On Blood Road (A Vietnam War Novel)

On Blood Road (A Vietnam War Novel)

 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
237   0
Write Review
On Blood Road (A Vietnam War Novel)
Author(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
October 02, 2018
ISBN
978-1338197013
Buy This Book
      
The last place on earth Taylor Sorenson wants to be is in Saigon in the middle of the Vietnam War. His mom dragged him here to visit his dad, who's stationed at the US embassy, and Taylor is bored out of his skull. One night, during an embassy dinner, he decides to sneak out to see the Tet celebrations in the city. But before he makes it very far, fighting erupts across all of South Vietnam--and Taylor is captured by the North Vietnamese Army.
Realizing he could be an important bargaining chip, the NVA decides to move Taylor to the north. The only way there is the Ho Chi Ming Trail, a series of dangerous paths that snake from South Vietnam through Laos and Cambodia before finally reaching North Vietnam. But thousands have died on the trail, and Taylor doesn't know what's waiting for him at the end.
What follows is a harrowing journey during one of the most controversial wars in US history, where one boy is forced to confront the true cost of war, and what it really means to survive.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0  (1)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A  (0)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A

Excellent Novel of Vietnam

Taylor Sorenson is a typical rebellious teen of 1968, sneaking out of his posh apartment to hang out with friends in the Village and generally irritating his mother. When she decides to go visit his father, who works with the government and is stationed in South Vietnam where he has a major but undisclosed role in the war operations, he isn't pleased that he has to be away from his friends, but decides to make the most of his travels by sneaking away from the embassy to go to a Tet (New Year's) celebration at Bunny Bunny Go Go. Unfortunately, he is intercepted by military police, who tell him the party goers would just rob him blind, so he's better off at home. Even more unfortunately, gunfire erupts, the MPs are killed, and Taylor is held hostage by the North Vietnamese Army. He makes friends with an older man named TJ, who helps him survive initially, but who doesn't last long. Taylor eventually ends up in the care of Phuong, Trang, and Vu, who brutally march him across the countryside. Luckily, both Phuong and Taylor speak French (not unlikely in the 1960s) and are able to communicate. Phuong is fairly nice, although Trang and Vu are not, and after Taylor saves Phuong from drowning, Phuong treats him a bit better, although she is very dedicated to the reunification of Vietnam. Even though it may have cost her her entire family, Phuong believes in this mission and wants to get Taylor to the Hanoi Hilton so his presence can be used as leverage against his father. Crossing a war-torn, defoliated country side is dangerous, and Taylor and Phuong barely survive by eating snakes and other creatures they can find, often becoming violently ill. As they approach their destination, will Taylor's father's connections be able to rescue Taylor before it's too late?

Good Points
Like this author's Sink or Swim, this has a lot of good details about the gruesome fighting, devastation caused by bombing and chemical weapons, and techniques for torturing prisoners. Not details I want to read, but my readers who like books about war definitely do. There are not a lot of middle grade novels about the Vietnam Conflict, and this is a great one to add to the list that includes Lynch's Vietnam series, Kadohata's Cracker, and Hughes' Search and Destroy.

I appreciate it when these details are offset by discussion of deeper philosophical ones about how to treat others. WHile young readers might want lots of descriptions of fighting, it's also good for them to understand how devastating war can be for those who are involved in it. I especially appreciated the scene where Taylor saves Phuong because, in part, it's the right thing to do. It is pointed out, however, that part of his reasoning for saving her is that his other captors are meaner! This had a nice balance, and the structure of it will make it appeal to readers of outdoor survival adventures as well.

Since many middle grade readers today have grandparents who were involved in some aspect of the Vietnam conflict, this is a fantastic book to give those interested in this time period, and is paired well with the nonfiction accounts by Partridge (Boots on the Ground) or Freedman (Vietnam: A History of the War).
Was this review helpful to you? 

