- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 and up
- Lexile Measure: 820 (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (November 8, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1481462520
- ISBN-13: 978-1481462525
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Four-Four-Two Hardcover – November 8, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Yuki Nakahara is American. He was born in California, wears jeans, and has never even visited another country—but at the start of World War II he becomes aware that other Americans see him as a foreign enemy. His family is one of the thousands of Japanese American citizens arrested and forcibly transferred to internment camps in the rural desert. Although depressed about their situation, Yuki and friend Shig decide to join the army to fight for their country and to prove once and for all that they are loyal to the United States. As the war wages on, however, Yuki realizes that he must respect himself and where he came from, and that neither war nor changing others' minds is as easy as he had imagined. Although this is a work of historical fiction, the author's thorough research about the boys of the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team and his meticulous descriptions of battle scenes bring the story to life without boring readers familiar or unfamiliar with the military lifestyle. The strong emotions evoked by the vivid details of battle and the other realities of war make this work sometimes difficult to read, but the excitement and compassion will keep even the most hesitant readers turning the pages. Those who follow the news will find connections between Yuki's plight and current events. VERDICT A solid purchase for collections looking to entice reluctant readers and those where historical fiction or war novels are popular.—DeHanza Kwong, Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, NC
* "The story of two young Japanese-American men who enlist in the 442nd Regiment, a segregated unit of Japanese-American soldiers and white officers that fought in the European Theater.... Hughes sends these men through the wringer. They endure foot rot and the stress of taking the next hill (which is worse is up for grabs), and they also grapple with the consequences: how does one reconcile shooting a kid, even if he's an enemy soldier? Yuki reflects that "what he and Shig were doing—and the Germans, too—was brutal, disgusting," and he would "spend his life trying to remove all this ugliness from his head and his hands." Throughout, Hughes never shies from the institutionalized bigotry that put these Americans of Japanese ancestry into harm's way more than their fair share of times. Nuanced and riveting in equal parts." (Kirkus Reviews, September 2016, *STARRED REVIEW*)
"Yuki Nakahara is American. He was born in California, wears jeans, and has never even visited another country—but at the start of World War II he becomes aware that other Americans see him as a foreign enemy. His family is one of the thousands of Japanese American citizens arrested and forcibly transferred to internment camps in the rural desert. Although depressed about their situation, Yuki and friend Shig decide to join the army to fight for their country and to prove once and for all that they are loyal to the United States. As the war wages on, however, Yuki realizes that he must respect himself and where he came from, and that neither war nor changing others’ minds is as easy as he had imagined. Although this is a work of historical fiction, the author’s thorough research about the boys of the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team and his meticulous descriptions of battle scenes bring the story to life without boring readers familiar or unfamiliar with the military lifestyle. The strong emotions evoked by the vivid details of battle and the other realities of war make this work sometimes difficult to read, but the excitement and compassion will keep even the most hesitant readers turning the pages. Those who follow the news will find connections between Yuki’s plight and current events. VERDICT: A solid purchase for collections looking to entice reluctant readers and those where historical fiction or war novels are popular." (School Library Journal, October 2016)
"Events, characters, and dialogue create an indelible sense of time and place.... Yuki emerges as a true hero during this dark period of American history." (Horn Book Magazine November/December 2016)
* "Hughes' writing effectively evokes the horrors of war and the internal conflict of young men fighting for a country that has treated them unjustly. The challenges of Yuki’s reentry into the States are also well conveyed: the guilt of survival, the difficulty of communicating the war experience to civilians, and the continued widespread racism.... This is historical fiction at its finest—immersive and inspirational." (Booklist, November 2016, *STARRED REVIEW*)
"Wartime hysteria leads hatred and racism to rear their ugly heads on high schooler Yuki Nakahara and other Americans of Japanese descent in December of 1941.... This historical novel accurately captures not only the disgraceful plight of Japanese Americans due to Executive Order 9066, but also the harsh realities of the war and the struggles to maintain a sense of humanity. The novel is well-written and fast-paced, easily holding the reader’s attention. It offers a lesson that might be relevant today in light of the current U.S. immigration controversy.... HIGHLY RECOMMENDED." (School Library Connection, January/February 2017, Highly Recommended)
"Dean Hughes exhibits his expertise in telling the tales of war.... Hughes hides nothing as he speaks the truth of war that no one but a soldier can rightfully comprehend. The fear is apparent in every page, as well as the underlying reality that although the government is the body deciding to engage in wars, men are the ones fighting them. The action in every page kept me reading nonstop, as Hughes pulled no punches in revealing the gut-wrenching pain of war...each word is packed with an incomprehensible amount of meaning. History and masterful storytelling build a narrative unlike all, as readers battle alongside the soldiers in FOUR-FOUR-TWO." (TeenReads.com, December 2016)
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Top customer reviews
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.
I have recently revived my interest in History and I recommend this book for anyone seeking to glimpse a sense of the “climate” at the start of America's involvement in World War II. The story begins at a time when the U.S.A. relocated approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans, many of whom were American citizens and almost all from the West coast, to internment camps for "national security." This is a work of historical fiction and can serve as an introduction to a deeper study of the U.S. during World War II. Dark human prejudices of public sentiment and injustices are balanced against the main character’s coming of age and achievement of the basic virtues of courage, loyalty, bravery and honor.
First his father was arrested, then Yuki Nakahara’s family was forced to abandon their California home and farm during the forced relocation, to an internment camp in the Utah desert. He and his best friend, Shig went through the motions of attending their last year of high school in the camp while planning to enlist in the army to prove their loyalty to America. Yuki had glorified, unrealistic dreams of becoming a dashing war hero.
Basic training was a grueling taste of reality that didn’t prepare the boys for what lay ahead in Europe. Yuki and Shig became part of the Second Battalion of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The Four-Four-Two was comprised entirely of Japanese Americans who were viewed as expendable and consequently were sent into extremely difficult confrontations.
The two teenage friends became soldiers and men through seemingly relentless adversity and combat, injury and death. I have to agree with the description on the liner notes, “gut-wrenching, thought-provoking, heart-pounding story of war and identity.” As my 12-year-old once said, “It starts the movie in your brain.”
I enjoyed Four-Four-Two as an audiobook. Narrator, Kirby Heyborne brought a powerful dimension of emotion to the novel by Dean Hughes.
The review copy that I received was an audiobook in CD format.
But besides being a war story, this is also a coming-of-age tale, with the boyish Yuki being forced to be a man. It is also a bit of a romance, as he writes home to the girl he left behind, the girl he'd marry... if he survived.
This is the absolute best audiobook I have ever listened to! I love it. The story is terrific, and the narrator (Kirby Heyborne) delivers it in such a powerful, heart-felt way. Heyborne really throws himself into each and every part, shouting when they shout, whispering when they whisper, being out of breath when they are, talking in girl's voices for the girls, and speaking accents (not always very good ones, but kudos for trying!) ranging from German, to Japanese, to Southern, to New York, to Hawaiian Pidgin English. Without the use of sound effects, you can hear and feel the grenades exploding and the guns firing, just from Heyborne's passionate voice.