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JAMIE THINKS HER FATHER CAN DO ANYTHING....UNTIL THE ONE TIME HE CAN DO NOTHING. When twelve-year-old Jamie Dexter's brother joins the Army and is sent to Vietnam, Jamie is plum thrilled. She can't wait to get letters from the front lines describing the excitement of real-life combat: the sound of helicopters, the smell of gunpowder, the exhilaration of being right in the t JAMIE THINKS HER FATHER CAN DO ANYTHING....UNTIL THE ONE TIME HE CAN DO NOTHING. When twelve-year-old Jamie Dexter's brother joins the Army and is sent to Vietnam, Jamie is plum thrilled. She can't wait to get letters from the front lines describing the excitement of real-life combat: the sound of helicopters, the smell of gunpowder, the exhilaration of being right in the thick of it. After all, they've both dreamed of following in the footsteps of their father, the Colonel. But TJ's first letter isn't a letter at all. It's a roll of undeveloped film, the first of many. What Jamie sees when she develops TJ's photographs reveals a whole new side of the war. Slowly the shine begins to fade off of Army life - and the Colonel. How can someone she's worshiped her entire life be just as helpless to save her brother as she is? From the author of the Edgar Award-winning Dovey Coe comes a novel,both timely and timeless, about the sacrifices we make for what we believe and the people we love.


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JAMIE THINKS HER FATHER CAN DO ANYTHING....UNTIL THE ONE TIME HE CAN DO NOTHING. When twelve-year-old Jamie Dexter's brother joins the Army and is sent to Vietnam, Jamie is plum thrilled. She can't wait to get letters from the front lines describing the excitement of real-life combat: the sound of helicopters, the smell of gunpowder, the exhilaration of being right in the t JAMIE THINKS HER FATHER CAN DO ANYTHING....UNTIL THE ONE TIME HE CAN DO NOTHING. When twelve-year-old Jamie Dexter's brother joins the Army and is sent to Vietnam, Jamie is plum thrilled. She can't wait to get letters from the front lines describing the excitement of real-life combat: the sound of helicopters, the smell of gunpowder, the exhilaration of being right in the thick of it. After all, they've both dreamed of following in the footsteps of their father, the Colonel. But TJ's first letter isn't a letter at all. It's a roll of undeveloped film, the first of many. What Jamie sees when she develops TJ's photographs reveals a whole new side of the war. Slowly the shine begins to fade off of Army life - and the Colonel. How can someone she's worshiped her entire life be just as helpless to save her brother as she is? From the author of the Edgar Award-winning Dovey Coe comes a novel,both timely and timeless, about the sacrifices we make for what we believe and the people we love.

