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A Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor (Adam Pelko, #1)
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A Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor

(Adam Pelko #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,657 ratings  ·  327 reviews
December 7, 1941: A morning like any other, but the events of this day would leave no one untouched.

For Adam, living near Honolulu, this Sunday morning is one he has been looking forward to -- fishing with friends, away from the ever-watchful eyes of his father, a navy lieutenant. Then, right before his eyes, Adam watches Japanese planes fly overhead and attack the U.S.

Paperback, 112 pages
Published November 1st 2002 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published May 1st 2001)
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3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,657 ratings  ·  327 reviews

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Nov 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: series
An intense read. At the end of every chapter, you were pushed to keep on reading. I wouldn't really call it a "page-turner" but elements of a page-turner in the sense that it gripped you to keep reading.

That being said, there is something that is keeping me from giving that extra star to call it that amazing five-star book. Here's the thing: I can't put my finger on it. It was a great book, don't get me wrong, but it just isn't up to my five-star book standards (which, not going to lie, aren't
Samuel Huelsman
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I would rate this book a 4 because it was a very good and intense read and every chapter making you want to read more. This was an easy read and very easy to understand and it was also short which i liked most of all. This book is about a kids father who is in the Navy which while Pearl Harbor is being bombed him and his friends are in the harbor and watch his dads ship sink. He is mistaken as a young sailor so he is put to work defending the Harbor from another attack by the Japanese Torpito la ...more
Julija Zivanovic
Dec 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
It was kind of boring and lacked detail.
Cody Becker
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Personal response: I really liked this book, because there was a lot of action. Plus I could relate to the characters, because I understand why they made the decisions that they did. Like when Adam was getting bullied by a kid, and then they became friends. I liked how they played some of the same sports as the rest of the United States, but used other objects for some of the games than someone that lives in other climates would use. For example, in one of the games they used a coconut. Adam tho ...more
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
“He’d read about war. He’d imagined himself in a war, but never like this. War was a fight between equals. It was clean. It was fair. The best man won. But this—what was it? There were no words that he’d ever learned, no book he’d ever read, that had prepared him for this. What was it? It was stink and blood and dying.”

A Boy at War is a historical fiction novel about the attack on Pearl Harbor told from the point of view of Adam Pelko, a boy around 14 years old. His father is a navy lieutenant o
Nathan Sanders
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading Boy at War because it had adventure and excitement. The dialog between the characters was perfect, I highly suggest read Boy at War and go on adventures with Adam and his friends.
Jesus Jimenez
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
"A Boy at War" to me was a very interesting book and was very fun to read. I would recommend it for people that like war and adventure because that is what kind of book that it is. The book is not that long and if you want a book to read on a road trip this is it. It is short but a very interesting book. I had to keep reading on and couldn't put the book down and finished it very quickly.

The book is about a young boy by the name of Adam and he is in a military family and they move from city to
Zach Strawser
Dec 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The book I read is the Boy at War by Harry Mazer,this book is about a boy naked Adam on the day of the pearl harbor attack by the Japanese. This was a important day in history not only because hundreds of American lives were lost but also because the day after the attack the United States entered World War two. This book is written from the view point of a teenager whos father is stationed at pearl harbor and is on one of the battleships. On the morning of the attack on pearl harbor Adam is out ...more
Apr 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jackie by: Zack J.
A Boy at War is a portrait of American history during those few, horrifying days before and after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Adam Pesko, a Navy brat, goes fishing off Pearl Harbor just before the bombs fall. He and his friends, Davi and Martin, are injured, confused, and terrorized. When Davi and Martin are swept away to hospitals, Adam is left to fend for himself and try to make his way back home amidst terror in war-torn streets. Every man for himself is the watchword, and Adam must ...more
Samuel Walzak
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The title of my book is called the boy at war by Harry Mazer.In the beginning of this book adam needs to move to Hawaii because his dad was relocated to pearl harbor. it was extremely hard to move to another high school because no one in Hawaii likes military kids.after a while adam is able to make to friends, Davi Mori and Martin Kahahawai. My favorite part of this book was when adam made friends with Davi because he davie helped mack adam's life a lot easier. This was my favorite part because ...more
Andrew Hartze
May 16, 2013 rated it did not like it
A Boy at War
By: Harry Mazer
Andrew Hartze

The book I read was A Boy at War, by Harry Mazer. He has two other books in this series, but this is the first. I am not a big fan of this book, or any of the ones in this series.

