Operation Oleander

Valerie O. Patterson, Author
Valerie O. Patterson. Clarion, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-547-24437-2
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-0-547-53421-3
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-544-43935-1
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-90259-6
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Soon-to-be ninth-grader Jess lives by the code her Army father taught her, holding his words of honor and duty close while he is serving in Afghanistan. She and her best friends Meriwether and Sam, who live on the same Florida Army base as Jess, are collecting school supplies and donations for a girl’s orphanage in Kabul; Jess, who was adopted, feels a special connection to the orphaned girls. When a bomb goes off near the orphanage, Jess’s father is badly injured and Meriwether’s mother is killed, sending shockwaves through Jess’s close-knit community. Her devastation is compounded by Meriwether blaming her for the tragedy, but Jess still believes in the work they were doing. Full of detail about Army life, Patterson’s (The Other Side of Blue) elegant prose brings readers deep inside Jess’s conflicted point of view and the many stresses she is under, as she reevaluates her role as a member of a military family. The conclusion is uplifting but retains the complexity of Jess’s struggle to act in a way that reflects her convictions. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary Agency. (Mar.)
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