About the Book

Title: The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly
Published: 2020
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Cover Story: Ren Fest-ive
BFF Charm: Heck Yes
Talky Talk: Fight Song
Bonus Factors: Medieval Times, LGBTQ+
Anti-Bonus Factors: Smoking, Dan Scott Award for Awful Parenting
Relationship Status: Member of the Court

Trigger Warning: There’s an example of accidental* physical abuse by a parent in The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly that might be triggering for some readers.

*That’s not condoning it, mind you, because it should NEVER happen, but I just wanted to clarify.

Cover Story: Ren Fest-ive

This cover is deceptively simple, but I dig it. At first glance, it seems like it’s for a historical novel, but looking more closely, there are modern touches like the motorcycle helmet and the Chuck Taylors, that add just the right amount of intrigue.

The Deal:

Kit Sweetly loves her job—being a serving wench at the Castle, a local Medieval Times-style restaurant—but she wants more. Specifically, to become a knight and ride out and perform during the Castle’s shows. But the corporate powers that be won’t let anyone who isn’t male be a Knight, and they’re not changing their mind any time soon. Even when Kit takes the place of her brother, the Red Knight, and becomes a viral sensation. But Kit’s not going to let something as arbitrary as “the rules” stop her from reaching her goals.

BFF Charm: Heck Yes

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

Kit has the promise to become a Very Cool Girl. She’s not quite there yet in The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly, but she learns her lesson and does quite a bit of growing before the end of the book. I appreciate her passion and her willingness to fight for change. And being a knight at a Castle show? Serious high school job goals.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Kit maybe, kinda sorta, has feelings for her best friend Jett, who is “Dev Patel beautiful.” But the two of them have agreed to Unbreakable Rules in their friendship, one of which is that they’ll never date. Agreeing to the rules doesn’t stop the butterflies, however …

Talky Talk: Fight Song

The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly is a book about fighting to right societal wrongs couched in a story about people who work at a renaissance restaurant, which is surprisingly more apt than you might first think. Pacton infuses the story with a great deal of passion and wit, and her knowledge of history shines through. (I really appreciated the information about badass lady knights other than Joan of Arc, many of whom I’d never heard of, but certainly want to research now!)

Pacton’s also got a deft hand at sass, which made for a supremely enjoyable read. For example:

As we watch, I skim online articles about going viral. According to them, “going viral” generally means your content spreads across the Internet and social media superfact. To be officially viral. It’s got to touch millions of people in a few days. Kind of like the Black Death did in medieval Europe, but—thankfully—without the Hieronymous Bosch horror-scape.

Bonus Factors: Medieval Times

A group of soldiers carrying spears and shields

I love Medieval Times. I’ve only been once in my life, but I wish I lived closer to one because I’d go every chance I got. It’s such a ridiculously fun time, and I can imagine that working there—although some of the magic would wear off quickly—would be pretty amazing as well.

The story is timely, too, as the actual Medieval Times only recently got their first queen.

Bonus Factors: LGBTQ+

Pride flag being waved in a parade

Pacton includes a nice variety of queer folk in The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly, from bisexual characters to a trans woman to a non-binary person who prefers they/them pronouns. And the best thing? None of their gender or sexual preferences are made into big Things—the way it should be!

Anti-Bonus Factors: Smoking

A pile of half-smoked cigarettes

Kit (and Pacton) brush off social smoking as just something people do when they’re part of the Castle crew. I get that this happens, but as someone who grew up with a parent who smoked and subsequently cannot stand the smell of cigarette smoke to this day, it was a gross habit to have to read about.

Anti-Bonus Factors: Dan Scott Award for Awful Parenting

Evil Dan Scott from One Tree Hill

Kit’s dad—who left his family but won’t pay alimony or divorce her mother because religion—is the worst kind of deadbeat. He also once hit Kit in the face while drunk, which, HARD NOPE.

Relationship Status: Member of the Court

I’m going to be rooting for you (and Kit) from the Red section, Book, as often as I can. Consider me a permanent member of your court. Now, can I get a discount on the turkey legs?

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Page Street Kids, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.