Twelve-year-old Jewels Stokes doesn’t have an easy life, but her spunk and determination at least make it interesting. Her brother Rex, a senior in high school and a nerd at that, takes life pretty seriously and mostly thinks his sister is a pest. Their mother hasn’t the best reputation in the small coastal town of Sea Park, Oregon, and the two kids are left pretty much on their own. Jewels has one true and faithful friend, Tommy Kaye, a respected resort owner who has contributed generously to the town.
When Pearl Harbor is bombed on December 7, 1941, people are shocked, but uncertain just what it means. Where is Pearl Harbor, anyway? But when the facts are uncovered and the townspeople realize the Japanese are suddenly their enemy, their rage is directed at Jewels’ friend Tommy Kaye, who is of Japanese ancestry.
The town erupts into paranoia and it’s obvious that Tommy Kaye is in danger. When the FBI gets into the picture, it’s clear that Jewels has to do something to save her friend from what they’re calling “internment” or even prison.
Incommunicado is a fun read, but more than that, it offers a glimpse of what life was like in 1941, and how people reacted to the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The author does a good job of describing mob mentality, of how people get caught up in rumors, and their fear of the unknown. Platt goes into some detail about the precautions people had to take during the war, such as maintaining blackout conditions in coastal towns. She describes gas, food and specific product rationing, and collecting goods needed during the war, such as scrap metal.
Although this book might be considered a coming-of-age story, I found it enlightening and enjoyed this spunky girl’s attempt to make things right during the turmoil of World War II.
To learn more about Incommunicado and author Randall Platt, visit http://www.plattbooks.com/