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Author: Wiles, Deborah
Molly journeys with her cousin Norman across the country to find her brother who is avoiding the draft.
Sixties Trilogy, Book 3
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.90
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 504326
Kirkus Reviews (+) (08/01/19)
School Library Journal (10/01/19)
Booklist (+) (09/01/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/11/19)
The Hornbook (00/09/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2019 *Starred Review* It’s July 2, 1969, a year since 14-year-old Molly’s beloved older brother Barry—following an altercation with his father over the Vietnam War—left their South Carolina home without a word. Now an official draft notice has arrived for him, and Molly is sent with her 17-year-old cousin, Norman, to find Barry and bring him home. So off the two go in Norman’s old school bus on a quixotic quest to locate the missing Barry. Along the way, they have many adventures, a number involving music, about which Wiles writes beautifully and knowledgeably, for Norman is a drummer with hopes of starting a band. To his delight, they visit recording studios and meet the likes of Duane Allman and (gasp!) Elvis Presley. They pick up a stray dog and their share of human strays as well, including a young ex-soldier who appears to be suffering from PTSD. Their travels vividly paint a portrait of a country divided by war and knit together by music. Wiles, in this third volume of her Sixties Trilogy (Countdown, 2010; Revolution, 2014), intersperses the narrative with portfolios of contextual period photos, headlines, quotations, and more. The result is a brilliant exercise in verisimilitude. It’s all complicated, of course, but the novel is wonderfully true to the reality and spirit of the time. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2019 Gr 5–8—This third volume of Wiles's "Sixties Trilogy" evokes the conflicts, chaos, and deep emotions occurring in 1969 during the United States' controversial involvement in the Vietnam War. A fictional story follows Molly, 14, and Norman, 17, two cousins driving across the country in a school bus from Charleston, SC, to San Francisco to bring back Molly's brother Barry, who ran away to escape the draft. A wide-ranging collection of primary source documents—photographs, quotes, newspaper articles—help readers understand the historical context with its complex voices. The result is a "documentary novel" of great impact. Over time, Molly and Norman grow as they encounter people with different experiences and viewpoints—an army deserter, an interracial couple, a gay couple who are war veterans—and integrate these experiences into their worldview. They see black people and white people eating together, come across people living in a commune, and meet a variety of people from the music world. Molly learns to think more deeply about racial relations. Norman develops greater self-confidence and the ability to judge character. Their bond deepens as they mature. Music pervades the narrative, mirroring how it (according to the author's note) "saturated, permeated, buoyed, and informed Everything." VERDICT This is a book that takes root in readers' mind and stays there. A gripping read with a satisfying conclusion.—Myra Zarnowski, City University of New York - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.