Book Review: No Surrender Soldier by Christine Kohler

Growing up on Guam in 1972, fifteen-year-old Kiko is beset by worries: He's never kissed a girl, the popular guys get all the attention at school--but the worst part is the serious problems at home. His older brother is missing in Vietnam, his grandfather is losing it to dementia, and he just learned that his mother was raped by a Japanese soldier during World War II. It all comes together when he discovers an old man, a Japanese soldier, hiding in the jungle behind his house. It's not the same man who raped his mother, but, in his rage, Kiko cares only about protecting his family and avenging his mom--no matter what it takes. And so, a shy, peaceable boy begins to plan a murder. But how far will Kiko go to prove to himself that he's a man? Based on a true incident in history, No Surrender Soldier is the story of a boy grappling with ancient questions of courage and manhood before he can move on.
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed By: Madi B
My thoughts on this book are more...complicated than they are with most books. I'm usually either YAY or NAY but i'm more in the middle with this one. I thought it was a slow beginning (I carted it around for days just trying to get into it) I didn't get sucked in like I do most books, I was painfully conscious of my surroundings until the very end. (The whole reason we read is to ESCAPE! not to be in the limbo between book and real life!!! #nerdgirlprobs) But I think the best way to sort my thoughts is through a list so...
1. I really liked watching Kiko's character development mainly because I really hated Kiko's bloodthirsty streak (Which luckily I did NOT relate to!) and was glad to see it character-develop OUT of that boy!
2. I LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED Kiko's crush on Daphne!!! SO FREAKIN CUTE! Call that my teenage but it was my favorite part of the book! He was so shy and she was shy... it.was..ADORABLE
3. I liked Tomas! he was a great bestie to Kiko
1. I think the plot is good but hard for anyone to relate to, let alone the YA group! To kill or not to kill?? Then venn diagram of people who relate to that and people I don't want to meet IS A CIRCLE!
2. Either the plot needed to be sped up or the summary needed to include less. Page 154 is when I stopped reading stuff that was mentioned in the summary. PAGE 154 OUT OF 200! THAT'S A NO-NO!
3. The book is set in Guam so it has the foreign-book-feel to it. (I'm not being dumb there is  a certain feeling you get when you read books that take place in a foreign place) I can never put my finger on it! BUT IT EXISTS! man I sound like a lunatic. It may be because of the lifestyle difference between us and the characters. But then books like Divergent would technically qualify...but I don't get the feeling then...what if I don't get the feeling because our society is more like theirs than we know... 
My brain is done now.
Overall this was a good book. No Surrender Soldier is not a lighthearted read. Christine Kohler promised a deep read and gosh dang it she delivered one.

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