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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Julie Berry's Lovely War is a romance about two young couples during World War I. Sexual content focuses on romantic feelings and a few brief kisses, but a Greek myth about an adulterous affair provides the framework. Wartime violence, including some atrocities, are described mentioning blood, injuries and pain but without being gory. Lots of accurate historical information and extensive notes at the end add more detail and explain which people and events are real. One mention of drinking alcohol. Soldiers in trenches talk about how to exhale tobacco smoke without giving away their numbers or position. Strong language is very rare but includes some racial slurs like "coon" and "negras," and there's one "s--t" and one "bastard." All four main characters are great role models for doing their part, even when it's hard, and they show compassion, empathy, and integrity. Messages are positive about what's worth fighting for and how precious and short life is.
What's the story?
In LOVELY WAR, the Greek god Hephaestus has caught his wife Aphrodite in an affair with Ares, the god of war. Hephaestus captures them in a magical net and wants to drag them off for punishment. But Aphrodite, goddess of love, wants to defend herself by telling the story of two young couples who meet and fall in love during World War I. The lives of Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette are about so much more than love, so Aphrodite calls on Apollo, Hades, and Ares himself to fill in the parts they played in the four young lives. From the Belgian countryside to the Harlem Renaissance, these four young people learn about living and loving, for the ages.
Is it any good?
This beautifully written historical romance has it all. Lovely War weaves love, loss, jazz, war, Greek gods, and so much more together with relatable and unforgettable characters, against the backdrop of sweeping changes in the lives of millions. Framing the two epic love stories with Aphrodite pleading her case to Hephaestus adds a timeless quality to the sweeping wartime romance.
Author Julie Berry is as skillful at narrating large-scale war action as she is at finding real poignancy in small, intimate moments. Keep a tissue handy for surprisingly moving moments sprinkled throughout.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Lovely War depicts World War I. Does it seem realistic? Did you know much about the war before you read this book? Go to the library or search online to learn more about the real people and events in the story.
Who was your favorite character? What are that person's strengths and weaknesses? What did you like about them? Were there any characters you didn't like?
Did you like that the Greek gods tell the story, or do their parts get in the way of the story? Look up the original myth about Hephaestus and the unbreakable net. How is it different from this book?
- Author: Julie Berry
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, History
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Viking
- Publication date: March 5, 2019
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 480
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.