|Beautiful blue world|
Author: LaFleur, Suzanne M.
Sofarende is at war and the army is paying families well to recruit children, so if twelve-year-old Mathilde or her best friend Megs is chosen, they hope to help their families but fear they will be separated forever.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.00
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 184405
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.20
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 68741
School Library Journal (+) (07/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (09/16)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 07/01/2016 Gr 5–8—The country of Sofarende is at war. Mathilde and Megs, both 12, are best friends. When the military begins recruiting children for the war effort, their school holds an examination for students ages 12 to 14. Those who pass the test will be sent somewhere to help with the war effort. In exchange, their families will receive a large sum of money as well as monthly payments. Megs wants to do it for the sake of her family and also to assuage her sadness over the absence of her father, who has gone away to fight. Mathilde doesn't want to sign up to take the test, but her parents believe it would be best for her future. To Mathilde's astonishment, she is the only student selected. She soon leaves behind Megs, her parents, and her two little sisters. She arrives at a remote location where about 80 children are housed in an old mansion, along with soldiers and other adults. At first, Mathilde doesn't understand what the children are doing. They seem to be playing strategy games. After a few days, she realizes that they are tracking the progress of the war, monitoring transmissions, and producing intelligence used to stop the progress of the enemy. Mathilde is given another job, though. She is sent to talk to Rainer, a prisoner of war, with whom she soon develops a close relationship. Writing in the first person, LaFleur crafts a protagonist who is compassionate and resourceful, in a war-ravaged world in which children are, by turns, exploited and empowered. The tension is high and danger ever present. Though this book ends on a tense cliff-hanger, a sequel is planned. VERDICT Dark, complex, and highly discussable, this novel would be a strong pairing with Sara Pennypacker's Pax, another work that contemplates war and its effects.—Kathy Kirchoefer, Henderson County Public Library, NC - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2016 For twelve-year old Mathilde, her country of Sofarende’s war with neighboring Tyssia means rations and nightly air raids; at least she has Megs, her lifelong best friend, to huddle with in the bunker. Then a government recruitment program seeks out the best minds among Sofarende’s youth, promising to not only house and feed participants but also send money to their families regularly. Certain that high-achieving Megs will win a coveted spot, Mathilde is baffled to learn instead of her own selection to the program. She soon finds herself in a remote military outpost disguised as a school, where children break codes, anticipate Tyssia’s maneuvers, and advise as tacticians, and where she is tasked with speaking with a prisoner of war housed in the school. As she learns strength and independence, she also learns the value of her interpersonal abilities in this poignant and inspiring examination of resilience and respectful celebration of soft skills. The Scandinavian-eque setting provides an atmospheric but unobtrusive backdrop to Mathilde’s external and internal journeys; indeed, lack of elaborate description of the fictional Sofarende and Tyssia allows the reader to see the ambiguities and complexities of war and its effect on all involved. Though Mathilde makes much of her relationship with Megs, this book is really about her own self-discovery and inner resources-a gentle read, despite the wartime backdrop, for kids wanting a touch of adventure in their stories of friendship and personal growth. AA - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 07/01/2016 When 12-year-old Mathilde Joss agrees to take the “adolescent army aptitude test” alongside best friend Megs and a classroom full of fellow preteens, she’s certain she won’t pass. Three days later, Mathilde is selected to serve in the secretive adolescent division of Sofarende’s army, transported from her war-torn hometown Lykkelig to Faetre, a manor secluded in the country’s northwest mountains. While her peers work to detect patterns and decipher codes, Mathilde alone is presented with a startlingly separate assignment: daily discussions with Rainer, a Tyssian POW. Through harrowing chats, tormented paintings, and, sometimes, solemn silences, the ever-earnest Mathilde works to unravel decisive remnants of Rainer’s past and present, from his favorite color to his deepest regret. The foreign yet familiar fictional landscape, a blend of quasi-European dialects and U.S. ideals—“we had voted to become one country”—is eerily accessible, and Mathilde’s narration, fraught with fear, empathy, and wonder, makes for a timely look at wartime horrors and hopes. Readers still reeling from the final cliff-hanger will eagerly await the sequel. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.