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Missing in Action

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  155 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Dirty. Lazy. Good-for-nothing. Jay Thacker is used to hearing himself called names because his dad is half-Navajo. But he's hoping, now that he and his mom have moved to stay with his grandparents because of WWII, that things could be different. Delta is a tiny town in Utah, nothing like Salt Lake, where they used to live. And Jay's grandfather is an elder in the church, a ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 9th 2010 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Mary Louise Sanchez
Apr 26, 2011 Mary Louise Sanchez rated it really liked it
Twelve-year old Jay Thatcher and his mother move in with his grandparents in a small Mormon, Utah community because his half Navajo father is missing in action in WWII which causes Jay to put his father on a pedestal as a war hero. Jay is thrust in the middle of action as he confronts prejudice as the boys in town nickname him, "Chief." Jay also confronts his own prejudices against the Japanese as he enjoys his friendship with the likeable young Japanese-American man, Ken, who lives in a nearby ...more
May 01, 2016 Darin added it
Missing in action by Dean Hughes is an interesting book that really brings you back to the struggles of world war 2. No not the actual fighting but the struggles of the families back in the US waiting to recover their family members remains. Thomas is one such boy and this book follows his mind as he struggles to find his identity in a new town. It was better that what I thought it was going to be like and I recommend it to you.
Jan 12, 2017 Erick added it
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Michael Kerr
Mar 10, 2017 Michael Kerr rated it liked it
Shelves: war-fiction, ya
Jay is an outsider due to his Navajo heritage, and has trouble fitting in when he moves to his mother's small hometown in Utah. It doesn't help that his father is listed as missing in action as the Navy ship he was on went down in the Pacific. To top things off, his grandfather puts him to work with a Japanese-American teen who had been interned nearby. This is a coming-of-age tale, in which the magical thinking of childhood slowly ebbs away in the face of reality, and Jay begins to learn to thi ...more
Emma Nunamaker
May 01, 2013 Emma Nunamaker rated it liked it
Missing in Action
By: Dean Hughes
Review by: Emma Nunamaker

I have never experienced any physical or verbal abuse from my parents or friends, but the author Dean Hughes made me feel the pain the main character Jay went through at the time. The story of Jay made me feel like I was him and made me feel the pain he was going through.

Jay was the main reason why i read this book. The reason is because the way he reacts to things. In the situations he was put in, i would have reacted the same way! Not
Oct 02, 2014 Grossmatthew rated it really liked it
I thought the book was amazing it was one of the best books i have read in my whole life. Jay thacker is is a kid who likes to play ball, his dads off fighting in the war and they haven't heard from him in awhile. Everyone says that hes dead but jay thinks hes a prisnor in war. He and just moved to a small town in Utah and he doesn't have many friends. One night he is a a baseball field watching some kids his age playing some ball, one kid was trash talking the other teams pitcher. The kid yelle ...more
Patti Sabik
Aug 12, 2016 Patti Sabik rated it liked it
Moving provides Jay’s an opportunity to change his identity, but unfortunately he still has to deal with his Navajo heritage stigma, his dad missing in action on the pacific front, and challenges with Ken a new friend from the Japanese internment camp.
I found this book quite slow and difficult to plow through. I was expecting to read more about WWII, the home front, and possibly about life on a Japanese internment camp. Instead, the book was extremely baseball heavy so most of the “action” revo
Jay Thacker and his mom have left Salt Lake City and moved to Delta, Utah to live with his mom's parents. His father left for the war with the Navy and is officially Missing in Action. Jay is convinced his father will return and doesn't understand why his mother isn't as positive and won't pray as much as he does.

Jay is part Navajo and is often judged for it. When he finds a group of boys in the neighborhood who play baseball, he warily joins the group. The boys give him a hard time at first but
Jul 06, 2011 Maria rated it really liked it
Jay Thatcher and his mother have moved in with his grandparents in Delta, Utah. His father is missing in action, when his ship was sunk in the Pacific. Delta is a small town next to the Topaz Japanese American relocation camp and Jay has a lot to learn about war, trust and prejudice.

Why I picked it up: I loved Hughes Rumors of War Children of the Promise series and I was curious about his WWII story for children.

Why I finished it: Powerful! And there are few that know about the Japanese relocati
Too many print books to read, and so much need for sleep. It's making it difficult to finish print copies for me! But I enjoyed this read. I was curious about many things and was happy with what I encountered. I wondered about some stereotyping in it, but after talking with Tina some, I think I understand a bit more of it in the book and any offense I was wondering about taking, I don't feel to do so now. Quite a few things in one short book, but Brother Hughes still handled them all well. And a ...more
Dec 16, 2014 Tanthony rated it it was amazing
Missing In Action (MIA) is part of the Historical-Fiction genre. Its setting dates back to World War II (1939-1945). It has hope and friendship. The book relates to Soldier Boys and Search and Destroy. All the books (Soldier Boys, Search and Destroy, and MIA) are written by Dean Hughes. MIA relates to its other series with land, air, and sea warfare.

