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This Means War!
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This Means War!

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  171 ratings  ·  50 reviews
October 1962. Juliet Klostermeyer's world is turning upside down. All she hears from her parents and teachers and on the news is the Russian threat and the Cuban Missile Crisis. And things aren't much better at home. Her best friend, Lowell, doesn't seem interested in being her friend anymore--he'd rather hang out with the new boys instead. When Patsy moves in, things are ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 20th 2010 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
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I've been a little disappointed with Wittlinger lately. Over a year ago, I read and enjoyed Parrotfish, but since then, I read Sandpiper and The Long Night of Leo and Bree, neither of which I enjoyed. I was beginning to worried that I wouldn't consistently enjoy Wittlinger's books, that Parrotfish was the only good book she'd written. Thankfully, that doesn't seem to be the case. This, Wittlinger's middle grade, historical fiction book, wasn't quite as good as Parrotfish, but still strong and ...more
May 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
In Ellen Wittlinger's new middle grade novel THIS MEANS WAR, Juliet Klostermeyer is a typical bike-riding, roller skating, candy-bar-eating kind of kid, navigating the changes that always come with growing up. Her parents argue, her older sister keeps kicking her out of their shared bedroom to listen to music and talk about boys with her friend, and Juliet's best guy friend is hanging out with new neighborhood boys instead of her. Typical kid stuff.

But the year is 1962. The Cuban Missile Crisis
May 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-the-kids
In This Means War!, Wittlinger really connected with her setting and time period. Everything that happened to the characters and all the things they worried about seemed to arise naturally from the comic books, news casts, and town gossip that swirled around them.

The story is set during the Cuban Missile Crisis, in a small town near an Air Force Base. The main character, Juliet, lives above her family's grocery store, which is threatened by the arrival of a local supermarket. But Juliet's
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a sweet book! This Means War was a short read - but certainly not light, as it seems in the beginning of the book. At first, I was just kind of like "This book is good... BUT IT'S NOT GOING ANYWHERE!" And it totally went somewhere. Why do I doubt?

- Emily @
Dec 04, 2015 added it
Title: This Means War!

Author: Ellen Wittlinger

Genre: Historical Fiction

Theme(s): Gender Stereotypes, Boy-Girl Relationships

Opening line/sentence: “Juliet had hardly spoken to Lowell in weeks, or maybe he was the one who hadn’t spoken to her.”

Brief Book Summary: This book is set during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. The protagonist is Juliet, who is a very active girl, which is seen to be tomboy-ish. She grew up with her best friend, Lowell, who is a boy her age. He begins to hang
Mar 25, 2018 rated it liked it
The book was okay. The main ideas of the book was girls can do things just as good as guys. My favorite part was the last challenge. The last one tied everything together,they realized that girls are as good as boys and it doesn’t matter if you are a girl or boy you can still be friends no matter what. The only thing was that it was a little boring, some parts could be shorter.
Memory Toast
Oct 09, 2016 rated it liked it
2.5 stars.

This book hit on a lot of personal dislikes. I dislike when characters lie (especially to their parents), when parents act irresponsibly, when children engage in danergous acts for no particular reason, when characters are somewhat nasty throughout the whole book and never really learn to change.

The upsides of this book were that the setting (a small town near an air-base in Illinois during the Cold-War) was realisitic, the characters acted fairly consistently, and as a reader I
John Parker
Aug 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
The threat of war often evokes a wide range of emotions, but fear is always at the top of the list for children as well as adults. Perhaps it is the uncertainty that causes fear more than the actual circumstances? Ellen Wittlinger provides a thorough examination of the topic during October 1962 when the threat of war was imminent.

This Means War tells the story through a group of children whose conflict between boy and girls challenged their own alliances and allowed them to see how the resolve
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
A war is in progress. No one knows what will happen, and in this war comes another challenge. It's the face off between the two genders, girls vs. boys. It all started when Juliet decided to hang out with her best friend Lowell. He lived across the street, so she decided to go and see if they could hang out. She was surprised when she got there because Lowell didn't even look at her. He was too busy playing with his friends so Juliet decided to forget about him and she walked around the block. ...more
May 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Destinee Sutton
It's 1962. The Cuban Missile Crisis is looming and 5th grader Juliet has just lost her beloved grandpa. On top of that, her best friend dumped her just because she's a girl. Left alone, Juliet befriends a new girl named Patsy who decides they should hold a contest to prove that girls are just as good as boys.

