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The Brothers Story

3.17  ·  Rating details ·  52 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Teenage twins Kit and Christy have grown up amid grinding poverty in their Essex village. As Christy has been “simple” from birth, Kit is literally his brother’s keeper. But the latest hardships visited upon their country home by the Great Frost of 1683–84 bring Kit to frustration and despair, and he abandons Christy to make his way to London, seeking to better himself. Th ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 10th 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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May 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
THe plot is great but I felt there was a gratuitous sexual act in the book. It bugs me when it is in the story and does nothing to further the plot. Sexual acts used poorly do not make edgy teen literature; they make poor books. Set during the coldest winter on record in London, the protagonist is likable, except the icky act. I felt for him, and his twin. I liked the overall plot, just not a few incidences that are wasteful.
Eva Mitnick
Mar 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Although the jacket art depicts a lad who looks like a 70s California Boy, this novel about a teen who leaves his "simple" twin brother behind in their impoverished village to seek a better life in London plunged me right into the desperately cold winter of 1683. I sensed no anachronisms - even Kit's mindset and attitude (about sex and women, about religion, about a person's rightful station, about fairness) were clearly far from modern. There has always been a place in my heart for stories abou ...more
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fianlly, a book with a perfect, clean-cut, satisfying ending!

This book was a lovely, heartwarming and humbling story, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in history, who wants an escape from their everyday life, or who wants to be made appreciative of the life that they already have. It tugged my heartstrings throughout, but also left me with tears in my eyes - I'm still thinking about the characters days after I've finished. Fantastic. A real portrayal of life in the 17th cent
Jul 23, 2010 rated it liked it
This was a good book, but had some more mature parts (I wouldn't let teens read it). But it seems to portray life as it would have been in England back in those days. Kind of enlightening, and a good read.
Margo Tanenbaum
Aug 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Katherine Sturtevant's third novel for young people returns to 17th century England, this time to the winter of 1683-84, known as "The Great Frost," considered the worst frost for which we have historical records. The Thames froze solid, two feet thick, as well as the surrounding seas, rendering commerce very difficult. In this historical context, Sturtevant spins the captivating story of two twin teenage boys, Kit and Christy. Identical in appearance, Christy has been simple since birth, and Ki ...more
Books and Literature for Teens
The winter of 1683, the coldest winter ever recorded in England, has taken an terrible tole on Kit and his poor family. Kit dreams of going to London to find a job, but the only thing holding him back is his twin brother, Christy, who was born "simple". Since Kit has always looked after his brother and has never been separated, Kit isn't sure if Christy will survive without him. Frustrated and determined to better himself, in the end, Kit decides to abandon Christy in Essex and flee to the city. ...more
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Katherine Sturtevant is the author of my favorite YA novel, A True and Faithful Narrative. That book also takes place in Restoration London, but it's about the daughter of a bookseller who wants to be a writer, which is naturally going to be a situation more modern readers can identify with, as opposed to this book, which is about a lower-class boy who wishes to better himself. He's not a sophisticated thinker. I empathized with him but didn't necessarily identify with him.

But what I love, love,
Dec 05, 2012 added it
Sturtevant, Katherine. (2009). The Brothers Story. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. 275 pp. ISBN 978-0-374-30992-3 (Hardcover); $16.99.

In the coldest winter in England’s history, Kit and Christy are desperately scratching to eat, stay warm, and survive. His younger brother, Michael, has already died and his mother has sent him begging. Surviving for Kit may be a bit easier than for his twin brother Christy. Christy is developmentally disabled and we are in Essex in the year of our Lord, 168
Jan 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
England, 1683 brought the most brutal winter people had seen in a very long time. Kit, 15 and his twin Christy were cold, hungry, and poor living in Essex. Their father and sister died from the fever, and their 3 year-old brother, Michael is deathly ill. Christy is 'simple' and his mother wishes he would have died instead of other family members. Kit is his only champion. When Michael dies, the mother employs herself at a neighbor's farm, leaving the twins in the care and servitude of a despicab ...more
Mar 16, 2012 added it
Another good example of why I really like reading historical fiction is this book. This story takes place in what is still believed the coldest winter in England's history - 1683-84. The main character, 15-year-old Kit, leaves his dreadful life in a small village in Essex, to better himself in London. He leaves behind his mother and twin brother, Christy, who is "simple."
The enormous struggle of the poor and the wretched treatment they received, is powerfully presented, and again, the reason I
Dekevion Gause
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
this book was set in old time London, with a poor dialect to it. Set during the hardest frost period on record, two twin boys (Kit & Christy) are struggling to survive. Both of there real names are Christian, because there mom thought one of them was going to die from pneumonia. In a act of desperation, Kit leaves to London to try to make it on his own. Although the realism of the times, back then are interesting and the truthfulness of author gives the characters are pretty good, the second ...more
Sep 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
Set in old time London during the hardest frost on record, twin boys, Kit & Christy are struggling to survive. In a act of desperation, Kit flees to London to try to make it on his own. Although the gritty realism of the times back then are interesting and the honesty the author gives the characters are refreshing, the second half of the book was a very big disappointment to me. The author decided to focus on Kit's hormones and the sexuality of the book was out of line for a teenage book. I ...more
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sturtevant really made the coldest winter ever recorded in England seem real. I really enjoyed the contrast between the two brothers. I also enjoyed the subtle input of religion in the novel, like the coat of many colors. I'm a little irked at the sexual scenes, but I do not know why. It does not seem right in this historical fiction. I understand that Kit is a teenager and this is set in the late 1600's, but it seemed out of place, like a badly placed comic relief.

Overall, this novel will be o
Sep 09, 2011 rated it did not like it
Don't know if I can fairly review this book. I didn't make it passed the first couple of chapters. I was already struggling with the hormonal issues discussed. I kept thinking, "I bet this is just going to get worse." So, I looked up a couple of reviews here. Yep. It was just going to get worse. I don't have time to waste that. There are so many good books out there that tell a story with teenage boys (or girls) as the protagonist that don't have sex in them; I'll just skip this one.
Maureen E
Nov 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Set in 1680′s England, this is the story of twin brothers, Kit and Christy. Kit must care for Christy although he resents it. An interesting historical fiction. [Nov. 2010]
Jul 06, 2010 rated it liked it
It was so slow in the beginning that I just wanted to stop reading it, but more into the book it got better. I wouldn't recommend anyone to this book, but it was an ok book.
Feb 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
England in the 1600's...developmental disabilities, poverty, "frost fair", social class, coming of age...
Aug 09, 2010 rated it did not like it
Okay so I pretty much just STOPPED reading this. It's too....blah. I just can't read it anymore. And I've NEVER done this to a book. This is the first time.
Jan 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
Horrible cover and didn't really feel anything towards the characters.
Mar 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, historicalfiction
Very similar to Avi's "Cross of lead" series in its realistic, detailed description of an English peasant's life (tho set 200 years later). It won't pull in reluctant readers, but is very well done.
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Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I found the story and historical settings interesting. Kit had his flaws, but I had some sympathy for him.
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