War and Millie McGonigle

Knopf. Apr. 2021. 224p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781984850102.
Gr 4-6–A fresh take on the classic home front, World War II middle grade novel. In beachy Southern California, Millie, who is white, worries about the news of the war in Europe while also coping with her family’s financial stresses, her sister’s illness, and a relative who recently moved in with the family. As the story moves toward Pearl Harbor and further into the war, Millie befriends a new girl from Chicago and sees how the war affects those who live in her town. Though some plot points are left unfinished or are not fully fleshed out, this is an authentic look at wartime through the eyes of a tween. The story brings in nuanced aspects of the era including the response to the draft, anti-Japanese racism, and social and labor issues that linger from the Great Depression. Readers will enjoy Millie’s authentic voice and the scenes with her family and friends, as well as Millie’s emotional growth after the death of her beloved grandmother.
VERDICT A must-buy for school and children’s libraries looking to expand their historical fiction selections.

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