30 review for Shooting the Moon

  1. 4 out of 5

    GraceAnne

    Every single word is spare, perfect, inevitable. It has a brilliant first sentence and a heartbreaking last -- the final scene is a jab to the heart. A Newbery contender right now, no matter what other gems the year brings us.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Beautifully written. Very concise; nothing extra to bog down a young reader. Not too intense on the face of it - but a reader with any imagination will understand the horror. But did I enjoy this historical fiction enough to give it four stars? No, not quite. I only admire and recommend it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    I've written about this before, but there's a flush of appreciation a reviewer experiences when they discover a great author that they've never read before. Even if that person has been around for years. In the case of Frances O'Roark Dowell, I'd read her first Phineas L. MacGuire book and I thought it was great. Still, I'd never gotten around to reading some of her better known works for older readers. I'd never picked up Dovey Coe or Chicken Boy or even The Secret Language of Girls. It just ne I've written about this before, but there's a flush of appreciation a reviewer experiences when they discover a great author that they've never read before. Even if that person has been around for years. In the case of Frances O'Roark Dowell, I'd read her first Phineas L. MacGuire book and I thought it was great. Still, I'd never gotten around to reading some of her better known works for older readers. I'd never picked up Dovey Coe or Chicken Boy or even The Secret Language of Girls. It just never came up. Still, I figure a person's got to start somewhere and so the book I decided to begin with her newest title, the historically minded Shooting the Moon. A lot of people love Ms. Dowell and maybe they've become unable to tell one great book of hers from another. To those people I say this: This book is amazing. Top notch, wonderful, humorous, meaningful, with a pull and a hit in the gut that'll knock a readers' socks off. What we've got here is a title that has an excellent chance of engaging every reader that comes across it. And timely doesn't even begin to describe it. Jamie Dexter is a card shark, an army brat, and her father's daughter. She and her older brother TJ were raised to love the United States Army by their father, the Colonel, and as far as they're concerned the greatest thing in the entire world is getting a chance to fight and die for your country. Seems like the Colonel would be pleased as punch to have TJ enlist and go to Vietnam to fight instead of going to college, but oddly enough that doesn't seem to be the case. Still, off TJ goes and before he leaves Jamie asks him to write her letters about everything he sees and feels over there. Except that TJ doesn't do that. Instead he sends her rolls of black and white film he's taken over there with very precise instructions: "Jamie: No facilities here ... Please develop and send contact sheets." Of course, that means that Jamie has to learn how to develop film, and she does when she gets a chance. And through TJ's lens, Jamie sees more than just what it's like in Vietnam. She now hears the experiences of the soldiers that walk through the rec center where she works. She sees her father as a man and not a larger than life figure. And she begins to understand that sometimes things aren't as simple as you would like them to be. Reading my description of the book I know that you might be a little worried. It sounds like a book inclined to get preachy, doesn't it? I'm as anti-war as the best of them, but there's nothing worse than a work of fiction for kids that gets all holier-than-thou, proselytizing its views on war and how it's naughty. But Frances O'Roark Dowell isn't going to play that game. For one thing, she really is an army brat. For another, she's a good writer. This isn't a book that tells you what to believe. It's a book that starts with someone who thinks that they know what to think only to find that the world is a complicated place. It was a complicated place in the late 60s and it's a complicated place today. Which is not to say that you can't take a moral or a lesson out of this book if you want to. It's only giving you an option. There is a school of thought that says that if you place a story in history, you better have a darn good reason for doing so. So the question becomes, could Dowell have set this story in the here and now rather than the past? Would it have served the moral better? The answer is no, there is no other time period that would have better served this story. For one thing, you could have a character taking pictures with black and white film, but digital cameras are undoubtedly more probable today. And you could have sent TJ to Iraq instead of Vietnam, but part of the reason the end of this book works as well as it does is because we can look at the past and learn from it. The thing is, this is a book that's easy to love. You love the people in it. I, for one, loved the character of Jamie. She felt true and real and interesting. She also carries her certainties with her on her sleeve. "I was six months away from turning thirteen and I thought I knew everything." Can't say it any plainer than that (not to mention that it carries a whiff of To Kill a Mockingbird). Really, every character in this book (and there aren't that many) appears with all three dimensions firmly intact. For example, Jamie describes Cindy Lorenzo, a girl who is somewhat learning disabled, as being "nervous and excitable and shaky around the edges. She hit and bit." Pitch perfect, that. As for the writing itself, Dowell's book is only 176 pages and she packs each one with interesting text. Chapter Two, for example, begins, "We were stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, a flat piece of real estate that threatened to burst into flames every afternoon from June through September." Or the first sentences of Chapter Four, "TJ's first letter to me wasn't a letter at all. It was a roll of film." You can see that Dowell includes equal parts interest and good writing, and the effect is tight. This is a book that doesn't mince words. It gets right to the point every time and doesn't sacrifice anything in the process. Rare? You don't know the half of it. The writing and the editing on this puppy must have been intense. It's hard to find fault here. I do know at least one person who thought it a little odd that the book didn't concentrate more on the moon landing and how that would have affected the characters. The book is called Shooting the Moon after all. But Dowell covers her bases, having TJ speculate at times about "the idea that there are human footprints on the moon's surface." Classrooms of children will someday be asked what the moon signifies to TJ and to Jamie. I can already see it. My questions and concerns about the book were a little more basic. I would have liked a little more background on the Colonel's past. Did he serve in WWII or Korea? Does he know what real combat is like? Does this inform what he feels about his own son enlisting? And maybe an explanation of where Jamie is getting all this photographic paper and chemicals for developing her brother's pictures would have been nice. I assume that the army provided all this free of charge in their rec center but we don't know it for a fact. Otherwise it's as fine a book as you could hope for. With its magnificent backing and forthing within the story's timeline, its spot on characterization, its plot, writing, and general kid-friendly text (always important and seldom recognized) Frances O'Roark Dowell has more than just a winner here. She has a classic. 2008 required reading for any and for all.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Eva Mitnick

