AMARYLLIS by Craig Crist-Evans
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 14 & up
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In 1965, Hurricane Betsy ran the banana freighter Amaryllis aground on Singer Island, Florida, and now the monstrous hulk looms there, a symbol of Frank Staples’s experience in Vietnam: hurt, far from home, and “stuck with my nose in the sand.” The war has blown him off course, and now in a series of letters, he tells younger brother Jimmy what the war is like—friends killed, pot to ease the boredom, heroin to kill the pain, and letters to keep alive some connection with “the World.” Jimmy’s first-person narrative details memories of Frank: surfing, camping in the Everglades, rescuing a boy attacked by a shark, and coping with the family dynamics that turned Frank away. Crist-Evans weaves two pitch-perfect voices into a story that is immediate and emotionally honest, never reaching for easy answers or neat resolutions—but ultimately, with its almost painful realism, this is the finest depiction of war we’ve yet seen for young readers. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7636-1863-2
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2003


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