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A boy no more
Book
2004
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

Gr. 7-9. This sequel to Mazer's A Boy at War (2002) picks up after Adam, his mother, and his little sister have left Honolulu and moved to Bakersfield, California. Still under the shadow of his father's death at Pearl Harbor, Adam struggles to get his bearings. When his Japanese American friend, Davi, writes from Hawaii to ask Adam to find his father, whom the authorities have taken to California, Adam begins a quest that takes him to an internment camp. Written in first person, the novel chronicles the emotional confusion Adam feels as he looks for the right path and his satisfaction when he finds it. Although reading the previous book is not necessary, the scene in which Adam first sees Davi's father again as well as the many mentions of Adam's father will resonate more powerfully for readers familiar with it. The book ends with a time line of the Pacific war in 1942, a discussion of the home front, and quotes from documents related to the Japanese internment. A satisfying coming-of-age story in a well-documented historical setting. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2004 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

In wartime, should a person help a friend whose parents are immigrants from an enemy nation? That's the dilemma Adam Pelko has to deal with when he gets a letter from his Japanese-American friend Davi Mori. Adam watched his father's ship go down during the bombing of Pearl Harbor and now lives in California with his mother and sister. The letter asks the still grieving Adam, who is struggling to cope with a new school, additional family responsibilities, and a tough part-time job, to deliver a note to a relative whom Davi hopes can find his father, confined in a California internment camp. In this initially bracing, though ultimately unpersuasive, sequel to A Boy at War (2001), Adam surmounts numerous obstacles, including the opposition of his mother to help his friend. But under the weight of his family, work, school, and a tentative romance with a slightly older girl, the core and newly resonant issue of knowing when and if loyalty to friend and country contradict, loses its focus and urgency. (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
"What about what they did to my father'...The Japs killed him!"...I shouldn't have said "Jap," but [Davi] knew I didn't mean him. It was the country where his parents were born. If his parents hadn't come to Hawaii, Davi would have been born there too. I lay there looking up into the dark, thinking, yes, it could have been him on one of those planes.After witnessing theUSS Arizonasink in Pearl Harbor -- with his father aboard -- fifteen-year-old Adam Pelko, along with his mother and young sister, moves from Hawaii to California. Without his dad, facing a new school and new surroundings is hard enough, but then Adam's best friend, Davi Mori, writes from Hawaii asking for help in finding his father. Davi and his family are Japanese American, and his father has been arrested and is imprisoned somewhere in the United States.What is Adam to do? Can he risk traveling to Manzanar, a Japanese internment camp, and asking questions? At a time when the nation is threatened and all foreigners are viewed with suspicion, who can Adam trust?In this riveting follow-up to his acclaimed bookA Boy at War,Harry Mazer explores questions of friendship and loyalty against the backdrop of World War II, a time when boys had to grow up fast.
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