Author: Kathleen Benner Duble
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Published Date: February 1st 2011
Genre: Historical Fiction, YA, WWII
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★.5
In this gripping journey, a fifteen-year-old pacifist must decide what he believes as he faces the reality of World War II.
The year is 1944, and fifteen-year-old Noah Garrett's parents have died from smallpox. Without any other family nearby, Noah is sent to live with his uncle, whom he has never met, in Camp Hale, Colorado. There is one small problem with this decision: Noah has been raised a pacifist, and Camp Hale is a U.S. military base for a little-known division of winter warfare soldiers called Phantoms. Can a boy who's never seen snow and doesn't believe in war survive among these soldiers?
Noah's struggle to resolve his upbringing with the horrors of World War II into a way of life he can believe in takes him on an incredible and riveting journey from the training camp to the frontlines of battle. Based on historical events, the story of Noah and the Phantoms of the Tenth Mountain Division is one of courage and conviction, brotherhood, and the joy in living.
"I can see you're feeling bad about standing up for what you believe in. It's 'cause of all that polite stuff you were raised on. Well don't you do it... Don't let me or anyone other man bully you into doing what you don't want to. You said no. Now stick by your decision and forget about it. That's the proud and right thing to do."
Noah is now an orphan with no family that he really knows to take care of him. So he is sent to live with his uncle who is in the military, who he has never met before nor heard much about. Once he's arrived Noah has to lie about his age in order to stay. The more her learns about his uncle and the war and the more training he gets to be a phantom (they work in the snowy mountains to stop Nazi's.) he starts getting confused on what he should do. He doesn't believe he should kill anyone, but he also sees how bad the people they are fighting for have been treated. Caught in a tough situation Noah has to do a lot of thinking in order to find his own way while fighting for his life.
"For me it's like this. I stand out here, and I see those mountains. And I realize that I'm free to do whatever I want to, live a life as I choose. And I know that I can't stand by and not let other people have that same freedom."
I loved learning so much about the phantoms. I had heard of the name before regarding what they did, but I didn't really understand what it was until this book. The author added in real life things that phantoms had done as well making the story all the more enjoyable. I hope to read more about them in the future.
"Maybe something good would come of it, but would any of them know until time had passed? War, Noah saw now, was the great gamble, sometimes necessary, sometimes not."