cover image Island War

Island War

Patricia Reilly Giff. Holiday House, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8234-3954-6

In 1941, two sparring Connecticut schoolmates travel to Attu, a remote island off the coast of Alaska. Sensitive Izzy, 11, is thrilled to visit the island that her late father loved, and the trip with her ornithologist mother is a welcome break from school. Matt begrudgingly travels to Attu with his gruff father, who is on a secret assignment for the U.S. government. Izzy and Matt’s antagonistic relationship endures on the island (creating unrelenting mutual suspicion), even after the U.S. enters WWII and they are the only two who escape deportation to a prison camp by invading Japanese soldiers. Told from their alternating perspectives, the story becomes one of survival as the kids battle hunger and the cold, and use their wits to avoid capture by soldiers. Tension escalates significantly after Matt is injured in a fall and they take shelter in a cave, and, as fighter planes darken the sky, the two devise a plan to inform the Americans overhead that they are friend rather than foe. Though some repetition in the action scenes slows the suspense a bit, Giff (Genevieve’s War) introduces believable protagonists with distinctive, memorable voices who survive dire circumstances. Ages 8–12. [em](Oct.) [/em]