I often tend to think of books about military history as appealing mainly to male readers, but Pure Grit: How American World War II nurses survived baI often tend to think of books about military history as appealing mainly to male readers, but Pure Grit: How American World War II nurses survived battle and prison camp in the Pacific by Mary Cronk Farrell is a book that will have women hooked too. Full of photos and first hand-accounts, it tells the often harrowing story of the American nurses who were stationed in the Philippines during World War II.
In the years before the war, being an Army nurse in the Philippines meant wearing ballgowns to dinner and lazing by pools, but that all changed when the Japanese army bombed and invaded the country, eventually capturing and holding 69 nurses as prisoners of war. The author does a great job of showing the spirit of these nurses – the first American women to be in combat – even during horrific conditions.
Give this book to fans of Code Name Verity, Unbroken by Hillenbrand, or patrons who are interested in unique military or medical stories....more
After being sent away from Nazi-occupied Austria to live with foster parents on a small island in Sweden, 13-year-old Stephie wins a scholarship to aAfter being sent away from Nazi-occupied Austria to live with foster parents on a small island in Sweden, 13-year-old Stephie wins a scholarship to a grammar school in a nearby Swedish city, and has to leave her foster parents behind.
When she moves in with the family she will be staying with, she quickly finds that although Mr. and Mrs. Soderberg will provide her with food and a room, they do not consider her to be part of the family. Their 17-year-old son Sven is a different matter though, and spends a lot of his time talking to and spending time with Stephie. Will Stephie be able to succeed in school and fit in in the city, and what will she do about her growing feelings for Sven?
This book was originally written in Swedish, and there are a few odd things about the translation, including the present tense narration, but other than that, the writing is fine. There's so much WWII lit out there that a book really needs to be special to stand out for me, and this one didn't manage it. It's perfectly decent historical fiction, but it's not very deep or unique. Younger teens and tweens might like it, especially if they loved the first book in this quartet or Diary of a Young Girl....more
Two girls - Maddie, a working class Mancunian with an interest in engines and airplanes, and 'Verity', an educated and refined lady from one of the4.5
Two girls - Maddie, a working class Mancunian with an interest in engines and airplanes, and 'Verity', an educated and refined lady from one of the most noble houses of Scotland - meet during the early days of WWII and become best friends. Despite the limited opportunities for women at the time, they both distinguish themselves and quickly find their niches in the war effort - Maddie as a civilian pilot, and Verity as an intelligence agent.
After gaining the respect of their superiors, the girls are eventually assigned together to a dangerous mission. When their plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France and Verity is captured by the Gestapo, she spends her imprisonment writing about how she got there and what went wrong...
This book is terribly exciting, with emphasis on the 'terrible'. Mentions of torture and death abound, and Verity's situation seems completely hopeless. Despite that, suspense is sustained throughout the story - every time the reader thinks they have figured everything out, something else is revealed. The characters, especially Verity, seem to leap off the page, and it's easy to see this making a great movie. My only objection was there is a bit too much technical/airplane talk, but that's just a minor thing. Overall, this was a great read.
Good for those who want historific with strong female characters, those interested in spies, and those who want a unique view of WWII.
Jacob's grandfather used to tell him stories about monsters - bloodthirsty beasts who stalked him from the time he was a child. Jacob initially believJacob's grandfather used to tell him stories about monsters - bloodthirsty beasts who stalked him from the time he was a child. Jacob initially believed his grandfather, but as he got older, he began to recognize the stories as fantastical creations that stood in for the very real horrors of the Second World War. After all, monsters aren't real... Are they?
When Jacob's grandfather is brutally murdered, Jacob begins to think there might be some truth to his grandfather's crazy stories. In an effort to uncover the secrets of his grandfather's past, he visits a remote island in Wales and while exploring an abandoned house, he comes across some very peculiar children. Children he recognizes from his grandfather's photographs. Children who haven't aged since 1940...
