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No Surrender Soldier

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  107 ratings  ·  49 reviews
A young man, an old soldier , and a terrible injustice. Should the punishment be death?

Growing up on Guam in 1972, fifteen-year-old Kiko is beset by worries: He’s never kissed a girl, and he thinks it’s possible he never will. The popular guys get all the attention, but the worst part is that Kiko has serious problems at home. His older brother is missing in Vietnam; his g
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published January 1st 2014 by Merit Press (Adams Media/ F+W Media) (first published December 2nd 2013)
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Christine Are you referring to the book description? Unfortunately, the author does not get to write the book description, called a book blurb or jacket copy.

Are you referring to the book description? Unfortunately, the author does not get to write the book description, called a book blurb or jacket copy.

I lived in Japan and, as an adult, my son lived in Okinawa. I also lived and worked in Guam. I have only love for the Japanese and Chamorro people.

The historical basis for this novel was the WWII Japanese soldier, Shoichi Yokoi, who hid on Guam for 28 years after the war ended. I did a lot of research on Yokoi, including reading Japanese journalists' news articles and Yokoi's autobiography,

I tried to make the Japanese soldier, Isamu Seto, a sympathetic character. If you pick up a copy of the book, I hope you will read the entire book and see if I succeeded. At the end of the book is an author's note that tells where I had to deviate from factual events to make the story fit in a fiction arc as a novel.

Domo arigato for your comment and question. I, too, did not like the book description. (less)

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Thinks that calling another author out for Islamaphobia/general racism is "bullying".

No thanks!
Gayle Rosengren
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. LOVED IT. It's so powerful and at the same time so beautiful. No Surrender Soldier is an exquisite example of historical fiction. From the first page we know we've entered a world the author knows intimately. The dialog is enriched with just enough local dialect to make it more realistic without distancing the reader. The story flows naturally from the culture. And the setting--especially the jungle--is like another living, breathing character possessing the same pent-up abili ...more
Lizzy Lessard
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, ya
NO SURRENDER SOLDIER is a historical fiction set in 1972 and echoes the real life story about a Japanese soldier on Guam that went into hiding instead of being captured by American soldiers at the end of World War II. Especially with the choice to use Chamorro words (language/culture native to Guam), the story feels authentic. It also addresses the racial tension post-war between the natives on the island, the Japanese who used to own it, and the American who control Guam now.

Despite it being 20
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it

It's 1972, and Kiko is a Chamorro boy on Guam living with his mother, father, and a grandfather suffering from dementia. His older brother is fighting in Vietnam. Between the Vietnam war and his Tatan's flashbacks, the whole family is remembering what happened during the Japanese occupation, secrets to Kiko (who wasn't born at the time).

The narration flips between Kiko and Seto, a Japanese soldier who hid in the jungle rather than surrender. Seto has no idea how the war ended since he hasn't int
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Kiko is just like any other teenager. He wants to hang out with his best friend, and maybe get a kiss from his crush. Unfortunately Kiko has to keep an eye on his grandfather. His grandfather has dementia. Also Kiko learns that his mother was sexually abused. Lastly, Kiko finds a soldier hiding in his back yard.

I did really enjoy this book. It had a great human aspect to it. One that will make you feel for Kiko and his family. It may be about the military but it is more about the civilians that
Victoria Coe
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wow, what a setting! And wow, what a story! I thoroughly enjoyed my first and only visit to lush, tropical Guam and being transported back in time to 1972 (M*A*S*H, The Partridge Family!). But mostly I was awed by the stories, particularly that of the No Surrender Soldier - based on a true yet unbelievable story of survival. Thank you, Christine Kohler, for expanding my world view.
May 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Christine Kohler's debut novel is a historical masterpiece in a contemporary setting. A unique take on the Vietnam War and a welcome addition to the growing list of POC main characters! ...more
Alex  Baugh
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
No long ago it was announced that the Japanese soldier Hiroo Onoda, who had hold out 29 years in the Philippine jungle, refusing to believe that WWII had ended and that Japan had lost the war, passed away at 91 years old. But Onoda wasn't the only holdout. Soichi Yokoi was stationed on Guam when the war ended, but he also refused to believe that Japan had lost the war and hid out in an dug out underground cave for 28 years. He had refused to surrender, believing he has dishonored the Emperor. He ...more
I was given an copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It was a really enjoyable to read, and I think anyone who is interested in a well-written historical novel would really enjoy this book.

