Heneghan, James. Wish Me Luck. Farrar Straus Giroux, 1997. ISBN 0374384533. $16.00. 197 pp. A 4+ FI Reviewed by Kathe C. Homer Tom Bleeker, the “new kid in town,” is hard for Jamie to figure out because he always scowls and tries to prove himself, not letting anyone get close to him except his little sister, Elsie. Jamie learns to respect Tom's courage, but doesn't consider him a friend. When the German air raids threaten homes and lives in Liverpool, England, children are evacuated for their safety. Twelve-year-old Jamie and the two Bleeker children are put aboard a government-sponsored evacuation ship heading for Canada. All three are confused, angry and upset with the decision. Their parents, however, think it is the safest place to go. Unfortunately, when their military escort leaves, the evacuation convoy is hit by German U-boats, and two of the ships are destroyed, along with most of those on board. In the ensuing horror, Jamie and Tom prove themselves heroic beyond their years and grow close as they recognize what's really important. Wish Me Luck is based on a true incident from World War II. The characters are believable and the action is compelling. The story is geared toward the older child in subject matter. (For example, Tom's attitude toward others and life is due to his drunken father's abuse of him and his mother.) It is very carefully crafted and seems to be historically accurate, giving a good picture of a small slice of history in the Second World War.
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