    If Jamie had the good luck to be an 18-year-old boy instead of a 12-year-old girl, she’d enlist in the army so fast, it’d make your head spin. But she isn’t, and so she volunteers at the rec center, keeping things tidy and playing endless games of gin rummy with her friend Private Hollister. It’s her older brother TJ who chooses to enlist rather than go to college, and he is sent to Vietnam as a combat medic, much to TJ’s excitement and envy. Strangely, their father the Colonel, who is chief of If Jamie had the good luck to be an 18-year-old boy instead of a 12-year-old girl, she’d enlist in the army so fast, it’d make your head spin. But she isn’t, and so she volunteers at the rec center, keeping things tidy and playing endless games of gin rummy with her friend Private Hollister. It’s her older brother TJ who chooses to enlist rather than go to college, and he is sent to Vietnam as a combat medic, much to TJ’s excitement and envy. Strangely, their father the Colonel, who is chief of staff at Fort Hood and apparently a gung-ho hooah Army man through and through, doesn’t seem nearly so thrilled about TJ’s decision. When TJ, always an enthusiastic amateur photographer, begins sending rolls of film to Jamie from Vietnam, she learns to develop them so that she can send TJ the contact sheets. This brings her in contact with Sgt. Byrd, who has a way with words and a point of view about Vietnam that startles Jamie and makes her think. Even more startling are TJ’s photos, which start out as innocuous shots of barracks and smiling soldiers but soon become grimmer as they depict the horrors of war. It’s not long after TJ sends back an entire roll of photos of the moon that he disappears. Jamie is a straightforward person – she knows who she is, what she wants, and what she likes. It’s when the folks around her confound her expectations of them that she begins to question things. Even so, it comes as a shock to her when she learns that her own father is equally capable of thinking for himself and coming to his own conclusions about the war. With the exception of Jamie’s mom, who remains somewhat of a cardboard figure, every character is carefully drawn, from gawky Private Hollister to Jamie’s needy neighbor Cindy. TJ is enigmatic. Was it a desire to please his dad that led him to enlist, or maybe a childish desire to see new and exotic places? Why did he always love taking pictures of the moon, and why did he revert to his old hobby? I imagined him becoming so shell-shocked that he preferred to point his camera up at the sky at night rather than down at the misery and heartache all around him under the harsh light of day. We learn that he comes home safely after two years as a POW, and the moon photos allow us to guess that his sensitivity probably made these years a hell for him even as his creativity gave him the resilience to survive. This is a heavy topic, but Jamie’s matter-of-fact voice and the plentiful touches of humor keep things from getting too grim or sentimental. In fact, the true hell of that war is kept at a distance from both Jamie and the reader, although we can guess at the anguish that her family will feel at knowing nothing about TJ’s fate or whereabouts for a long, long time when, after mentioning that her brother does come home from the prison camp eventually, Jamie says as the book’s last sentence, “But we didn’t know that yet.” What a powerful and subtle way of summing up what this family will go through – it gave me a jolt that I’m sure many perceptive young readers will feel as well. Grades 5 - 8

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    I thought this book was a solid four because, it had features that really made the past stand out (such as playing rummy). But, the reason why it didn't get a greater rating is because, it only takes place in a couple of places, which made it a little boring. But this was still a decent book. By the title you would think someone will destroy the moon, but, Jamie's brother is just taking pictures of the moon. I thought this book was a solid four because, it had features that really made the past stand out (such as playing rummy). But, the reason why it didn't get a greater rating is because, it only takes place in a couple of places, which made it a little boring. But this was still a decent book. By the title you would think someone will destroy the moon, but, Jamie's brother is just taking pictures of the moon.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ⓟⓔⓐⓒⓗⓨ Ⓚⓔⓔⓝ Ⓡⓔⓐⓓⓢ

    Read in 2019. A great book about photography, military, family, friends and being together. A great book about war and what military life is like. A somewhat sad ending, but it's a great overall book. Read in 2019. A great book about photography, military, family, friends and being together. A great book about war and what military life is like. A somewhat sad ending, but it's a great overall book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sivan N.

    I first read this in middle school after I bought it at the Scholastic Book Fair, and I just reread again today. At less than 200 pages, there's not much to say (*proceeds to say a lot*). It's a good coming-of-age/family story. The book, narrated by 12 and 3/4-year-old Jamie, alternates between the present with TJ at war and the past from his enlistment to actually being sent off to Vietnam. At first these transitions between past and present were so slick that I hardly noticed them (I just thou I first read this in middle school after I bought it at the Scholastic Book Fair, and I just reread again today. At less than 200 pages, there's not much to say (*proceeds to say a lot*). It's a good coming-of-age/family story. The book, narrated by 12 and 3/4-year-old Jamie, alternates between the present with TJ at war and the past from his enlistment to actually being sent off to Vietnam. At first these transitions between past and present were so slick that I hardly noticed them (I just thought she was telling about given moments with her family, rather than going chronologically through the past and present side-by-side; this is a compliment). The descriptions are really good, especially when Jamie talks about what she likes in a certain photograph. Overall she's great at describing critical moments and how she feels at different times. Something I really enjoyed about this book as a kid (and now) is how gin rummy and photo development are a big part of the plotline and yet you really don't need to understand anything about them to read and enjoy the story. I just think it's really cool that O'Roark Dowell accomplished that; many other authors would not be able to do so. Random notes: I like how Jamie seems hyper-aware that she is a girl and mentions it a lot but she's not really "girly" or anything like that. Originally I didn't understand the point of the plot with the 11-year-old girl (whose name I already forget! Cindy?), but then I ended up really liking it. Overall: a deep, quick read. Would recommend for middle schoolers and older. Even having read it before, I couldn't predict the end. Favorite parts: (view spoiler)[The part where Jamie is talking about how different TJ has become and will be after the war and whether he'll even remember how they used to play as kids. The part when the 11-year-old says she likes to pretend like her and Jamie are sisters. My most favorite part is when Jamie looks at the photograph TJ took of their father and she thinks he looks like someone who hates his job. (hide spoiler)]

