Posts Tagged 'war'

Divided We Fall by Trent Reedy

divided we fall

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  374

Iowa High School Award Winner 2015-16

RAC:  Yes

Daniel Wright enlisted in the Idaho National Guard as soon as he was eligible, which means he is still a senior in high school.  He lives with his very needy mother, plays football, and has a girlfriend.  The national guard is only supposed to be one weekend a month until he graduates from high school, but then a law is passed that many people do not agree with including the governor of Idaho.  When he refuses to comply with the law he calls in the national guard to combat any possible rioters and Daniel Wright is one of those soldiers called in to defend the capital.  Unfortunately, his gun accidentally fires and it begins a terrible riot that results in some civilian casualties.  In the aftermath, the President of the U.S. demands the governor of Idaho reveal the names and whereabouts of all involved soldiers so they can face possible criminal charges.  The governor refuses and Idaho faces the very real possibility that they could go to war with the United States of America.  Can Daniel fight other U.S. soldiers?  Will Daniel go to jail if he is caught by the U.S. military?  Will his liberal girlfriend understand the circumstances that led him to this point?

This exciting adventure story shows how plausible it really is that a state could go to war with the U.S.  All of the characters are written in a way that you can understand their motivations, feelings, and actions.  There’s a lot of soldier terminology used to describe Daniel and his squad’s orders, but it is explained well for readers who do not normally read about soldiers.  The story is very exciting as Daniel is thwarted at every move and the ending will definitely leave readers wanting more.  Strongly recommended for high school boys.

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The Selection by Kiera Cass

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Genre:  Realistic fiction/Futuristic fiction

# of pages:  327

RAC:  Yes

America Singer is a 5 on a caste system where 1 is the royal family, 2s and 3s are the wealthy and powerful, and 5s are the artists of the world.  She is secretly meeting with Aspen, the neighbor boy who is  a 6.  Girls almost never marry below their station because they then become that station.  One day the palace announces that Prince Maxon is ready to marry and begins The Selection.  Any girl between the ages of 16 and 20 in any province can fill out an application to be entered into a random drawing for The Testing.  One girl from each of the 35 provinces will be chosen to move to the palace in order to be considered as the country’s next princess.  America does not want to do this because she plans to marry Aspen, but when she tells him that her mother is pressuring her he encourages it so that he will never feel responsible for her missing out on something great.  To everyone’s shock, America is chosen and must move to the palace.  Does she try to become a princess where she might be able to make some real changes that could benefit people lower on the caste?  Does she refuse to go and announce she is marrying Aspen?

This book crosses The Hunger Games with The Bachelor.  America is a fun, modern girl with goals and aspirations that have nothing to do with her two suitors, but they are fun as well.  There is a lot of political turmoil that she is not expecting and the relationship she begins with Maxon is very different from anyone else’s.  The cast of characters is very intriguing and vibrant and despite the number you really do get to know several of these girls as people.  As part of a trilogy, the story holds up well through to the end and America never compromises herself for a man or a crown.  Recommended.

Kipling’s Choice by Geert Spillebeen

Genre:  Historical fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  150

RAC:  Yes

Award Winner:  Iowa Teen Award 2009-2010

This fiction story is based on the true events of the famous Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling’s son, John.  Rudyard had always wanted to serve his country in the armed forces and was disqualified due to physical limitations.  From a young age, he groomed John to want to be a soldier as well, but John had weak eyes.  Rudyard used all of his influence to get John into the army as an officer, which John appreciated.  When John goes to his first battle, however, he realizes that it is a little different than he imagined and he wishes he could just go home and play the rich son again.

The format of the story is interesting because it flashes from John in his first battle back to all the memories of him growing up.  As a child John loved to play with the expensive toys his father gave him, but he often played recklessly and Rudyard encouraged it as typical boy behavior.  In the flashbacks it becomes apparent how important it was to Rudyard for his son to fight for his country like he couldn’t.  He fails to see the possible dangers and never truly believes anything could possibly happen to his son.  Although this story is very interesting, it will be difficult to get young adults to read it.  Many young adults do not like to read historical fiction type topics, but students who like reading about war will enjoy this title.

Tamar by Mal Peet

Genre: Historical Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 420 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Tamar is the spy name of a man who parachuted into occupied Holland during WWII for the Allies. He asks his son to name his daughter Tamar, but reveals very little about the time he spent as a spy. Years later his fifteen year old granddaughter, Tamar, finds a box full of information and clues left behind by her grandfather before he died. As she pieces together his mysterious past she is shocked to find out the truth about his actions during that difficult war time. She also begins to understand why her own father mysteriously left her when she was very young.

This Carnegie Medal winner uses different time periods to reveal this story. There are flashbacks to the war and what Tamar and his pal, Dart, are sent to do in Holland. It also shows Tamar’s granddaughter in present day trying to put the pieces together in order to discover who her grandfather truly was. The ending is a bit predictable, but interesting nonetheless. Students who like historical fiction may enjoy this, but it is a bit slow moving at times and takes longer than necessary to reach its conclusion.

Blood Red Horse by K.M. Grant

Genre: Historical Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 277 p.

RAC Book: yes

Iowa Teen Award 2008

In the year 1185, when the book begins, in England there are two brothers and a little girl who all live together in a castle. The two brothers, Will and Gavin, quarrel a lot as Gavin always tries to belittle Will in front of others. Ellie lost her parents at a young age and came to live with them until she is old enough to marry. She and Will get along really well, even though it is understood that someday she will marry Gavin. When Will gets old enough he is sent to go pick out a big war horse, but he finds a red horse that he falls in love with. Even though everyone makes fun of him he works tirelessly to groom and train the red horse, Hosanna, until everyone becomes enchanted with him.

When Will and Gavin are summonsed with their father to go to the king in order to fight in the Crusades, they leave Ellie and a few others in charge of the castle. The war is much more difficult than either of the boys could have imagined and the tension between them is often fierce. Both begin to wonder if they will ever return home. Hosanna manages to keep Will hopeful in times of great sadness. Meanwhile, Ellie is having problems of her own back home.

The first in this trilogy moves at a leisurely pace despite the many things that happen in it. The brothers change and grow a lot on their journey and become very different men than they had previously planned on becoming. The war is also told from the eyes of the Muslims, which provides an interesting way to humanize the other side. The author makes it very clear what the motives for both sides are and why it is near impossible for either side to give up. Hosanna is the tie between everyone in the story. The red horse seems to inspire great things and loyalty where there previously was no hope. A good story for those who like reading about war and life during this time period.


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