Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Grenade by Alan Gratz - ESSENTIAL

Grenade by Alan Gratz, 288 pages.  Scholastic, October 2018.  $17.

Language: PG (8 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG-13 (many deaths)



Hideki and his family live a poor but loving life on Okinawa in 1945.  The Japanese army has taken control, making life more difficult, but Hideki’s mother and little brother were evacuated.  Ray is a young American eager to help in the fight against Hitler, but instead finds himself on a small Japanese island.  Hideki and the other boys in his school class are handed two grenades; they are ordered to use one to kill and American and then the second to kill their self.  He is desperate to flee south to find his sister and along the way he keeps stumbling into soldiers – both American and Japanese. 

Gratz has the power to expose a narrative, extract the important and poignant parts of the story, and show the world a piece of history in a way that cuts into your heart. His historical fiction books are masterpieces of details and emotion.

Cindy, Middle School Librarian

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