Books by Dean Hughes

FOUR-FOUR-TWO by Dean Hughes
Released: Nov. 8, 2016

"Nuanced and riveting in equal parts. (Historical fiction. 12-16)"
The story of two young Japanese-American men who enlist in the 442nd Regiment, a segregated unit of Japanese-American soldiers and white officers that fought in the European Theater. Read full book review >
Released: March 9, 2010

Jay's dad has been declared Missing in Action in the Pacific during World War II, so he and his mom have moved from Salt Lake City to small-town Utah, where his mother's family lives. Life there is unsettling, especially when his mother's men friends appear. Jay finds new buddy Gordy's derogatory references to his partial Navajo heritage upsetting but stays silent so he can play baseball. His grandfather's status as an elder of the Mormon church helps, but it isn't until he works on the farm with Ken, a release worker from a Japanese internment camp, that Jay begins to see the bigger picture of what matters and what doesn't. Many forms of prejudice appear in the narrative, with thoughtlessness and injustice intertwined. Navajo spiritual elements combine with Jay's Mormon faith in a delicate balancing act. Hughes manages to pull it all together for an ending that is touching and somewhat realistic. The plot serves the theme well, as events in Jay's life are illustrated by multiple instances of bias. Subtle and engaging. (Historical fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2006

It's 1969. Rick Ward is out of high school and realizes he hasn't experienced anything real in life yet. He wants to be a writer, and enlisting in the army might give him something to write about—brave heroes, tough realities and truths found close to the action, at the heart of darkness. He wants to publish a first novel and send a copy to his former girlfriend and sign it, "With love, from the guy you didn't believe in." By the time he fights in Vietnam and returns, he's not exactly sure what truth he has found, but he does know that his war experience is about the people—about Trang and Whiley and J.D., actual people—not everyone's vague conceptions of war. Simply written and taut, like the novel Rick might write, Hughes's work will appeal to a wide audience. It's a war story and a coming-of-age tale of a boy seeking real experience and a way to make a difference in the world. A solid companion to Philip Caputo's photo-essay 10,000 Days of Thunder (Sept. 2005). (note on sources) (Fiction. 12+)Read full book review >
SOLDIER BOYS by Dean Hughes
Released: Dec. 1, 2001

World War II has begun and, against his parents' wishes, Spencer Morgan enlists and finds himself at Fort Benning, Georgia, training to be a paratrooper. Standing between him and the glory in battle he envisions are two big towers, 250 feet high, which "stood over the place like a couple of hangman's gallows." Spence will have to jump from one of the towers as his ticket out of training and into combat. In alternating scenes, Dieter Hedrick rises through the Hitler Youth, helps dig the anti-tank trenches of the Siegfried Line after D-Day, and with little training becomes a member of the Fifteenth Army. The stories converge at the Battle of the Bulge, and the two boys actually meet. In prose more akin to the grunts of the infantry than the flights of the Airborne, Hughes's story never quite gets off the ground. This may be too big of a story to keep short, and the author writes summarily rather than developing lively scenes with action and dialogue. When Hughes lets dialogue carry a scene or in the poignant letter the Morgans receive from Spence's sergeant, the story has some power, as does the satisfying conclusion. Readers will wish there were more here than isolated bits of good storytelling. Still, there is enough here to sustain the interest of young readers interested in WWII. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
THE TROPHY by Dean Hughes
Released: Nov. 1, 1994

Danny Williams has a lot on his mind. He's new on the basketball team and the pressure is on. At the same time, he is trying to score with his alcoholic father and make him proud. Like the other boys on the team, Danny is nervous before he plays. But unlike the other players, Danny's nervousness is compounded by his father's disruptive behavior at games. Through it all, Danny perseveres in his rigid training regimen and his belief in his father. Ultimately this double loyalty pays off. Danny is rewarded with a gold trophy; his father stops drinking and is finally able to express in actions and words how proud he is of Danny. Hughes (Nutty's Ghost, 1993, etc.) provides many exciting basketball scenes as well as a meaningful lesson in patience and hard work. A high scorer for preadolescent boys. (Fiction. 8-12) Read full book review >
NUTTY'S GHOST by Dean Hughes
Released: March 31, 1993

On the heels of his triumphant acting debut (Nutty the Movie Star, 1989), Nutty Nutsell—now known as ``Parker House''— captures the lead in The Tae Kwon Do Guy, a bad movie that (he realizes) is perfectly suited to his lack of talent. Worse, a disgruntled ghost is out to sabotage the flick and bring an end to the career of mercurial director Damian Deveraux. Can Nutty survive the ghost-hunting schemes of his brainy friend William Bilks, and also bow gracefully out of the film project? Yes—especially once he discovers that the ghost is willing to make a deal. Nutty displays both common sense and a stout heart in this seventh episode in a lightweight, popular series. (Fiction. 10-12) Read full book review >