NO SURRENDER SOLDIER is a historical fiction set in 1972 and is about a Japanese soldier named Seto who hid on Guam instead of being captured by American soldiers at the end of World War II. And a 15 year old named Kiko who is dealing with his life being turned inside out.

A truly enjoyable story
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
About The Book:
A young man, an old soldier , and a terrible injustice. Should the punishment be death? Growing up on Guam in 1972, fifteen-year-old Kiko is beset by worries: He’s never kissed a girl, and he thinks it’s possible he never will. The popular guys get all the attention, but the worst part is that Kiko has serious problems at home. His older brother is missing in Vietnam; his grandfather is losing it to dementia; he just learned that his mother was raped in World War II by a Japanese
YA Reads Book Reviews
Dec 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nichole
Originally posted on, reviewed by Nichole.

No Surrender Soldier is a powerful read, but I have to admit that I was pretty bored throughout the whole thing. It reads as a historical nonfiction book. I don’t know if that was the ultimate plan, but blah. I felt like I was reading an assigned book for class. I could tell that the writing itself was strong, but I just need more adventure and connection to the characters than this book offered.

I really enjoyed that the main character wa
Melody Maysonet
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
No Surrender Soldier by Christine Kohler tells the true story of Seto Yokoi , a Japanese soldier who was stationed on Guam during World War II. When Americans liberated Guam in 1944, Seto never surrendered, instead spending the next 28 years hiding in the jungle. To help tell this fascinating story, the author takes us to 1970s Guam and introduces us to Kiko, a fictional teenager, who finds Seto living in what is practically his backyard. I love the way No Surrender Solider gives us details abou ...more
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very nicely done. Two points of view: a WW2 Japanese soldier hiding in the jungle on the island of Guam, and Kiko, a young native boy whose brother has enlisted to go to Vietnam. Yes, that's right: the juxtaposition of WW2 and Vietnam. The Japanese soldier has been hiding in the jungle for almost thirty years. Japanese soldiers do not surrender wihtout shaming their families, because the emperor of Japan is divine and would never surrender. Seto can either pull the pin on a grenade and put it un ...more
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, arc
I was lucky enough to read an ARC of this fantastic debut. Kohler plunges the reader into the world of Guam, her descriptions of the beaches, "boonies," and food truly bringing the setting to life. But even better are the characters. Kiko, who narrates the book, feels absolutely authentic as a teenage boy trying to find his place in high school, his family, his religion, and his culture. I loved spending time with him, his friends, and his beloved Tatan (grandfather), who is slowly succumbing to ...more
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This remarkable little volume packs a whole treasure trove of factual information for a work of fiction. It accurately portrays the plight of the soldier, long forgotten in the hills of Guam. There is also an exquisite view into life on Guam in the early 70's. I arrived there some months after Seto had been repatriated, but remember the stories about him still circulating at the time. I especially liked the glimpses into family life of the Chamarro people. I got to know some during my time on th ...more
L. Chase
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was extraordinarily impressed with this book. The foreign setting was vivid and gorgeously rendered; the characters were three-dimensional and went through believable emotional journeys; the plot was exciting and engaging; the writing was beautiful and thoughtful. NO SURRENDER SOLDIER was very fresh, original, and intelligent. And quite different from anything I've ever read before. I kept thinking about it whenever I stepped away from the page and was always glad to dive back in.

An ambitious
Lisy V
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a very good book, it gives the Guaminian perspective from a young boy and the perspective of the Japanese soldier who has been hiding out for 28 years. It also helps you understand some of the emotions of families and the community in the aftermath of the war and how they dealt and viewed some of these situations, as well as it helps you understand the mindset and culture of the Japanese thinking during that time period, and why the Japanese soldier did what he did. The Japanese soldier ...more
Nas Dean
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
NO SURRENDER SOLDIER by author Christine Kohler is a 2014 release.

