224p. Scholastic. Oct. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-38428-5; ebook $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-57659-8.
Gr 8 Up—Invasion tells of the events of D-Day and the weeks immediately following from the perspective of Josiah Wedgewood, a young soldier in the U.S. Army's 29th infantry. Woody and his fellow battalion mates are only vaguely aware of what will be happening when they arrive at Omaha Beach. The landing, as history knows, is horrendous. Woody watches as dozens of his companions are killed. Immediately after, the men begin to fight their way inland. The action is nonstop and the losses are heartbreaking. The segregation of the U.S. Army is only lightly touched upon, as Woody runs into an African American he knew from his hometown; the majority of the novel is the 29th infantry's push across the French countryside. Myers eloquently conveys how exhausting war is physically and emotionally. He writes simple sentences that are often short, sharp, and blunt. The language is somewhat innocent, a bit gentler than what readers are used to now; but since it is a novel about war, there are some F-bombs and some earthy talk about bodies. Woody and his mates are thinking of home, while trying not to think in general. There is a subtle bit of reader manipulation; although the book is written in the past tense, the D-Day landing chapter is in present tense, adding to its tension. With the constant forward momentum of the soldiers, and the continuous battles they fight, this novel can be hard to read, but it is also hard to put down.—Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CT
When Josiah “Woody” Wedgwood enlists in the army, he is immediately sent to England to prepare for the Normandy invasion, harboring only vague ideas about the nature of war. But when he lands on the beach in France, the reality of battle hits him. “We are at the water’s edge. A soldier runs past us onto the sand. Suddenly he falls to his knees and clutches his belly. As his body bends forward, I see the bullets rip into his bowed back. We move away from him. Move away from the terrible bullets.” Facing terror, Woody questions what he’s doing, makes desperate pleas to God, and worries about when and where to go to the bathroom. The brutal battle scenes and wartime musings are vividly told. But there’s also a sense of the times, such as the naive feelings Woody has for a girl back home or the racist and xenophobic attitudes among his fellow soldiers in the 29th Infantry Division. These Myers delivers, along with his themes, subtly through Woody’s matter-of-fact observations as his ragged battalion fights its way through Normandy. Woody, who is white, volunteered with hometown acquaintance (and important wartime friend) Marcus Perry, Robin Perry’s grandfather in Sunrise over Fallujah (rev. 5/08) and Richard Perry’s uncle in Fallen Angels (rev. 7/88). Marcus, a black soldier, faces grave danger driving a truck but doesn’t participate in direct combat (although the book jacket art seems to belie this fact); in 1944, troops were segregated and menial jobs frequently relegated to black soldiers. And this was the Good War. betty carter

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