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    I picked up this book because of the title - shooting the moon is a term from the game Hearts and playing Hearts is a Good Father memory. That the book is about fathers and daughters sealed the deal for me. I suppose its the southern-ness of the author - Frances O'Roark Dowell can almost not be anything but southern - that gives it a cadence similar to To Kill a Mockingbird. Colonel Dexter is perhaps something like Atticus - tall, professional and charming. His daughter, Jamie, clearly adores him I picked up this book because of the title - shooting the moon is a term from the game Hearts and playing Hearts is a Good Father memory. That the book is about fathers and daughters sealed the deal for me. I suppose its the southern-ness of the author - Frances O'Roark Dowell can almost not be anything but southern - that gives it a cadence similar to To Kill a Mockingbird. Colonel Dexter is perhaps something like Atticus - tall, professional and charming. His daughter, Jamie, clearly adores him but somehow has realized that he is approachable. Her brother chooses Vietnam over college and sends her film to develop instead of letters. The story is woven with descriptions of her brother's discovery of photography as a young boy, and of her learning to develop film and becoming fascinated with the process, as well as the results. There are references to post-traumatic stress disorder, to the pointlessness of the war, to honor and duty and sacrifice. It is a well-written, excellent book. I was fascinated by the idea of choosing things that make us unlike our parents as part of the growing up process. "Taking pictures was about the first thing TJ ever did that made him different from the Colonel," she writes. Up until this he walked with his father. The 'shooting the moon' reference could have been to cards - playing gin rummy was a summer activity at the base rec center for Jamie - or to the photos of the moon her brother sends with each roll of film. After he enlisted, he started taking pictures of the moon, lots of them. Perhaps a bit too resolved at the end - I don't mind being left to make up my own endings, most of the time, because life is that way. How can you write a book about anything that has a real ending, because where is the ending? Vietnam ended but haunts the lives of people to this day. Is it really over?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    Shooting the Moon takes place during the Vietnam War. The main character, Jamie Dexter, is an army brat whose father is a colonel and brother, TJ, is getting ready to enlist in the army. She believes in the war and would go herself if she was not too young. Jamie is puzzled when her parents do not want TJ to go to Vietnam. They do everything in their power to stop him from going, but it does not work. TJ sends his parents generic letters, but he sends Jamie rolls of film. He encourages her to l Shooting the Moon takes place during the Vietnam War. The main character, Jamie Dexter, is an army brat whose father is a colonel and brother, TJ, is getting ready to enlist in the army. She believes in the war and would go herself if she was not too young. Jamie is puzzled when her parents do not want TJ to go to Vietnam. They do everything in their power to stop him from going, but it does not work. TJ sends his parents generic letters, but he sends Jamie rolls of film. He encourages her to learn how to develop the film which she does. Through the pictures Jamie sees the brutality of war, and her feelings start to change. She works on the army base and becomes friends with Private Hollister who has lost a brother to the war. Jamie's experiences allow her to grow and change her perspective. She matures and realizes that war is not just about patriotism and love of country, but about life and death. This book is for 5-8th graders, but I enjoyed it as an adult. It is historical fiction, but the comparisons to what is going on today are many. Right now as our leaders try to figure out Afghanistan there are many who are comparing it to Vietnam. Our commanders are working with leaders from this past era to try to make better choices so that history does not repeat itself. Shooting the Moon would be a great starting point for students to start to understand war and its affects.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Jaime is a 12 and a half year old Army brat when the Vietnam War is being fought. She refers to her dad in the 3rd person, as The Colonel. She loves being in an Army family, and is super excited and proud when her brother enlists- he is sent to Vietnam as a medic. She thinks she knows everything, but boy, does she have a lot to learn. Her brother, TJ is a great photographer and the Colonel wants him to go to college not into the army. TJ sends Jaime rolls of film to develop, and she is forced to Jaime is a 12 and a half year old Army brat when the Vietnam War is being fought. She refers to her dad in the 3rd person, as The Colonel. She loves being in an Army family, and is super excited and proud when her brother enlists- he is sent to Vietnam as a medic. She thinks she knows everything, but boy, does she have a lot to learn. Her brother, TJ is a great photographer and the Colonel wants him to go to college not into the army. TJ sends Jaime rolls of film to develop, and she is forced to learn how. She volunteers at the base Rec center, where she learns to develop film, has a summer long gin rummy tournament, learns more about the war and people from the many soldiers she gets to know. I loved the succinctness of this novel; there were no extraneous words. I loved the relationship with 6 year old Cindy, who lives across the street. I loved seeing Jaime begin to view the world and her most familiar people in it differently. The telling is as luminous at the moon is.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn Garcia

