Martin Conway comes from a family filled with heroes and disgraces. His grandfather was a statesman who worked at the US Embassy in London during WWII. His father is an alcoholic who left his family. His sister is an overachieving Ivy League graduate. And Martin? Martin is stuck in between--floundering.
But during the summer after 7th grade, Martin meets a boy who will change his life forever. Jimmy Harker appears one night with a deceptively simple question: Will you help?
Where did this boy come from, with his strange accent and urgent request? Is he a dream? It's the most vivid dream Martin's ever had. And he meets Jimmy again and again--but how can his dreams be set in London during the Blitz? How can he see his own grandather, standing outside the Embassy? How can he wake up with a head full of people and facts and events that he certainly didn't know when he went to sleep--but which turn out to be verifiably real?
The people and the scenes Martin witnesses have a profound effect on him. They become almost more real to him than his waking companions. And he begins to believe that maybe he can help Jimmy. Or maybe that he must help Jimmy, precisely because all logic and reason argue against it.
This is a truly remarkable and deeply affecting novel about fathers and sons, heroes and scapegoats. About finding a way to live with faith and honor and integrity. And about having an answer to the question: What did you do to help?
The Heroes Walk
Looking back now, I can see that I spent my seventh-grade year in a state of depression, imprisoned behind the red-brick, black-iron walls of All Souls Preparatory. All Souls is a private, mostly Catholic school in Bethel, New Jersey, about twenty miles east of Princeton.
Back when I was a student, All Souls had two prominent statues on the campus. Franklin D. Roosevelt stood outside the Student Center, which was a little strange since the real President Roosevelt couldnt stand. Yet there he was, with one hand on a cane and the other hand raised in a friendly wave. John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, stood outside Kennedy Hall. He was pointing energetically into the air, as if he were speaking.
On the last day of school that year, I was sitting in class in Kennedy Hall and looking through the window at FDR. Across the road, the Lowery Library was nearing the end of a major renovation. As part of this, Father Thomas, the headmaster of...
The action took a little too long to pick up, it wasn't until about 1/3 of the way through the book that Martin had his first time travel experience. However, the reader who gets through this long build up will find him or herself truly engaged in Martin's life and will be ready to root for him as he takes on his personal demons and rights some historical wrongs. Recommended for teen readers aged about 11-15 who enjoy historical fiction and are mature enough to enjoy a book that poses more questions than it gives answers.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (723 words).
Edward Bloor is the author of
Tangerine (1997), Crusader
(1999), Story Time (2004)
London Calling (2006) and
was an ALA Top Ten Best Books for Young
Adults, a Horn Book Fanfare Selection,
and a Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book.
Formerly, an English teacher in Florida public high schools, he became a senior editor at Harcourt Brace School Publishers in 1986. He was born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1950, educated at Fordham University and is married to Pamela Dixon, a teacher. They have a daughter and son, and live in Winter ...
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