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Rumors of Peace
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Rumors of Peace

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  174 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Perhaps no novel since "A Seperate Peace "has so superbly captured the impingement of a world at war upon a safe and sheltered environment. The place in Mendoza, a small oil-refining town thirty miles east of San Francisco. The time encompassed is World War II, from the bombing of Pearl Harbor until the bombing of Hiroshima. The narrator and heroine of the story is the fie ...more
Paperback, 389 pages
Published November 1st 1985 by Harper Perennial (first published 1979)
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354th out of 913 books — 516 voters


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Community Reviews

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Russell Bittner
Every once in a while, we can be pleasantly surprised – no, more than ‘pleasantly surprised’; we can be downright astonished!


I picked up a copy of Ella Leffland’s Rumors of Peace on a stoop here in Brooklyn one afternoon last summer, read “coming-of-age story” on the back cover, and thought it might make for a good little read for my daughter. This summer, I decided to first read it myself so as not to waste my daughter’s time if the book turned out to be some silly kind of YA Fiction.


A waste o
...more
Marlene Lee
This book is considered a classic, for good reason. Recently republished, the story of an adolescent girl growing up in California during World War II follows the anxious events of her young life and their resolution at the same time it narrates, via short historical newspaper clippings, the conflict and eventual end of the war's hostilities. The quality of Leffland's fiction that brings me back again and again to her work is her prose. She never moves forward until she has the exact right words ...more
Jessamine
There is some lovely prose in this book, some lovely sentiments and nuggets of truth, but I can't get over how much I dislike the main character. lolol. I understand that this novel is a bit of a coming-of-age novel, that the character herself is young and is written as meant to be immature and rather reflective of many mindsets during this time; I understand that Suse slowly changes from the person she had at ten years old. However, I found many of her thoughts to be somewhat horrifying, many o ...more
Francesca
I was very surprised by how much I liked this novel. I usually do not read historical fiction, and I would have never picked this book up if it was not for assigned reading. This was the first time in a very long time I enjoyed an actual novel assigned to me in a class since I was assigned to read The Handmaid's Tale in high school.

I enjoyed this novel because the ideas it had concerning war. One of my favorite statements is that history is a broken record domed to repeat itself, and peace is ju
...more
Dorian
I read this book because it was recommended by a local author and sounded like an interesting coming-of-age-story. Published in 1979 so it was too late for my English teachers to assign and I had never heard of it before. Set in the fictional town of Mendoza, which is obviously Martinez to anyone familiar with the East Bay Area of CA, the story is told from a young girl's perspective during WWII. Touches on so many themes: growth from tomboy to young womanhood, first love, sexual awakening, evol ...more
Carol Moffat
I so identify with Suse. While she followed WWII via the news paper and radio casts through the 1940’s, I worried about Russia in the 1950’ & 60’s. While she was relegated to the dumb class, so was I. While her best friend bloomed into a popular kid, so did mine, and while her circle included losers and clowns and greasers, mine did too. And then, there was one smart interesting unique person that she found – like a jewel—and a couple of those found me too. And life began to grow in new dime ...more
Cheryl
The time period and variety of characters was thought provoking to me. There were many sentences that used descriptions and vocabulary that especially struck me and appreciatively grabbed my attention . The roller coaster ride of the main characters unfolding was at time frustrating, while at other times it was hopeful and uplifting. All in all, there was much to consider in this novel. It was chosen as one of 4 selections for a Humanities Council Reading Series and lent itself to a good discuss ...more
Lesley
3/24 Update - I gave up on this book. The story is going nowhere and the characters bore me, especially Peggy's sister. I really tried, but I just can't get into it. It's going back to the library, unfinished.

Okay, I started this yesterday and here's my quandry. WHY! Why does she use the name of everything in/around Martinez (i.e. Lasell's Hardware, Shell Oil Refinery & the city of Benicia) but not the name Martinez? It makes NO SENSE to me!
Erica
Mar 17, 2010 Erica added it
This novel I had never heard of until it was put into my hands at work is the story of Suse, a young girl coming of age in a small town near San Francisco during WW2. As anyone who knows me knows, I love coming of age novels, and this one was no exception. It's darker than the cover and description would lead one to believe, since Suse is obsessed with the war (like, keeps a picture of dead soldiers hidden in her room levels of obsessed.)
Kathy
This and To Kill a Mockingbird were the only two books of my highschool English class career that I really, truly enjoyed and couldn't put down. All the other ones were hard for me to get through and not really enjoyable. I think what I like about both books is that the stories are told from the point of view of a child/adolescent. Its a fresh perspective. It's been years since I've read this but it really stands out as one of my favorites.
Linda
A young, small town girl's view of WWII. Leffland captures the scene of a small town quite effectively and you wouldn't know it unless you had grown up in the same kind of place. Her heroine is so smart and insightful that I couldn't rely on her as a real person. Nonetheless, the writing was good and the characters compelling. My sister suggested I read this, and I am glad I did.
Dirk
If I knew a 14-year-old-girl, intelligent but not literary, who for some reason was interested in what the second world war was like in America, I would give her this book. But as for me, it has nothing in it that gratifies me in a novel. The characters are flat and shallow, the motivation simple-minded, the plot negligible, the prose simple and utterly unresonant.
Lauren Stringer
A very complex coming of age story. There were times when I wanted to shake some sense into this main character and other times when I faced the world through her eyes and understood how confusing it must have been living next to the Pacific during those turbulent war years.
I found myself philosophizing right along with her.
Sherie
A sensitive growing up tale of a child on the cusp of adulthood as The US enters WWII. Living in a community near San Francisco leaves the town feeling vulnerable to a Japanese invasion and as the government takes steps to isolate the Japanese-American population, a bigotry towards these citizens rears its ugly head.
Kathy
Loved the perspective of the girl as she watched the war unfold from her home in the bay area. Love the crush she had on her teacher, unknown to him....her growing to womanhood almost completely unnoticed by parents caught up in war issues. I love her writing...a
Diane
My mom grew up in Union City in the East Bay in this same time period. It was like getting a glimpse into what her childhood was like. As she's not around to tell me about it herself, this book was a real treasure.
Ryan
perhaps the greatest underrated coming-of-age story I've seen, as well as taking place in a slightly veiled version of the area I grew up in.
Amy
Sep 25, 2010 Amy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
Not a review, personal notes...small town descriptions reminded me of my childhood home. Required reading Professor Hogeland.
Jeanie
What a lovely book. The writing is graceful and the story unfolds nicely. It was our book club pick.
Valory
Dec 30, 2008 Valory marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
My daughter Anne read this in her first semester of college English in the fall, and recommended it to me.
Suellen
Jun 12, 2010 Suellen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Suellen by: Book Club
Even B. liked this book ... maybe more than me. I think he discovered it on a sale table.
Dee
This book really resonated with me. I will re-read this one.
Alissa
Mar 13, 2008 Alissa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lesley
Set in Martinez...what more could you want?
Lynnette
1940-1945 through the eyes of a child.
Julie Sternberg
I did not want this book to end.
Pamela
This is on my to be reread list...
Umaima
Jun 18, 2013 Umaima marked it as to-read
want to read
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