A friend of ours, who teaches junior high Spanish, recommended this book to us. I can hardly imagine that this book is intended for kids in that age group or even high-schoolers, not only because of the arcane language and, in some cases, concepts of the books - two volumes - but also because of the intensity, and at times, darkness of the events in the book. People tell me, however, that the young are getting exposure to all sorts of darkness, so maybe it isn't too much for them after all.
It is seriously a good book, dealing with many things - the underpinnings and implications of 'science,' the differences among literate and illiterate cultures in early America, and I particularly like the parts in volume 1 about the Revolutionary War, and in volume 2 all the material about the community of mixed Africans aboard Lord Dunmore's vessel Crepuscule.
This latter section reminded me so much of the reading I did when researching my African dna-implied ethnicity. After all, my grandfather considered himself to be 'a Moor.' I learned so much by reading Ivan van Sertima, Jose Pimienta Bey, and others about Africa. A lot of that is present here although expressed in the desultory manner of fiction. I prefer the straight history myself, but I'm just mentioning it because I know that he has got his data straight.
Worth reading if you're an adult. I don't know about kids reading it.
One aside: the first person narratives by Octavian Nothing himself are very believable. I must note one remark he makes about his mother, because I feel this was true of my mother too - the lie she bequeathed to him was his 'great inheritance.' Too true.