Age 14by Geert Spillebeen
John fits in quickly, though it is obvious
- LendMe LendMe™ Learn More
It is 1913, and twelve-year-old Patrick Condon wants to escape his unexciting life in Ireland. So he hatches a plan. Not wanting to wait until he is old enough to join the army, Patrick lies and says he seventeen years old, and that his name is John Condon. Assuming the identity of his older brother, Patrick enlists.
John fits in quickly, though it is obvious that John is not 17, or even 16. That doesn’t matter. John is strong, fast, and a hard worker. He loves military life. This man’s world is just what John wanted. But when WWI begins in 1914, John gets all he has been looking for, and more he does not expect, as he is just a boy...
"Based on historical facts, this tale of an underage soldier captures the initial excitement and ultimate disillusionment of men, young and old, fighting at the front. Spillebeen's choice to reveal Patrick's fate in the first chapter may lessen the suspense, but readers will be emotionally prepared to bear the story's conclusion. Unadorned prose expresses unsettling truths in straightforward, clear terms."--Publishers Weekly
"Young adults who have read Kipling’s Choice (BCCB 6/05) will recognize that Spillebeen is returning to a prior technique: a fact-based fictionalization of World War I events…While many novelists pack an anti-war message into their work, none surpasses Spillebeen for ripping the glamour and heroics out of the battlefield."--Bulletin
Meet the Author
Geert Spillebeen lives in Izegem, Belgium, where he is a journalist and radio presenter. This is his first novel published in the United States.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
One of the best anti-war stories you can find. From the same author of that excellent and most recommendable YA novel Kipling's Choice. Another true but sad story. An Irish boy of nearly 14 years old gets enlisted and dies in the front lines of WW1 near Ypres, Belgium (In Flanders Fields...) This author has clearly done a lot of research. Biographical, military, geographical details are accurate. Nevertheless he succeeds in telling a fascinating and moving story. Youngsters will surely recognize aspects of themselves. This novel takes you back to the horrifying years of WW.1, almost a century ago, but it also makes you realize that even today some 200.000 kid soldiers (unicef figures) struggle to survive every day. Besides, we know too little (or nothing) about "The Great War", World War 1 (1914-1918). American troops got involved too: the US sent thousands of young men to fight in France and Belgium (in Flanders Fields) in 1917 and '18.
this is the best book i have ever read in my life it is amazin and the ending is amazing thank you man FOR MAKEING THIS BOOK
Book review for Age 14 This book opens up as a really interesting book in the beginning, but dramatically lost my interest toward the end. I most definitely do not recommend the book to someone who had not learned about World War 1 because the author wrote the book, assuming the reader already had good background information on it. I did not like how it seemed the author introduced a fascinating character, talked about him/her for just a short time, and then never brought them back into the story. What I didn’t like about the book was there was never really a clear climax. Basically, the story stayed on the same “intense level” throughout the book, making it hard to keep me interested. And what did keep me interested were the little scenes where something dramatic happened, but the author quickly moved to a different part of the story. I also didn’t like how Geert Spillebeen never explained places or things in the story that dealt with the war. For example, he never explained the letter that was found about how the war started. I also would have liked it if Patrick’s parents were talked about a little more because I know they had more to say about his decision then was said. But, I think I liked more about the book then I didn’t. Even though the book was based on a true story, I loved how there was an unexpected ending where the main character dies. There were no clues that led up to his death, so when it happened, I wanted to keep reading. Unlike many books I’ve read, this book went by much faster then I had noticed. I had read 3 chapters when I thought it was just 1. I recommend this book for High school students because you’re more aware about history and the wars that take place during the book. (Just as long as you’ve already learned about World War 1 or are familiar with it) If a middle school student were to read it, I think they would be confused throughout most of the book. And what I liked most about the book is it’s a short read.