Foto do autor

David A. Poulsen

Autor(a) de The Vampire's Visit

23 Works 188 Membros 11 Reviews


Obras de David A. Poulsen


Conhecimento Comum




When I picked up And Then The Sky Exploded by David Poulsen from NetGalley, I must have missed this is a book designed for middle school aged readers, so I am going to review this on a curve. I am going to think back to younger me and ask- would I have enjoyed this book?

The story begins Chris at his great-grandfather's funeral. As the family is traveling to the gravesite, Chris sees protesters off to the side calling his "GG" a killer and a murderer. Chris researches why the protesters would do this and finds his GG was part of the Manhattan Project and was responsible for the creation of the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki.

This is also the story of Yuko, who was a school aged child when the bomb was dropped. She was badly injured, but survived the bomb. We read about her story throughout the book in bits and pieces.

Chris in his struggles decides that he would like to travel to Japan with his school's travel club. After a small battle, the club heads to Japan, where Chris begins to see an image of a little girl in a school uniform following him around. Will Chris find what he needs to be able to forgive or change his ideas about his great grandfather?

The main story of the book is really well done. Chris really does struggle with what his GG did. The question of a past generation's actions reflecting on the present generation is greatly focused on in this book. Chris struggles with his own image of his GG and this new information. We can see the information begins to taint Chris' view of his GG.

The trip to Japan was also well done. One can feel Chris' need to get to Nagasaki to see what happened. His trip to the Peace Park was well done and well written about. The closure he gets was also an incredible scene.

I called the above, the main story because there is also a lot written on football. Chris is part of a 9 person football team, along with his best friend. The book uses a lot of chapters to talk about his football games and the "big game" where Chris has to play a position he is not used to. During these chapters, I wondered why they were in there, other than to flesh the book out and to connect with younger readers. The big moment in the big game doesn't really grow Chris as a character or change what he is going to do in Japan, so I was left wondering what the purpose of this information was other than to have Chris do something other than research.

My main complaint was the end. I had a review copy and I am going to implore the editors to remove the ending I read. There is a very pivotal scene in Japan which changes Chris' life. It is the perfect ending, along with the opening lines of the chapter that follow. Right there, the ending is great and closes a well told story. It goes on to state that Chris and his darker skinned girlfriend go for a walk and are held up by skinheads who don't like the color of Chris' girlfriend's skin. It is so out of place, as race has not been an issue in any part of the book. I simply did not understand the inclusion of this scene and I really hope in the final edit, the scene is removed and the ending is re-written, as it has a perfect ending with the pivotal scene in Japan.

As a kid, I probably would have enjoyed this book. It was quick and well written. It was a good story and I liked the contrast of the two players in Chris and Yuko.

I gave this one 3.5 stars, but it would have been higher without that skin head scene.

I want to thank NetGalley and Dundurn for the book. I received the book for free in exchange for an honest review.
… (mais)
Nerdyrev1 | outras 5 resenhas | Nov 23, 2022 |
**I voluntarily read an Advance Reader's Copy of this book provided by Dundern Press Via NetGalley.**

Teenager Christopher Larkin discovers his great-grandfather's past when protesters attend his funeral. Only then does he understand that the kind, fun old man he knew worked on the Manhattan Project, helping make the nuclear bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. For Christopher this causes confusion and a strong need to make amends somehow. He travels to Japan on a school trip and meets an 81-year old survivor. But what can a 14-year old teenager do to make amends for a lifetime Yuko has lived with her physical and mental scars from August 6, 1945? His friends think his idea is silly. But Christopher discovers that sometimes listening and understanding can have a profound effect.

I enjoyed this book. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. My father fought in World War II, and I wish my youngest son had gotten to know him. But he never got to hear my father's stories of the war and how terrible it was. I want him to read this book, so that he can understand a little bit about the cost of the war on both sides. Sometimes I think in American history classes the decision to drop the bombs on Japan is glossed over as a choice that was necessary to end the war and stop the killing. On the other side of that decision were thousands of Japanese civilians who had no escape. In the end, the cost of war on both sides is immense. We should never forget what happened, and it should make us ever vigilant to preserve peace.

I was a bit hesitant to read this book at first. I imagined a fictional rant aimed at those who made the decision to drop the bombs and anyone involved, but that's not what this book is about. Far from it. This is a story of a new generation needing to understand that period and the roles their great-grandparents' generation played in it. The story is not one of blame, but an attempt to bring about a true understanding of peace and forgiveness.

I still have letters my father wrote home from Europe during WWII. I'm going to let my 12-year old read this book and those letters so that he has an understanding of the sacrifices made on both sides. Millions of lives were lost in those years, and we can never allow future generations to forget what caused the conflict, or the decisions that led to the deaths of innocents on both sides. It's staggering to comprehend that in one flash, one moment in time, thousands of people were killed and thousands more left to agonize with burns, radiation poisoning and other physical injuries. Two entire cities. Boom. Gone. All those people. Many incinerated in an instant.

It can never happen again.

And Then the Sky Exploded is well-written and not overly-graphic. The story is age-appropriate for middle-grade readers. I would have liked to see a bit more of the story written from Yuko's point of view just to get more of the story of her recovery and life after the bombing. But, that might be too much for younger readers. As it is, the story is powerful, moving and very well written. I think this book could be a great classroom tool for history teachers as enrichment during units on WWII for middle school students.

This book was just released today (October 15th, 2016) by Dundern Press. David A. Poulsen is the author of several books including Serpent's Rising and Old Man. Learn more about the author and his books on his website:
… (mais)
JuliW | outras 5 resenhas | Nov 22, 2020 |
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Any book with interesting dynamics between the students and their teachers is sure to get my attention. Thus, seeing the description of this book meant it was one I absolutely had to pick up.

Going in, we know that Mr. R, the much beloved Social 10 teacher, isn't going to be as shiny as we think. Unfortunately, that seems to be the entire plot. I found it personally difficult to believe Mr. R's position at the school (not among the students; that I understand) and the conclusion of his arc was anti-climactic at best. I enjoyed the premise, and the historical discussions (both of what happened and what some believe happened, on both sides), but overall the book feels like it reached for something and just missed.

It's not good, it's not's just "meh." I wished there'd been more meat.
… (mais)
KOrionFray | 1 outra resenha | Oct 5, 2019 |
Imagine if you found out that someone whom you loved and respected your entire life turned out to have done something atrocious. How would you handle it and what would you do to make amends? This is the situation facing Christian when, shortly after the funeral of his GG Will, he finds out that his great grandfather helped to build the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. Christian is determined to do something to make things better, but has no idea what he will do. When the destination for a school trip coincidentally ends up being Japan, Christian is determined to go and find out as much as he can once he’s there. He is supported by a girlfriend and an older deaf boy who, although his best friend, doesn’t go on the trip.
You also get to experience the days of Yuko, one of the few survivors of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
A well told story that will stay with the reader long after they’ve finished the book. I completely understand why it is a red Maple nominee.
… (mais)
JRlibrary | outras 5 resenhas | Jan 6, 2018 |


You May Also Like


½ 3.7

Tabelas & Gráficos