Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Book Review: Soldier Boys by Dean Hughes

Soldier Boys by Dean Hughes
Dieter is a young boy in the Hitler Youth, who wants to prove that his is strong and loyal to Germany. He works hard and soon is promoted to be the leader over 180 Hitler youth boys. He is even given a metal by the Fuhrer himself for his hard work. Even though he is a little young to go to war, he asks to be sent to battle. Germany has been suffering great defeats on the Eastern front, and now the Americans have entered the war. Dieter is proud to be a part of Germany’s last great offensive in the Battle of the Bulge. He believes that he is doing a great thing for Germany, but the realities of war and the depressing outlook of men around him start to wear that belief down.
Spencer, only sixteen years old, is eager to get in on the action in Europe, but he must convince his father to sign the papers to allow him to sign up early when he is seventeen. He wants to fight for his country and show his family and home town that he’s worth something. So, he goes to train as a paratrooper, and endures weeks of harsh training. His unit is finally placed to fight at the Battle of the Bulge. Spencer finds out that war isn’t what he thought it was going to be, and wishes he could have had one more year at home.
I picked this book up because when I was doing my student teaching I saw kids in my history classes reading it. I love Dean Hughes and never have read one of his young adult fiction books and decided to give this one a try. It was a quick and fascinating read. It really was interesting to see the way how Dieter thought and see how he had been kind of brain-washed. I also found it interesting that Spencer was from a Utah community and his family was Mormon. I hadn’t thought that national publishers were into publishing fiction with Mormon themes. It is odd that I reviewed two of them this past week, The Shakeress and now Solider Boys. There was one inconsistency in the book that I wondered about concerning Spencer getting a metal, but since it kind of spoils the ending to explain it. I’ll leave it at that.
Good read for the WWII and Historical Fiction buff, and I can say that high school kids enjoy reading it also.
Dean Hughes Website:


Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I haven't read anything by Dean Hughes but I may just pick this one up. I love anything that has to do with WWII and just read a book about the Hitler Youth. Another book that I also read was called the Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. That book was also about a Mormon boy during WWII, written for a national audience by a non-Mormon author. I thought it was really well done.

Gamila said...

I'm going to have to check out the Boy Who Dared. It sounds really interesting. You might also like Dean Hughes Children of the Promise series written for the LDS market about WWII. They were really big a few years back. I really loved them.