Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2014 Gr 5–8—Ten-year-old Wesley and fourteen-year-old Charles Bishop evacuate London during the Blitz, trading bombs bursting in air for the perils of fitting in at a new school in rural Virginia. While Charles makes friends easily, Wesley struggles to find a place in their foster family, the Ratcliffs. It isn't until he meets Freddy, an African American boy living with his grandparents while his father builds ships for the war effort, that the true plot really takes off. Elliott uses the backdrop of World War II and the horrors of Hitler's plans to illuminate an entirely different picture of the racial divide in the United States. At every turn in this well-plotted novel, readers see an example of prejudice and preconceptions coming from white American characters. The author's attention to detail is evident, as the facts of World War II come through clearly in each chapter, just as they did in Under a War Torn Sky (Hyperion, 2001). This historical novel would be a perfect fit for any collection seeking to engage readers in conversations around race, culture, and equality in America.—Pete Smith, Pioneer Valley Performing Arts CPS, South Hadley, MA - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/15/2014 This follow-up to Under a War-Torn Sky (2001) picks up the story of British brothers Charles, 14, and Wesley, 10, as they learn to live as Yanks in Virginia following their escape from the firebombings and U-boat disasters of the UK. As the battle in Europe continues to rage, Charles struggles to understand American culture while looking out for Wesley, whose usually cheery nature is punctuated with traumatic memories. The book feels like it could have been written 50 years ago—and that’s not a bad thing—as Elliott leads us through a series of misadventures and straight-up adventures as the boys go hunting, hold a haunted house, contribute to the war effort, and even conduct a few acts of outright heroism. Serious issues of intolerance (religious freedom in Europe, racism in America, cruelty to German POWs) permeate the story without overwhelming it, making this a breezy and enlightening read. The occasional letters from the brothers to their father overseas are a nice touch, portraying an accurate kid’s-eye-view of a terrible time in history. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.