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Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Don't you just love this cover?  It grabbed me immediately, and then I say the MC's last name is Dalton (my maiden name) and I was like, yeah, I've gotta read this one.  Before I get into my review though, let me tell you about the contest going on ...

BLOGGER PRIZE - Change your Facebook or Twitter profile picture to the cover of Back to Bataan and be entered for a $50 cash drawing. It could be anytime between June 26, 2012 and September 30, 2012, and must be up for at least a 24 hour period. In order to be eligible, please email that your profile picture has been changed so that we can confirm it.

Back to Bataan Summary
New York City, 1943. War is raging in Europe and the Pacific, while Jack Dalton is stuck attending Dutch Masters Day School. What Jack really wants is to enlist in the army, to fight...

Everything changes when Coco, Jack's "fiancee," throws him over for one of his classmates. Jack sees red and does something drastic. Then he runs away. Hiding out in a nearby park, Jack joins ranks with a group of vagrants and is soon under the sway of a man called the Leader, an ex-convict who is as articulate and charismatic as he is dangerous. The Leader turns Jack's world upside down. To put things right, Jack must prove himself a braver soldier than he ever imagined.

My Review:  *Note* The publisher provided me with an e-copy of the novel in exchange for my honest review.

I've got to say that I feel a bit misled about this book.  First of all, the cover is clearly YA.  The description of a boy who has a "fiancee" and wants to fight in the war is YA.  The main character, however, is ELEVEN.  For those of you listening, eleven is not YA.  Eleven is MG and so my expectations did not match up with the reality of this book.

Which is not to say that Back to Bataan is a bad book.  It's just not what I expected.  The whole time I read it, I felt like I was back in high school, reading some classic like Catcher in the Rye.  It was a nice, short little novel and had a character who found redemption in a very interesting way (and with some unlikely allies).  

It was one of those novels that I liked more as I read it, but ultimately, it just wasn't my style of book.  When I read, I'm looking for a fun outlet, not the next classic in the making.  If you, however, have more sophisticated tastes when it comes to reading, then by all means, check it out.  Just know what to expect going in, because it's not YA, and (despite the couple on the cover), there's no romance either.

Jerome Charyn's Bio:
Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”

Since 1964, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

ISBN: 9780985792206
ISBN: 9781476119076
Pages: 98
Release: July 1, 2012


Tribute Books said...

Jessie, thanks for taking the time to read and review Jerome's book.

Angela Brown said...

It's kind of late for me where I'm at but it looked like you said the MC was eleven, as in 11. Perhaps is there something on the cover that relates to something that occurred in the book? Neither of the cover models appear to be 11 or close to it. Did I miss something? I'm sorry, but from the premise described, I think I'm understanding what you mean about feeling misled.

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