Publisher: Scholastic Press
Edition: Hardcover, 2008
It took me a while to read this one — in between, I finished quite a few other books — my opinions of the story and the telling wavered like a pendulum: sometimes I felt detached, bored and other times my heart almost stopped and I did not want to read on for fear of what was to come in the story, to the soldiers, to the “enemies.” It was at times, predictable, like the last death of the story — you did see it coming, somewhat. However, it did not diminish its impact and the manner of the soldier’s death elevated the book for me — the last letter was so real. So my final “verdict”? This book feels “real” — the mundane parts are mundane, because that is what an ordinary life is and we are seeing just an ordinary young person’s life, in an unusual setting. It is also real when things get to be so surreal that not the character, nor the reader can really absorb or interpret what’s going on. The emotion is true and raw and the manner of telling matches the character. So, all in all, an excellent book about a timely and important topic.