Soldier Boys by Dean Hughes

*From School Library Journal Review on

Parallel stories follow teenagers Spence Morgan, a farm boy from Utah, and Dieter Hedrick, a farm boy from Bavaria. Stirred by complex feelings of patriotism and adolescent insecurities, both young men find themselves fighting for their respective countries in World War II. The first part of the story follows Spence from his small-town life to the rigors of basic training as a paratrooper; Dieter has left his family in order to supervise other Hitler youth, digging trenches on the German border. Then suddenly, both teens are thrust into the chaos and carnage of the Battle of the Bulge. Dieter has his eyes opened somewhat by a disillusioned and embittered corporal in his unit. Spence learns of war’s truths when his best friend dies. The novel comes alive in these final chapters, capturing the soldiers’ struggles to stay warm and to overcome their fear, and the battle scenes place readers in the center of the action. Hughes doesn’t flinch from describing the devastating effect of a bullet. Soldier Boys rises above the clichés of standard World War II stories and serves as a reminder that wars are often fought by young people like those we see every day in our libraries.


I actually have to say I did not really enjoy this book. It was really sad, kind of sickening, and really graphic. This book I would say is for someone who is in 9 grade and up. A lot of young boys are killed in this book and it is really graphic about what happens and what the boys look like when they are dead. This book would be a good book to learn a little bit about WWII. This book is categorized as historical fiction.. It is based on real things that happened, but the characters are not real, but this is not a light and fluffy book. It is a book about war. This, at some points, made me feel sick. Extremely sick. But it teaches you a valuable less about what the war is like. In my opinion this is a once time read book, but otherwise it had a good story line and interesting descriptions.

What do you think?

If you have read this book or something like it, tell me what you think about this book or this type of topic.