A Boy No More
  • A Boy No More
  • A Boy No More

A Boy No More

4.0 3
by Harry Mazer

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Adam Pelko witnessed something horrible: the sinking of the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor — with his father aboard. Since then, Adam and his mother and sister have moved to California, where they are trying to rebuild their lives.

But no matter where Adam

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Adam Pelko witnessed something horrible: the sinking of the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor — with his father aboard. Since then, Adam and his mother and sister have moved to California, where they are trying to rebuild their lives.

But no matter where Adam goes, he can't get away from the effects of the war. His best friend, Davi, has asked for help. Davi is Japanese American, and his father has been arrested, taken to Manzanar, a Japanese internment camp.

Adam isn't sure what to do. If he goes to Manzanar and starts asking questions, he could be risking his own life. But can he simply do nothing and risk losing Davi's friendship forever? Are Davi, his father, and all the other Japanese Americans taken from their homes responsible for what happened at Pearl Harbor?

In this riveting follow-up to his acclaimed book A Boy at War, Harry Mazer explores questions of friendship and loyalty against the backdrop of World War II, a time when boys had to grow up fast.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Adam Pelko returns in A Boy No More by Harry Mazer, a follow-up to A Boy at War. PW called the first book "a vivid account of the [Pearl Harbor] attack and subtle suggestions of the complexities of Japanese-American relations." Adam, his mother and his sister move to California, and Adam receives a letter from a friend, asking Adam to deliver a letter to an internment camp in nearby Fresno, where the friend's father has been taken. He agrees to help, despite a tide of anti-Japanese sentiment. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
In this sequel to A Boy at War, young Adam Pelko and his family are trying to put their lives back together in California after Adam's father has been killed at Pearl Harbor. Adam receives a letter from Davi, his Japanese-American friend from Hawaii, asking Adam to deliver a letter to Davi's father, who, it turns out, has been sent to the Japanese internment camp at Manzanar. Adam must struggle with his mother's anti-Japanese-American prejudice when she forbids him to help his friend, and he must decide where his true loyalties lie. While not as action-packed as A Boy at War, this book effectively presents Adam's growing maturity as he struggles with moral dilemmas. While the book stands on its own, a richer appreciation of Adam's developing character and motivations would be gained from reading the earlier book. A few elements of the plot strain credulity. For example, Davi appears almost supernaturally out of the dust at Manzanar. Secondary characters are not particularly well-developed. Adam's mother is somewhat wooden, and Davi is a rather shadowy figure. Historical notes and documents at the end of the book are interesting. The book would be useful for a curriculum studying the Japanese internment camps because Mazer clearly presents the rampant anti-Japanese furor at the time, and the harsh conditions at Manzanar. For other books on this topic, see Under the Blood-Red Sun by Graham Salisbury and Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James Houston. 2004, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Ages 8 to 12.
—Quinby Frank
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Adam Pelko's father was killed in Pearl Harbor when the USS Arizona was bombed. Now, the boy, his mother, and sister have moved from Hawaii to California in the midst of America's involvement in World War II. He receives a letter from his Japanese-American friend, Davi Mori, in which Davi tells him that his father is being held in an internment camp in California and asks for Adam's help in finding him. The teen struggles with loyalty to his friend and disobeying his late father's wishes and his mother's determination to keep him from getting involved. In this fast-paced book, readers see the loyalty and risks that must sometimes be taken for friendship. Although this book can stand alone, those who read A Boy at War (S & S, 2001) will have a greater understanding of Adam's friendship and the dilemma he faces.-Denise Moore, O'Gorman Junior High School, Sioux Falls, SD Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In wartime, should a person help a friend whose parents are immigrants from an enemy nation? That's the dilemma Adam Pelko has to deal with when he gets a letter from his Japanese-American friend Davi Mori. Adam watched his father's ship go down during the bombing of Pearl Harbor and now lives in California with his mother and sister. The letter asks the still grieving Adam, who is struggling to cope with a new school, additional family responsibilities, and a tough part-time job, to deliver a note to a relative whom Davi hopes can find his father, confined in a California internment camp. In this initially bracing, though ultimately unpersuasive, sequel to A Boy at War (2001), Adam surmounts numerous obstacles, including the opposition of his mother to help his friend. But under the weight of his family, work, school, and a tentative romance with a slightly older girl, the core and newly resonant issue of knowing when and if loyalty to friend and country contradict, loses its focus and urgency. (Fiction. 10-14)

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Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

I was walking down the middle of the road when I saw a couple of people pushing a car up a hill. There was never a lot of traffic, not with gas rationing. The man on the driver's side had one hand on the steering wheel.

"Help us out," the man said. He had on a greasy cap, and his front bottom teeth were missing.

A girl was behind the car, her shoulder against the spare tire like she had the whole weight of the car on her. She made room for me, and we pushed together. I recognized her from the school bus stop. She was that tall older girl who always had her nose in a book.

"Hi," I said. "I know you. You take the bus to school."

She looked at me through a tangle of hair and nodded.

"Push, Nance," the man said.

"I am pushing, Woody!"

"Good girl."

She muttered something girls don't say. I'd never known a girl who said things like that.

"You two kids, push the heck out of it," Woody said. "We're almost to the junkyard."

"Why don't we just push it in the ditch?" Nancy said.

"Oh, don't say that, Nance. I just paid twenty-five bucks for this baby. I love this car."

"That's about all you love," she muttered.

I was trying to figure out who he was. Not her father. You didn't talk to your father like that. Maybe an uncle or a cousin.

We finally reached the top of the rise, and the weight of the car eased. It started rolling, and Woody jumped in behind the wheel. "In like Flynn!" he yelled. "Keep pushing, kids. Faster, faster!"

The girl and I were running and pushing. "Start it," she cried. "Start it, Woody!"

The car coughed, belched black smoke, coughed again, and off it went. "Bakersfield Express," Woody yelled, sticking his head out the window.

We were left standing there in the exhaust. "Pushing this car to the junkyard — it's a joke, right?" I said to her.

"No, he practically lives in that junkyard." She brushed the hair out of her face. "This isn't the first time I've pushed his stupid car."

At the dairy on River Road I stopped. "I live over there," I said, pointing to the house across the road. "We live upstairs. Second floor."

"Uh-huh," she said, turning down the path to the river.

I watched her for a moment, then called after her, "I'm Adam!"

She raised her arm, fingers sort of waving good-bye to me.

Copyright © 2004 by Harry Mazer

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