A New York Times bestseller!
It's 1945, and the world is in the grip of war.
Hideki lives on the island of Okinawa, near Japan. When WWII crashes onto his shores, Hideki is drafted into the Blood and Iron Student Corps to fight for the Japanese army. He is handed a grenade and a set of instructions: Don't come back until you've killed an American soldier.
Ray, a young American Marine, has just landed on Okinawa. He doesn't know what to expect -- or if he'll make it out alive. He just knows that the enemy is everywhere.
Hideki and Ray each fight their way across the island, surviving heart-pounding ambushes and dangerous traps. But when the two of them collide in the middle of the battle, the choices they make in that instant will change everything.
From the acclaimed author of Refugee comes this high-octane story of how fear can tear us apart, and how hope can tie us back together.
"One grenade is for the American monsters coming to kill your family.... You are to use the other grenade to kill yourself." These are the orders that Hideki, a 13-year-old Okinawan student conscripted by the Japanese military, receives on Apr. 1, 1945, as newly deployed Pvt. Ray Majors and 183,000 American soldiers and Marines "boarded amphibious troop carriers and headed east toward the beaches of Okinawa." Told in alternating perspectives by Hideki and Ray, Gratz (Refugee) depicts the events and fallout of WWII's "Love Day" while exploring the emotional and cultural damages of war. As the two young men fight across the island of Okinawa, Ray tries to understand the nuanced relationship between Okinawan civilians (called "simple, polite, law-abiding, and peaceful" in a brochure U.S. command offers) and the Japanese military. Hideki, meanwhile, grapples with his growing realization that Okinawa is a "sacrificial stone" in the grand scheme of WWII, and that the Okinawan people have been manipulated and largely abandoned by the Japanese military. War is portrayed honestly here; though gore is kept to a minimum, the finality of death and the lasting emotional consequences are starkly rendered. An opening note explains that WWII-era terminology is used in the name of historical accuracy, and an author's note elaborates. Ages 9 12.
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This was awesome!!
This book was so thrilling! In class I couldn’t put the book down!
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