Title: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson
Genre: Literature, history, young-adult
Plot summary: (From School Library Journal)
In this fascinating and eye-opening Revolution-era novel, Octavian, a black youth raised in a Boston household of radical philosophers, is given an excellent classical education. He and his mother, an African princess, are kept isolated on the estate, and only as he grows older does he realise that while he is well dressed and well fed, he is indeed a captive being used by his guardians as part of an experiment to determine the intellectual acuity of Africans. As the fortunes of the Novanglian College of Lucidity change, so do the nature and conduct of their experiments.
Comments: Very readable while being stuffed with historical detail that gives a different perspective than usually portrayed of the time of the American Revolution. Would be a great text for Year 10-11 English and/or as a springboard for discussion about American history. Much of the writing is in the storyteller style of Peter Carey.