Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Helen Frost
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Awikwa and James are twelve-year-old boys that spend their days hunting, fishing, and exploring in the nearby forests. Their lives are suddenly changed and their friendship is at risk when the War of 1812 makes it way to their small and remote Indiana Territory. They begin to question their loyalty when the Native American and British allies prepare to meet in Fort Wayne to battle the American soldiers. However, as people become divided, these two boys keep alive a deep friendship that war itself cannot tear apart.
With great historical connection, this poetic novel not only transports the reader to the War of 1812 but also opens a greater perspective as to what it was like for Americans and Native Americans going to war with their own neighbors and friends. The overarching theme of friendship is what inspires the reader to find peace in this desolate time of starvation and war. Helen Frost poses interludes about salt, creating a much deeper meaning and connection to the plot. With back-and-forth perspectives from both young men, there is a lot to be learned about love and loyalty during hard and strenuous times. This book is recommended for any who appreciate historical drama.