Monday, March 20, 2017

YA Review: Four-Four-Two

Four-Four-Two by Dean Hughes, November 8, 2016. 272 pages. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. Source: Borrowed from Library.
From the author of Soldier Boys and Search and Destroy comes a thought-provoking, action-packed page-turner based on the little-known history of the Japanese Americans who fought with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II.

Yuki Nakahara is an American.

But it’s the start of World War II, and America doesn’t see it that way. Like many other Japanese Americans, Yuki and his family have been forced into an internment camp in the Utah desert. But Yuki isn’t willing to sit back and accept this injustice—it’s his country too, and he’s going to prove it by enlisting in the army to fight for the Allies.

When Yuki and his friend Shig ship out, they aren’t prepared for the experiences they’ll encounter as members of the “Four-Four-Two,” a segregated regiment made up entirely of Japanese-American soldiers. Before Yuki returns home—if he returns home—he’ll come face to face with persistent prejudices, grueling combat he never imagined, and friendships deeper than he knew possible.

First Sentence
Yuki Nakahara was stacking wooden boxes according to size in a musty storage shed.

I have no idea why I decided to grab Four-Four-Two on one of my trips to the library. I had neither heard of the book nor the author; though I was familiar with the role the 442nd Regimental Combat Team played during WWII, as well, as the internment (imprisoning) of Japanese-Americans during the war.

  • I'll tell you this, the writing was not all that great. It came across as dull and stuffy. Which very nearly made me set the book aside for "greener" pastures. Yet, the story of Yuki Nakahara, the fictional character created for the book, really pulled me in. I had to know what would happen to him, his friend, and whether or not his family would be reunited and able to return home. While the writing was, well, plain the story itself, based on history, was well worth plodding through the writing.
  • One of the things that I really enjoyed about Four-Four-Two was the friendship between Yuki and Shig. Their friendship is probably what helped them the most throughout the book; and the camaraderie among the soldiers. It was interesting because the Japanese Americans came from all over the US; which brought many differences and difficulties as the trained as a unit. 
  •  I thought the author wrote very well about the actual conditions the soldiers faced during WWII. Most books, and even movies, tend to romanticize war by leaving out the real struggles that the armed forces faced, from foot rot, lack of proper clothing, and the means to stay dry and warm; so, yes, it was nice to see a more accurate portrayal of the conditions. 
  • There were two aspects of this book that made my heart hurt. The first being what happened to Yuki's father, how he was accused of being a traitor and imprisoned away from his family. I'm not trying to make light of what happened, just that it really saddened me to see how the whole ordeal broke him. While it was not the main focus of the book, it was a sharp point as it effected their entire family. Secondly, how Yuki and Shig could feel themselves being changed by fighting in the war. It was sad because you know so many of those who fought during both WWI and WWII, as well as those serving overseas right now, don't come back quite the same as when they left
 Final Verdict: Four-Four-Two- While the writing was not all that great, the story is one you should read. It's a pretty eye-opening glimpse into WWII and the role played by the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Four-Four-Two earns

A copy of this book was borrowed from the library. All thoughts are my own. 

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