It is May 1940 and 16 year old Johnny Hawke is in the middle of war. He felt compelled to sign up because of his father and his oldest sister’s beau. Johnny signed up because of duty, he just wanted to do what he thought he should. War though, is not like he imagined.
Stukas and Messerschmitts fly overhead, unleashing bombs and bullets. Vehicles and buildings are twisted, crumbled, blackened wrecks. Men and animals lie dead and dying. This is as real as it gets and Johhny and the men he serves with will fight for each moment, wondering how they will survive.
This book is gritty. It is dirty, bloody and violent, everything you expect from a book about WW2. Johnny is young, innocent and idealistic. Caught up in concepts of duty and honour, he finds himself thrust into the mud and guts of war. Sgt Spears is Johnny’s commanding officer and brother-in-law, who has been charged with keeping Johnny safe by the family they share. These two men form the core of this survival story.
There is nothing nice about this military account. it is tightly and realistically told. Holland plunges us into the dirty, dark aspects of battle while never crossing a line that would put this into adult fiction. He walks the line of informative realism and appropriateness for age, well. Men die, the violence is descriptive so in this way it is not a good choice for younger readers, however for a teenager with an interest in history and war, you could do much worse than this.
Publisher: Puffin Books
Published: 02 June 2011
Format: Paperback 352 pages
Categories: Historical, War
ISBN 13: 9780141332192
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