Spearhead (Adapted for Young Adults): An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II

Delacorte. Feb. 2022. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593303450.
Gr 9 Up–Right from the compelling introduction, teens will be immersed in this story of freedom, heroes, and self-discovery set during World War II. Readers are transported to almost three months after D-Day and will intensely experience war through main subject Clarence Smoyer’s eyes. Clarence, an American tank gunner and part of the titular Spearhead unit, is described as “a gentle giant” who “simply wanted to slip through the war without killing anyone. Or getting killed himself.” Readers will become emotionally invested in multiple people profiled. Gustav Schaefer is a small, 17-year-old German tanker soldier whose dream was to be a train conductor, not a soldier: “Gustav didn’t feel right about fighting Americans.” These people and their emotions, as displayed in Mako’s work, will leave readers saddened, horrified, and hopeful. Though this book has been adapted for young adults, it does contain many depictions of graphic war violence.
VERDICT Readers will be able to envision the atrocities of war through the eyes of these individuals. Due to its content, this is best suited for readers in high school and young adult sections in public libraries.–

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