Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton: Wenches and Girl Knights and Feminism, Oh My!

The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton
Published: May 5th, 2020
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
# of pages: 384
My rating: 5 stars
Acquired this book: From the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for honest consideration
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Buy: Amazon Canada || Amazon US || Indigo

Working as a wench―i.e. waitress―at a cheesy medieval-themed restaurant in the Chicago suburbs, Kit Sweetly dreams of being a knight like her brother. She has the moves, is capable on a horse, and desperately needs the raise that comes with knighthood, so she can help her mom pay the mortgage and hold a spot at her dream college.

Company policy allows only guys to be knights. So when Kit takes her brother’s place and reveals her identity at the end of the show, she rockets into internet fame and a whole lot of trouble with the management. But the Girl Knight won’t go down without a fight. As other wenches join her quest, a protest forms. In a joust before Castle executives, they’ll prove that gender restrictions should stay medieval―if they don’t get fired first.

This book was such a delight. The title and cover piqued my interest immediately, and the synopsis had me certain I’d be cheering for Kit, which is exactly what happened.

As a history nerd, Kit Sweetly knows the history books have an unfortunate tendency of leaving out or overlooking badass women. As a teenage girl who works in a medieval-themed restaurant called The Castle, she knows some people still have fairly medieval views when it comes to what women can and can’t do. Wanting to channel her inner Joan of Arc and become a Castle knight like her brother, Kit is tired of being told only cis men can perform in the nightly jousting shows, so she sets out to do something about it.

I loved Kit. She was feisty and smart and determined. She’d been knocked down by life - her family lived in poverty and her dad was an addict - but she refused to stay down, and I admired her tenacity. It’s not every day one gets the chance to do their part in challenging the patriarchy, and while I loved that aspect of the story and rooted for Kit and her friends, this book was about much more than that. Kit was a regular teen with normal ups and downs - family drama, friend issues, worrying about college - and she felt real and relatable.

This is the second book I’ve read recently about teenage girls challenging patriarchal views and shaking up the status quo (the other one was Rules for Being a Girl by Katie Cotugno and Candace Bushnell). I wish there had been more books like this when I was a teen, but I’m so glad they’re being written now. I also truly appreciated the poverty representation - something that’s familiar in real life to many people, but rarely seen in books - and the diversity within Kit’s friend group. There was also an adorable, swoony friends-to-more romance that had me grinning and squeeing.

The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly is a sparkling debut from Jamie Pacton. It strikes a perfect balance of fun romcom and heartwarming story about friendship, life, and overcoming obstacles. This is one of those books I'd love to see adapted for the big screen!

Have you read The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly? What did you think? Have you read any books recently with strong themes of feminism?

*Please note I'm an Amazon affiliate, and some of the links in this review are affiliate links. All income made through affiliate sales goes directly back into maintaining Ramblings of a Daydreamer. Thank you for your support!  

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