War and Watermelon by Rich Wallace
Review by: Lauren
Copy From: Publisher for the TLC Book Tours
Amazon Associate: Buy through link, we get small percentage
Official Summary: It's the summer of 1969. We've just landed on the moon, the Vietnam War is heating up, the Mets are beginning their famous World Series run, and Woodstock is rocking upstate New York. Down in New Jersey, twelve-year-old Brody is mostly concerned with the top ten hits on the radio and how much playing time he'll get on the football team. But when he goes along for the ride to Woodstock with his older brother and sees the mass of humanity there, he starts to wake up to the world around him-a world that could take away the brother he loves.
Review: While reading this book, it didn't always feel like an MG novel as it dealt with some big issues...mainly whether Brody's older brother (who he adores) will sign up for college in time to NOT be drafted and risk his luck in the Vietnam War. As Brody is only twelve, his point of view on the topic is limited to what he knows (not a ton) and what he hears (random information mainly from his dad's anger at his brother). In all though, this is a book for people much older than 12 as well.
I really enjoyed the time period. I wasn't alive then, and I'm sure a lot of people that read this weren't either...but that's what makes it interesting. Wallace did a great job making you feel like it really was 1969. He made you fear the war, love the music and experiences that go with it...the world definitely came alive in an unobtrusive way.
War and Watermelon has some deeper issues, but it's also just fun. You get inside the head of a 12 year old boy and it can't always be angst. It was a fairly short read, but not as a detriment to the story. It's definitely a perfect book to read this summer as it deals heavily with the lazy, crazy days of carefree-no-school fun.