Christine Kohler has written a fascinating story of a teenager's emotional plight in her book, No Surrender Soldier. She has mixed together a stew of emotional stimuli and showered them on her main character, fifteen year old Kiko. The story flows smoothly and is an easy and enjoyable read. Based on actual facts, a Japanese soldier did in fact hide out in the jungles of Guam for decades after the war, one can actually believe Kiko and his family might have been one of the many subplots that played out on Guam at the time of the Japanes soldier's discovery. A great read for the Young Adult audience and for the older reader as well.
Reviewed by: Bob Doerr (2014)
Growing up on Guam in 1972, fifteen-year-old Kiko is beset by worries: He's never kissed a girl, the popular guys get all the attention at school--but the worst part is the serious problems at home. His older brother is missing in Vietnam, his grandfather is losing it to dementia, and he just learned that his mother was raped by a Japanese soldier during World War II. It all comes together when he discovers an old man, a Japanese soldier, hiding in the jungle behind his house. It's not the same man who raped his mother, but, in his rage, Kiko cares only about protecting his family and avenging his mom--no matter what it takes. And so, a shy, peaceable boy begins to plan a murder. But how far will Kiko go to prove to himself that he's a man? Based on a true incident in history, No Surrender Soldier is the story of a boy grappling with ancient questions of courage and manhood before he can move on.