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No Surrender Soldier by Christine Kohler

Source: Borrowed from Anna
Hardcover, 208 pages
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No Surrender Soldier by Christine Kohler is a well researched debut novel for young adults, though probably on the older end of the age range 11+ given the graphic pig slaughtering and mature themes.  Set in 1972 during the Vietnam War, it still has roots in WWII.  During WWII, the Japanese invaded and many of the inhabitants of Guam were used and abused by their captors, particularly the women.  Fifteen year-old Kiko Chargalauf inadvertently learns about his own family’s history with the Japanese invaders.  It’s more than he can take when he stumbles upon a straggler in the boonies on Guam behind his house, as he tries to separate reality from anger when he realizes the crimes Japanese soldiers committed against Guam’s residents.

“Stragglers are what we call Japanese soldiers who never surrendered after World War II.  As far as I was concerned, my parents used fear of stragglers as an excuse, like some people use the boogie man, when they didn’t want me to go into the boonies.  I shook my head.  ‘No straggler would last that long.'” (page 29 ARC)

At its heart, the novel is a coming of age story.  Kiko is struggling with his new responsibilities at the family tourist shop, as his brother is overseas fighting in Vietnam as a pilot.  But he also has become his grandfather’s babysitter as the old man’s dementia gets worse, transporting him to those terrifying days in WWII.  As Kiko struggles to become a man and still enjoy his childhood, he’s forced to grow up more quickly than he’d like — fighting every step of the way.

On the flip side, readers will see the internal struggles of Lance Corporal of the Japanese Imperial Army Isamu Seto as he not only scavenges for food, jumps at every noise, and tries to stay hidden from military forces that could imprison him.  Tenacity and courage bring Kiko, Seto, and the grandfather together as the past is forgiven and a mutual respect grows between them.  No Surrender Soldier by Christine Kohler is about perseverance, forgiveness, and growing up, but it’s also about how war threatens and shapes all of us, even those who are not directly fighting in it.

About the Author:

Christine Kohler is the author of NO SURRENDER SOLDIER. She is a former journalist, teacher and writing instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature (ICL).

3rd book (WWII and Vietnam War) for the 2014 War Challenge With a Twist.

 

 

 

5th book for 2014 New Author Challenge.

 

 

 

3rd book for 2014 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

  • I’m glad you liked it, too. I thought it was really well done, and I learned new things about the war, especially since this was the first book I’ve read set on Guam.
    Anna´s last blog post ..Mailbox Monday — February 3

    • I haven’t read anything about Guam during the wars either.

  • I remember when an old soldier was found hiding like that. This book sounds terrific!
    bermudaonion (Kathy)´s last blog post ..Guest review: Shovel Ready