Filled with haunting vintage photographs, this fantastical story will captivate readers of all ages....more
I liked the premise and found the information about London during the Blitz interesting, but the writing and characters just didn't suck me in. When II liked the premise and found the information about London during the Blitz interesting, but the writing and characters just didn't suck me in. When I realized - halfway through the book - that it was only the first in a series, I decided there were too many other good stories out there for me to stick with this one for 600 more pages and gave up, which means I'll never know whether I hallucinated a completely random chapter that had nothing to do with any of the characters that had already been introduced or whether it really happened and was later explained. Oh well. I'll live....more
Seven teenagers decide to go camping in a remote part of the Australian outback. After spending several days hiking, exploring, and lazing around, theSeven teenagers decide to go camping in a remote part of the Australian outback. After spending several days hiking, exploring, and lazing around, they return home, only to find their families missing, their pets dying, and patrols of armed soldiers roaming the streets. It seems that while they were in the bush, Australia was invaded, and they are among the few who have escaped capture.
This book holds up remarkably well for having been published in 1993. The teens' banter and relationships ring true, and while their personalities start out as stereotypical (there's the sheltered rich girl, the sarcastic, smart one, the religious nut...) they all grow and change throughout the story. While there's plenty of action and romance, the book still finds time to fit in a rumination on the nature of evil. Tomorrow is a good, solid adventure read, although I wish I didn't have to read 6 more books to get the whole story. Curse you, series writers!
Hunger Games fans might dig this one, as will people who like wilderness survival stories....more
I don't know how he managed it, but throughout this whole series, Ness never sacrificed depth for plot or vice versaNow THIS is how you end a trilogy!
I don't know how he managed it, but throughout this whole series, Ness never sacrificed depth for plot or vice versa. Like the first two books, this one was full of not only suspense, action, and characters worth caring about, but also ambiguity, allusion and brutal realism. Even the Dan Brown-ish cliffhanger chapter endings that usually make me want to throw a book across the room only bothered me a little.
It took me longer to read than most books because I had to keep stopping and thinking about it. While the second book was full of Holocaust references, this one moved onto Israel and Palestine. And for 600 pages, it never took the easy way out, instead constantly dragging the characters through murky situations with no obvious solutions, and forcing the reader to reevaluate their sympathies every few chapters.
It stuck to similar themes as the first two: the justification of terrorism and war (and whether or not the two are so different), the wrongs of colonialism, the responsibilities of the powerful, redemption and absolution, but it really got down & dirty and explored the nuances of them in a way I couldn't help contrasting with Mockingjay's simplistic message that "War is bad." I liked Mockingjay (for the most part) but in my opinion, Monsters of Men is infinitely more mature and deep. It's a shame it won't be eligible for the Printz, because I think it's really an example of how great teen literature can be.
Also, I love the last line of this book almost as much as I loved the first line of the first book. Awesome....more
I understand that war is horrific and that bad things happen to good people, that sometimes there are no easy an**spoiler alert** 3.5
In a word, bleak.
I understand that war is horrific and that bad things happen to good people, that sometimes there are no easy answers and that even heroes are flawed. I respect that Collins didn't want to glorify war and wanted a realistic ending. But I finished this book and the only thing I kept wondering was what the hell the point of it all was.
The rebels showed every indication that they would be as bad as the Capitol, almost every character who showed the slightest goodness was killed, and our heroes ended up not so much 'living' as 'existing'.
The overall message I took out of it was, "Life sucks, and will continue sucking no matter what, so why bother trying to change things? Possibly it will make things better for the next generation, but more likely, their lives will suck too, just in a different way."
I didn't want a 'happily ever after' ending, but this was just a little bit too hopeless for me. I didn't get the feeling Panem would end up like post-Revolution America or France - it seemed more likely it would be more headed down the path of Congo or Uganda, or that the whole place would eventually be blown sky high by some officials in 13 who were unhappy that things didn't work out as planned. I guess the epilogue was supposed to reassure us that things did get better, but I honestly thought it was kind of weak.
I enjoyed reading the book and think it's very thought-provoking & honest, but ultimately, I wish it had a little more faith in humanity. ...more
It’s the summer of 1970. Jonah’s older brother’s fighting in Vietnam, his dad’s in jail, and his mom has left town with her newest boyfriend, abandoniIt’s the summer of 1970. Jonah’s older brother’s fighting in Vietnam, his dad’s in jail, and his mom has left town with her newest boyfriend, abandoning Jonah and his younger brother Simon.
