A boy dresses up in a suit and tie and pretends to be grown-up. Or he throws a sheet over his head and pretends to be a monster. Or he puts on a hat - a baseball cap, a fireman's hat, a chef's hat - and tries on all of these different professions. These are all good, safe explorations of the possibilities out in the world, of the potential paths for the future.
But what if this pretend is not all good? Or all safe? What if this boy is changing his identity - wearing these different hats, so to speak - to save his very life?
This twist is at the heart of Geraldine McCaughrean's great romp of a novel, The Death-Defying Pepper Roux. Pepper is supposed to die by his fourteenth birthday. On the night he was born, Pepper's Aunty Mireille received a message from Saint Constance, or so she said, declaring that he would not live past this young age. Pepper does not question his ...
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