    (Spoiler Alert) Have you ever wanted to control of something outside of your reach?In this historical fiction story, this question pertained to a girl named Jamie Dexter. Who had many people she loved be involved with war that showed her to never take any time you have with that person for granted.Overall I think this book was very inspiring. I say this because Jamie is faced with challenges but she stays strong throughout the entire book. In the book,”Shooting for the Moon,” a girl named Jamie (Spoiler Alert) Have you ever wanted to control of something outside of your reach?In this historical fiction story, this question pertained to a girl named Jamie Dexter. Who had many people she loved be involved with war that showed her to never take any time you have with that person for granted.Overall I think this book was very inspiring. I say this because Jamie is faced with challenges but she stays strong throughout the entire book. In the book,”Shooting for the Moon,” a girl named Jamie Dexter wants to take on challenges that only men could take on at the time. Things like going to war and fighting, she does this to try to make her father the colonel proud of her. But when her brother goes to war and sends photos back to her. She discovers a new love of developing photos, but she also realizes war isn’t what she thought it was. But when Jamie’s brother goes missing she tries not to think the worse instead she tries to think that he is just looking at the moon somewhere. A major event that changed the character’s life is when Jamie’s brother Tj goes to Vietnam. To be a medic for the war that was occurring at the time.This was a major event in Jamie’s life because when Tj can back from war to Jamie he had changed a little which made Jamie realize that war was a little different than what she thought.I think Jamie’s motivation to keep trying to be involved with war is because she wants to make her father proud of her. This is because since Jamie is a girl she isn’t able to do all the things that she thinks would make her dad proud of her. The characters Tj and the Colonel(Jamie’s dad) are similar because both are involved in the military. This is shown in the book when Tj strongly decides to join the military over going to college. Showing that Tj is devoted to the military just like the Colonel(Jamie’s dad).I was surprised when the book introduced Cindy and how she was sort of the black sheep of her family, as far physical appearances. An example of this in the book is when Jamie goes to Cindy’s house to show her the pictures that she had developed. While Jamie was at Cindy’s house Cindy showed Jamie a family picture and from the description Cindy looked like she didn’t fit in the picture.I also thought that the ending of the book was surprising. I say this because the book ended with Jamie’s brother being missing, which to me was not what I expected. I would rate this book 5 out of 5 stars because it showed how your whole world can change with just one decision. I would recommend this book to people who are interested in the reality of war.This book showed me that having restrictions can help open your eyes to what you were about to walk into.

  12. 4 out of 5

    713Josh

    Shooting the Moon, by Frances O'Roark Dowell is about a twelve year old girl, Jamie Dexter who grew up in an army family. Her brother enlisted in the Vietnam War instead of going to college. She fantasized about going into battle, but throughout the book, she learned the not so great reality of the army and of combat overall. Much of the book took place in the army recreation center where she volunteered. She made a long lasting friend there, named Private Hollister. She and her older friend pla Shooting the Moon, by Frances O'Roark Dowell is about a twelve year old girl, Jamie Dexter who grew up in an army family. Her brother enlisted in the Vietnam War instead of going to college. She fantasized about going into battle, but throughout the book, she learned the not so great reality of the army and of combat overall. Much of the book took place in the army recreation center where she volunteered. She made a long lasting friend there, named Private Hollister. She and her older friend played a championship of Gin Rummy throughout the summer. She also learned how to develop film in her long summer. In the end, her brother was missing in action and was a Prisoner of War for two whole years. Overall, the most interesting part of this book was Jamie’s relationship with her brother, her father and war. Many of Jamie’s relationships changed that summer. Her relationship with her brother and with war would never be the same. To an onlooker, it seems as though Jamie and her brother became closer that summer. Jamie’s brother sent her film to develop, while he sent his parents boring letters. Some of the pictures were of people wounded, with missing limbs and other graphic sights; the real story. It seemed as though he was being honest to Jamie and dishonest to his parents so they would not get worried. Seeing these pictures, Jamie learned that war is not a victorious, invigorating, exciting march to the finish. War is bloody, brutal, a taker of youth. Also, Jamie’s relationship with her father changed dramatically in that summer. Jamie went with a lot of courage and demanded respect and to be treated like an adult by her father. Overall, this book was a very easy read. The writing was not splendid, but it had a dramatic plot. I would not read other books by this author, but it did the trick. It was not boring at least. It was made more interesting with my connection to Jamie Dexter. My brother is thinking about going to war, and I am proud of him, but scared for him.

  13. 5 out of 5

    heidi

    Slight. Not going on my list to buy. I found this book intensely frustrating because I feel that the author was heading for "spare" and headed right over the cliff into "cryptic allusion". For example, when the title is Shooting the Moon, and the protaganist plays card games, one might expect a reference to that version of shooting the moon, as well as the obvious photography angle. I think this may bother me more as an adult because I see the missed connections. I know why a Vietnamese child mig Slight. Not going on my list to buy. I found this book intensely frustrating because I feel that the author was heading for "spare" and headed right over the cliff into "cryptic allusion". For example, when the title is Shooting the Moon, and the protaganist plays card games, one might expect a reference to that version of shooting the moon, as well as the obvious photography angle. I think this may bother me more as an adult because I see the missed connections. I know why a Vietnamese child might be running down a road, and what is more, I have a picture to go with that. I know about moon landings and pool tables and deployments, and all of these things are lightly skimmed. Perhaps for kids it's just like reading fantasy, where you just accept that magic works. I was also frustrated by the tactile descriptions. She describes the smell of stop bath, which is good, but I thought that the was a mere glance at the isolation and beauty of solitude in the dark room, mostly just focusing on printing. And I choked a little on the idea of printing page after page of photos, because when I came up in darkrooms, it was EXPENSIVE. Ok, enough whining. The story unfolds at a stately pace, with a set of characters who were well drawn. I loved the Colonel and his acceptance of his tomboy daughter. He was a more complex and interesting character to me than the viewpoint character. The plot itself is slight, and the suspense moment is very short, relative to the book. Read if: You can't find anything else at the scholastic book fair that appeals, you have a serious darkroom nostalgia fit, you don't mind thinly-veiled Vietnam metaphors for adulthood. Skip if: You have access to other books, you want actual history in your historical nostalgia.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tenille Shade

