Growing up on Guam in 1972, fifteen-year-old Kiko is beset by worries: He's never kissed a girl, the popular guys get all the attention at schoolbut the worst part is the serious problems at home. His older brother is missing in Vietnam, his grandfather is losing it to dementia, and he just learned that his mother was raped by a Japanese soldier during World War II. It all comes together when he discovers an old man, a Japanese soldier, hiding in the jungle behind his house. It's not the same man who raped his mother, but, in his rage, Kiko cares only about protecting his family and avenging his momno matter what it takes. And so, a shy, peaceable boy begins to plan a murder. But how far will Kiko go to prove to himself that he's a man? Based on a true incident in history, No Surrender Soldier is the story of a boy grappling with ancient questions of courage and manhood before he can move on.
About the Author
A prolific writer, teacher, and journalist, Christine Kohler has lived all over the world with her Air Force husband, including island nations like the setting for No Surrender Soldier, her first young adult novel. Her children's and young people's books about topics that range from religion to music are widely read. She and her family now call Texas home.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In this fantastic debut, Kohler plunges the reader into the world of Guam. Her descriptions of the beaches, "boonies," and food truly bringing the setting to life. But even better are the characters. Kiko, who narrates the book, feels absolutely authentic as a teenage boy trying to find his place in high school, his family, his religion, and his culture. I loved spending time with him, his friends, and his beloved Tatan (grandfather), who is slowly succumbing to dementia. And the chapters devoted to Seto, the Japanese "straggler" hiding out behind Kiko's house, feel both urgent and poetic. Despite this book tackling many real-life issues and historical happenings, it never felt didactic; above all, the story and characters keep the pages turning. I think that teenagers looking for something a little bit different will really embrace this book!
No Surrender Soldier tells two stories set in Guam. The first is that of a former WWII Japanese soldier who has been secretly living in an underground cave while the modern world lives, works and plays around him. The second story is about a Guam teen living in a tourist town, facing the pressures of teen life as well as extended family life, including a beloved grandfather who is slipping into dementia, and a brother who has gone off to war. The stories alternate between the old soldier and the young boy in a style similar to one of my favorite authors, Jodi Picoult. The lives of the soldier and the boy collide in spectacular style that will keep your interest until the end. A great story and history lesson.