Fiction that will loose the dogs of war

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I do try to read books that I think my male students will enjoy, so I picked both of these books with the guys in mind. I found both of these engaging and well worth my time. I also thought they worked well for readers of both genders. In honor of our many brave soldiers, I give you two military based books that piqued my interest and reminded me of all the sacrifices they made.

The Only Thing to FearThe Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from Scholastic and Net Galley in exchange for a fair review
In an alternate history, the Nazi’s won WWII and are still running things 80 years later in the USA. The protagonist wants to join the underground rebellion but her uncle forbids her to take part in the dangerous activities or to use the powers she has inherited as a result of nazi engineered genetic alterations inherited from her father. This was a great YA read for all genders. The protagonist is female but she is not girly and easy for a male reader to relate to. The plot is tightly crafted, the pacing is great, and it was full of action. I appreciated the fact that there wasn’t a dreaded love triangle or even a lot of romance — this book was about raising a rebellion and did a good job of staying focused on that. The book wasn’t perfect, but I read it straight through and enjoyed every minute. The language and situations are appropriate for the 13+ crowd, but I was engaged as an adult reader. I will add it to my classroom library and recommend it to my students.

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Walking Wounded (Vietnam, #5)Walking Wounded by Chris Lynch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from Scholastic via Net Galley in exchange for a fair review.
This is the fifth book in the series, and it is the first one I have read. I still have some questions about what precisely went down at the end of the 4th book, but I was able to read and enjoy the book as a standalone. The book begins seconds after the death of one of four young men who made a pact to stick together through The Vietnam War. It covers the fallout from that death for the remaining three men. This book reminded me of The Outsiders because the characters seem very real and are carrying very adult concerns and responsibilities on their shoulders. There is the same dismissive attitude towards the authority figures in their lives, and that, too, rings true for young adults. The book was well written and well paced. It balanced action with character development and gave a pretty clear picture of how the war damaged people differently. Underlying themes of loyalty, friendship and duty keep this from driving the reader into depression, but it is a dark chapter in history and that is clearly conveyed. The language and situations manage to present the horror of Vietnam in a way appropriate for teen readers. I have a host of high school boys who enjoy books about war, and I can’t wait to recommend this title to them. The cover looks younger than the actual content, so I don’t expect a high school reader to pick it up without encouragement, but I think they will be hooked after just a couple of chapters. I will add this to my classroom library wish list. I know our high school library carries the series, and I will start recommending it tomorrow. As an adult reader, I was very engaged, and I plan to pick up the others in the series asap. If you enjoyed Band of Brothers, Unbroken, or The Things They Carried, you will probably enjoy this book as well.

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About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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