Author: James Holland
Genre: Historical, Children's
Published: 2nd June 2011 (Puffin)
Friday 24th May, 1940Sixteen-years-old and in Northern France during World War 2, Johnny is right in the thick of the action. He's the youngest of his company and fresh from training; a little bit naive but determined to play his part and fight for his country.
Private Johnny Hawke, aged sixteen, awakens to artillery fire.
Hours later, Stukas scream down from the sky. Messerschmit fighters roar towards his regiment. Trucks burst into flames.
Now men and mules lay dead and dying, severed limbs twisted grotesquely as blood soaks the cobbled streets.
Young Private Hawke just wants to do his duty and serve his country. But as he - and his fellow soldiers - prepare to stop the German advance, there's only one question on everyone's lips.
HOW WILL THEY SURVIVE?
The book is very detailed and accurate (or at least it seems it to me, I'm not an expert lol). Some knowledge of the different ranks and other military terminology is assumed and towards the start of the book I found this a little bit confusing despite there being a glossary (and that I've read a fair amount of military based books). However, once I'd gotten into the story and googled a few words I liked that the writing seemed very true to life - to be fair, it wouldn't have flowed right if the author had explained everything too much.
At times the detailed battle scenes were a little too much for my personal preference and I did find myself skipping through a few of them. Don't get me wrong, they were good and I could totally imagine everything that happened but there was too much for me. However, considering the target group for this book is probably younger teen boys, I'm sure they'll love all of the action.
A good story with an insight into the life of a World War II soldier. There's plenty of action with some really interesting characters.