MINESWEEPER by Chris Lynch


From the "Special Forces" series, volume 2
Age Range: 12 - 14
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A surfer joins the U.S. Navy and fights in the Korean War.

Fergus Frew Junior loves the ocean despite its being the reason his father, Fergus Senior, died. It’s June 1949: Fergus has just graduated high school and has no plans except for catching sweet waves on the beach. On one such day, Fergus meets Duke, a U.S. Marine who borrows his surfboard without asking. Despite Fergus’ being hotheaded and having no interest in making friends, the two form a bond over their love of the sea. All the while, Duke—embittered by his experience with other Marines—encourages Fergus to join the Navy, selling it as an opportunity for a comfortable life living in pleasant locations. A tragic accident prompts Fergus to listen to his friend’s advice, and he joins the Navy with perilous consequences, as he is drawn into the Korean War. Tender moments between Fergus and his mother and the odd but interesting friendship between Fergus and Duke are unfortunately not enough to offset the dry writing and underdeveloped plot. The too-fast pacing leaves little room to form attachments to any of the characters or provide enough historical context for the events at hand. While promising at first, this quick read results in little enjoyment, much like one of Fergus’ listless, aimless summers. All American characters seem to be white.

A lackluster story with forgettable characters. (Historical fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 3rd, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-545-86165-6
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2019