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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

A New York Times bestseller! Alan Gratz, bestselling author of Refugee, weaves a stunning array of voices and stories into an epic tale of teamwork in the face of tyranny -- and how just one day can change the world. June 6, 1944: The Nazis are terrorizing Europe, on their evil quest to conquer the world. The only way to stop them? The biggest, most top-secret operation ever, with the Allied…

Allies

by Alan Gratz

Overall Book Review:

Allies tells the story of D-Day from a unique perspective. In fact, it uses a handful of unique perspectives from various characters split between the several Allied nations. American GIs, Canadian paratroopers, and French resistance are just some of the heroes found in this book’s pages. Each story is crafted with care to bring the characters in it to life for the reader, and each story intertwines with the next to form one seamless whole from events that seem to have nothing in common other than their date on the calendar.

Alan Gratz clearly has a love of both storytelling and history. His writing is engaging, his characters are easily likable, and the historical aspects of the novel are well-researched. He works little-known events and tidbits about World War II tactics, equipment, and strategies into the narrative without making the story seem like a textbook. This book is informative yet at the same time exciting and heroic enough to inspire an interest in history for young readers.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic


Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 7 religious exclamations; 16 mild obscenities; 7 derogatory names; 1 anatomical term.

Note:  A few instances of the slang “jerry” and “kraut” to refer to German soldiers, plus one British use of the word “bloody” are present but not included in the tally.

Violence/Gore: Characters make their way through artillery and gunfire with no or mild injury; characters threaten each other with guns a few times; a few verbal threats; report of natural death of historic figure with some brief gory description of medical condition; report of a death in war; report of a historic battle; report of a character killed by artillery; a character hears rifle reports, and it is implied that people have been killed by gunfire; report of protestors massacred; a few reports of assassinations; report of innocent people executed publicly;  characters are targeted by artillery shelling or bombings a few times; a character is shot and minorly wounded; characters give medical treatment to wounded soldiers a few times, with minimal details; a character punches another; a building is burned intentionally; a vehicle wreck in which a person is killed; characters are badly wounded and killed in artillery and gun fights several times; a character dies in an explosion; and extended (5 pages) battle scene in which men are killed or injured by gunfire and artillery, with blood and gore only minimally described; a character’s limb is badly mangled, with some description of the wound.

The Author’s Note at the end contains several reports of actual battles and wars in history, but none of the depictions are graphic.

Sex/Nudity:  A few reports of women receiving catcalls.

Mature Subject Matter:

War; Nazism; racism; sabotage; death (parent, friend); racial segregation; arson; slavery (mention); religious discrimination; bullying.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Characters give a bottle of wine as a gift; adults smoke cigarettes and pipes; morphine is used medicinally.

Overall Book Rating
Profanity/Language
Rating:
4
10
Violence/Gore
Rating:
5
10
Sex/Nudity
Rating:
1
10

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About the Reviewer

My taste in literature leans heavily towards sci-fi, fantasy, and (my favorite) horror, and the latter can present some fairly murky waters for parents to let their children explore. I enjoy novels of both the standard and graphic varieties. Since those genres, and graphic novels in particular, tend to appeal to boys, I hope that I can help other Boy Mommies in their quest to find books that their little video gamers--I mean, future bibliophiles will read and enjoy. When I am not reading, I enjoy tabletop role-playing games, video games, and singing karaoke. I have a wonderful husband who lets me indulge my reading habit by sharing the housework and being a great dad to our genius kids and their faithful hound.