Abe in Arms

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Overview

Portraying the pressures of teens to live a normal life while facing mental illness, this suspenseful young adult novel follows the journey of success-bound Abe, who struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. A senior in high school, with a loving and wealthy adoptive family, Abe is on track for a big scholarship and an open future. Suddenly, horrific flashbacks rip him back to war-torn Africa, where five years previously he lost his mother, sister, friends, and almost his own life to torturous violence. ...

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Abe in Arms

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Overview

Portraying the pressures of teens to live a normal life while facing mental illness, this suspenseful young adult novel follows the journey of success-bound Abe, who struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. A senior in high school, with a loving and wealthy adoptive family, Abe is on track for a big scholarship and an open future. Suddenly, horrific flashbacks rip him back to war-torn Africa, where five years previously he lost his mother, sister, friends, and almost his own life to torturous violence. During therapy, he uncovers even darker moments from his past that make him question how he survived. This action-filled thriller will open the eyes and hearts of teenagers to the lives of young people who have been exposed to profound violence around the world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Powerful books like Abe in Arms will help inspire younger and older readers to help put an end to children being trapped in the nightmare of war."  —Craig Wiesner, cofounder, Reach And Teach

"A gripping tale that takes its place in the sad but necessary literature of Africa’s child soldiers, joining such classics as What Is the What, Dave Eggers’s fictionalized story of Sudanese child soldier Valentino Achak Deng."  —Times Union (Albany, New York)

"Author Pegi Deitz Shea tells Abe’s story with compassion, educating readers both about the Liberian conflict and about posttraumatic stress disorder and its treatments."  —Teaching Tolerance

"Pegi Deitz Shea has written a powerful book for teens about young boys forced to become soldiers in war-torn countries like Liberia. She isn't afraid to take her readers to complicated and uncomfortable places. . . . How will those who survive, ever live normal lives?" —www.ChildrensBooksHeal.com

Children's Literature - Elizabeth D. Schafer
Liberia native Abraham Odo, age seventeen, survived a violent civil war during which he witnessed soldiers killing his friend Steven and was forcibly separated from his mother and sister, whose fates are unknown. Moving to Maryland after being rescued from a refugee camp, Abe is often frustrated by Americans' assumptions about Africa. The enduring impact of war trauma on Abe becomes apparent when he experiences blackout episodes. With therapist Dr. Carlson, a Vietnam veteran who had also been immersed in war's horrors, Abe relives suppressed terrors through Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapeutic methods. His accounts describe cruelties inflicted by sadistic soldiers who demanded children watch, or commit, atrocities under threat of death or other extreme punishments to them or their families. Guilt-stricken and confused, Abe loathes himself and becomes suicidal due to his realization of what he might have done and the terror of being unsure. Dark imagery effectively conveys sinister, tragic tones and Abe being mentally immobilized by repressed memories resurfacing. Dr. Carlson's compassion aids Abe as he seeks forgiveness from both others and himself. Graphic details reveal Abe's sacrifices and loss of innocence and security in this intense novel which effectively depicts the wounding of children's psyches by militaristic strife. Includes author's afterword. Supplement with www.invisiblechildren.com and www.EMDR-Therapy.com. Read with Caroline Cooney's Diamonds in the Shadow (2007). Reviewer: Elizabeth D. Schafer
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604861983
  • Publisher: PM Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2010
  • Series: Reach and Teach Series
  • Pages: 172
  • Sales rank: 1,384,623
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Pegi Deitz Shea teaches at the Institute of Children’s Literature and the University of Connecticut and has presented at more than 350 schools, libraries, and conferences across the United States. She is the author of The Carpet Boy’s Gift, Patience Wright, Tangled Threads, Ten Mice for Tet, and The Whispering Cloth, which have been made Notables by organizations including the International Reading Association, National Council for the Social Studies, and the New York Public Library. She lives in Vernon, Connecticut.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Joan Stradling for TeensReadToo.com

    After surviving the wars in Liberia, Abe has been adopted by a doctor and his family in America. Though therapy helped him deal with the loss of his family and helped him accept his new life, there are deeper memories of his life in Africa threatening to surface. Memories that could destroy him and everything he's come to love.

    Though he's a high school track star, Abe has to stop running and face his past in order to move forward with his new life. But will his past catch up with him before he's ready?

    ABE IN ARMS amazed me. In spite of the horrors of child soldiers, war, and struggles to come to terms with who he is and where he came from, Abe is easy to relate to. I found myself turning the pages without realizing I was even doing it. The story drew me in and kept me mesmerized as I learned more about Abe and his life.

    This isn't the type of story I would normally read; I'm much more into fantasy and lighthearted fun. However, the truth of Abe's experiences in a war-torn country, and the struggles he faces as he deals with memories he'd much rather forget, compelled me to keep reading until I couldn't help falling in love with ABE IN ARMS.

    This eye-opening novel is a must-read! I don't often want to pick up a book and read it again, but I have a feeling I'll be opening ABE IN ARMS again in the near future.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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