Ross is fed up with being on the losing side, as Bruntsfield Primary football team suffer another humiliating defeat. But after football practice each week he goes to visit his grandmother, and this week she has a special present for him. Pat digs out a pair of old football boots and strip which belonged to her father, who once played for Heart of Midlothian Football Club. Ross is amazed that his great-grandfather, Jack, had played for the famous Hearts. As he finds out more about Jack, an incredible story unfolds -- a tale of Edinburgh's young heroes and a battalion of footballers and fans who fought in the First World War at the Battle of the Somme. Based on the true story of the 16th Royal Scots, otherwise known as the 'Heart of Midlothian Battalion', this moving book brings a fascinating moment of Scottish history to life. Jim Killgore interweaves the present day life of an ordinary football-mad boy with a story of young men who were sent to war. He focuses on the friendships that develop as the lads play football and learn to become soldiers together, making this remarkable story enjoyable and accessible for young people.
Summary taken from GoodReads.com
Length: 160 pages
Source: NetGalley ARC
Publication Date: July 1st 2011
As you can tell I've been reading quite a few juvenile fiction books as of late but by no means am I going to be reviewing books for this age group and nothing else. I will be reading and review other types of books soon.
Anyways on to the review!
I thought that the book was pretty good. Considering I don't know much about soccer "football" it wasn't hard to follow the story. I thought that the idea behind it was interesting. The story revolves around Ross the 12 year old soccer player who has two left feet and the story his Grandmother Pat tells him about his great grandfather Jack who was a star player of his favourite team before he went to fight in WWI.
The story switches from Ross's point of view and that of Jack as Pat tells the story of her father growing up from being a sickly child to one that would play for a major team. For Jack things appear to be going well until the war broke out and he and his team signed up to fight. He ends up seeing some action and gets injured and never plays soccer again. I actually liked Jack's part of the book was the best part because he became the main character which at first I thought was weird because I was wondering where Ross fit in. As Ross learns more about his great-grandfather he gains more confidence on the field.
I thought that the story was well written, the characters are easy to relate to and I think that the book shows that WWI wasn't fought by old men but that it was fought by young men like Jack. Jack had what he wanted in life. He had a nice family at home with his parents and siblings, he had a job and he was an up and coming star on his soccer team but he was able to give all that up to fight for his country and was willing to die trying. I wonder if many kids out there know how bad the wars really were.
I know here in history class we focused a lot on WWI and WWII in our history classes and we studied all the countries who participated but I know that elsewhere there isn't as much focus or that the focus is only on the country that people were born in. To me this is wrong. It was a WORLD war respect should be given to all those who fought.
I would recommend this to younger reader aged 12 and up and I think boys especially would like it.
*I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my free and honest review.
★ ★ ★