    This book reminds me of Eli the Good. I found myself thinking about Army Wives while I read this beautiful coming of age story. The war in Vietnam was such a raw time in our history. When people we idolize fall from their pedestals, the world feels unstable. I'm glad her brother came home after two years in a POW camp. This book reminds me of Eli the Good. I found myself thinking about Army Wives while I read this beautiful coming of age story. The war in Vietnam was such a raw time in our history. When people we idolize fall from their pedestals, the world feels unstable. I'm glad her brother came home after two years in a POW camp.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    A well-done look at a staunchly military family sending their son off to the Vietnam War, with zealous for war Jamie providing an interesting counterpoint to her father, who raised his two children to eat and breathe Army life and then finds himself re-examining his views when it comes to Vietnam. The characterization was really nicely done here, and despite being very character-centered and pretty subtle, the plot moved forward nicely and with some tension that kept me interested. I'm not sure A well-done look at a staunchly military family sending their son off to the Vietnam War, with zealous for war Jamie providing an interesting counterpoint to her father, who raised his two children to eat and breathe Army life and then finds himself re-examining his views when it comes to Vietnam. The characterization was really nicely done here, and despite being very character-centered and pretty subtle, the plot moved forward nicely and with some tension that kept me interested. I'm not sure who exactly this book would appeal to amongst my students: I liked historical fiction when I was younger, but never read anything so "contemporary," and reading it now, I have two entry points into this book in that 1) I was raised in a military family with a Southern background, so the lingo and values felt very authentic to me, and 2) I visited Vietnam for the first time this past fall, so looking back at that experience through the lens of this book kept me thinking. (Although I think I would have felt very differently about this book when I was younger and ended up hating all of the characters. ^^' Not sure how empathetic I would have felt about Jamie (view spoiler)[slowly realizing the sad and scary parts of war through her brother TJ's pictures from the field and from talking with Private Hollis and not wanting him to be shipped off after his brother has already been killed there. I think my response would have been an aneurysm from thinking she was ridiculously stupid for not realizing these things before... and for allowing these things to change her idealistic view of military service. I was a little... unbending on that point. (hide spoiler)] I'm not sure what would really get young teens into this... but I think it's a worthwhile read if they do pick it up.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kirby

    I admire an author who can get us right into a time and place without much set-up. And Frances Dowell does that with this book. Though it seems odd to think of a Vietnam era book as historical fiction,this title is another good addition to that particular list. As an Army brat herself, Frances Dowell brings a credibility to the narration and, even though the father, the Colonel, is a gung-ho soldier, the reader picks up on his pain when his own son, TJ, enlists, well before the main character, J I admire an author who can get us right into a time and place without much set-up. And Frances Dowell does that with this book. Though it seems odd to think of a Vietnam era book as historical fiction,this title is another good addition to that particular list. As an Army brat herself, Frances Dowell brings a credibility to the narration and, even though the father, the Colonel, is a gung-ho soldier, the reader picks up on his pain when his own son, TJ, enlists, well before the main character, Jamie (the little sister) does. That's a painful, painful moment. The book moves along at a fast clip and I liked Jamie's interactions with the soldiers she meets in the rec center where she's a volunteer. One of them teaches her how to develop the black and white film her brother sends back to her when he goes "in-country" (to Vietnam). Though she's puzzled by the topics -- often injured soldiers -- she faithfully makes prints of the best ones for him. The title comes from her brother's hobby of shooting photos of the moon, something he also continues to do in Vietnam. I did wish that the book didn't move along quite as quickly as it did. I think that would have helped me experience the story's most significant event much more fully. Frances Dowell is looking at hard things here and I get why she might want to slide past some of them. But in order to serve her story, I think she needed to take a hint from TJ and face that tough stuff square on. I would have awarded at least 4 stars to this book had she done so.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Luciano

    Shooting at the Moon was way different then what I expected. I thought this book was going to be about. I thought this book was about war and everything else that a war book has. Instead it was about how Jamie lived with her brother who wanted to join the military back during the Vietnam War. Just like Jamie, I too was excited to go and join the military. I wanted to join the armed forces and join the war. But in the middle of the story, Jamie was being told some good reasons for her not to join Shooting at the Moon was way different then what I expected. I thought this book was going to be about. I thought this book was about war and everything else that a war book has. Instead it was about how Jamie lived with her brother who wanted to join the military back during the Vietnam War. Just like Jamie, I too was excited to go and join the military. I wanted to join the armed forces and join the war. But in the middle of the story, Jamie was being told some good reasons for her not to join and I heard this and it gave me second thoughts. Now I know that you need to have guts and be disciplined enough to be able to make it through boot camp. I like it when Jamie takes all the photos that her brother sends to her and she publishes them out Jamie even takes photos of her own and when her brother comes back and sees her photos he said that she caught all the ones he missed. To me that was cool that she decided to take photos of the moon since she realized how many photos he took of it with or without clouds. Clear or covered he still took the pictures of the moon and wounded soldiers. I hated it when Jamie’s brother didn’t send any personal letters to her. I mean her mom and the Kernel got personal letters but she didn’t. But it was really cool that he took the photos and sent them to her to get them enhanced and printed saying that these photos are your personal photos. I think he sent them to show her that war is not all fun and games and that she should take it all very seriously.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cati

    “Shooting the Moon” by Frances O’Roark Dowell was, in my opinion, a well written and exceptional book. It is a story about a twelve year old girl named Jamie Dexter whose brother joins the army and is stationed in Vietnam in 1969. The story explains Jamie’s life while her brother is gone. She becomes good friends with Private Hollister, a nineteen year old boy who has not been stationed yet. They play cards and work at the Army Rec. Center during the summer, to pass the time. Her father is a Col “Shooting the Moon” by Frances O’Roark Dowell was, in my opinion, a well written and exceptional book. It is a story about a twelve year old girl named Jamie Dexter whose brother joins the army and is stationed in Vietnam in 1969. The story explains Jamie’s life while her brother is gone. She becomes good friends with Private Hollister, a nineteen year old boy who has not been stationed yet. They play cards and work at the Army Rec. Center during the summer, to pass the time. Her father is a Colonel, so her and her brother TJ always grew up the ‘army way’. When TJ first enlisted, Jamie was thrilled and proud of her brother. But once he leaves, she cannot wait for him to come home safely. Her brother TJ enjoys taking pictures. When he is in Vietnam, he takes pictures, and sends them to Jamie instead of sending letters. Jamie learns how to develop film, and is able to see what the war is like through TJ’s pictures. One day, TJ is reported MIA, or Missing in Action. Jamie desperately looks through the pictures he has taken, searching for any kind of clue, but finds nothing. Two years later, TJ is found. He had been held in a Prisoner-of-War camp for two years, but eventually returns home safely. I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for an interesting Historical Fiction.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    I remember the horror of the Vietnam War as seen in photographs and film clips in magazines and on the nightly news. I remember going off to college where I encountered war protestors and began to question, for the first time, America's involvement in Southeast Asia. I remember my father, a WWII veteran, shaking his head in dismay when I expressed my new opinion that the U.S. should pull out of Vietnam. I remember the sense of sadness and futility I felt when Saigon fell and news clips showed th I remember the horror of the Vietnam War as seen in photographs and film clips in magazines and on the nightly news. I remember going off to college where I encountered war protestors and began to question, for the first time, America's involvement in Southeast Asia. I remember my father, a WWII veteran, shaking his head in dismay when I expressed my new opinion that the U.S. should pull out of Vietnam. I remember the sense of sadness and futility I felt when Saigon fell and news clips showed the chaos as helicopters airlifted the last Americans to safety. All the sadness flooded back as I read Dowell's gentle novel of a young girl coming to terms with the reality of war through developing the film her brother sends her from Vietnam. The domestic scenes and posed shots that emerge on the photo paper at first bore her. Jamie's father is a colonel, the chief of staff at Ft. Hood, and she is enamored with the idea of glorious combat. But when the photos on T.J.'s film begin to show the results of combat, Jamie begins to question some of her foundation beliefs and gradually realizes truths about war and her own father. Sometimes war is necessary, but it is never glorious and is to be avoided if at all possible. Sadly, too many have yet to discover the truth that Dowell so eloquently portrays.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ms.Walton

    Shooting the Moon by Frances O’Roark Dowell was a good, quick read. I had, fortunately, brought this book home with me when school was cancelled because of a wind chill warning threatening -45 degree temperatures. I was easily able to read the whole book in a day. The main character in the book, Jamie, has grown up in the Army. Her dad is a colonel, they’ve always lived on Army bases, and now her big brother has enlisted too. Jamie and her brother always loved Army life and playing soldier games Shooting the Moon by Frances O’Roark Dowell was a good, quick read. I had, fortunately, brought this book home with me when school was cancelled because of a wind chill warning threatening -45 degree temperatures. I was easily able to read the whole book in a day. The main character in the book, Jamie, has grown up in the Army. Her dad is a colonel, they’ve always lived on Army bases, and now her big brother has enlisted too. Jamie and her brother always loved Army life and playing soldier games. She is so proud of her brother going into the Army to serve in a real war in Vietnam. Jamie learns to develop photos at the rec. center on base when her big brother sends her film from the war. The realities of war, brought to light in those photos, hit Jamie hard. This book is set in the same time period that I grew up in, so it struck a chord with me. A good friend of mine, who isn’t much of a reader unless I find him a really good book, was once in the Army and also really into photography. This was the perfect book to recommend to him! I called him right up with the suggestion. He’s a busy guy, so the quick read will suit him well. I’m trying to decide whether this book would fall into the genre of realistic fiction or historical fiction – either way, it is book that you will enjoy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Krystal

