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Grenade
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A New York Times bestseller!It's 1945, and the world is in the grip of war.Hideki lives on the island of Okinawa, near Japan. When WWII crashes onto his shores, Hideki is drafted into the Blood and...
A New York Times bestseller!It's 1945, and the world is in the grip of war.Hideki lives on the island of Okinawa, near Japan. When WWII crashes onto his shores, Hideki is drafted into the Blood and...
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  • A New York Times bestseller!
    It's 1945, and the world is in the grip of war.
    Hideki lives on the island of Okinawa, near Japan. When WWII crashes onto his shores, Hideki is drafted into the Blood and Iron Student Corps to fight for the Japanese army. He is handed a grenade and a set of instructions: Don't come back until you've killed an American soldier.
    Ray, a young American Marine, has just landed on Okinawa. He doesn't know what to expect — or if he'll make it out alive. He just knows that the enemy is everywhere.
    Hideki and Ray each fight their way across the island, surviving heart-pounding ambushes and dangerous traps. But when the two of them collide in the middle of the battle, the choices they make in that instant will change everything.
    From the acclaimed author of Refugee comes this high-octane story of how fear can tear us apart, and how hope can tie us back together.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 27, 2018
    “One grenade is for the American monsters coming to kill your family.... You are to use the other grenade to kill yourself.” These are the orders that Hideki, a 13-year-old Okinawan student conscripted by the Japanese military, receives on Apr. 1, 1945, as newly deployed Pvt. Ray Majors and 183,000 American soldiers and Marines “boarded amphibious troop carriers and headed east toward the beaches of Okinawa.” Told in alternating perspectives by Hideki and Ray, Gratz (Refugee) depicts the events and fallout of WWII’s “Love Day” while exploring the emotional and cultural damages of war. As the two young men fight across the island of Okinawa, Ray tries to understand the nuanced relationship between Okinawan civilians (called “simple, polite, law-abiding, and peaceful” in a brochure U.S. command offers) and the Japanese military. Hideki, meanwhile, grapples with his growing realization that Okinawa is a “sacrificial stone” in the grand scheme of WWII, and that the Okinawan people have been manipulated and largely abandoned by the Japanese military. War is portrayed honestly here; though gore is kept to a minimum, the finality of death and the lasting emotional consequences are starkly rendered. An opening note explains that WWII-era terminology is used in the name of historical accuracy, and an author’s note elaborates. Ages 9–12. Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary.

  • Kirkus

    August 15, 2018
    In the waning days of World War II, two young soldiers tell both sides of their fight to survive.It's 1945, and Okinawa has been forced into the middle of the war between Japan and the United States. Thirteen-year-old Okinawan Hideki has been drafted to fight in the Imperial Japanese Army. Told the Americans are "monsters," Hideki is sent off with two grenades, one to kill as many Americans as possible and one to kill himself. Meanwhile, Ray, a young, white American Marine, has landed on the beaches of Okinawa for his first battle. Only knowing what he has been taught and told, Ray is unsure of what to expect facing the Japanese army and also the Okinawan civilians--who are "simple, polite, law-abiding, and peaceable," according to an informational brochure provided by command. Switching between the two perspectives of Hideki and Ray, Gratz (Refugee, 2017, etc.) has created a story of two very harsh realities. He shows what happens to humans as the fear, violence, and death war creates take over lives and homes. The authentic telling can be graphic and violent at times, but that contributes to the creation of a very real-feeling lens into the lives changed by war. A large-type opening note informs readers that period terminology has been used for the sake of accuracy, and a closing author's note elaborates on this. Intense and fast-paced, this is a compelling, dark, yet ultimately heartening wartime story. (maps, historical note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    October 1, 2018

    Gr 5 Up-In 1945, as the U.S. army neared mainland Japan, the Imperial Japanese Army evacuated its elite troops from Okinawa and left behind a force meant to slow down the Americans in the bloodiest way possible. They recruited the native Okinawans into this army, including teens like Hideki, one of the two narrators of this gripping World War II novel. As Hideki takes his two grenades (one to kill U.S. soldiers and one to kill himself), he is fated to come across the other narrator, a young American soldier, Ray. Based on research and firsthand accounts the author heard while in Okinawa, history comes violently to life in this character-driven, fictionalized account. The battle details are accurate and the characters and the growing sense of the battle's futility are well drawn and poignant. There is some offensive contemporaneous language referring to Japanese people used within the narrative, which is explained in a note at the beginning and in greater detail in the detailed historical note at the end. While this is a chilling, realistic depiction of war, the violence is not glorified or graphically described. VERDICT An excellent World War II novel, best suited for mature readers who can handle the sensitive content and brutal realities of wartime.-Elizabeth Nicolai, Anchorage Public Library, AK

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • DOGO Books 13iamgroot - I really love the author of this book, Alan Gratz, because he writes wonderful historical fiction stories on hard topics, like wars, refugees, and depression, but he tells the truth and doesn't play it down like most books for kids. When you read his novels you just have to expect that there will be violence and sadness, but once you finish one of his books, you will be changed and more aware of the problems we still have on our earth, and you will want to help solve them, that is how impactful Gratz's books are. This particular book is about the American invasion of Okinawa in World War 2 and is told from two characters perspectives, one from each side of the war. It follows the progress of Ray and Hideki as they travel across the island of Okinawa through the war, seeing many things they never thought they would see in their life. Hideki is an Okinawan and was drafted into the "Blood and Iron Student Corps" and with only about two days of "training" the Americans arrived and he is given two grenades and the instructions "Don't come back until you've killed an American soldier." Ray is an American Marine who ran away from home to join the army, but it is not anything how he imagined it. He arrives on the island with a gun and an over-sized helmet and is told "Stay low, don't bunch up, and run." They learn many things about themselves and others as they make their way through the battlefield and the wreckage that ensues. They start to question what they have been told by others and make many decisions that they regret afterwards. I cannot even put into words how wonderful this book is, it raises awareness on all sorts of topics that aren't usually even mentioned in most books for kids. It had a wonderful message though it may seem a little violent or harsh at first. I would recommend this to 7th or 8th grade and up, since it does have lots of violence, but even if you may not like it even from the first few chapters, I encourage you to keep reading to the end, because I guarantee that you will put the book down and say, "I am glad that I kept reading that book."
  • Booklist

    Starred review from September 15, 2018
    Grades 4-7 *Starred Review* Okinawa native Hideki is 13 when American forces storm his Pacific island during WWII, and he and his classmates are pressed into service by the Japanese army. They are given two grenades and told one is to kill the American monsters and the other is to kill oneself afterward. Ray, 18, is a Marine enlistee fresh from a farm in Nebraska and about to enter his first battle. Both boys share the fear of the unknown, the primal need to survive, and a wish that the unnecessary death and destruction were done with. Hideki and Ray see battle up and down the island, using their wits and adrenaline to stay alive, but when they meet, the war changes for both. Told by both young men, the story is gripping from start to finish as each encounters ambushes, engages in battle and experiences its devastating aftermath, and mourns the plight of innocent civilians caught in the middle. Impossible to put down, the story unapologetically demonstrates how war affects people emotionally and physically. Some terminology used for accuracy (per the author's notes) and graphic descriptions may upset some readers. However, it is not without heartwarming and hopeful moments, especially as Hideki realizes that he possesses untapped stores of courage. Action fans will have this flying off the shelves.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

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