Monday, May 20, 2013
by Valerie Patterson
192 pages; ages 11 and up
What happens when you do something good, something that helps people and something you believe in - and it goes horribly wrong?
When Jess's dad ships out to Afghanistan, she wants to stay close to him. So she and her friends form "Operation Oleander", a group that collects donations of school supplies for Afghan orphans. Jess, who was adopted herself, feels a special connection with the orphans caught in a war zone. She ships the supplies overseas, and her dad's unit distributes them.
Until the day the soldiers are distributing supplies to an orphanage and a bomb kills some, including her best friend's mother, and leaves her father critically wounded. The base commander orders her to shut down the operation and Jess finds herself suddenly on the wrong side of things. She wants to continue helping Afghan children orphaned by war, but how can she do it without putting soldiers like her father in danger?
A good look at contemporary military family life, and ethical questions facing the folks back home. This is part of the Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday round-up. Check out more great reading here. Review copy from publisher.