A New York Times Notable Book
A Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year
A Junior Library Guild Selection
An Indie Next Pick
An ABC Best Book for Children
An Independent of London 50 Best Books for Christmas
“Nothing short of inspired…Marsh transcends genre to create an engaging narrative complex enough to keep not-so-young adults turning the pages.”
—Kathryn Harrison in The New York Times Book Review
“This highly unusual story about a highly unusual hero will feel like your story.”
—Jonathan Safran Foer
“It is no easy trick to conjure characters who seem truly situated in the past rather than merely transplanted from the present… When it works, as it does in Katherine Marsh’s Jepp, Who Defied the Stars, the result is gold.”
—Wall Street Journal
“Real history is effortlessly woven into her fiction… Marsh transform’s Jepp’s ‘footnote’ of a story into an epic search for love, family, respect, and a destiny of one’s own making.”
“Marsh crafts a beautifully poignant coming-of-age tale of struggle, tragedy, and, finally, of triumph. Jepp’s indomitable spirit is truly inspiring, and it is this rare quality that makes his character so memorable… This shining gem is a must-have.”
—School Library Journal
“Adolescents are newly encased—like Jepp—in bodies that seem too small (or too large) but never a match for what is inside of them… Marsh’s characters capture many near-ubiquitous experiences of this particular stage of life.”
—The New Republic
Is it written in the stars from the moment we are born?
Or is it a bendable thing that we can shape with our own hands?
Jepp of Astraveld needs to know.
He left his countryside home on the empty promise of a stranger, only to become a captive in a luxurious prison: Coudenberg Palace, the royal court of the Spanish Infanta. Nobody warned Jepp that as a court dwarf, daily injustices would become his seemingly unshakable fate. If the humiliations were his alone, perhaps he could endure them; but it breaks Jepp's heart to see his friend Lia suffer.
After Jepp and Lia attempt a daring escape from the palace, Jepp is imprisoned again, alone in a cage. Now, spirited across Europe in a kidnapper's carriage, Jepp fears where his unfortunate stars may lead him. But he can't even begin to imagine the brilliant and eccentric new master—a man devoted to uncovering the secrets of the stars—who awaits him. Or the girl who will help him mend his heart and unearth the long-buried secrets of his past.
Masterfully written, grippingly paced, and inspired by real historical characters, Jepp, Who Defied the Stars is the tale of an extraordinary hero and his inspiring quest to become the master of his own destiny.
Katherine Marsh is the Edgar Award-winning author of The Night Tourist and The Twilight Prisoner. She spent a decade as a journalist, including as a reporter for Rolling Stone and as managing editor of The New Republic. For her latest novel, Jepp, Who Defied the Stars Katherine drew on her childhood fascination with the portraits of court dwarfs by Spanish painter Diego Velazquez. A New York native and a Yale graduate, she currently lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and two children