The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party (Paperback)
Winter 2009 Kids' List
“This historical novel transports the reader to the early days of America's revolution. The future is open, everything is up in the air, and the hardest choice is one of loyalty: Should Octavian fight for the rebels who want to keep him a slave, or should he follow hope and side with the royalists who promise him personal freedom? Anderson's sequel to his award-winning The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing is a provocative story that continues to enlarge the young adult novel in thoughtful, glorious ways.”
— Mark David Bradshaw, Watermark Books, Wichita, KS
Young Octavian is being raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers — but it is only after he opens a forbidden door that learns the hideous nature of their experiments, and his own chilling role them. Set in Revolutionary Boston, M. T. Anderson’s mesmerizing novel takes place at a time when Patriots battled to win liberty while African slaves were entreated to risk their lives for a freedom they would never claim. The first of two parts, this deeply provocative novel reimagines past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for readers today.
—The Wall Street Journal
Anderson’s imaginative and highly intelligent exploration of the horrors of human experimentation and the ambiguous history of America’s origins will leave readers impatient for the promised sequel.
—The New York Times Book Review
A historical novel of prodigious scope, power and insight...This is the Revolutionary War seen at its intersection with slavery through a disturbingly original lens<I>. </I>
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Fascinating and eye-opening… this powerful novel will resonate with contemporary readers.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Octavian's narration...quickly draws readers into its almost musical flow, and the relentless action and plot turns are powerful motivators.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
A serious look at Boston, pre-Revolution. It's layered, it's full of historic reference, and it's about slavery and equal rights.
—The Boston Globe
The story’s scope is immense, in both its technical challenges and underlying intellectual and moral questions. . . . Readers will marvel at Anderson’s ability to maintain this high-wire act of elegant, archaic language and shifting voices.
—Booklist (starred review)
With an eye trained to the hypocrisies and conflicted loyalties of the American Revolution, Anderson resoundingly concludes the finely nuanced bildungsroman begun in his National Book Award–winning novel.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)