“Daddy said that nobody really wins a war. They only make it look that way.”
Thirteen-year-old Milla Jaeger questions the war and the rules that war triggers. She misses her family’s life in the Wisconsin countryside before the move to Tralmer’s Trailer Camp near Milwaukee. Milla resides with her parents and her kid sister in what their mother has labeled the “six-by-fourteen-foot-cracker-box-on-wheels.” While World War II—the Big War—rages overseas, war-weary civilians on the home front endure sacrifices as they experience their own conflicts, the Little Wars.
As Milla enters high school, she clings to hope for her loved ones serving their country. If only Daddy could turn the knob on their Motorola radio and switch life back to a time before bombs dropped on Pearl Harbor—before her Japanese-American friend is banned from their favorite hangout and before she frightens her younger sister with her nightmares. If only a twist of a wrist could return her cousins from European battlefields, especially her favorite cousin, Raymie. Milla has not forgotten Raymie’s long-ago promise, but her obsession with his survival and an even stronger tie—a long-kept secret—truly link them across two uncertain worlds.