SONNY’S WAR by Valerie Hobbs
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 14 & up
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In what is now almost historical fiction, Hobbs (Tender, 2001, etc.) poignantly evokes the turbulent sentiments of 1967–68, a time when the nation was not only at war against Vietnam, but also against itself. Even small-town Ojala, California, where the favorite pastimes are hanging out at the Frostee and drag racing, does not go untouched by the conflict. The year begins with death of 14-year-old Corin’s father; although a smoker and a drunk, he was a reassuring presence who answered all her questions. Cory’s older brother, Sonny, becomes her new confidant, but when he is called to duty, Cory and her mother must cope with their new lives—Cory surviving high school, her mother running the family café, and both constantly worrying about Sonny. Cory turns yet again to another man for support—her Jesus-sandals–wearing, longhaired, contentious-objector history teacher, known simply as Lawrence, who tries to raise awareness of the war, but upsets the school board in the process. Her infatuation with Lawrence leads her to a “peace” rally, where she discovers his true nature. This realization; Sonny’s letters filled with fear, despondency, and disillusionment; and a growing relationship with her mother lead Cory to question the lines that divide generations, love, peace and war, and heroes. Now she must find her own answers. Occasional divine interventions from Cory’s father ease her way and lighten the subject matter. The author shows what she does best, crafting a believable, multifaceted plot with vivid, well-rounded characters who learn to love each other—and themselves. Hobbs just gets better and better. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 2002
ISBN: 0-374-37136-9
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2002


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