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by Dean Hughes

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Forced into an internment camp at the start of World War II, eighteen-year-old Yuki enlists in the Army to fight for the Allies as a member of the "Four-Four-Two," a segregated Japanese American regiment.

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Solid writing, and a likeable main character. I particularly loved the battle details, the way deaths weren't glossed over but each loss got a moment, and the gross but realistic descriptions of stuff like trench foot. It's a good choice for those reasons, but I think it's an even better choice for the depiction of racism and the darkness of what America did to it's own citizens during WWII. I bumped it up a star rating just for being the right book at the right time.

I recall learning about internment camps in high school, but I only remembered the broadest strokes. For a fictional story, this book did a great job conveying day to day details not just of being imprisoned stateside, but of one way someone might face overt and pervasive racism. Historical fiction isn't my favorite genre, partly because I'd rather just read non-fiction. But I think the preface and the author's note had some great resources and more details (including photos), and the story did a good job getting me to want to read more.

Give this to your teens who like military stuff, WWII stories, and books about male friendship. Also, give it to all the other teens too, because with the current political climate and hate crimes rising it would make for an excellent discussion. Pair it with the soundtrack to George Takei's recent musical Allegiance and a conversation about what our next administration may be planning for more American citizens: http://www.snopes.com/2016/11/17/trump-transition-muslim-registry/ ( )
  bookbrig | Aug 5, 2020 |
This is a historical fiction novel about World War II and the 442nd Battalion.

In February of 1942, all Japanese-Americans living on the west coast were relocated to internment camps because they were assumed to be loyal to Japan. They were called Japs, a derogative term for Japanese. First generation Japanese were not even allowed to be citizens. Second generation Japanese were American citizens but treated badly. Like other Americans, they wanted to fight in the war, defending America. They were only allowed to fight in Europe because it was assumed they would fight for the Japanese if sent to the Pacific. This novel is a fictionalized account of what it was like to serve in Europe as a Japanese-American.

Yuki and Shig are best friends, belonging in the same camp when they decide to enlist in order to fight for America and show that the Japanese are loyal to America. They are stationed in Italy. They quickly learn that fighting is not as they imagined. They wanted to come home with medals and brag about what they did. Now they know that it’s not glorious or something to brag about. War is scary with death next to each person. Their group, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, become the most famous in the war. They could accomplish what no one group could, however, it cost them many lives.

I found this novel a very true representation of war. It’s not beautiful: “It’s the worst thing human beings have thought up.” The visions of the past make the future difficult to see. The novel is also appropriate for middle school to show that violence and war are not something to brag about or wish for. It brought tears to my eyes because this is real violence, not fake that we read in novels, as this is a true historical account with fictional characters. It’s also a look at prejudice, being judged by your family. It’s a 2018 Lone Star selection and deserves to be so honored. ( )
  acargile | Dec 11, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Four-Four-Two by Dean Hughes brings to life a time in history that isn't often featured in young adult literature. While World War 2 books are very common, this one focuses on the experience of Japanese Americans, specifically the young soldiers who fought for America during the war. Yuki and his friend Shig join the army after being forced into an internment camp early in the book. They are assigned to the 442, a regiment made up entirely of Japanese Americans. The story of their wartime experience is well told, not hiding the brutality of war from the reader. The author's thorough research of the time period and population featured in the novel is evident as he shares quite a bit of detail about the 442 and the soldiers. I listened to this book and the narrator did a commendable job, it was very easy to listen to. This is a great addition to the historical fiction section of any bookstore or library. I received a free copy of the audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review through the Early Reviewers program. ( )
  karen813 | Mar 22, 2017 |
Yuki and his best friend Shig were busy being teenagers when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. Though American citizens, both suddenly found themselves considered enemies of their own country. Along with thousands of other Japanese American citizens, Yuki and Shig lost their homes and everything they owned when they and their families were forcefully relocated to an internment camp in the middle of a desert.

Eager to gain back the respect they felt they’d lost in the eyes of their fellow citizens, Yuki and Shig joined the army where they were assigned to the all-Japanese 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Yuki’s story of love, loss, friendship, and brotherhood will tug at reader’s heartstrings.

Hughes’ descriptions of the many battles fought by this extremely brave unit, along with the prejudice faced by these soldiers both in and out of the army, will prove to be eye opening to many readers.

Highly recommended for all high school and public libraries.

Book review link: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.com/2017/03/10/four-four-two-dean-hughes/ ( )
  sunshinealma | Mar 10, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Very well done! I received this book in audio form in exchange for a review. The book does an excellent job of portraying the men of the 4-4-2; their reasons for joining the military and fighting for a country that had seemingly disowned them. The challenges and horrors of war are well depicted without being so graphic that the story is lost on them. My son and I listened to the story together and were both visibly moved by it which says a lot for a 15 year boy. I've sense shared teasers about the book with several of my 5th grade students who have requested that our school library make copies available for reading. The audio version will remain a part of my classroom library to be used in a listening center with a follow up research project. ( )
  Mrs.Kaiser | Mar 7, 2017 |
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Forced into an internment camp at the start of World War II, eighteen-year-old Yuki enlists in the Army to fight for the Allies as a member of the "Four-Four-Two," a segregated Japanese American regiment.

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