My favorite part was mid way into the book, because that’s when the bombs fell and that’s when it got interesting. Before and after that part was basically stuff that was boring and didn’t have to be in the book. When the bombs were falling he even got to be a soldier for a few ho
Sandra Strange
High school student, Adam, moves to Hawaii to be with his father, a naval officer on the Arizona, based at Pearl Harbor--in December 1941. Adam and his friends are out on the harbor fishing that fateful morning. Vivid descriptions of Pearl Harbor from the point of view of participants, and relationships and racial issues between Japanese American Hawaiians, native Hawaiians, and haoles like Adam lift the book from the norm. The descriptions of the battle are explicitly gory, but the book is enga ...more
Amber M
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fab-40-file
Genre: Historical Fiction
Awards: Nēnē Children's Choice Book Award
Grade Level: 5-6

I would have my students read this book while they were learning about Pearl Harbor. It will give them a first-hand perspective on what happened that day from someone maybe their own age. For a follow up activity I would ask the students these following questions: Now that you have read the story, consider the title of the book. Why do you think the author chose this title for his book? Do you think it was a good c
Apr 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
A short, compelling novel about the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. 3 new friends are fishing in a boat when the bombs and planes attack. Adam, Davi, and Martin's lives will never be the same. Adam's father's ship the USS Arizona is ripped apart by a bomb, Adam is pressed into heroics by people who think he is an sailor. I didn't like the Marine or Hawaiin vocabulary that wasn't explained.
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This story is about a boy who is growing up in a changing world in Hawaii when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. His father is a man who believes that his boy is a role model and is going to change from boy to man. I love this book Because it describes Adam's story. You are practically screaming for Adam to do what you what him to do and you feel like you are Adam because of the description. I learned that when the USS Arizona sunk so fast it killed 15 thousand people.
Diego Valenzuela
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This story is about a boy who experiences the bombing of pearl harbor and who fights the Japanese fighter planes. I liked the book so much that I would give it a five star rating. I would recommend this book to a person who likes to read novels and historical fiction.
Jared Linskens
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Adam Pelko grew up in a military family. That means that he is constantly moving from state to state and now he ends up in Hawaii right around the beginning of World War II. Adam has one sister, Bea, his mom, Marilyn, and his dad, Emory. As you can tell, Adam has a hard time making friends as he moves from school to school. For example, there is a kid that doesn't enjoy people from the main land and his name is Davi. Whenever Davi gets the chance, he punches Adam in the arm and calls him a haole ...more
Eric Davila
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I choose to read this book because it looked interesting and because of all the war going on in the world right now, which can hint some possibilities of what could be happening in the near future. I wanted to see a kid’s perspective that is about the same age as me on how he felt about the war. If our country breaks out into World War III, this book could possibly give you an idea on the viewpoint you could have on war. This book takes place in 1941 in Hawaii. In this book, you are reading abou ...more
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First of all, this is honestly the first book I liked from what I have read in the past. The reason why I liked this book so much was because it had like drama and exaggeration moments in the book. I didn’t think this book would be so interesting! The book cover said it all though. Compared to other book covers this one got my attention immediately!

