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An unforgettable novel from a Carnegie Medal-winning author about the devastating effects of World War One on the lives of five young people.

Promotional Information

An unforgettable novel from a Carnegie Medal-winning author about the devastating effects of World War One on the lives of five young people.

About the Author

THERESA BRESLIN is the Carnegie Medal winning author of over thirty books for children & young adults whose work has appeared on stage, radio and TV. Her books are hugely popular with young people, librarians and teachers. Remembrance, her top selling YA novel of youth in WW1, has now been reissued to include Book Notes. The Dream Master was shortlisted for the Children's Book Award. Divided City was shortlisted for ten book awards, winning two outright.


Carnegie Medalist Breslin's (Whispers in the Graveyard) moving WWI novel starts slowly but ultimately packs a wallop as it chronicles the war's effects on five teens in rural Scotland. Swayed by the patriotic propaganda, 17-year-old John Malcolm, a shopkeeper's son, can't wait to fight, and his clever brother, Alex, schemes to enlist, though he's only 14. Meanwhile, upper-class Francis, an intellectual with pacifist leanings, discerns from news reports the senselessness of combat. Francis's younger sister, Charlotte, trains as a nurse and eventually tends soldiers; she and John Malcolm strike up a tentative romance. John Malcolm's twin, Maggie, somewhat precociously a feminist ("Was she unconsciously following her mother's behavior in deferring intellectual activities to the males in the house?" she asks herself), finds a new calling through war work. As the characters participate in sweeping social transformations, they also observe the warfront. Francis, corresponding with Maggie from the trenches, offers precise and disturbing details, including the "monumental madness" behind military procedures. While John Malcolm and Alex seem like stand-ins designed to represent the vast majority of soldiers, the other protagonists are forcefully depicted, allowing contemporary readers to understand the traumas of war. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Gr 7 Up-Charlotte Armstrong-Barnes and her beloved older brother, Francis, live in the big house in their tiny Scottish village, but the boundaries of class that traditionally separated their lives from those of the shop-keeping Dundas family are shattered by World War I. Handsome John Malcolm, her first love, would never have been Charlotte's husband, but when he falls at the Somme, she grieves deeply. Francis is a family embarrassment because of his antiwar views. Yet, his ideas and thoughtful approach attract competent Maggie Dundas, who left school at 14 but whose thirst for learning has not been satisfied. Her curiosity and willingness to educate herself strike a chord in him, and, when he finally enlists and is sent to the front, they correspond. The young women volunteer as nurses, ending up in France. Maggie's shop-keeping skills lead her to become an administrator, with opportunities never before available to a woman. Her younger brother lies about his age and identity, and disappears into the stream of young men sent to counter the German offensive and die in the trenches. The chaos and waste of World War I battlefields is clearly depicted here. The five protagonists are sympathetically portrayed, each with their own ideas about war changing as they themselves grow. The hopeful ending doesn't minimize the losses, but provides solace. This thought-provoking examination of the nature of that war and that world results in splendid historical fiction.-Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"An immensely readable, passionately written epic, with an involving, fast-moving plot constantly challenging readers' assumptions" * Guardian * "Young readers will find themselves swept along with Breslin's engaging cast into a world where duty and compassion must somehow co-exist" * TES * "Breslin brilliantly weaves the themes of emancipation, class, love, propaganda and the machinations of war into the story of how these young lives are changed with a light touch that belies the seriousness of the subject" * Financial Times * "Breslin's light touch and beautiful prose give the harrowing sights and sounds of the war a much more human feel . . . A novel that will stay with me for a long time" * The Bookseller * "Theresa Breslin is simply a superb writer and I strongly recommend this novel to all readers" * Teen Titles *

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