Review Detail

 
Young Adult Fiction
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0

A Good Coming-of-Age Story

While considered a classic in young adult and children’s literature, "Johnny Tremain" is probably not a book that many young adult students will be dying to borrow from the library or buy from a local bookstore. It is an older book about historical events and the Newbery Medal Award winner from 1944, so it’s not the newest, shiniest, most desirable piece of YA lit on the market. However, the age of this book does not diminish its high quality or its value as a great piece of historical fiction.

"Johnny Tremain" is the story of a boy’s coming-of-age in a time of national revolution and upheaval. The story begins during the days before the American Revolutionary War in the town of Boston; tension between the American colonies and Britain is becoming tauter and conflict draws nearer as the novel begins. At first, Johnny Tremain is not very interested in the hostilities between Britain and the colonies; he’s more concerned with his hoity-toity position as the best silversmith’s apprentice in the Lapham household. His skill at his trade makes him quite arrogant at first, like a proud little rooster, and he lords over the other two apprentices, much to their irritation. His bullying of his fellow apprentices and his pride are two major factors that lead up to the accident that causes him to lose his cherished ability to work with silver. An outcast and a burden in a household that once held him up as a treasured asset, Johnny is forced to look for work elsewhere. He eventually befriends an apprentice who works for a Whig (rebel) newspaper and ends up working for the paper himself as a newspaper deliverer. Johnny slowly becomes a part of the rebellion against England, joining in on recognizable historical events and eventually becoming a rather important part of the war effort in some ways. He grows from a prideful, brash firebrand of a boy with no future into a respectable, helpful young rebel who is ready to fight, hopeful about his own life and the birth of the new nation and ideals he’s come to love and appreciate.

Out of the cast of characters, Johnny and Cilla Lapham, his childhood friend and, later, love interest, grow up the most over the course of the novel. As the main character of a coming-of-age novel, Johnny’s evolution from boy to young man is easy to see throughout the book and is quite fun to trace. Cilla is a side character but important in her own right as the most prominent female character. She changes from a young girl who dotes on her silly, selfish little sister into a brave and loyal young woman who is independent and steadfast. The romance between Johnny and Cilla is light and well done, and it is not the focus of the novel but a good side plot. Other characters are notable and make an impression on the reader, such as noble Rab, boisterous Mrs. Lapham, tiresome Mr. Tweedie and posh Lavinia Lyte. Paul Revere, John Hancock and Doctor Joseph Warren also step out of history and into the novel; it is easier to see them as real people instead of the distant and austere Founding Fathers after reading Forbes’ work. Even some of the British characters were portrayed as sympathetic and admirable. The setting is vividly realized, and the reader can feel immersed in smells, sounds and sights of 18th century Boston.

"Johnny Tremain" may not appeal to some YA readers, mostly those who like thrilling, fast-paced works. Forbes’ writing style might feel antiquated and possibly stiff to some readers, and there also seems to be a general lack of interest in this particular historical period. Others will immensely enjoy the detailed view into Pre-Revolutionary times and the start of the Revolutionary War through the life of a boy becoming a man. I thought it was a good read, and I would recommend it for middle schoolers, especially those interested in history and wars.

Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Glow
When thrift-store aficionado Julie discovers a series of antique...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Stolen Secrets
After an abrupt move across the country to San...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Tracker's Canyon
Thanks to his dad’s coaching, sixteen-year-old Tristan is one...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Book of Fire
Life outside the domes is not possible. At least...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
This Body Won't Break
The truth doesn’t always set you free. Orphaned as...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Gears of Fate
Centuries have passed since the Fey conquered Earth, forcing...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Mother Cary's Butter Knife (Shadows & Light)
The smallest of three brothers, Keenan Mowat had a priceless...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars
Did you know that the earth is covered in three...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Three Sides of A Heart: Stories About Love Triangles
You may think you know the love triangle, but...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The November Girl
I am Anda, and the lake is my mother....
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Approximately Yours (North Pole, Minnesota)
Danny Garland is so out of Holly’s league. And...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A Penny Lost
Penelope Grace, usually forgotten under the shadow of her...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Chasing Eveline
Sixteen-year-old Ivy Higgins is the only student at Carmel...
 
4.7
 
5.0 (2)
Good and Gone
When Lexi Green’s older brother, Charlie, starts plotting a...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory 13
Where do light bulbs go when they burn out? ...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Somebody's Baby
Ever since Sloan won a reality singing competition, her music...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Dune (Dune Chronicles #1)
 
5.0
"Its a classic. Not much more I can add."
On A LARP
 
3.3
"In ON A LARP, Sid is known to be a hacker after a past school prank, and she's a good..."
Code Name Verity
 
4.3
"The year is 1943. The setting locations are England, and Nazi-occupied France. The book is told in a..."
Good and Gone
 
3.7
"Road tripping with a purpose, Good and Bad is a journey, the reader won't soon forget. Lexi's brother,..."
Glow
 
5.0
"'There's a certain kind of light that I should have been afraid of all along.' Radium was discovered..."
Release
 
4.0
"Wildly original--and completely realistic--Release is a whirlwind of a tale, one that will leave you both completely confused, yet satiated...."
Stolen Secrets
 
4.3
"What worked: This is an amazing tale with an unique twist on the holocaust and the survivors. What I really..."
Somebody's Baby
 
4.3
"SOMEBODY’S BABY by Lurlene McDaniel is the perfect follow up to her novel LOSING GABRIEL, which I absolutely loved. I..."
White Rabbit
 
5.0
"Rufus just wants one day of semi-fun, something he hasn’t had since his ex-boyfriend, Sebastian, wrecked his heart. But then,..."
The Last Namsara
 
3.3
"Asha, daughter of the king, is feared and admired as the greatest dragon hunter. She is nicknamed the Iskari, after..."
The November Girl
 
4.0
"Anda lives on an island on Lake Superior. For most of the year, she’s there with her father, trying to..."
Approximately Yours (North Pole, Minnesota)
 
5.0
"It’s been years since Holly was in North Pole, Minnesota, the place she loved with her grandmother. But now with..."
Daughter of the Burning City
 
5.0
"Daughter of the Burning City was an enticing, mysterious and compelling novel. It tells the story of Sorina, an illusion-worker..."
Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice #1)
 
4.0
"A mature middle-grade fantasy—sporting a medieval feel and steeped in an eerie English folklore ambiance which, at times, drifts over..."
Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (Bloody Jack #1)
 
4.7
"This first-person present-tense piece of historical YA fiction begins a bit like a Charles Dicken’s work—eighteenth-century London, poor destitute orphan,..."
The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4)
 
5.0
"I just really really love The Raven Cycle series! It was an amazing series and I just adored it! ..."
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3)
 
5.0
"Blue Lily, Lily Blue was another great addition to The Raven Cycle! It was an amazing novel filled with fantasy,..."
The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)
 
5.0
"I really loved The Dream Thieves! It was a fun, magical and captivating novel. The Dream Thieves continues Gansey's,..."
The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1)
 
5.0
"I really enjoyed reading The Raven Boys. It was filled with mystery, magic and adventure. The Raven Boys had..."
Echo After Echo
 
4.3
"WHAT I LOVED: Something tells me more than a few actresses could read this book and say afterwards "yep, some..."