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The Fighting Ground by Avi- 4 Stars!

Today's Tea Choice: Green tea or coffee (still have some holiday flavors left over!)

Trigger Warnings: Battle scenes, some blood and gore, death

Genre:  Middle grade/ YA historical fiction

Pages: 160


April 3, 1778: He may be just thirteen, but Jonathan knows he's ready to go to the war against the British. He can handle a gun. He yearns to battle for glory, just like his brother and cousin. So when Jonathan hears the tavern bell toll, calling men to fight, he runs to join them. He doesn't realize that in just twenty-four hours, his life will be forever altered -- by the war, by his fellow soldiers, and by the terrible choices he must make.

My Review:


Once you start reading Avi’s novels, you can’t stop, which is why so many of his books are on my blog! Each book takes you right into the pivotal moments of history, and this one focuses on the Revolutionary War, mid-battle.


What I loved:

POV:  The POV is first person and told through young 13-year Jonathan. Despite his father’s warnings, he is inspired to go to battle with his brother and cousin. At the beginning of the novel, we see a naïve perspective that slowly changes over the plot’s course once Jonathan understands the truth about war.

Setting/Historical Context:  The setting is written in the mid-1700s during the Revolutionary War. The many battles are sweeping across the country, and we see the townsfolk are in fear of these battles crossing into their town borders.  Like many of Avi’s historical fiction novels, this one doesn’t disappoint. I felt as if I was right alongside Jonathan, walking the many miles to battle in nervous anticipation/

Characters:  Right away, we meet Jonathan, who I mentioned is a naïve character inspired by tales of heroism despite his father being wounded in the war and forbidding him from signing up. Despite this, Jonathan runs away when he hears British are invading a nearby settlement.


Plot/Pacing: There aren’t any chapters in this book; instead, Avi uses different times to indicate events, which really keeps the reader in the current moment. And as the events unfold, Jonathan learns that war is not black and white, good and bad. You are expected to do what your commanders say no matter the ethics involved.


Subtext/ Symbolism: One of my favorite techniques used in this novel was weather reflecting the tone. At the beginning of the novel, there is warm spring weather, representing youth and Jonathan’s innocence. A storm lurks beyond the town, right before the battle, a foreboding warning to our young narrator. And during the long march to battle, the weather becomes hot and stifling with the men sweating profusely in their traditional colonial garb.

What Needed Improvement:

This was another excellent novel by Avi, but my only critique is I wish it was longer! It was a very short read that you can get through in 1-2 days.


Authors Can Learn:


How to write solid in-media-res moments

The importance of historical context

How to write characters who change throughout the plot (character progression)


Readers Will Love This For:


A thrilling yet insightful novel into the revolutionary war battles and a young teenager’s journey into these terrifying events.



I give this book 4 stars.





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