The Civil War of Amos Abernathy

HarperCollins. May 2022. 304p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780063119864.
Gr 5 Up–A well-written coming-of-age novel that encompasses many valuable topics—discrimination, teen relationships, friendship, the LGBTQIA+ community, and underrepresented history into one wonderful story. Amos, who is white, volunteers as a reenactor at the Living History Park along with his best friend, Chloe, who is Black. There they meet Ben, who becomes a fast friend to the duo and a burgeoning romanntic interest for Amos. But their relationship faces some challenges, including Ben’s religious family. Amos tells his story from his own point of view interspersed with letters to Albert D.J. Cashier, a Civil War soldier who, in the present day, might have identified as a trans man. Amos learns about Albert while he is researching LBGTQIA+ Americans throughout history, seeking representation of people like him from the past and hoping to win the Living History Park’s exhibition competition. Readers will feel the tension as Amos and his friends fight discrimination to bring the project to fruition. Leali’s character development is superb. The story begins in the present day, but readers learn of the events of the past year in Amos’s commentary as well as his notes to Albert, which then converge again in the present. While this technique is insightful, the time shifts may prove slightly confusing to some readers.
VERDICT Overall, an entertaining and engaging read with diverse characters and subject matter. A necesary addition to all collections seeking heartwarming tales of first crushes, and the importance of centering marginalized history.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing