This lovely book was the award winner in 2003. It was first published in the US in 2002, but was originally published, presumably in the UK. It won a long list of awards that I think were well deserved.
It has both the elements of a good story with interesting characters that are compelling to read about, as well as lots of food for thought — and classroom discussion. Topics like assisted suicide, war and its affect on people and relationships, sexuality, family, and lots more. I would say this is a book for older teens, because of some of the subject matter, but not because it’s explicit. I think it just needs some maturity.
First and foremost, though, it was a STORY that was kept my interest. I was not bored, and I didn’t feel like I was being preached to at any point. I had guesses (which were mostly right) about some of the things that were going to happen, but I wanted to keep reading and see how things turned out. What choices were made and how they impacted everyone. I’ve found that many of these Printz books have ambiguous endings. Not a lot of happily ever afters, which is OK. Life isn’t exactly HEA, and I don’t always need that in the books I read.
I had a few minor quibbles, for one thing, the cover of this book does it absolutely zero favors. If I were browsing a bookstore glancing at covers, I don’t think I’d ever consider picking this one up. (And yes, I do judge books by their covers to some extent. Don’t you?)
And the title. I’m feeling kind of stupid about my thoughts about the title right now. I didn’t really care for it, I wasn’t sure what it meant, or why it was considered a good choice. Now that I’ve spent a few minutes thinking about it, though, I get it. And of course it is perfect. The significance of postcards isn’t really explained until the very end (though each of the contemporary Jacob chapters are labelled “Postcard” and have a quote.
And “no man’s land” — well, hopefully we all know what that phrase itself means. I’m going to call spoilers on why it’s an apt title for the book.
Should I have admitted that it took me until just now to get it? I guess that’s what I’m going through this exercise. To get myself to THINK more about what I’m reading, rather than just close the book and move on to the next thing. I guess maybe it’s working.