This story takes us on a journey with a young boy who finds a Japanese soldier hiding near his home in Guam. This boy had issues with the Japanese invasion. He has a grandfather on the verge of dementia and his mother was raped during the invasion. And now his elder brother was away in the army, fighting enemies and putting his life at risk daily.

How could this young boy deal with a hidden soldier now? He had plans to kill him!

Lisa Maxwell
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
No Surrender Soldier is a beautifully written tale about a boy discovering difficult secrets about his family's past and a Japanese soldier from WWII who has been living for more than 25 years in hiding, practically in the boy's backyard. The story shifts between Kiko, the teenage boy, and the soldier, weaving the two narratives into a singular story that had me riveted. ...more
Melissa Landers
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2k14
A story of forgiveness, compassion, and coming of age in the aftermath of war. I especially like the connection Kiko makes at the end regarding the Japanese soldier and his older brother, but I won't say anything more and risk spoiling you. :) ...more
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I could really feel for Kiko, having all the nuances of being a teenager, yet having to deal with adult situations. His treatment of the Japanese soldier was very sympathetic and grown up. Though sorry for the soldier, you also felt for the grandfather, both lost in the past.
What a unique story of forgiveness. I was lost in the culture of Kiko's home, and marveled at his emotional growth.

Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Love a book that informs without taking a break from good writing to let you know it is doing just that.
Amy Nichols
May 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful, unique story. Loved the exotic setting and diverse culture.
Aimée Bissonette
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was passingly familiar with the real life story of the WWII Japanese soldier who hid in the jungles of Guam for decades after the war ended. Christine Kohler obviously knew the story, too. In this book, she's done a masterful job of using the real life story as a launch pad for "No Surrender Soldier."  The story is so authentic - the detail about 1970's Marianas Islands, the speech patterns of the locals, the emphasis on family and community.  More importantly, Kohler has captured the complica ...more
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
"never again would the words in my history book be just dry, lifeless facts, but rather real things that happened to real people. People I knew."

It's 1972 and Kiko is a boy living on the island of Guam. Seto, a Japanese soldier is also living on the island, in hiding since the end of the WWII. Story is told in alternating chapters between Kiko and Seto. All Kiko wants is baseball, surfing, and to ask out the girl of his dreams. But, Kiko's life is taken up with looking after his grandfather ("Ta
Kaitlyn King
Mar 29, 2014 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Valerie Sherrard
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A compelling historical novel with characters who will capture your heart. There is so much to love about this well-researched book, which is hard to put down once you start reading. The internal struggles feel so real; and the emotions are authentic. An exceptional story that every teen should read, especially in these times.
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable book by a debut author. Christine Kohler sets her characters in an immersive contemporary landscape which is rich with description. But she is also careful to help ground the reader in the historical context right away. That a young boy finds a soldier hiding in his backyard, a soldier who had decided not to surrender after World War II.

I liked the approach. It's an intelligent book that doesn't talk down to a reader. And for those who are reluctant readers, the chapters are
Meg - A Bookish Affair
"No Surrender Soldier" is the story of Kiko, a teen who lives on the island of Guam during the 1970s. He has the same dreams, thoughts, and worries as most teenagers until his life is turned upside-down when he discovers a Japanese soldier who has been hiding since World War II, which sets off a whole course of events that will make Kiko question his family's past and whether or not revenge is ever truly worth it. Yes, it sounds far-fetched but the author actually based this story on a true case ...more
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author of NO SURRENDER SOLDIER, Jan. 18, 2014, Merit Press, Simon & Schuster. Kohler is a former journalist and teacher. She lived on Asian-Pacific Islands, such as Japan and Guam, for nearly a decade. Kohler was a political reporter and foreign correspondent for Gannett, and an editor for a Hearst daily.

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