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There's A Book

War & Watermelon by Rich Wallace

Published by Viking Juvenile

Pages: 192

Ages: 10 and up

Publishers Summary: It’s the summer of 1969. We’ve just landed on the moon, the Vietnam War is heating up, the Mets are beginning their famous World Series run, and Woodstock is rocking upstate New York. Down in New Jersey, twelve-year-old Brody is mostly concerned with the top ten hits on the radio and how much playing time he’ll get on the football team. But when he goes along for the ride to Woodstock with his older brother and sees the mass of humanity there, he starts to wake up to the world around him-a world that could take away the brother he loves.

You’d think life would be simple for a kid going into middle school with the exception of making that change in schooling, but not for Brody. It’s the summer before his whole world could potentially be turned upside down. With the unknown stretching out before him, he’s not only worrying about a new school but where his older brother Ryan may be when he’s making this change. On the precipice of entering the Vietnam War or going to college, Brody’s older brother seems content to stay at home with seemingly no concern for his future. With everything at stake, including his big brother’s life, Brody’s torn between having the summer he’ll never forget and possibly losing his biggest supporter.

It’s not often that you’ll find me picking up a “war related” book, especially one centered around young kids. For some reason or another, perhaps my own parents experiences with that time, but no matter what it is I find them to be extremely difficult to be neutral about. What can I say? I’m just too emotional. In the case of War & Watermelon I’m extremely glad I broke my no “war related” book rule, because had I not I would have missed out on an incredible book. Having said that, I think if you were to only read the synopsis (depending on who you are) you might be completely turned away from this wonderful read. It’s not only about boys and football or even simply about war, but much more. It’s a story about family and specifically the important relationship that can exist between brothers, and I loved every bit of it.

War & Watermelon had so many of the aspects I love about a middle grade read told from the perspective of a young boy. There are none of the “flowery” details you get from a female protagonist, but instead your story is driven by absolute directness and of course, humor. In a portion of the story there’s a part where they have to clean up a watermelon from the back of their family car that’s been there for quite a while; let’s just say it was hard to retell the story out loud to my husband who was wondering why the heck I was laughing so hard. It was fantastic! And there were many other scenes that had me hysterically laughing especially some concerning Brody’s best friend Tony.

Often we tend to think that middle grade readers may not appreciate a book that deals with larger issues including things like war, death, loss of a cherished friend or situation, but that’s absolutely not the case. As life isn’t always smooth sailing, younger readers need books and other ways to cope with tough situations if only to know they aren’t alone. Reaching a young audience about these subjects can be incredibly difficult, but through his writing Rich Wallace has found the perfect balance of real life and humor that make coping things much easier. War & Watermelon is much more than a story about a boy going off to middle school to play football, it’s about relationships and the ability to cope with change that inevitably comes to us all. A wonderful story that will not only have you laughing hysterically, but also hoping for the very best for this young boy and his family.

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 10 to 16. A bit of humor blended with real life that many young readers will absolutely relate to and thoroughly enjoy.

Find War & Watermelon by Rich Wallace at the following spots:
Powell’s Books
Barnes & Noble


Thanks to the publisher and author I have the wonderful opportunity of giving away one copy of War & Watermelon by Rich Wallace to a reader of There’s A Book!
Open to US/Canadian residents, the giveaway will be open until July 9th 2011. Make sure to fill out the form below to enter and view all the details!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Viking Juvenile, for providing a copy of this book for review in conjunction with TLC Book Tours! Connect with them on Twitter and on Facebook!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our various affiliate relationships.

5 Responses to Book Review and Giveaway: War & Watermelon by Rich Wallace

  1. Sweet giveaway, thanks!

  2. Summer of 1969 is a magical time period to read about.

  3. This is the first I have heard about this book and I am very excited about it. I am always on the look out for a good middle school read with a male POV and I also have many boys who love reading about war. The Viet Nam era is often overlooked too, adding to my excitement. Thanks for a great review and for a chance to win a copy.

  4. I’m so glad you took a chance on this and that it turned out to be a great read! Thanks for being on the tour. I’m featuring your review on TLC’s Facebook page today.

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