,” and had high hopes for this story. From the group, one of the girls absolutely loved it and gave it top marks of 20 (the same girls has top- marked all the books so far!). The rest felt that it was too far-fetched and unbelievable and were bored rather than amused by it. They could not understand what period it was set it or why it had to be set in France. Their favourite character was the Duchess (although there was some confusion as to whether he was male or female). Pepper’s many changes of identity also confused and they did not believe that he would have been accepted as a Captain on the ship. Most of the girls said that they had looked forward to reading this book but it had ultimately disappointed. The book was scored from 0 to 20, with 7 been the average mark given.