Study Guide

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party Tough-o-Meter

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(9-10) Mount Everest

If you think young adult = easy read, then think again. Not only is this book several hundred pages long, but it's also written in 18th-century English. No joke—M.T. Anderson spent years reading 18th-century literature just so he could get the voice of his characters just right.

It's not just the language though. The book is steeped in religion, philosophy, and literature—and we're talking serious classics like Plutarch's Lives. If you just went "what's that?" then consider it your preview of what it's like to read this book.

But we don't want to scare you off. Like climbing the actual Mount Everest, you'll need persistence—but once you get to the end, your mind will feel like it's exploding, in a really good way. Plus the plot is a true page-turner, which helps pull you along even when you're feeling a little overwhelmed.

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