Noah Garrett is only 15-years-old when both of his parents die in the smallpox epidemic of 1944. There are no relatives in the small Texas town where he lives and no one can afford to take in the teen after his parents’ death. His only option is to go live with his uncle at Camp Hale, a U.S. military base in the high mountains of Colorado. World War II is raging in Europe and Noah has been raised by his parents to be a pacifist. He has no interest in fighting or the military or living with an uncle he’s never met. Noah must pretend to be a young recruit for the obscure skiing soldiers called Phantoms – and must follow this strict military life in the harsh, freezing temperatures and barren living quarters. When the lies he and his uncle have told catch up to them, Noah must face the horror of being sent to Germany to fight on the front lines. Based on true accounts of the elite skiing unit that fought in the Alps during WWII, Kathleen Duble has brought a little-known chapter of U.S. Military history to life and readers are treated to some of the historic details in the author’s notes.
Recommended by Susan Grigsby, Teacher-Librarian, Georgia, USA