SLAP YOUR SIDES

M. E. Kerr, Author . HarperCollins $15.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-06-029481-6

Even without the influence of recent events, Kerr's (What Became of Her) hard-hitting WWII novel would sweep readers up in its urgency. Jubal Shoemaker, the 13-year-old youngest son of a Pennsylvania Quaker family, admires his oldest brother, Bud, for adhering to his antiwar convictions and registering as a conscientious objector despite ever-increasing hostility from neighbors in Jubal's small town, from residents near the facilities where Bud is sent to work, and even from some relatives. Aunt Lizzie, for example, married to a Jewish artist and living in Greenwich Village, sends Bud terse notes like, "Kiss the Jews of Greece good-bye!" Kids at Jubal's Quaker school wonder about the limits of pacifism: what if they had the opportunity to take the life of Hitler, Mussolini or Tojo? Would it really be wrong to register as a noncombatant serviceman and be a medic? As the war escalates, conflicting opinions tug Jubal's family in different directions. Even as Jubal steels himself to follow Bud's path, he develops a romantic interest in a girl who, after seeing her twin brothers off to war, has soaped the words "Your son is a slacker" on the Shoemakers' store. Kerr does not shy away from difficult questions, nor does she resolve them for readers. Instead, she pulls the rug out from under Jubal in a shocking climax, and the abruptness of the denouement intensifies its impact. This morally challenging novel is as memorable as any of Kerr's work. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/29/2001
Release date: 10/01/2001
Genre: Children's
Mass Market Paperbound - 208 pages - 978-0-06-447274-6
Prebound-Glued - 198 pages - 978-0-7569-4240-3
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-06-191071-5
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-06-191072-2
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-06-191075-3
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-06-191070-8
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 208 pages - 978-0-06-191076-0
Library Binding - 208 pages - 978-0-06-029482-3
Prebound-Other - 198 pages - 978-0-613-60110-8
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