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Four-Four-Two

Review

Four-Four-Two

Dean Hughes exhibits his expertise in telling the tales of war in FOUR-FOUR-TWO with as much skill as his previous novels SOLDIER BOYS and SEARCH AND DESTROY. Thomas shares the story of the forgotten Japanese Americans who fought in World War Two with a brutal honesty that stuns readers.
 
Yuki Nakahara is an American, but not everyone sees it that way. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, all Japanese Americans are named enemy aliens, and seen as much a traitor as if they fought for Japan themselves. After being sent to a internment camp for his Japanese descent, Yuki seeks to bring honor back to his family by proving that he is an American and will fight in the war like most other young men in the country. Despite joining the military like all new recruits, Japanese Americans fight separate from white soldiers, and in the toughest conditions. After months of training, Yuki and his best friend Shig are sent to join the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
 
"Although FOUR-FOUR-TWO is not a very long book, nor an especially descriptive one, each word is packed with an incomprehensible amount of meaning. History and masterful storytelling build a narrative unlike all, as readers battle alongside the soldiers in FOUR-FOUR-TWO."
 
Contrary to the command beliefs, the Four-Four-Two quickly became known for their bravery and resilience in the face of battle. But racism and fear is overwhelming towards them, and Yuki and Shig are just two more soldiers trying to demonstrate their capability. Yuki’s excitement to prove himself is quickly extinguished as he begins to fight, and realizes the reality of war. Friends become brothers, and each day is a harder test. The realization that war is not something to desire is immediately recognized, along with the cutting requirement to kill other humans in a desperate battle between life and death none of the soldiers imagined. Yuki faces trials more demanding than anything he could have imagined, all while just trying to survive. The fight for the country becomes a fight for each other, as each soldier does everything they can to keep them all alive.
 
Hughes hides nothing as he speaks the truth of war that no one but a soldier can rightfully comprehend. The fear is apparent in every page, as well as the underlying reality that although the government is the body deciding to engage in wars, men are the ones fighting them. The action in every page kept me reading nonstop, as Hughes pulled no punches in revealing the gut-wrenching pain of war.
 
FOUR-FOUR-TWO displays the prejudice in war that no soldier should have to deal with, while sharing character that are not-perfect, and all the better for that.  Yuki is brave in all the right ways, without desiring any recognition. His camaraderie with his platoon is heartwarming, but causes even more despair as Yuki loses friends along with any remains of the arrogant, enthusiastic boy he was when he first joined.
 
War is a burden to bear by the military all around the world, and the bits written are just but a glimpse of the horror a civilian can not comprehend. Although FOUR-FOUR-TWO is not a very long book, nor an especially descriptive one, each word is packed with an incomprehensible amount of meaning. History and masterful storytelling build a narrative unlike all, as readers battle alongside the soldiers in FOUR-FOUR-TWO.

Reviewed by Caitlyn K., Teen Board Member on December 14, 2016

Four-Four-Two
by Dean Hughes