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Remarkably You
New York Times bestselling author Pat Zietlow Miller celebrates individuality...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Our Little Love Bug! (Heart-felt Books)
You're the precious gift we dreamed of. You...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bird Watch
From the author of the acclaimed Tap the Magic Tree!...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
What About Harry?
From New York Times bestselling illustrator Derek Anderson comes the...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Roary the Lion Roars Too Loud (Wee Beasties)
Help little ones learn how to use their inside voices...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
It’s the year 2191 and the last known civilization hides...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Haunted
Clean slate. That's what Hendricks Becker-O'Malley's parents said when they...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Art of Losing
On one terrible night, 17-year-old Harley Langston’s life changes...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Beyond a Darkened Shore
The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war....
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
OverRun (The OverRuled Series, book 2)
TWO LIVES BOUND BY ONE LIE. Magic...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Step-Spinsters
Once upon a time, in a land far, far...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Glamour of Midnight
Fae bounty hunter Loftin’s life depends on him finding...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Just For Clicks
Mommy blogs are great . . . unless the...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America
Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, and...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
i am Elephant, i am Butterfly
When sixteen-year-old Simone Wheeler is accepted into the elite Camp...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Mike
MEET FLOYD. He's a tennis star. Possibly good enough to...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Our Little Love Bug! (Heart-felt Books)
 
4.0
"This adorable board book features touchable pages along with messages of love. The left side features large words and a..."
What About Harry?
 
5.0
"Sam and Harry are best friends and they do everything together. One day, they decide to be kings and make..."
Roary the Lion Roars Too Loud (Wee Beasties)
 
4.5
"This delightful board book teaches children about vocal volume in an entertaining and easy way. Roary loves to use his..."
The Once and Future Geek (The Camelot Code #1)
 
4.0
"Guinevere and Arthur get along quite well, practicing their fighting and trying to stay out of the way of the..."
How to Defeat a Wizard (Marty Pants #3)
 
4.5
"Marty is still at war with Simon, and irritated beyond belief that everyone thinks the other boy is charming when..."
The Terrible Two's Last Laugh
 
4.5
"Mile and Niles, pranksters extraordinaire, are back for their last year at their school. They start the year off right,..."
The Other Side of Freedom
 
5.0
"I loved The Other Side of the Freedom - the writing, the story, the close-knit Italian family, and the early..."
Gogi's Gambit (The Lost Rainforest #2)
 
5.0
"The first of the series follows the panther Mez. This one follows Gogi the monkey. Born under a special moon,..."
From Night Owl to Dogfish
 
4.0
"Avery and Bett are very different girls. Avery lives with her architect father in New York City, loves to write,..."
Queen of the Sea
 
4.5
"Young Margaret lives on an island convent. She doesn’t know who her parents were, but enjoys living among the nuns,..."
Wings of Olympus
 
4.0
"WINGS OF OLYMPUS is a middle grade fantasy that those who love horses and Greek mythology won't want to miss...."
The Ark Plan (Edge of Extinction)
 
5.0
"Over all this is like a mix between The Hunger Games (tyrannical and evil government willing to kill children) and..."
Ocean Renegades! (Earth Before Us #2): Journey through the Paleozoic Era
 
4.0
"In OCEAN RENEGADES, Ronnie takes a trip into the Paleozoic Era with Miss Lernin. Here, she learns all there is..."
The Key to Everything
 
4.0
"Eleven-year-old Tash has been carted off to camp against her will, and she'll be there for a month while her..."
Shine of the Silver Dragon: A Branches Book (Dragon Masters #11)
 
5.0
"This one picks up where the last one ended. Maldred the evil sorcerer is back and wants to gain control..."
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
 
5.0
"Edward Tulane is a distinguished, but vain, china rabbit. Edward’s girl Abilene loves him and he loves her right back...."
The Competition Begins (Junior Ninja Champion #1)
 
4.0
"Ty Santiago's family runs a gym that has a ninja training obstacle course, so when there is a junior competition..."
UFO Spotted!: A Branches Book (Hilde Cracks the Case #4)
 
5.0
"Hilde is at it again to get a factual story for the newspaper. This time, it's a mysterious flash of..."
Ghoulia
 
4.0
"To Ghoulia, she's just the average girl. To us, she's something completely different: a zombie. Ghoulia's aunt wants her to..."
Lights, Camera, Carmen! (Carmen #2)
 
3.5
"Lights Camera Carmen is a quick-to-read tale of a zealous and outspoken kid destined to make it big. ..."