I really enjoyed Kirby Larson's newest novel. Duke is set in 1944 and 1945. Hobie Hanson, our narrator, has a dog he loves and adores. Duke is his very best friend in the world. Hobie doesn't have that many friends; Scooter has just left town with his family because of the war. Max Klein is a new kid in his class. But Hobie doesn't know if he has friend potential. Especially since the other kids in his class have chosen to pick on him. Some days he thinks it might be better to have no friends than to team up with the loser kid. So early in the novel, Hobie makes the hardest decision of his young life. It is a decision that haunts him, a decision that changes everything. He decides to loan Duke to the army as a recruit in their K-9 division. It breaks his heart; it breaks his sister's heart. (Her name is June). But there is a small part of him that knows it is the right thing to do, the brave thing to do, the selfless thing to do.
I loved reading about Hobie's life at school, at home, and on the baseball field. I loved reading all the letters. His father who is a pilot writes when he can as does Duke. I loved the historical details, loved getting a sense of what it was like to be a kid during the war. I thought the family details were great too. I really liked Hobie and June and their mom! I liked his growing friendship with Max as well. It is a complicated relationship, but, I think Hobie becomes a better person by the end of the novel.
I would definitely recommend this one!
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews