Pepper's fourteenth birthday is a momentous one.
It's the day he's supposed to die.
Everyone seems resigned to it - even Pepper, although he would much prefer to live. But can you sidestep Fate? Jump sideways into a different life? Naïve and trusting, Pepper sets a course through dangerous waters, inviting disaster and mayhem at every turn, one eye on the sky for fear of angels, one on the magnificent possibilities of being alive.
New York Times bestselling and Printz Award-winning author Geraldine McCaughrean has created a gripping tale filled with dark humor and daring escapades, where the key to a boy's life lies in facing his own death.
Join him on the run - if you can keep up.
On the morning of his fourteenth birthday, Pepper had been awake for fully two minutes before realizing it was the day he must die. His heart cannoned like a billiard ball off some soft green wall of his innards. This had to be the day everyone had been waiting for - and he was terrified he would disappoint them, make a poor showing, let people down.
His mother's face, when he entered the breakfast room, was ashen. He could not bring himself to meet her big-eyed, tearbrimming gaze, though he felt it follow him to the scrambled eggs and the cold ham. She never kissed him in the mornings. In fact she never kissed him at all. Aunt Mireille had said his parents should not become too fond of'le pauvre', if they were to cope with the grief of losing him.
His name was Paul, but when he was small and people asked him, he told them it was'Pauvre'. After all, it was the name his mother had always used.'Get dressed, mon pauvre. 'Eat up, mon pauvre. 'Say goodbye, pauvre ...
Despite its relentless theme of trying to escape death's icy grip, McCaughreans's novel is anything but serious. With slapstick humor and witty asides to the reader, The Death-Defying Pepper Roux is a funny, fast-paced read... Ultimately this is the story of a good-hearted boy who only wants to live, but in the process of trying to do just that he learns that simply living is not enough. Being connected, and loving and being loved, makes the choice to live ever so much richer.
(Reviewed by Tamara Smith).
Full Review (1079 words).
One of the hats that Pepper wears is that of a meat slicer in the Marseille Department Store. There are no cash registers in the store. Instead, whenever a customer pays for something, the money is placed in a canister, which is inserted into a tube, and then the canister is shot by compressed air through a maze of tubing and lands at a cashier's cubicle, where the cashier takes the money, makes change, and sends the canister whizzing back to the customer.
What great fun! Pepper spends much of his time after-hours in the department store, sending canisters sailing overhead through the tubes like little rocket ships. But what are these devices, exactly?
They are, exactly, pneumatic tubes.
Pneumatic tubes are part of a group of ...
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