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Nevers
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Nevers
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Resourceful fourteen-year-old Odette is on the move again, traveling as a stowaway on a cheese cart with her hapless mother, Anneline. They are in Burgundy, France, in 1799, fleeing yet another...
Resourceful fourteen-year-old Odette is on the move again, traveling as a stowaway on a cheese cart with her hapless mother, Anneline. They are in Burgundy, France, in 1799, fleeing yet another...
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Description-

  • Resourceful fourteen-year-old Odette is on the move again, traveling as a stowaway on a cheese cart with her hapless mother, Anneline. They are in Burgundy, France, in 1799, fleeing yet another calamity caused by Anneline (who is prone to killing people accidentally). At dawn they find themselves in a town called Nevers, which is filled with eccentric characters, including a man who obsessively smells hands, another who dreams of becoming a chicken, and a donkey that keeps the town awake at night, braying about his narrow life. As Odette establishes a home in an abandoned guardhouse, she makes a friend in the relaxed Nicois and finds work as a midwife's assistant. She and Nicois uncover a mystery that may lead to riches and, more important for Odette, a sense of belonging.

About the Author-

  • Sara Cassidy has worked as a youth-hostel manager, a newspaper reporter and a tree planter, in five Canadian provinces. Her books have been short-listed for the Chocolate Lily Award, the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award, the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers' Literature and the Bolen Books Children's Book Prize, and two were Junior Library Guild selections. Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction for adults have been widely published. For more information, visit saracassidywriter.com.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    June 1, 2019
    In the chaotic countryside of post-Revolutionary France, Odette and her flighty mother, always on the move, try to make a home in the town of Nevers. Fourteen-year-old Odette's always had to care for her mother, Anneline, who is gorgeous, selfish, and accident prone. When people in Anneline's vicinity (usually one of the many husbands she's had) end up dead, it always is, truly, completely by chance. Yet after each such incident, Anneline and Odette take to the roads seeking safety. In Nevers, Odette scrubs and gardens, cooks and schemes, crossing her fingers that maybe this time they'll find stability. Though she keeps to herself, Odette's drawn to the fascinating sights of Nevers, and readers will be as well. There's M. Mains, a former scholar who smells people's hands to learn about them, Mme. Genevieve the inventor, and M. Gustave, their landlord, who secretly wishes he were a chicken. There's a piglet and a new-hatched chick who are BFFs and a donkey who brays in Latin that only Odette hears. And best of all, there's Nicois, who rapidly becomes like the brother she's never had. Together, dark-skinned Nicois and light-skinned Odette try to solve a puzzle that might connect Odette's history to secrets here in Nevers. Gay and intersex representation fits smoothly into the historical setting, meshing neatly and naturally with these charmingly odd characters living their everyday lives in the aftermath of massive social upheaval. This brief sojourn in an alternative 18th-century France is an unexpectedly rich one. (historical note) (Historical fantasy. 9-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2019

    Gr 4-7-In 1799 France, young Odette has grown accustomed to caring for her mother, Anneline, who is prone to accidentally killing people. Moving to Nevers is no different; Odette finds them lodging and food and secures a job as a midwife's assistant while her mother worries about her past. Odette befriends the midwife's son Nicois, and together they uncover a mystery involving the strange inhabitants of the town and their connection to Odette. The citizens of Nevers include Anne the donkey, who brays in Latin every night; Mme. Genevive, the mysterious inventor; M. Gustave, the landlord who wishes to be a chicken; and M. Manis, who has a fascination with smelling hands. The story is told by an omniscient narrator, adding to the fairy-tale feel. Readers will enjoy the quirky characters and be pleasantly surprised by the twist ending. There are gay and intersex characters in the town of Nevers. It is also notable that Odette and Nicois form a close friendship that does not become romantic, but rather familial. While the pacing is quick, the story never feels rushed. VERDICT A worthy addition to middle grade collections; give this to fans of Adam Gidwitz's The Inquisitor's Tale.-Katharine Gatcomb, Portsmouth Public Library, NH

    Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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