The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton

Posted August 6, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

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The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly

The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly

by Jamie Pacton

Publisher: Page Street Books on May 5, 2020
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Target Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: ★★★★½

Check out this book on Goodreads

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.

 

Everything about this book indicated it would be up my alley, and I was really looking forward to it.  Kit Sweetly is a Wench at Medieval Times, where she works with her brother and her uncle.  She’s enraged at the Castle’s gender restrictions because they prevent women from promoting into the “Knight” position.  This position pays more money, but is unavailable to women because it’s not “historically accurate”.  Game on.

I really enjoyed the first 75% of this book.  I liked the build up, I liked Kit’s characterization, and I liked the cheerful, blantant disregard of Corporate.  I’ve never worked at Medieval Times (never even BEEN to one) but I have worked for other corporations, and both Corporate’s behavior and Lem’s reactions aligned with the realities I’ve observed.  I appreciated Kit’s world as well – I felt this is the first YA contemporary I’ve read where the characters did just say they were poor, we were really, really shown.  The environment here felt real, but had just enough magic to make it feel special.  Like the Kite Festival, how cool!

As far as characters go, I was so excited to see the inclusivity in this book!  I didn’t feel any of the diverse characters were tokenized, but please note that I am not from a marginalized group, and am not able to accurately speak representation.  For my part, it was refreshing to see characters of different races and sexual identities incorporated so easily into this book.  While we don’t want identity erasure, The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly simply wasn’t a story about race or sexual identity, so the story didn’t dig into these identities.  I’d love to see more contemporary books include so many diverse characters with this sort of ease just so that different pronouns and races are normalized within a book.  Not erasing the individual struggles of each marginalization… rather, showing that the world is more than just cis hetero white people.

The ending lost me a bit, because I felt it was too easy, and too quick.  We’d been building up to this big THING and at the end, instead of consequences, it was nicely wrapped up with a sort of happily ever after, and everyone wins kind of thing.  And that… I dunno.  On one hand, you want to cheer with Kit & Co. for their accomplishments, but on the other hand, it felt like it played out too easily.  A couple other things outside the Castle felt a bit unresolved for me, especially in Kit’s brother, Chris’s, storyline.

Still, this was an easy read and as a whole, I found it enjoyable.  Kit’s facts were a bit basic, but I still liked the inclusion of her historical knowledge and I felt the level of her knowledge was realistic considering her age and resources.  Kit may be interested in the Middle Ages, but she’s also a high schooler and working as well as going to school and she’s not digging into thick academic texts.  I thought the little that was provided was well-curated and in-character.  So I’m not going to jump down Kit’s throat because of the simplicity of and Wikipedia-esque nature of the facts.  In fact, I appreciated that the information was true to character.

In general, I liked this book and I recommend itThe Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly is one of those quirky, odd contemporaries that I’m worried won’t get a lot of press because they’re not sweeping romances or issue-specific books (it is a little, but not with the grandiose of some others).  These contemporaries are my absolutely favorite and seem to disappear under the waves of other more generic styles and I really encourage you guys to add this to your TBR.  It’s worth it for the cast of characters, if nothing else, but I think you may surprise yourselves and enjoy reading something a little different from your Average YA Contemporary.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★ 1/2
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★ 1/2

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The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly Stays on the Shelf

Honestly, I just liked this one.

It’s books like The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly or Echo After Echo or Nice Try, Jane Sinner that are standouts in their genre and don’t follow the traditional weave of contemporary YA that keep me reading contemporary YA.  They’re unique and interesting and fun stories with deeply interesting characters and stories to tell, and I am here for these books far more than I am some of the more traditionally topical contemporaries.  I still red the issue books, but it’s the quirky contemporaries that steal my heart.

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Have you ever been to Medieval Times?  I’m so allergic to horses, I actually can’t go, but I’ve always been interested!  I went to a pirate-themed dinner theatre in Orlando once that’s much the same idea.  I’d love to hear about your experiences if you’ve been!  Let me know in the comments.

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