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Author: Hostetter, Joyce
In this coming-of-age prequel to Blue, World War II looms over the United States as fourteen-year-old Junior Bledsoe struggles with anger and identity after his father's alcohol-induced death.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 185708
Kirkus Reviews (08/15/16)
School Library Journal (07/01/16)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 07/01/2016 Gr 7 Up—A boy grappling with life-changing decisions, unlikely friendships, and what it means to be a man is at the soul of this story. Fourteen-year-old country boy Junior Bledsoe's life takes a turn for the worse when his father is found dead from drinking. The year is 1941, and news of World War II simmers in the background. Struggling to make sense of the new order of things and his place in the world, Junior yearns for respect in place of the sullied reputation his father left behind. He goes to school, labors around the farm, and does odd jobs to help pay the bills, but his cantankerous granddaddy, a newcomer to the family, doesn't recognize his worth. His father hated this man, and Junior starts to learn why. Consumed by unanswered questions surrounding his father's death, Junior begrudgingly makes friends with a boy named Catfish, and the road they take comes with trouble. But a question remains: What drove Junior's father to drink so much his last few years? The novel's historical details are so deftly intertwined with the story line that the work feels like a slice of time that has been recorded on paper. Hostetter's well-crafted turn of phrase and timely humor all add to the richness of the era. VERDICT A must-have for historical fiction collections.—Robyn Gioia, Antilles Middle School, Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 09/15/2016 A busy year begins for 14-year-old Junior Bledsoe when his pop drops dead by the side of the road from alcohol abuse, and Junior is left the man of the family, which consists of long-suffering Momma and his war-hungry grandfather. The grandfather gets his wish when Japan bombs Pearl Harbor. Junior, who more than anything longs for respect, decides to enlist in the army. He doesn’t succeed, being too young, which leaves him with a penchant for trouble and for bad decisions. For starters, he decides to drop out of school and “borrows” his teacher’s car to investigate the circumstances of his pop’s death. Eventually he’s loaned a kindly neighbor’s truck but promptly blows the engine, having forgotten to put in oil. What next? Hostetter’s prequel to her earlier novels Blue (2006) and Comfort (2009) is a quiet, episodic coming-of-age story set in the rural South. Setting remains the author’s strong suit, freshness and originality less so, but readers who enjoyed the two previous novels won’t want to miss this one. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.