It took me awhile to get into this book, the first fourth was only slightly interesting, but I ended up really liking it, maybe more than 3 stars, butIt took me awhile to get into this book, the first fourth was only slightly interesting, but I ended up really liking it, maybe more than 3 stars, but not quite 4. A real strength was the portrayal of Rebel/Tory relations in a much more accurate way than I'm used to seeing. So often Tories are demonized as the enemy, whereas in reality, the American Revolution was a civil war, which meant that towns and families were sometimes divided and that feelings towards the enemy were intensely complicated. Another interesting part was the author's inclusion of the prison ships that were used during the revolution. I knew nothing about them and was interested in being shown something new. Many students are not aware that the Declaration of Independence was not marking the end of the American Revolution. Those long ago dates and documents have become a jumble to them. Who can blame them really? We don’t mark Cornwallis’s surrender at Yorktown on October 19th, nor do we stop on September 3rd (so often Labor Day) and think about the Treaty of Paris. But July 4, 1776 is a date that leaps out from that mess of names and numbers and demands attention. Hughes reminds readers clearly and forcefully that 1776 was indeed a long way from the end of the war.
The book opens a year after the famous declaration as not-quite-15 year old Jake Mallery and his friends celebrate their Patriotism. They talk at length about their local hero, Benedict Arnold. (This will surely catch the attention of those who only remember Arnold’s treason). The war is far enough from them that they are full of patriotic songs and bravado. Each new chapter in the book vaults us a full year into the future. As the time passes, the war draws closer until it is upon them. The result is a book that not only follows the progress of the revolution and the attitudes of the colonists, but a coming of age novel. At 14 Jake is brash, argumentative and proud. At 19 he is a changed man. Hughes manages to share how deeply war affects him, while not making all of his personality changes due to the war. Moreover, she made me like a character that I started out actively disliking.
It was a bit slow to start, but I found myself heavily involved in the book. There are parts of great tension and of great sadness. The jumping forward a year is not nearly as jarring as I anticipated, as Hughes fills in back story through reminiscing.
Due to the content and very difficult vocabulary I would recommend this for teen readers.
There are some racially concerning Indian analogies in this text and it would benefit from their removal. For more on this, plus more detailed description of the content that makes it more appropriate for teen readers, see my full blog post at: http://bit.ly/1NCqPkL...more
I do love Jacky Faber, but sadly any book featuring as much of the incredibly dull Jaimy is just not for me. There was not nearly enough excitement inI do love Jacky Faber, but sadly any book featuring as much of the incredibly dull Jaimy is just not for me. There was not nearly enough excitement in this one, and I far prefer her more dashing beaus. Still enjoyed it and read it quickly, but not my favorite of the series. Also, while nothing too graphic transpires "on stage", the tone and extent of sexual references was more than in previous books and in a way that was not particularly enjoyable - more cringe inducing.