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Missing in Action 1 Edition
Contributor(s): Hughes, Dean
ISBN: 1416915028     ISBN-13: 9781416915027
Publisher: Atheneum
    OUR PRICE: $15.29  
Product Type: School And Library - Other Formats
Published: March 2010
Annotation: In "Missing in Action," a teen boy whose father is declared M.I.A. during WWII befriends a young Japanese-American man.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Prejudices; Juvenile fiction.
Japanese Americans; Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945; Juvenile fiction.
Racially mixed people; Juvenile fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2009011276
Lexile Measure: 620
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.50" H x 5.75" W x 1.25" (0.75 lbs) 228 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 135337
Reading Level: 3.9   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 7.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q48252
Reading Level: 4.5   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 14.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall)
During World War II, Jay moves with his mother from Salt Lake City to rural Delta, Utah. As Jay makes new friends and hones his baseball skills, he confronts the prejudice against his Navajo heritage while struggling to overcome his own toward Japanese Americans. All the while, he wrestles with his complicated feelings about his missing-in-action father. Familiar characters and themes populate this solid historical novel. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2010 February #4)

Set in Utah during WWII, Hughes's (Search and Destroy) emotionally honest coming-of-age story follows the conflicted thoughts of 12-year-old Jay, who moves from Salt Lake City to a small town and contends with the casual racism prevalent among his new friends ("lazy Indian" stereotypes are common, and the boys nickname Jay "Chief" after learning his father is half Navajo). Jay's abusive father has been missing for months after his ship was torpedoed in the Pacific, and introspective, sensitive Jay awaits his improbable return with the hope that everything will improve once his family is reunited. When Jay's grandfather gives him a farm job alongside 17-year-old Ken, a fun-loving Japanese-American from California who has been relocated with his family to an internment camp, they become friends, and Jay has to confront his own prejudices (before meeting Ken, his knowledge of Japanese people was limited to unsympathetic portrayals in the movies and war posters of "ugly little yellow guys with glasses"). Hughes pens a candid and dynamic tale that illuminates the complexities of discrimination and the power of friendship. Ages 10–14. (Mar.)

[Page 68]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2010 March)

Gr 6–8—Hughes tackles a multitude of issues in this intriguing yet uneven World War II-era novel. Although Jay Thacker's part-Navajo heritage immediately marks him as "different" in his new town, his baseball skills and his grandfather's standing in the local Mormon community soften barriers in Delta, UT. The 12-year-old's newfound baseball buddies quickly reveal their prejudices against Native Americans, nicknaming him "Chief" and discussing their parents' views that Indians are lazy alcoholic thieves. Jay's own latent prejudices also surface when he learns that his grandfather has hired a young Japanese-American farmhand from the Topaz internment camp. Much to Jay's surprise, Ken wants to join the army once he turns 18 and has a gift for baseball, which leads to him becoming Jay's unofficial coach. Suspicion over Jay's friendship with Ken erupts at a teen social, leading to a runaway attempt by Jay. Although serious issues of Native American prejudice, family violence, Japanese-American internment, and homophobia are raised, the story ends too idealistically and neatly. Rather than focusing on one central theme, multiple situations and issues are juggled to a less-than-satisfactory end. Jay's mixed feelings toward his own ethnic heritage and his initial misconceptions about Japanese Americans are believable and realistic. Recommended where Hughes's novels are popular and as an additional purchase for multicultural collections.—Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA

[Page 160]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.