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Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh

Jepp, Who Defied the Stars

NewGen - YA Fiction   
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A powerful and romantic historical novel based on the true story of the world famous astronomer Tycho Brahe. Fifteen year Jepp, born a dwarf but untroubled about his size in his loving home, is taken to the court of the Spanish Infanta. Here, amongst the glitter of court life, Jepp falls in love and discovers the sinister lifestyle behind the glamour. To survive and to win the woman he loves, he must take control of his own destiny and defy the stars which predict a different future for him.


Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh

Who says fate is written in the stars? Set in seventeenth-century Europe, Jepp is the thrilling, romantic and in turns heart-warming and poignant story of a teenage dwarf limited not only by his height but by his destiny. Although he appears to be bound for a lowly life as a court dwarf, Jepp has ambition, and he dreams of becoming a scientist and marrying the woman he loves. This highly original and unforgettable story is based on a real historical figure, and Jepp's story includes violence, love, astrology, astronomy, and even a beer-drinking moose. A Philippa Gregory for teens, Jepp is ideal for fans of adventurous, thought-provoking historical romance.


Real history is effortlessly woven into her fiction... Marsh transforms [Jepp's] footnote of a story into an epic search of love, family, respect, and a destiny of one's own making. * Publishers Weekly * A beautifully written coming-of-age story, inspired by real historical characters. A truly great read. * Recommended Reads, Children's Books Ireland * Narrating a young adult novel from a dwarf's perspective is nothing short of inspired ... Marsh transcends genre to create an engaging narrative complex enough to keep not-so-young adults turning its pages. * The New York Times * This highly unusual story about a highly unusual hero will also feel like your story. Few of us are imprisoned dwarfs, but all of us want to guide our own lives. * Jonathan Safran Foer, author of EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED and EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE * With a strong central character in Jepp, this is an unusual and powerful coming-of-age story about first love and taking control of your future. * Booktrust * In this work of historical fiction, Marsh has created a loveable hero who overcomes both physical disability and social constraints to find not only love but a place of standing in this world. This is an uplifting novel that explores an interesting and little-explored historical geography. * We Love This Book * A powerful and romantic historical novel based on the true story of the world famous astronomer Tycho Brahe. -- Julia Eccleshare * Lovereading4kids * Jepp is an itinerant dwarf who travels around Europe. Marsh's elegant historical fiction has a moving message, says Marianne * The 50 Best Books for Christmas, Independent * Delightful characters, unique setting, and lovely prose. This is historical fiction at its best! -- Ruta Sepetys, author of BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY Jepp, who defied the Stars, is not only an intelligent and thought-provoking book, it's also refreshingly different and a terrific read. * Buzz about Books *

About the Author

Katherine Marsh

Katherine Marsh
Eleven Fun Facts About Me

Why eleven? I was born in Kingston, New York, a town on the Hudson River, on 11/11/74 (7 + 4 = 11), eleven days early, at 12:26 pm (add it up...eleven).

The summer before I turned five, my parents moved to my grandmother's house in Bronxville, New York, a suburb 29 minutes by train to Grand Central Terminal. As an only child, I hung out a lot with my grandmother. She had run a Russian/ Ukrainian bar in the East Village that many years later became the Life Café, the bohemian gathering place immortalized in the musical Rent.

I was the second shortest kid every year of elementary school. I was also the sickest kid, logging almost two months of absences in the sixth grade. These experiences were formative: I still have a fear of being picked up and tossed around. And I still love to lie in bed, milking a sickness, and reading.

My parents split up when I was ten, though for the sake of this list they should have waited till I was eleven. Despite including Latin in all three of my books, I was actually a mediocre Latin student. An embarrassing translation error ended my Latin career in the ninth grade. If you have a Latin question for me, please make sure it involves declining the word "farmer" since I can't do much else.

I studied a lot of poetry at Yale. Upon graduation, however, I discovered that openings for poets were scarce and took a job teaching ninth and twelfth grade English at not just any Connecticut boarding school but my alma mater. I was only occasionally mistaken for a student.

In 1998, I moved to New York City to begin a career as a journalist. My first job was at Good Housekeeping, where I kept the messiest desk in the history of the magazine. I proudly continue to be extremely messy. I spent two years writing for Rolling Stone though not about music (so please don't send me your garage band demos) but about kids and their lives across the country.

I met my husband on a blind date in New York City. In 2002, we moved to Washington, D.C., where we still live today. For almost five years, my day job was editing political journalism at The New Republic magazine. That makes me two for two working at magazines that were the subject of movies (Almost Famous and Shattered Glass).

I am the mother of two small children and two large cats, Egg and Scotty.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st November 2012


Katherine Marsh

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Hot Key Books


400 pages
Interest Age: From 16 to 19 years


Romance & relationships stories (Children's / Teenage)
Historical fiction (Children's / Teenage)



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