Thursday, July 29, 2010

This Means War! by Ellen Wittlinger

this means war This is a great little book.  By little, I mean it’s a quick read, not that it’s little in terms of ideas, story or characters.  There comes a time in some kids’ lives when their relationships with kids of the opposite sex become not quite so easy.  Or downright hostile, in Julie’s case.  She and Lowell have been best friends forever, but now that he is friends with the new kids, twins Mike and Tommy, he treats Julie like she has cooties.  And it couldn’t happen at a worse time.  It’s 1962 and Julie is afraid that America is going to go to war with Russia over Cuba, and that Russia will fire missiles at us, which, since she lives near a big air base, puts her and her family in danger.  Some kids’ families have even built fallout shelters.  Then a new girl, Patsy, moves to the neighborhood.  At first, she helps take Julie’s mind off of things, but then Patsy gets into a battle with an older boy in the neighborhood, and suddenly Julie is dragged into a series of challenges to prove who is better –boys or girls, and it isn’t long before things get dangerous.  I’ll just warn you:  there are some serious consequences to the things the kids get involved in, but don’t let it stop you from reading the book.  You can’t help rooting for Julie to overcome her fear of how out of control the world seems to her. Review by Stacy Church

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