Boom! A bomb exploded next to you. You watch the life drain out of many. Many hundreds of men and women. Some are young children or babies. Bratatat! Gun shots all around you. You see lives being taken. You’re not being shot at though. You are shooting. You’re not a monster. You’re just scared. Scared that you will die. You’d do anything for another day. When you’re not scared, you help heal all the weakend soldiers. Even the ones that were trying to kill you minutes ago.
Alan Gratz wrote a remarkable book called Grenade. But there are two sides of every story. On the other side Japanese were forced to fight. But it’s not their war. They’re not the ones who bombed harbors. They’re the ones living on the land. If they didn’t fight they had to leave. But leaving wasn’t good. Leaving had seemed like a good idea, but as soon as they took off, terror struck. For the ones still on the island were given two bombs. One to kill the enemies. The other to kill themselves.
But this wasn’t a nightmare. It wasn’t a horror movie. It wasn’t even a made up story. It was all happening. Americans, Japanese, and Okinawans were fighting. World War 2 was ending, but another war was starting. This was the reality to many Japanese, Okinawan, and Americans in 1945. Imagine tumbling down a cliff and landing in mud. Mud with maggots in it. They shiver on to you. You can’t run since there is a war all around you. This was one of the experiences one of the main characters experienced in the war. Imagine promising to find your loved ones, but risking it all for them. You would try to shimmy past bombs. To survive your elders. And try to survive. The other main character was very important. They are so related that I have to say this was the most spectacular book I ever read.
The book focuses on two characters, Rei and Hideki. Rei is an American teen fighting in the war. He had a rough childhood but he cares for every loved one he has. The other boy Hideki is a not so brave teen. He has a mabui inside of him. The mabui of Shigtemo the coward. Alan Gratz accurately illustrates the war in the book Grenade. Using historically accurate facts, the author manages to make us feel for the characters as if we were in the war or were the soldiers. With every bomb that explodes, we curl up in worry. Every time the character wants to use his bombs, we hope no one will hear him and attack.
Alan Gratz even honors Japanese and Okinawan culture through mabuis. (Spirit or souls) One of the characters collects pictures throughout the book. He make us want to act like these heroes or perhaps be them. He make us honor our loved ones, since you only realize that you had everything you needed when they’re gone.
Overall the book is good. But some parts are just disturbing. Well I guess if you’re reading a book about war you should be cautioned, but some parts make you need to take a long break. Like the way I described the mud scene was a lot better than the real version. I would only recommend this for above average readers, and only if you are comfortable with death. This book is more for 7th-8th, but it is good for 6th graders. It is also historically accurate, so I would definitely recommend this book.