War and Millie McGonigle

Karen Cushman. Knopf, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-9848-5010-2
Newbery Medalist Cushman melds historical detail and generous humor in this gently paced novel of family travails and sociopolitical tensions set in 1941 California. With the threat of war looming following the death of her beloved grandmother, 12-year-old Millie is determined to remember the departed, using a journal to record finds at San Diego’s Mission Beach: “I had tides to watch and dead things to find.” Millie’s feelings of anxiety about global events are compounded by her white family’s circumstances: food rations and her father’s unemployment, her annoying little sister Lily’s health, and having to share a bed with her “stink machine” middle-aged cousin, Edna, who used to live with her grandmother. Each chapter begins with a date, building momentum to December 7 and the attack on Pearl Harbor, an event that sends both her parents back to work and thrusts more responsibility on Millie. Cushman’s relationships prove well grounded, and Millie’s first-person voice effectively builds strength as she heals from her grandmother’s death and embraces the future. Ages 8–12. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/10/2021
Release date: 04/06/2021
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 224 pages - 978-1-9848-5011-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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