Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Echos of Dark and Light by Chris Shanley-Dillman

Echos of Dark and Light 
Genre: Historical Fiction, Adventure, Young Adult
Rating: 5 stars

When 17 year old tom-boy, Bobbi, learns that her older brother is MIA and assumed dead after the Battle of Gettysburg, she decides to cut her hair off and join the Yankee army posing as a boy to find him. Bobbi has never been very lady like, so acting like a boy isn't hard for her. She follows the army and is quickly taken on as their newest soldier. She must learn how to march, clean her weapon and learn the chain of command, all while convincing the other soldiers that she's a guy, just like them. Despite her best efforts to keep herself aloof, she ends up making friends with a handful of the soldier: Toby, a Texan who went against his family to fight for the Yankees, Preacher, a very religious man, Woody, who is as smart as a block of wood, and Kenny, who signed up with his twin brother. Bobbi has to deal with the horrors of war that she never took into consideration - terrible wounds, dead and dying men, hunger, exhaustion and coming to terms with killing someone else to save yourself.

I really loved this book. Bobbi was such a likeable character. She believed so strongly in her brother being alive that she would do anything for him. She was brave in the face of danger and loyal to her friends, almost to a fault. The guys she was friends with were great too - very individual and very real. You wanted to pet Woody on the head because he was so thick, and give Kenny a hug because he was so sweet. And Toby...well, he was just the best. Even the not-so-nice characters were realistic. You have bullies everywhere, even in war time, and her bullies seemed like some people I've known in my lifetime.

I think this book would be great for teens who are studying the Civil War to read. It's one thing to learn about war in a classroom, but somehow reading about it, even in fiction, really brings it to life.

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