Then, the audience to this book would be to people who like drama and exaggeration books. This book could also be red by young teens who like books
Alex J. Baca
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I recommend you to read this book, “A Boy at War.” This book is about an American boy named Adam who has a little sister and they live in Hawaii. His father is in the navy and they have traveled to multiple places around the world. Why? Adam’s father’s job depends on many lives. America is in war with the Japanese and the majority of the people living in Hawaii are Japanese. Japan wants to bomb America and Adam’s father tells him not to be friends with Davi because he is Japanese. Adam still do ...more
Robby R.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Boy at War by Harry Mazer is a novel of Pearl Harbor that tells the tale of this event through the perspective of a fourteen year old boy, Adam Pelko. Adam’s father is in the Navy, so, his family is always on the move and this time, the Pelko Family has be relocated to Hawaii. The book begins with Adam going to an ordinary middle school in Honolulu where he meets a Japanese boy named Davi. The two end up growing closer until Adam’s father questions Adam’s friendship just because Davi is Japanese ...more
Cameron Fick
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book A Boy at War is historical fiction and is based around the attack on pearl harbor. Adam is the main character and he was in Hawaii at the time of the attack because his dad is in the navy therefore their whole family is part of the navy. Though most of Hawaii's population is Japanese Adam still manages to make a couple of friends he hangs out with often. But one day when Adam and his friends are fishing in the harbor. Suddenly there were different Japanese planes that Adam knew of. At f ...more
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book boy at war is about a young boy named adam the age of fourteen years old he wants to be just like his dad. He is obsessed with war stuff ships, planes and guns really big guns, but right now he is having a very hard time fitting in with regular schooling systems adam is used to military schools with boys that have moved around alot just like him. Adam describes that he wants the war with japan to happen, but he dont want it to end to fast. Then when the japanese brings the fight to pear ...more
Lexie M
Oct 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Adam's dad was in the Navy. They moved to Hawaii and Adam meets a boy named Davi who is Japanese. Japan wants to start a war with America so Adams dad doesn't want Adam to be friends with Davi. Adam goes fishing with Davi in Pearl Harbor. They see Japanese planes drop bombs and they figure out that it's a war. Adam sees his dad's ship sink. After they get out of there, Adam goes home and they get a letter from the Navy saying that his dad is missing. His family moves and Adam doesn't want to lea ...more
Katja Melander
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although this book is meant for adolescents, I think it gives food for thought for adults as well. This is because of the way Mr. Mazer writes, I think. His style is simplistic so the book is a fast read for the younger readers. Nevertheless, he manages to touch all the major points that must have depicted what it was like to be a teenager during war time, for instance the rootlessness of army brats, the belief that the US army was prepared for everything as well as the horrors of the attack its ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Well I had high hopes for this book. The setup at the beginning was far too long considering the length of the book itself. Once it got going with the Pearl Harbor action it was all quite unbelievable in how the young Adam got pulled into action doing things with soldiers. I'm sorry but they would have been able to distinguish a 14 year old from a sailor/soldier.
Then it ended. Seriously hate when authors or publishers do this considering in ebook it was 99 pages for 6.99 plus tax. I'm sorry but
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a very short book but a great read for introducing what happened at Pearl Harbor and why people were so upset. There is death, and some gore, so if you have a sensitive child I'd avoid this book.

This is an historical fiction novel about a young boy, Adam, who just moved to Pearl Harbor because he dad was stationed on the Arizona. It follows Adam as he starts school, makes a friend with a Japanese American boy, and finds himself in the middle of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the afterm
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a young boy at war who had to travel lots, for his father was in the navy. Adam took charge in what seemed like the end of the world, but brought happiness to others. Although this is just a book, the story felt as if it came to life in front of my eyes because of the lively detail and tone the author went for. This was a short and easy book, but it is one that you will want to read over and over.
Margaret Nalen
Nov 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
Ugh. One of the reasons I hate Battle of the Books. I probably would've loved it as a 5th grader, but its three years too late for that. First, it was way too short. It's impossible to cram a huge event like Pearl Harbor into 100 pages, yet the author did that. Almost disrespectful to the boy and his father. "Oh, sorry, we need to end the book, can you just get over your grief right now? Thanks." Skip it.
Angie Shipp
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
Quick read for those who have little time to read. Historical fiction of life before, during, and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Reader will get a glimpse into military life from the perspective of a young man entering high school. Just as he is beginning to adjust to life on a tropical island and make friends, the was changes his life forever.
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Harry Mazer is an American author of books for children and young adults, acclaimed for his 'realistic' novels. He has written twenty-two novels, including The Solid Gold Kid, The Island Keeper, Heroes Don't Run, and Snow Bound, which was adapted as an NBC After school special, as well as one work of poetry and a few short stories.

Other books in the series

Adam Pelko (3 books)
  • A Boy No More (Adam Pelko, #2)
  • Heroes Don't Run: A Novel of the Pacific War (Adam Pelko, #3)