Jonah knows they won’t be able to survive for long in their trailer without money, food, or electricity, so he decides to take Simon and head out west. On a deserted stretch of highway, they hitch a ride with Mitch and Lilly, two mysterious strangers with a dangerous secret…
As they get farther from home and things start getting crazy, only one question remains: Will Jonah and Simon be able to survive this road trip from hell?
It's a little clunky and slow, but the author puts across a good sense of creeping dread which leads up to a suspenseful climax. Good for older teen guys who like Vietnam-era stuff and possibly horror....more
The Palestinian stories are fascinating, but I wish Sacco wouldn't insert himself into the story so much, because he's so incredibly unlikable. I assuThe Palestinian stories are fascinating, but I wish Sacco wouldn't insert himself into the story so much, because he's so incredibly unlikable. I assume he shows himself this way on purpose to make a point about journalism and desensitization and profiting off others' misery, the same way his art often seems exaggeratedly ugly and unglamorous, but seriously, I got it the first time. I didn't need every third page to feature him making a snide comment and being an asshole.
To be honest, as interesting as I found the material, I had a hard time making it all the way through because he was such an obnoxious narrator. I thought it was a good book, but I didn't really like it. ...more
This would be good for reluctant readers, especially teen guys. The plot is simplistic and straightforward - amnesiac soldier tries to recreate what hThis would be good for reluctant readers, especially teen guys. The plot is simplistic and straightforward - amnesiac soldier tries to recreate what happened on the day he was injured - but there's plenty of suspense as he tries to figure out who the 'bad guy' was only to find ever more ambiguous answers.
Unlike Walter Dean Myers' Sunrise Over Fallujah, this book didn't shy away from realistic dialogue; there are f-bombs throughout and the soldiers are constantly cracking homophobic and sexist jokes. The descriptions of military life, skirmishes, and the Iraqi people all seemed very believable.
At less than 200 pages, this book doesn't have a chance to take a very deep look at war, but it's a good starting point for an exploration of ethics and morality in combat....more
I imagine that the pitch session for this must've gone something like, "Ok, so there's a war that is causing disaster all across England! And our heroI imagine that the pitch session for this must've gone something like, "Ok, so there's a war that is causing disaster all across England! And our heroine is a NYC girl who's been sent to a English farm! Oh, and she has an eating disorder! And she's in love with her cousin! Oh and did I mention that they're all psychic?!". And when the pitch finished, everyone just sat there with comical "WTF?" expressions on their faces.
It's a good read, but I think the author tries to cram too many things into the story. I could have done without the incest. And the ESP. But to her credit, the author managed to write the story in such a way that those things didn't seem too ridiculous, and the plot definitely kept me reading all the way until the end....more
It seems like Myers was very careful to make sure that Sunrise Over Fallujah would be 'school safe'. While this is an admirable goal, he does it at thIt seems like Myers was very careful to make sure that Sunrise Over Fallujah would be 'school safe'. While this is an admirable goal, he does it at the expense of realistic dialogue. Call me cynical, but I sincerely doubt that only expletive that an 18 year old in the middle of the Iraq war would use is "crap".
The story is told through the eyes of Robin "Birdie" Perry, a Harlem youth who braved his father's wrath and enlisted instead of going to college. Unfortunately, his narration is vague at best, and you may find yourself rereading passages to try to figure out what just happened. (The huge cast of random characters and incredibly stylized dialogue don't help either...)
Those problems aside, the plot is engaging and unique. Instead of focusing on the Marines who are doing the actual fighting, the story follows a Civil Affairs unit, soldiers whose job is to build bridges between the Iraqi people and the Americans who are ostensibly liberating them. Sadly, in a war zone, even those who are there to build peace can't escape the violence.
Sunrise Over Fallujah tells an important story about how hard it can be to tell who the "bad guys" are in modern warfare, but I wonder if any teens will be engaged enough to listen. ...more