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Five 4ths of July Hardcover – May 12, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 710L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile; 1 edition (May 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670012076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670012077
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,558,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Starred review,
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (BCCB): 
"Headstrong and passionate, often confused but always resourceful, Jake Mallery earns a place ... as a brilliantly developed character who embodies the dignity - even heroism  - of survival in perilous times."  


"[S]traightforward and well-conceived novel. ... A fine addition to collections on the war and an eye-opening look at the horrors of British prison ships, where 11,500 Americans died." - Kirkus

Starred review, 
ALA Booklist: 
"Hughes has written a powerful and resonant story about the effects of war upon a family and a community, and readers will suffer and triumph along with Jake on his epic, five-year journey."  


"Jake's epiphany - that the ideals and life aspirations of Loyalists and Patriots can be one and the same - could have readers drawing parallels to today's global rebellions and often warlike freedom-seeking protests. ... A great adventure story with strong discussion potential." - School Library Journal


"Hughes' writing is vivid, and Mal, Tim, and the other captives emerge, not only as real persons, but as real adolescents discovering what the world is like and what impact an individual can make. This is honest, eye-opening historical fiction that illuminates the past and connects it to ourselves." - VOYA

“The book has all the excitement of battle and pain of romantic love, but its strongest point is its nuanced intelligence. Maintaining the same balance she employed in another fine YA novel, The Breaker Boys, … Hughes paints a picture not only of a nation divided, but also of individuals unsure of what's right and wrong, or even torn between self-interest and the good of their new nation.”

- The Philadelphia Inquirer

From the Inside Flap

"Smart and spirited, with remarkably real characters, Five 4ths of July is a historical novel with a contemporary edge - one that shines a very human light on the dawning days of our nation."

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Astute Tutor on August 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Not every American was a zealous patriot. Most teenage boys were probably like we are today: fun-loving, rowdy, and not disposed to risking their lives for an abstract ideal. Pat Hughes's exquisite novel posits an account with an uncanny immediacy, with characters, not idealizations, as real as the lamppost. The shocking British prison ships (right in N.Y. harbor!) are very like Guantanamo, existing beyond legal sanction and grim beyond patriotic platitudes. This story is gripping, real enough that the reader experiences what it must be like to have one's life interrupted and unhinged by war, the terror of war.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert B. Weaver on June 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is too little young adult fiction set during the American Revolution. "Five 4ths of July" (terrible title) is a modest entry to fill that void. It's a simple story, really, that reads like a short story with a longish prologue and short epilogue. The first couple chapters feel a little uncertain, but the novel hits its stride in the chapters involving action with the British and prison-hulk captivity. (Spoiler) This may be the only novel that deals with the prisoner of war hulks, and deserves points for that alone. There is a sub-theme about Benedict Arnold which starts promisingly but isn't developed nearly enough, and the British characters feel stereotypical. (These and the title cost a couple stars.) Still, I don't want to sound hard on "Five 4ths of July." I read the book and enjoyed it. It's not Kenneth Roberts, but it's a good first effort. There is some period-appropriate drinking and some off-stage romantic extra-curricular activity that might make it a difficult sell for reading in schools, and should certainly be taken into consideration. Nevertheless, it is a better read than the dreary "My Brother Sam is Dead," and a welcome new addition to American Revolution fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John on October 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Not normally a historical fan, but I fell in love with this one. Smart and subtle and thrilling. Heard it described aptly as the anti-Johnny Tremain (a book I hated in grade school).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bookworm1858 VINE VOICE on September 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was browsing in store when I stumbled across this book, which looked right up my alley. I love the American Revolution and I haven't read much about it lately, having focused on more contemporary books. Thus I requested this from my library and dove in once it arrived.

The structure is that the reader sees Jake Mallery on five consecutive Independence Days, 1777-1781. He lives in Connecticut and is a Patriot. And in the beginning, he's a brat, kind of a typical fifteen-year-old boy who's proud, impetuous, and has a bit of a cruel streak, which he exercises chiefly against his best friend's indentured servant, Hannah. Over the course of these five years, we check in with Jake on Independence Day to see him mature from Boy to Rebel to Solider to Prisoner to Patriot.

The prisoner section was especially interesting because it touched on something I didn't know about; namely the fact that American maritime prisoners were kept in ships near New York with a death toll of approximately 11,500 during the years of Revolution. As you might expect, the conditions were awful and various diseases are what caused the most death.

The part that was most intriguing for me was seeing Jake mature, as he moved from callow, cocky youth to a more complex man (and he's only nineteen at the end of this). In school, history is often broken down into black and white instead of taking into account the more multifarious opinions that occurred. In this case, no one was really 100% Patriot or Loyalist but instead existed in shades of gray. That kind of analysis happens more in college and other books, including this fine example of historical fiction.
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