The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party

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Product Details

Candlewick Press (MA)
Publish Date
6.82 X 9.14 X 1.3 inches | 1.56 pounds
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About the Author

M. T. Anderson is the author of Feed, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, as well as The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation Volume I: The Pox Party, winner of the National Book Award and a New York Times bestseller, and its sequel, The Kingdom on the Waves, which was also a New York Times bestseller. Both volumes were also named Michael L. Printz Honor Books. M. T. Anderson lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


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.
--New York Times Book Review

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)

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 historical novel of prodigious scope, power and insight...This is the Revolutionary War seen at its intersection with slavery through a disturbingly original lens.
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Anderson (Whales on Stilts) once again shows the breadth of his talents with this stunningly well-researched novel.
--Publishers Weekly

A brilliantly complex interrogation of our basic American assumptions. Anderson has created an alternative narrative of our national mythology, one that fascinates, appalls, condemns -- and enthralls.
--Horn Book, The

Historically grounded, emotionally and philosophically complex, Octavian Nothing will compel readers to think differently about history and its echoes in the contemporary world.

It's probably the best young-adult novel in American history, top 10 for sure.
--TIME Magazine

A brilliant, passionate book that is flat-out unforgettable, a virtuoso exercise in voice that in no way distances the reader from the narrator and an experience of deeply felt empathy that his slowly emerging understanding of the nature of his existence engenders.
--Michael Cart, "Carte Blanche," Booklist

Imaginative and important.
--Wall Street Journal

Gripping, thought-provoking and occasionally horrifying ...this is first-class literature, a deserved winner of this year's National Book Award for young readers.
--Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Presents a unique vision of this nation's infancy, one to which young-adult readers with sophisticated tastes are likely to respond with enthusiasm.
--San Francisco Chronicle

The most daring and demanding of the fall books... Even more extraordinary is Anderson's powerful, nuanced revelation of the deep hypocrisies, the pernicious relationship between "rational" inquiry and cruelty; political expediency and the god of "reason"; ideas of democracy and true "Observation" of evidence.
--Toronto Star

A brilliant novel of war and race and the madness of slavery, Octavian has stayed with me for years.
--John Green