3 out of 4 stars
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Jane's War by Ann Carlisle is a young adult novel set in England during the Second World War. Readers experience the war through the eyes of a child. Jane moved to a new family and a new school. Separation from her mother and lack of information about her father made her feel abandoned and insecure.
Jane wanted a happy family. She longed for a loving mother and a caring father. Sadly, the seven-year-old believed that both had disappeared from her life. She had no memories of her father. Her mother posted an ad in the paper asking for a family to care for Jane so she could keep her job at the hospital. Jane went to live with the Easton's and became friends with Harry, the Easton's son. Her mother's visits were infrequent, strengthening her belief that she was unloved and unwanted. Jane's lack of knowledge about her father deepened her insecurities. Was her father away fighting in the war? Had her father abandoned her, just like her mother? Would she have a family after the war was over?
Jane's life took on a different focus during and after the war. The first part of the book presented Jane's life with her second family, her adaptation to a new school, and her struggle with her mother's apparent lack of interest in her life. Jane's War is an excellent book to accompany history lessons for children in the fourth to sixth grades as the main character matured from age seven to twelve in the story. The author presented the battles Jane faced in her family and in her new living situation. At school, the children had drills to prepare for an air raid. In real life, Jane and her friend, Helen, experienced an actual air raid. Young readers will identify with Jane's fears about fitting in at a new school and her happiness about participating in the school play. The second part of the book focused on Jane's immature decisions and the consequences of her drastic measures to reunite her family.
The story followed along chronologically with a month and year opening each new chapter. There were a few instances when the months went backward. I found this especially distracting when one of the characters died, and according to the dates given, had been buried a month earlier. I also noticed a repeated paragraph in the short span of four pages.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The author did a fantastic job of giving readers a different perspective of the Second World War through the eyes of a child. Unfortunately, the mistakes in the timeline and other misspelled words affected the score. Jane's War is an exciting read for young adults, readers of history, and history teachers. I would also recommend this book to any military family with children. People who do not read young adult or history novels would not enjoy this book.
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