- War Stories by Gordon Korman
Korman, Gordon War Stories. Scholastic, 2020 [240p] Trade ed. ISBN 9781338290202 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 9781338290219 $10.99 Reviewed from digital galleys R Gr. 4-7
There may be more than eighty years between then, but the difference dissolves when twelve-year-old Trevor Firestone is with his great-grandfather, G. G., who fills his head with stories about his World War II service as an underage infantryman at D-Day and onto French liberation. Now G. G. has been invited to be guest of honor in the fictional town of Sainte-Régine as the last surviving member of the American regiment who helped liberate the town, and Trevor won't miss this for the world. His father, raised by G. G., is more cautious, though, particularly when Facebook postings surface from a group named La Vérité that alleges Jacob Firestone was no hero. For G. G. the first days of their tour from Fort Benning to Omaha Beach and through the French hedgerows are a wondrous romp, with lots of opportunity to relive glory days and grouse about how hard it is to reconstruct events in this rebuilt, paved-over world. Menace escalates as they advance toward Sainte-Régine, and G. G. grows ever more grouchy and unnerved, even dropping hints that it's time for him to face a truth he's loathe to discuss. Korman balances the tenderness of unconditional trust and affection between generations, the grim thrills of battle stories, and a plausible reveal in which G. G.'s real and acclaimed [End Page 481] heroics are offset by the role he played in the destruction of a Resistance family that had saved his life. Told in alternating contemporary and historical chapters, this is a fast-paced tale that will engage kids who, like Trevor, would really prefer war to play out on a video screen—furious, glorious, and without irrevocable consequences. An author's note will be included in the bound book.