Rave Reviews Log: Adventure

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Death-Defying Pepper Roux

By Gerladine McCaughrean
Rating: 4 stars

Before he was born, Pepper's aunt had a dream that Saint Constance came to her and told her that Pepper would die before the age of 14. So for Pepper's entire life, he has been made to pray, go to confession, miss school, and so on and so on to prepare himself for his death. On his 14th birthday, in despair, Pepper decides to runaway down to the sea, and on a whim, takes his father's place as captain on a new ship. But the ship is scuttled purposely for an insurance scam and when Pepper tries to go down with the ship, he is inadvertently rescued. Now Pepper is sure the angels are on the lookout to grab him since he is past his death due date, so he begins to leapfrog through jobs and identities, cheating death at every turn yet still trying to do the right thing wherever he may be. But can a 14 year old cheat death forever? Or what if, what if, he was wrong all along? Readers won't believe Pepper's death sentence for a minute and will laugh as Pepper careens from one adventure to another. It is a story set in France and it is both dark and light, and many readers will enjoy the ride and the idea that you may not be able to run away from destiny but you can create your own.