cover image The Road Home

The Road Home

Ellen Emerson White, Author Scholastic $15.95 (464p) ISBN 978-0-590-46737-7

Opening in an Army emergency room in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive, this novel gives readers an unforgettable glimpse of the everyday carnage of war. Army nurse Rebecca Phillips (first introduced in White's pseudonymously written Echo Company series) relies on Darvon, amphetamines, Coca-Cola and booze-not to mention her own indomitable spirit-to get through the grueling hours caring for wounded and dying young soldiers. A perfectionist with a tart tongue and fondness for old movies, Rebecca wrestles with despair about the war, guilt and responsibility; she also has a difficult romance with Michael Jennings (also of the Echo Company books), a ``grunt'' who is severely wounded before his discharge. Numb and confused following her own return to the States, Rebecca sets out on a cross-country road trip-and ends up in Michael's hometown. Even in a novel with as much momentum as this one has (and White's wise-cracking prose style is as readable as ever), the lump-in-the-throat intensity of Rebecca and Michael's prickly reunion is striking. Inextricable from the story's anti-war theme is its fiercely compassionate loyalty to the people who served in Vietnam, making this an intriguing complement to such novels as Marsha Qualey's Come In from the Cold. Ages 13-up. (Mar.)q