Two American youth evade capture by the Japanese soldiers who invade the remote Aleutian island they live on just as the U.S. enters World War II.
After her father’s death, 12-year-old Izzy is eager to visit the quiet, mysterious island that he wrote about in his books. Matt is bitter about being forced to move to the island with his gruff and irritable father, who has a secret job for the U.S. government. Having a few run-ins with each other on the boat and island, Izzy and Matt aren’t getting along and plan to stay out of each other’s way. But shortly after the U.S. declares war on Japan, their isolated U.S. territory is invaded by Japanese soldiers. Everyone is captured and taken to Japan except for Izzy and Matt. They must learn to work together to survive the island’s harsh winter and the war. Told in the alternating first-person voices of Izzy and Matt, this is a compelling story about putting differences aside and finding the strength within. As she did in Genevieve’s War (2017), Giff captures how quickly war can overturn ordinary life and poses the idea that enemies are also human. Both Izzy and Matt present white; the children’s friendships with two local kids give readers an outsider’s introduction to the Aleut culture.
Two captivating perspectives create a story of survival and humanity in the middle of a harsh winter and harrowing war. (Historical fiction. 8-12)