JAMIE THINKS HER FATHER CAN DO ANYTHING....
UNTIL THE ONE TIME HE CAN DO NOTHING.
When twelve-year-old Jamie Dexter's brother joins the Army and is sent toVietnam, Jamie is plum thrilled. She can't wait to get letters from thefront lines describing the excitement of real-life combat: the sound of helicopters, the smell of gunpowder, the exhilaration of being right in thethick of it. After all, they've both dreamed of following in the footstepsof their father, the Colonel.
But TJ's first letter isn't a letter at all. It's a roll of undevelopedfilm, the first of many. What Jamie sees when she develops TJ's photographsreveals a whole new side of the war. Slowly the shine begins to fade off ofArmy life - and the Colonel. How can someone she's worshipped her entirelife be just as helpless to save her brother as she is?
From the author of the Edgar Award-winning Dovey Coe comes a novel,both timely and timeless, about the sacrifices we make for what we believeand the people we love.
Reflecting America's changing sentiments toward war, this coming-of-age novel set during the Vietnam era focuses on the internal conflicts of an Army "brat." At first, 12-year-old Jamie Dexter doesn't understand why her colonel father-a war hero who "runs the show" at a Texas Army base-disapproves of her brother's decision to enlist. But after her brother TJ leaves for Vietnam, Jamie begins to understand that there is more to fighting a war than glory and heroics. Rolls of film sent home by her brother depict gritty scenes, while the dangers become all the more real when Jamie learns that her card-playing buddy, a soldier stationed at her father's base, has lost a brother in Vietnam. Then TJ is reported missing in action. While segments of this story-particularly the climax-seem rushed, readers will get a clear sense of Jamie's growing understanding of her father's fears. Her work developing her brother's film, a skill she learns at the PX, serves as an effective metaphor for her developing awareness of violence and danger, but the symbolic significance of the moon, appearing in TJ's photographs, feels strained. Although the book lacks the fine-tuned characterizations of the author's Dovey Coe, it succeeds in credibly depicting a girl's loss of innocence. Ages 10-up. (Jan.)
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Atheneum Books for Young Readers
January 04, 2010
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