This is not an upbeat book. You'd think that the competition between boys and girls would at least be a little fun, but it's mostly not thanks to the older bully, Bruce, bossing everyone
Fifth-graders Juliet and Lowell have been best friends for years--but suddenly he'd rather hang out with the guys and pretend Juliet doesn't exist. Juliet is in the market for a new friend, and she finds one in Patsy: brave, strong, wonderful Patsy, who won't accept being considered less able than the boys. Patsy riles both the girls and the boys into a competition to prove which sex is better: 9 tests, boys v. girls, best five wins. Running races, climbing trees, and other tasks prove not only ...more
Feb 20, 2013 rated it liked it
This Means War takes us into a girls vs. boys neighborhood battle of former best friends challenging each other with double-dog-dare-like contests to see which gender comes out on top. Set against the cultural backdrop of the Cold War and Cuban missile crisis, the kids soon see how easy it is to escalate conflict to dangerous levels. Sometimes, Juliet feels torn between her loyalty to her new girl friends and long-standing best friend Lowell who doesn't seem to want to be her friend anymore. ...more
Sandra Stiles
Juliet has been friends with Lowell for years. Now things seem to be changing. He seems to have drawn a line that says boys can do things girls can't and they can do them better. Juliet is hurt because they never seemed to have that problem before. Then she meets the new air force brat, Patsy. Patsy befriends her and together they have their own adventure until Juliet and the girls are told to get lost. Patsy lets the boys know that girls can do anything they can do only better. Led by the town ...more
In the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Juliet is not only worried about a bomb dropping on her at any moment and facing her mortality; she's also reeling from rejection by her former best friend, Lowell. Lowell has started hanging out with boys, and doesn't want to be around her anymore. Juliet makes friends with the new girl in town, who's tom-boyish, outspoken, and maybe a liar. Things come to a head when the neighborhood bully decides it's time for a war of his own: boys vs. girls. ...more
Margo Tanenbaum
Aug 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Like Countdown, this is set in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Juliet is worried about the Russians and nuclear war, worried that her parents will lose their neighborhood grocery store because of all the supermarkets going in, and worried about losing her best friend Lowell, who suddenly doesn't want to hang out with a girl anymore. When a new girl, Patsy, moves into the neighborhood, Juliet has a new friend, but when Patsy starts a contest to see whether girls or boys are better, ...more
Set during the Cold War of 1962, fifth grader Juliet Klostermeyer is scared about a lot of things...her parents losing their grocery store business, nuclear missiles attacking America, and losing her best friend. When a new girl, Patsy, moves in down the road, she seems like the answer to all of Juliet's problems. Patsy is brave and courageous, but when she involves Juliet in an all-out war of bravery against the neighborhood boys, Juliet has to decide what bravery really means.
The book deals
Oct 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a great example of children's literature that isn't fantasy. The story follows Juliet (a 5th grader) struggle with friends, what boys and girls can do, and the concept of bravery. The backdrop of the story is October 1962 and the Cuban Missle Crisis. I felt the author did a good job of incorporating that, so parallels and discussion of fear could be present. I have always felt that Ellen Wittlinger has a great ear for dialogue of her young characters, this is no exception. I can easily ...more
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A meaty book for middle grades. I would definitely recommend to any parent. A great read aloud. Set in the Cold War period, the themes are authentic and appropriate for that age--- learning that sometimes people put up tough exteriors to mask deeper uncertainties about themselves; living as a child in an uncertain time in history; chasm that develops between boys and girls in these middle years-- the pain of young friendship lost solely because of gender differences; the reality that we are not ...more
Jun 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended for gr. 5-8. This story is set in 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Fifth-grader Juliet is worried not only about the news and announcements from President Kennedy, but also about her best friend's indifference to her. She has made a new friend, Patsy, who gets them involved in a boys vs. girls challenge. The challenge escalates as the international crisis escalates. Readers may draw conclusions about how wars start sometimes over nothing just because people can't back down from ...more
May 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kidsandteenbooks
I love reading kids book that take place during my growing up years. While this one is earlier than my growing up years, it was still insightful to see how kid's handled very scary things like the Cuban Missile Crisis and bomb shelters along with daily bomb practices.

Best Friends--Juliet and Lowell--find themselves on the opposite side of a gender war in their neighborhood with bigger and bigger stakes.

This Means War
Jun 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Julia is dealing with a lot of changes (supermarkets threaten the family grocery store business, grandfather has passed away, grandmother lives in a nursing home, many kids are moving to town due to the local Air Force Base, her former best friend now hangs out only with other boys, etc.). Set in October 1962, the adults are present but distracted by the Cuban missile crisis. The kids are struggling to understand the politics while juggling a girls-can-do- anything-boys-can-do contest.
J and I
Jan 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
During the Cuban missile crisis, a 5th grade girl loses her best friend, a boy, to two new boys whose father arrives to work at the local airbase. She meets new girls and a boys vs girls contest begins to turn into a war as the adults are more concerned about the future of the world than about the kids' war games. The story is entertaining and young readers will learn about the frightening crisis.
1/28/11-The library called this one back for the second time...back to the 'to read' list.

6/28/11-Once I really got into this book I could not put it down. I have never read any books set during the Cuban Missile Crisis. That made it extremely interesting. Also, the author is quite clever, setting a "war" between the boys and the girls as the main story arc, with the backdrop of impending war between Russia and the US floating throughout the story. I would definitely recommend it.
Chelsea Emery
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was a fun read that also had some great messages! The whole boys vs girls and having close friends is great for children to hear. Also it was great to see the child's point of view on the threat of war. Everyone was worried, but it really seemed to effect some of the children in the book.
Alice Qu
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2010 rated it liked it
The Reds lover in me hated the dad because he was rooting for the Cardinals, but I moved past it. This is about kids who live near an Air Force base during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The boys and girls challenge each other to more and more dangerous challenges to prove which sex is best. It's an interesting play between boys-vs-girls, and USA-vs-Russia.
Edward Sullivan
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
An engaging coming-of-age story set against the Cold War-era and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Deborah Wiles's Countdown: A Documentary Novel (Scholastic, 2010) is a superior novel with a coming-of-age story set against the same time period.
Jun 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Great take on an era that isn't given much attention these days -- The Cuban Missile Crisis. In this book it provides both theme and atmosphere to a plot unfolded between midwestern middle-school kids. Delightful.
Apr 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Girls coming of age, battling to be taken seriously, with the back-drop of the cold war and the Cuban missile crisis. An interesting read for kids, but there's a lot of they may not understand if they are reading it on their own.
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ENG 580 Spring 2014: Choice Book #4 - This Means War! 1 1 Mar 23, 2014 10:37AM  

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Ellen Wittlinger is the critically acclaimed author of 15 young adult novels including Parrotfish, Heart on My Sleeve, Love & Lies: Marisol's Story, Razzle, What's in a Name, and Hard Love (an American Library Association Michael L. Printz Honor Book, a Lambda Literary Award winner, and a Booklist Editors' Choice). She has a bachelor's degree from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, and ...more