Book Review: Uncertain Solider

By Karen Bass 

4 Stars 

Uncertain Soldier by Karen Bass takes place in Alberta, Canada, during WW1. Max, the 12-year-old son of German immigrants, befriends Erich, a 17-year-old German prisoner of war. Max is bullied by his classmates because of his German heritage, and he becomes a scapegoat for their rage against the Nazis and the war. Erich is sent to a logging camp in northern Alberta to avoid threats in his POW camp. He works alongside Canadian lumberjacks and several other German POWs there. Erich was forced into joining the army by his father. Some of the extremist prisoners begin to target him because he shows a dislike of the Nazi system and happens to speak perfect English. Several Canadian lumberjacks consider the POWs as enemies and are hostile and distrustful of them. The two boys eventually meet at the logging camp, where they form an unlikely friendship due to their shared experiences. Erich's strategy for dealing with anger and attacks from those who hate him is to remain silent and not retaliate, which is what he advises Max to do. When "accidents" occur in the logging camp harming the prisoners, Erich is forced to find the saboteur. Max's bullying situation escalates. Things take a turn when Max goes missing. Erich must break the rules he made for himself in order to find his friend.  


I enjoyed reading this book. The characters were well-written and developed. I enjoyed how both boys were the main characters and how their perspectives were distinct but still similar in some ways. The characters in this novel go through a lot, which causes them to go against themselves in order to do the right thing. The side characters were also very enjoyable, with different and intriguing personalities and points of view. The one concern I had was that the ending didn't resolve many of the plot points. Certain issues are left unresolved, possibly so that the readers can decide what happens next. The ending could have been better. Overall, I enjoyed this book. 



Reviewed by Erica 

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