Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Publishing year: 2004
It was the largest conflict the world had ever known. It covered three
continents and lasted five years. Millions of soldiers returned wounded,
millions more never returned at all. In the summer of 1915, in a small
village in Scotland, the Great War has already begun to irrevocably
alter the course of five young lives.
Malcolm enlists in the army, eager to fight for his country. His
sweetheart, 15-year-old Charlotte, stays behind to earn her nursing
certificate, along with John Malcolm’s twin sister, Maggie, who
recognizes the opportunity to create a new life for herself. Charlotte’s
brother, Francis, sees only tragedy in the war, but feels the pressure
to join up. And Alex, below the recruiting age, is determined to reach
the front lines somehow.
Quite simply a wonderful book. I remember reading it for the first time in middle school and falling head over heels in love with it. I found both Charlotte and Maggie to be wonderful characters, and very well developed. We see Maggie's jealousy that her brother prefers spending time with Charlotte and we see Charlotte rebel against her mother. Neither character is an angel and that appeals to me.
I've always had trouble finding any YA historical fiction set during WWI, let alone anything worth reading which is why this book remains in my favorites. Finding books set during WWII is no problem, it seems like everyone is writing about Nazi Germany today, but I do wish there was more about the first war.
What I love and hate about this book is the ending. Being set in the middle of the first world war, there is no way it can end happily. We do see character death, and while I was disappointed, I think it puts the book on a realistic level.