Scholastic. (The Sixties Trilogy: Bk. 3). Oct. 2019. 480p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780545106092.
Gr 5-8–This third volume of Wiles’s “Sixties Trilogy” evokes the conflicts, chaos, and deep emotions occurring in 1969 during the United States’ controversial involvement in the Vietnam War. A fictional story follows Molly, 14, and Norman, 17, two cousins driving across the country in a school bus from Charleston, SC, to San Francisco to bring back Molly’s brother Barry, who ran away to escape the draft. A wide-ranging collection of primary source documents—photographs, quotes, newspaper articles—help readers understand the historical context with its complex voices. The result is a “documentary novel” of great impact. Over time, Molly and Norman grow as they encounter people with different experiences and viewpoints—an army deserter, an interracial couple, a gay couple who are war veterans—and integrate these experiences into their worldview. They see black people and white people eating together, come across people living in a commune, and meet a variety of people from the music world. Molly learns to think more deeply about racial relations. Norman develops greater self-confidence and the ability to judge character. Their bond deepens as they mature. Music pervades the narrative, mirroring how it (according to the author’s note) “saturated, permeated, buoyed, and informed Everything.”
VERDICT This is a book that takes root in readers’ mind and stays there. A gripping read with a satisfying conclusion.

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