Book review by Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
Grenade Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 11+

Tense, gripping WWII drama has powerful cost-of-war message.

Parents say

age 12+

Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+

Based on 12 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 9+

It is to good for this world!!

It is such a great book on ww2 it is about to kids that are on different sides of the war. It is a great book to get you kids to stat reading. It is a easy reading level for 10 up that is why I put 10 up. Just a good book all in all

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 14+

The human cost of total war

Two boys on opposite sides of World War II, Ray and Hideki, live a beautiful story of suffering, pain, and redemption. We journey with them to discover what may be worth more than one's own life. These spiritual themes are understandable for a 9-year-old reader, I believe. **** My problems recommending this book for younger readers: (1) graphic suffering; (2) graphic violence; (3) copious violence anesthetizing the audience; (4) graphic guilt and inner monstrosity painted so thickly, reader empathy might be too heavy; (5) the spiritual messages may not become apparent until much of the violence has been absorbed. **** The movie raters had a hard time keeping Apocalypse Now 'R' and not 'X'. Here is a passage from Grenade that I found just as graphic: "He lowered his rifle and started for a woman with a baby in her arms. ... Ray watched in stunned horror as a Japanese soldier dressed as one of the Okinawans tossed aside the ratty blanket he hid beneath and shot the Old Man dead. More Japanese soldiers did the same, and all hell broke loose. ... When the last rifle fired, the Marines stood in the pouring rain surrounded by bodies. Some of the dead were American Marines. Some were Japanese soldiers. But many more of them were Okinawans. Refugees who had needed their help. ... Ray let the tip of his rifle drop into the mud and looked around in horror. In his panic he'd fired round after round into the crowd. He had to have killed innocent Okinawans. He knew it. In just a few awful seconds, he had become the monster these people were so afraid of. ... And the worst part was, Ray knew he would do it again when he had to." **** My 12-year-old daughter read Alan Gratz's Refugee. Knowing her reaction to Refugee, I'd like to read that book, too, before I stand by my age rating for this book. For now, I'd rate this book age 14. **** BTW I would give 4-1/2 stars if I could … I found the first half of the book not quite trite for being a lot like all the Vietnam movies that have come before.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence

Book Details

Our Editors Recommend

For kids who love World War II books and historical fiction

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