The Fighting Ground by AviThe Fighting Ground by Avi

The Fighting Ground


Paperback | January 27, 2009

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Scott O’Dell Award for Best Historical Fiction * ALA Notable Book * ALA Best Books for YA

Newbery Medal-winning author Avi tells the “compelling story of a young boy’s first encounter with war and how it changes him.”—Publishers Weekly

Jonathan may be only thirteen years old, but with the Revolutionary War unfolding around him, he’s more certain than ever that he wants to be a part of it—to fight for independence alongside his brother and cousin to defeat the British. But Jonathan’s father, himself wounded from battle, refuses to let his son join the front lines.

When Jonathan hears the tavern bell toll, calling all soldiers to arms, he rushes to enlist without telling his dad. Gun in hand, Jonathan falls in with a militia and marches onward to the fighting ground. It feels like he’s been waiting his whole life for this moment.

But no amount of daydreaming could prepare Jonathan for what he encounters. In just twenty-four hours, his life will be forever changed—by his fellow soldiers, unsuspecting enemies, and the frightening and complicated realities of war. 

More than thirty years after its publication, award-winner The Fighting Ground continues to be an important work of historical fiction for young readers.

Avi is the author of more than sixty books, including Crispin: The Cross of Lead, a Newbery Medal winner, and Crispin: At the Edge of the World. His other acclaimed titles include The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Nothing But the Truth, both Newbery Honor Books, and most recently The Seer of Shadows. He lives with his family ...
Title:The Fighting GroundFormat:PaperbackDimensions:160 pages, 8.75 × 6.35 × 0.38 inPublished:January 27, 2009Publisher:HarperCollins

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0064401855

ISBN - 13:9780064401852

Appropriate for ages: 12 - 12


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intense and Realistic Taking place during the span of only two days this is a vivid story of a young boy who rushes off to fight a battle during the American Revolution against a troop of Hessians. When news comes of a Corporal's arrival at the town tavern, Jonathan anxiously asks his father's permission to go, as they work together in the field. His father, who has a badly damaged leg from fighting in the war himself earlier on, says he may not and to get back to the house to help his mother. When he arrives home he tells his mother of the news and urges her that he should go to town and investigate, the mother reluctantly agrees to let him go after Jonathan lies to her that his father has said he can go. At the tavern where there is a call for men at arms, Jonathan gets caught up in the excitement, and at 13 years of age, convinces the Corporal to let him join up. A boy among men during a fierce battle, Jonathan experiences the true horrors of war. At one point he is kidnapped by the Hessians and escapes. After a terrible incident and reflecting on his treatment by the Hessians he often starts to wonder whether he is on the right side and whose side is he on. Ultimately he must make decisions based his own conscience and sense of right and wrong as opposed to what side of the war he is on. This is certainly the most intense and life-like book I have read to my 8yo, at first I wasn't too sure whether he would be able to handle the book (recommended for ages 8-12) due to its brutal portrayal of war. However, he showed immense interest and feeling towards the book's plot and main character. There was one spot where he became afraid that the main character might be killed and asked me to skip that part but I could already see on the page that it turned out alright so I told him that; and we got through the scene. Parents may also want to be aware that a certain swear word, "d*mn", is used repeatedly throughout the book as is the taking of the Lord's name in vain. I easily edited these out while reading aloud to my child. There is also one very realistic scene of a dead woman being buried in a hole that was very graphically described and I chose to skip the paragraph and simply state the woman was buried. This is an engrossing, intense and sometimes brutal display of what a battle was really like during the American Revolution. The author doesn't hold anything back but he does keep the action age-appropriate. A very well-written book with a wonderfully developed main character who ultimately must face his own conscience. The author's message about war is not pro or anti but rather that there is no black and white "enemy" in war; soldiers on both sides can both be either good or bad in their actions. Avi is one of my favourite current children/YA authors and this is just as good as one can expect from this author. I do recommend the book for those towards the end of the recommended age, but as a read-aloud a parent can easily edit on the fly as they feel needed for the younger age range. I also think that teens would appreciate the complicated themes of war and good and bad that are displayed in the story.
Date published: 2009-03-13

From Our Editors

Be careful what you wish for. At the tender age of 13, Jonathan dreams of fighting in the American Revolution. Almost by accident, he is recruited into a fighting unit and experiences the reality of war. Now he must deal with being taken prisoner -- and come to grips with his feelings about shooting to kill.

Editorial Reviews

"At thirteen, Jonathan dreams of fighting in the American Revolution. Almost by accident, he is recruited into a fighting unit and experiences the reality of war, including being taken prisoner and coming to grips with his feelings about shooting to kill." . (SLJ.)