5 stars Historical Fiction Middle School
Jack was a hero. Jack jumped into the racing floodwaters and rescued the two girls from downing while the rest of the congregation stared as the raging waters carried the girls away. If you ask Jack though, he’ll tell you a different story as Jack doesn’t want the attention and the glory. Jack just wants to be Jack. Jack is street smart which is working out for him but the truancy officer thinks Jack needs to be book smart too so he hunts Jack down and tries to make him attend school. Jack doesn’t learn much from the books in school but he does learn about the individuals inside the building.
Danny is the book’s narrator and he attends school with Jack. Like Jack, Danny also delivers the newspapers around town while Danny’s mother keeps the newspaper running. Danny’s mother has an important job and I liked that she was honest with her son as this helps Danny. It’s June of 1943, the war is raging and segregation is occurring. Danny’s father has enlisted while Jack’s father has returned home from the war, bringing home with him parts of the war which overshadow his life. Two teen boys: they’re the same, yet they’re different.
I liked the relationship of Danny and Jack. They could be themselves and they enjoyed being around each other. They liked to have fun together and they were able to talk freely without worrying about what they were saying. When Lou showed up, they tried to include her. Danny had led a sheltered life but when his eyes were opened, we got to see his world through his eyes now.
There seems to be some mysteries popping up in the book when Jack disappears and Danny takes it upon himself to find him. Lou has a different mystery that she wants to solve. I feel that Jack’s disappearance is based on Jack’s solving his own mystery and perhaps, Jack will never find him. Will anyone solve their mystery? I liked how Danny started to take an interest in the war besides just collecting his scrap metal for school. Jack feels comfortable around Danny and talks to him about some personal issues. I loved hearing the excitement in Jack’s voice as he talked about and wondered about Jack’s disappearance.
This is such a fantastic book. A book about war, bullying, friendship, family, and love.