Island War
Island War

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Annotation: In 1942, thirteen-year-olds Izzy and Matt become trapped on a Japanese-occupied Aleutian island when the rest of the American population is evacuated. Now, the teens must survive on their own for the duration of World War II.
Catalog Number: #172086
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Holiday House
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 203 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-8234-3954-2 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-3350-5
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-8234-3954-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-3350-2
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017019228
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Set on a remote Aleutian island during World War II, this survival story is slow to start but eventually picks up speed. The unusual setting and the two main characters, resourceful eleven-year-old Izzy and disaffected fourteen-year-old Matt, help make the narrative compelling. The two endure cold, hunger, fear, and injury, finding strength in their friendship.
Kirkus Reviews
Two American youth evade capture by the Japanese soldiers who invade the remote Aleutian island they live on just as the U.S. enters World War II.After her father's death, 12-year-old Izzy is eager to visit the quiet, mysterious island that he wrote about in his books. Matt is bitter about being forced to move to the island with his gruff and irritable father, who has a secret job for the U.S. government. Having a few run-ins with each other on the boat and island, Izzy and Matt aren't getting along and plan to stay out of each other's way. But shortly after the U.S. declares war on Japan, their isolated U.S. territory is invaded by Japanese soldiers. Everyone is captured and taken to Japan except for Izzy and Matt. They must learn to work together to survive the island's harsh winter and the war. Told in the alternating first-person voices of Izzy and Matt, this is a compelling story about putting differences aside and finding the strength within. As she did in Genevieve's War (2017), Giff captures how quickly war can overturn ordinary life and poses the idea that enemies are also human. Both Izzy and Matt present white; the children's friendships with two local kids give readers an outsider's introduction to the Aleut culture.Two captivating perspectives create a story of survival and humanity in the middle of a harsh winter and harrowing war. (Historical fiction. 8-12)
Publishers Weekly
In 1941, two sparring Connecticut schoolmates travel to Attu, a remote island off the coast of Alaska. Sensitive Izzy, 11, is thrilled to visit the island that her late father loved, and the trip with her ornithologist mother is a welcome break from school. Matt begrudgingly travels to Attu with his gruff father, who is on a secret assignment for the U.S. government. Izzy and Matt-s antagonistic relationship endures on the island (creating unrelenting mutual suspicion), even after the U.S. enters WWII and they are the only two who escape deportation to a prison camp by invading Japanese soldiers. Told from their alternating perspectives, the story becomes one of survival as the kids battle hunger and the cold, and use their wits to avoid capture by soldiers. Tension escalates significantly after Matt is injured in a fall and they take shelter in a cave, and, as fighter planes darken the sky, the two devise a plan to inform the Americans overhead that they are friend rather than foe. Though some repetition in the action scenes slows the suspense a bit, Giff (Genevieve-s War) introduces believable protagonists with distinctive, memorable voices who survive dire circumstances. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 46 Giff sets her latest novel during World War II on a remote Aleutian island, off the Alaskan coast. The author notes that the setting is loosely based on the island of Attu, which was invaded by the Japanese army. The Attu villagers were held captive and sent to Japan; only half of them survived and the survivors were never permitted to return to their island home. Giff's story opens in 1941, told through the eyes of 11-year-old Izzy and 14-year-old Matt. Izzy moves to the island with her mother, who seeks solace after the loss of Izzy's father, and Matt moves to the island with his dad, who we learn is secretly working to end the war. The relocation to the island is hard for Izzy and Matt, who dislike each other from the start. When Japanese soldiers invade the island in 1942, both imagine a safe place to hide. When soldiers fence in the village, both Izzy and Matt work to escape the barricades. A rumor starts to circulate that the village is to be evacuated and all the villagers are to be sent to prison camps in Japan. As Matt and Izzy return from an outing, they are shocked to discover that the rumor is true and that they are the only ones left behind, along with some enemy soldiers. They must work together to survive, hiding from soldiers and dodging Allied bombers. VERDICT Similar in tone to Genevieve's War, Giff's latest illustrates the hardships of war and the importance of self-reliance. Fans of historical fiction will be pleased. Lisa Gieskes, Richland County Public Library, Columbia, SC
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Horn Book (4/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (12/1/18)
Word Count: 30,365
Reading Level: 3.9
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.9 / points: 4.0 / quiz: 501732 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: 520L
Guided Reading Level: K

Two young Americans must evade capture by Axis soldiers--and outlast the brutal Alaskan winter--in this thrilling historical novel which shines a light on a little-known facet of World War II.

Fourteen-year-old Matt never wanted to come to the remote Aleutian Islands--he was dragged here by his father for reasons he can't understand. Eleven-year-old Izzy, on the other hand, loves it--the wild weather, the strange birds, all the new people she's meeting. The two have little in common, except their hometown--they certainly aren't friends.

But when Japanese soldiers land on the island, Izzy and Matt are the only ones who escape being shipped off to a prison camp. The two kids must put their differences aside and work together if they're going to survive. With a long, harsh winter ahead of them, they'll need to dodge Axis soldiers and withstand Allied bombing raids--and keep the village dog from giving them away to the enemy, too.

Told in alternating point-of-view chapters, Island War is set amidst the Japanese occupation of the remote Aleutian Islands--the only foreign invasion of the United States that took place during World War II. Fans of Hatchet and Julie of the Wolves will be riveted by two-time Newbery Honoree Patricia Reilly Giff's thrilling story of survival, resilience, and the power of cooperation.

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