In an engaging and realistic piece of historical fiction, David A. Adler spins the tale of Tommy, a 13-year-old boy living in New York City on the brink of World War II. Tommy, like most of his classmates, would much rather worry about baseball scores, neighborhood stickball games, and his crush on pretty Beth than fuss about the fighting happening all the way across the ocean. Unfortunately, the war is all that Beth wants to talk about these days, despite Tommy’s protests that he doesn’t want to hear about it. After all, he’s convinced that he has more important things to fill his head with, not the least of which is his mother’s rapidly deteriorating health. How could battles in Europe possibly be more important than the things happening on his own doorstep? As the story progresses, of course, the war begins to affect Americans more and more, and Tommy begins to see its influences at work: a friend’s brother is enlisting in the Navy, Winston Churchill is giving passionate speeches on the radio urging America to join the fight, and a Jewish classmate worries desperately about family who is trapped in Nazi-occupied Vienna. The war soon becomes an unavoidable topic, and one that he himself becomes interested in after all. Tommy’s coming of age story is subtle and informative, and readers will enjoy cheering on Tommy’s blossoming relationship with Beth and learning more about the World War II homefront from his point of view. 224 pages.
Recommended by Molly Crumbley, Librarian.