Into the Killing Seas

224p. Scholastic. Jun. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545726023; ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9780545726030.
Gr 4–7—Spradlin's latest foray into the fictional past revolves around two brothers who board the U.S.S. Indianapolis having already led more dramatic lives than many readers will have ever known. Searching for parents that may or may not be alive, Patrick, the elder of the two brothers, must fight to keep the pair alive with help from the wisdom and guidance of Benny, a tough Marine with a gentle side. The events turn from bad to worse to worst as sharks and Marines fight for survival in the Pacific Ocean. Spradlin's story is paced extremely well. The characters will hook readers, the plot will grip them, and the factual pieces will create a desire to learn more about the true events behind this fictionalized tale. The shark behavior is, at times, a bit too extreme to be plausible. Still, the story is enjoyable and reveals a tender theme about the power of the human spirit. Patrick finds strength and courage from unusual sources and manages the impossible in order to save his brother and himself.
VERDICT A marvelous fit in a social studies class, this novel would work well as a companion text to a World War II unit and will engage and connect students to the past.

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