The unforgettable novel about one child soldier's struggle with friendship, courage, and resilience.
Gr 7 Up—In this terrifying and shocking account based on actual events, Jacob is abducted and forcibly inducted into The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda. Jacob's life before going away to school was fairly typical. He idolized his father. He goofed off with his best friend Tony. He often became frustrated with his overbearing, unwed aunt. All of that changed after he went away to school. Reuniting with his old friend Paul and asked to look over the scrawny new boy Norman, the boys are unprepared when the LRA comes to their school in the middle of the night. Jacob is beaten. He awakens the next morning in time to see Tony, along with several other children, forced to kill another in order to prove their worth to their new "family." As Jacob, Paul, and Norman fight off starvation and plot their ultimate escape, they find unlikely allies in a cook within the army as well as a deformed girl who is often ignored by the generals. As with the graphic novel of the same name, McKay does an effective job of bringing this story to life. While the novel lacks the visual, visceral shock of the comic, this case study of what is surprisingly an everyday occurrence in Uganda will leave readers with an expanded global perspective on religious conflict and child slavery. The protagonist's struggles are heartbreaking, but his fierce determination and unflinching will to survive will surely prove to be an inspiration to readers.—Ryan P. Donovan, Southborough Public Library, MA
“My story is not an easy one to tell, and it is not an easy one to read.”Originally published in 2008 in Canada and adapted into a graphic novel in 2013, this heart-wrenching work of historical fiction begins with a brief, first-person introduction to Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army, a guerilla group in Uganda that abducts and recruits child soldiers. Based on actual events, the story opens and closes with a letter to readers by the composite protagonist, Jacob. It switches to third person as the 14-year-old math whiz and his fellow classmates settle into a new school year in their dormitory, before promptly being abducted by the LRA. With a kill-or-be-killed imperative, the soldiers (some even younger than Jacob) force their new recruits to march countless miles across Africa to avoid government capture and provide food only to those who kill. McKay supplies just enough detail for the imagination to fill in the scenes of horrific torture, ritualistic murders and village massacres. She also contextualizes cultural references, allowing readers to understand the geography, Acholi people, religious dichotomies and fear in Uganda. When Jacob realizes that no one is coming to save them, he plans an escape to save both old and new friends. But with a nation under siege, will their families take back would-be murderers?This gripping story will have readers questioning humanity in the midst of evil and death. (glossary) (Historical fiction. 14-18)
- Annick Press, Limited
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.60(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.80(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 - 14 Years
Meet the Author
Sharon E. McKay is a bestselling, award-winning author. War Brothers is based on interviews she conducted in Uganda with child soldiers. Her other books include Enemy Territory and Thunder Over Kandahar. She lives on Prince Edward Island, Canada.
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I couldn't get entirely into this one. Too much pain and politics for me, and perhaps I have read too many of this type of raw semi-true type book of late.