They rowed hard, away from the battleships and the bombs. Water sprayed over them. The rowboat pitched one way and then the other. Then, before his eyes, the Arizona lifted up out of the water. That enormous battleship bounced up in the air like a rubber ball and split apart. Fire burst out of the ship. A geyser of water shot into the air and came crashing down. Adam was almost thrown out of the rowboat. He clung to the seat as it swung around. He saw blue skies and the glittering city. The boat swung back again, and he saw black clouds, and the Arizona, his father's ship, sinking beneath the water.
-- from A Boy at War
"He kept looking up, afraid the planes would come back. The sky was obscured by black smoke....It was all unreal: the battleships half sunk, the bullet holes in the boat, Davi and Martin in the water."
December 7, 1941:
On a quiet Sunday morning, while Adam and his friends are fishing near Honolulu, a surprise attack by Japanese bombers destroys the fleet at Pearl Harbor.
Even as Adam struggles to survive the sudden chaos all around him, and as his friends endure the brunt of the attack, a greater concern hangs over his head: Adam's father, a navy lieutenant, was stationed on the USS Arizona when the bombs fell. During the subsequent days Adam -- not yet a man, but no longer a boy -- is caught up in the war as he desperately tries to make sense of what happened to his friends and to find news of his father.
Harry Mazer, whose autobiographical novel, The Last Mission, brought the European side of World War II to vivid life, now turns to the Pacific theater and how the impact of war can alter young lives forever.
Harry Mazer is the author of many books for young readers, including Please, Somebody Tell Me Who I Am; My Brother Abe; the Boy at War trilogy; The Wild Kid; The Dog in the Freezer; The Island Keeper; and Snow Bound. His books have won numerous honors, including a Horn Book honor and an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults citation. Along with his wife, Norma Fox Mazer, Harry received an ALAN award in 2003 for outstanding contribution to adolescent literature. He lives in Montpelier, Vermont.