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By Dar Williams

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Gr. 5-8. "In many ways, I'd grown up with 5 parents," says 11-year-old Amalee, who spends each Friday night together with her unmarried dad and his 4 "big, goofy friends" from university. Amalee has struggled to navigate a middle-school social scene that's ruled by means of suggest ladies, and while her father contracts a life-threatening affliction, she unearths her insecurities ballooning uncontrolled. It's her father's relatives of buddies who carry every little thing jointly and support Amalee realize her personal power, forgive the imperfections in herself and her kinfolk, and shape real friendships. Williams, most sensible referred to as a singer and songwriter, writes a poignant, humorous debut packed with absolutely endearing characters. Amalee's beautiful first-person voice sounds a piece too clever in locations, yet Williams writes a couple of preteen's emotional existence with piercing honesty, rather the paralyzing worry a parent's sickness brings and the suffering and guilt of error. Readers could be charmed by means of Williams' eccentric, cute characters and her sharp observations in regards to the international of either middle-schoolers and adults. -Gillian Engberg

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Sample text

The Viet Cong is like any army,” Hien explains. “It needs intelligence to learn what the enemy is doing. When you can, go to where the Americans work and live. Talk to the Vietnamese who work for them. Learn from them what the military is doing. If anyone gets suspicious, lie to them. Even lie to your aunt, if you have to. ” At night you begin going to bars where Americans go. You talk to the Vietnamese girls 59 who sit with them. ” Turn the page. ” she asks. ” “No,” you lie. “I support President Diem and the Americans.

But most likely he will torture you because he thinks you are with the Viet Cong. You wish you had never left your home and come to Saigon. 61 THE END To follow another path, turn to page 11. To read the conclusion, turn to page 101. ” The next day your unit attacks a nearby Viet Cong camp. S. helicopters fly out ahead of you to fire at the enemy. Ground troups also fire artillery at the camp. You receive an order to enter the camp. The Viet Cong sometimes set up booby traps, so you watch for punji sticks in the ground.

I want to stay with the company,” you say, looking at John. He smiles. You’re taking part in Operation Hastings. S. commanders want to stop the North Vietnamese from launching a major invasion. Your company is part of the first wave of Marines to land near the NVA position on July 15. ” John says to you over the whir of the chopper blades. “They’re shooting at us. ” You listen to the machine gun fire, frightened 40 about facing combat for the first time. But you have a job to do, and you’re ready to do it.

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