Journey to Glory by Haley Whitehall


Journey to Glory by Haley Whitehall
Publisher: Expanding Horizons Press
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (32 pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Seventeen-year-old Ethan Mire is excited when war is declared and is eager to enlist in the Confederate Army. This is the defining moment of his generation and he wants his chance to achieve glory.

His loyal dog Sam won’t be parted from him. Though he thinks human warfare is madness, he becomes the mascot for the Georgia regiment. His job is to keep the soldiers company and raise morale until Ethan’s first battle gives him a more important mission.

Will Sam follow Ethan only to find the grave?

And who will achieve glory in this Civil War tale?

Is going to battle an effective way to prove that you should be treated like an adult now? Ethan thinks so, but Sam isn’t so sure.

Sam is an insightful co-narrator whose canine perspective made me smile. He doesn’t always see the world the same way us humans do, so it was fascinating to compare his point of view to what I imagine I’d think about the same scenarios. It’s difficult for me to discuss this further without giving away spoilers, but definitely check out the author’s postscript.

The pacing was a little slow in the beginning as Sam describes their homestead and Ethan mulls over his desire to become a soldier. The introduction would have been ideal for a novella twice this length. With that being said, once the pacing picked up I couldn’t stop reading until I knew how it ended.

Ms. Whitehall has a smooth writing style that blends in well with the themes and time period of this particular tale. She knew just when to add in enough details to create vivid pictures in my mind of what was going on without slowing down the plot or distracting me from Ethan’s adventures. This was my first introduction to her work, and I’m looking forward to reading more from her soon!

It took me a while to figure out the best age recommendation for this story. Including the perspective of his dog made it feel like it was written for an audience much younger than seventeen. The protagonist was also described in a manner that I’d expect from someone several years younger than him. He was excited for battle and didn’t seem at all concerned with the danger of it. The age I ended up choosing is firm due to violent content, but I’d heartily recommend this tale to older teens and adults as well.

Journey to Glory was an unforgettable ride. This is an especially good choice for anyone who is intrigued by what it was like for the teenagers who fought in the Civil War.

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