The Angels are desperate for a meeting place; Adam and Mike can't have friends in while their parents are at work, Hector's sisters are too bossy, Brendan lives far away. The shack in the park looks like a perfect clubhouse, but no sooner have they claimed it than they're challenged by the bigger, more numerous, and less principled Terrestrials. But honor must be served; despite misgivings, Adam tries to enlist new members and urges his troop to ""war."" In the eventual battle, the Angels are betrayed by a hoped-for recruit, and the arsenal includes rocks, sticks, and a rifle brought by a Terrestrial. When Adam tackles him, a dog is shot and killed -- the beloved pet of a troubled old veteran, a handsome animal the boys had hoped to make their mascot. Levitin's easily read narration is carefully framed to present issues -- the boys' need for place and purpose, how trying to prove themselves imposes decisions, the war's escalation from game toward tragedy. Characters aren't realized with any depth in the simplistic result; still, questions of deep concern to boys like Adam are accessibly addressed and left realistically unresolved.