Patterson, Valerie O. Operation Oleander. Boston: Clarion Books, 2013.
A young girl sets up a charity for orphans located in the middle east where her father is stationed in the military. When a bomb goes off near the orphanages and marines are killed, questions arise as to whether the orphanage is to blame.
It is written from the perspective of the young girl who set up the orphanage and whose dad was injured in the bombing. The emotions are powerfully expressed and readers truly feel the inner conflict going with the girl. Readers feel that same raw emotion and suspense she feels.
The cover is illustrated as a package with an oleander flower attached. This is a powerful image because readers question whether these supplies being sent to the orphanage are the reason behind the bombing. The oleander, while a beautiful flower, is poisonous, capturing the irony of beauty and death highlighted in the book.
While the difficulty level of the book isn't hard, the content is emotional and raw. While a fifth or sixth grader may be able to read the book, they may not understand the powerful emotions in the book. It would be best for seventh graders the high school. Age range: 13 to 17.
Jessica Wright, BGSU Student