Twelve-year-old Jay Thacker moved to Delta, a tiny town in Utah. His father went to war to fight the Japanese, but Jay's family had heard that hi
Oct 15, 2012 Brian rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-lit
This book has a lot of heart. It's loaded with taboos, but mostly because it addresses a lot of taboo subjects and has meaningful things to say about them. Jay is confronted with racist stereotypes of Native Americans and has to overcome society's biases toward him. Jay, in turn, has to examine his own deep-seated biases toward Japanese-Americans. This book speaks eloquently about America's complex racial history and encourages readers to think about how they treat others who are different. The ...more
Feb 13, 2011 Maralise rated it it was ok
I didn't cringe at his descriptions of LDS themes (well, maybe once) or think his characters were at all 2-dimensional. But there's something about the book that was supremely uninteresting to me. Maybe it's my fatigue with happily-ever-after LDS books (burn out from years of reading Jack Weyland), or my preference for a little grit, but the ending was rushed and the story suffered because of it. That being said, it was a relief to be reading an author that doesn't seem to care about the trends ...more
Feb 17, 2011 LuAnn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
A wonderful story about a young Indian boy who has moved with his white mother to Delta, Utah, after his father's Navy ship has gone done, and the friendship he makes with a Japanese youth living in Topaz as they both discover a love for baseball. It was interesting to look inside the hearts and minds of two different cultures, while finding that we all have more in common than we have that separates us from one another.
Patty Gourneau
Oct 15, 2014 Patty Gourneau rated it really liked it
I am on a quest to find young adult books that have strong Native American characters. Missing in Action fits the bill. Set in WWII, Jay moves to a small town where he deals with his own identity. His father is Navajo and MIA in the war, is one of few Native Americans in the area and is confused by a friendship that develops with a Japanese American living at an Internment Camp. A good read and one that I believe will be enjoyed boys with an interest in war, baseball and coming of age.
Feb 03, 2011 Heather rated it liked it
An interesting story about a boy who moves to Delta, Utah, with his mom to live with his grandparents. His father, who is half Navajo, is missing in action in WWII. Jay has to come to terms with who he is--part Indian--and becomes friends with a Japanese boy, who is living at the nearby Topaz Internment camp. As Jay tries to fit in with the other boys in the town, he learns more about himself and what's truly important in life.
Kimberly Basile
Apr 25, 2016 Kimberly Basile rated it really liked it
I read this for a book club and to be honest was not initially very interested in starting this book. Neither the cover nor the description really drew me in. However I was so surprised by this book! It was great! The writing was really good. Dean gives a great perspective on the emotional side of teen boys in a realistic way.
Nov 25, 2010 Marge added it
Shelves: jfiction
Jay's father is missing in action in WWII, Mom and Jay move to a small town in Utah to live with his grandparents. The town is near an internment camp for Japanese. How does Jay cope with being part Najaho, prejudice toward Japanese and his relationship with his family. A lot going on for a 15 year old to handle -
Beth Baryon
Sep 30, 2012 Beth Baryon rated it liked it
A part Navajo boy makes friends with a Japanese boy in the small-town West during WWII. They bond over the way people judge them for their heritage and baseball. A quick easy to read historical fiction that would appeal to boys.
Sep 09, 2010 Linda rated it really liked it
Jay is dealing with a lot of issues from his part-Indian heritage when he and his mother move in with his grandparents after his father is missing in action. His friendship with Ken, a Japanese American interred in a camp nearby has complications but also redemptive qualities.
Ben Campbell
Dec 04, 2013 Ben Campbell rated it really liked it
I love how the author uses real historical events and places in this story. It makes it seem more of a reality.
Sep 10, 2011 Sarah marked it as to-order
We don't have this recent title, and we should.
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
Different kind of World War II book. Great for boys who are fans of either baseball or historical fiction. Very multicultural and does a fine job of promoting tolerance.
Jan 03, 2011 Mindy rated it liked it
Good friendship story. Got slightly teary at the end.
Feb 02, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it
This would be a great story for boys 10-14ish. It was good but it wasn't great for a 30+ mother of 3. :) I've read other books by Hughes, but not his YA stuff.
A fun quick read that gives a look at what it was like for Japanese Americans during WWII and also the racism a 1/2 Navajo boy faces at the time.
Jun 09, 2011 Jana rated it liked it
I didn't know that Dean Hughes wrote YA books until I saw this at the library. It was a good story of friendship that I would recommend to 10-13 year-old boys.
Apr 06, 2011 Emilee rated it liked it
the story seems a bit slow, but I think because it was written to a younger age group; probably great for 10+ yos
Jan 09, 2012 Jolene rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jolene by: Teresa Garrett
I enjoyed reading this book. A definite page turner that leaves the reader feeling warm & good at the end.
Sep 07, 2012 Joshualowe rated it it was amazing
I liked this book a lot. I thought it was very interesting and had good suspense. I would recomend this book to a friend.
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Dean Hughes is the author of more than eighty books for young readers, including the popular sports series Angel Park All-Stars, the Scrappers series, the Nutty series, the widely acclaimed companion novels Family Pose and Team Picture, and Search and Destroy. Soldier Boys was selected for the 2001 New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age list. Dean Hughes and his wife, Kathleen, have three ...more
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