    Author: Frances O'Roarck Dowell Genre: First person perspective novel Publication Info: Atheneum (January 29, 2008) Reading Level: Fluent; 5th or 6th grade Topic/Theme: Military hardship/ Friendship/ Relationship with family Issues Addressed: Relationship with the military and the good and bad things it unravels. Classroom Uses: Individual Reading, Readers Theatre Summary: Jamie's father is the Colonel. Her brother is overseas in the military. He sends Jamie pictures that he wants her to develop for Author: Frances O'Roarck Dowell Genre: First person perspective novel Publication Info: Atheneum (January 29, 2008) Reading Level: Fluent; 5th or 6th grade Topic/Theme: Military hardship/ Friendship/ Relationship with family Issues Addressed: Relationship with the military and the good and bad things it unravels. Classroom Uses: Individual Reading, Readers Theatre Summary: Jamie's father is the Colonel. Her brother is overseas in the military. He sends Jamie pictures that he wants her to develop for him. The pictures are not what she expects. She wants to see the front line of the war. Instead, she receives pictures of the moon. Whenever her brother returns home almost a decade later, he wants to see the pictures that he took and she developed. Now she knows why she received the pictures that she did. Text and image:There are no images in the book. However, the text itself allows the audience to formulate an image through the voice of Jamie. You are able to draw connections to the place she is volunteering, the garden in which Colonel works on, and many more. The text is written beautifully and is very mesmerizing. Literary Devices: irony (brother in war), rhetorical question, flashback, simile, figurative language

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn Kruljac

    Shooting the Moon is a book about war, love, life and death. Set during the Vietnam war, 12 year old Jamie believes in the war and wishes that she could enlist herself to show her patriotism. She comes from a military family in which her father is a Colonel and her older brother just was enlisted as a medic. Jamie soon realizes after receiving film strips from her brother how life at war is not what she had thought it was. She learns to develop the rolls of film and sees pictures of people riski Shooting the Moon is a book about war, love, life and death. Set during the Vietnam war, 12 year old Jamie believes in the war and wishes that she could enlist herself to show her patriotism. She comes from a military family in which her father is a Colonel and her older brother just was enlisted as a medic. Jamie soon realizes after receiving film strips from her brother how life at war is not what she had thought it was. She learns to develop the rolls of film and sees pictures of people risking their lives for others. She soon begins to change her idea of war and realizes the life and death risk that people take each day during war. This book is good for middle school readers and I think would be good to discuss the effects of war. It would be a good discussion book for any introductory lesson on war although it is specifically centered around the vietnam war. I thought it was a good read but I feel that I have read other books around war that I would personally use over this book but I think it would be worth using in a literature circle as it is not as long or difficult as other war books. I read this book on audio.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

    "You got all the ones I missed." Man did this book make me cry. I related so well to Jamie. My dad was in the military and was deployed when I was younger, so even though it was a completely different war, I could relate to some of the ways Jamie felt. The thing I loved about this is that in the beginning, Jamie had war so glamorized in her mind, but as she kept developing TJ's pictures, she began to see just what war really looks like. (view spoiler)[ I was perfectly fine with this book until it "You got all the ones I missed." Man did this book make me cry. I related so well to Jamie. My dad was in the military and was deployed when I was younger, so even though it was a completely different war, I could relate to some of the ways Jamie felt. The thing I loved about this is that in the beginning, Jamie had war so glamorized in her mind, but as she kept developing TJ's pictures, she began to see just what war really looks like. (view spoiler)[ I was perfectly fine with this book until it got to the point where Jamie's dad told her that TJ was missing. Between the relatability I felt with Jamie and just the way this book was written, that last chapter took me a while to read through my blurry eyes. Then to find out TJ was a prisoner of war for the next two years brought so much relieve. But then I started full on balling like a baby when Jamie showed him all the pictures of the moon for every day that he was missing. For all the moons that he missed when he was a POW. (hide spoiler)] This was a really short book. But it's probably going to stay with me for a long time, and I already know I'm going to reread it a lot.

  24. 5 out of 5

    704michelled

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. i read this book over the summer of 2010 it's about a girl named jamie. she and her brother loved to play army when they were little, with little plastic green soldiers. But when her brother tj had a chance to join the army(he joined)he went off to war in vietnam with his camra and sent back the film to jamie back home.when jamie got the film she learned quickly from a friend at the community center to develop the film. when jamie developed the film she found out the truth about wars that it was i read this book over the summer of 2010 it's about a girl named jamie. she and her brother loved to play army when they were little, with little plastic green soldiers. But when her brother tj had a chance to join the army(he joined)he went off to war in vietnam with his camra and sent back the film to jamie back home.when jamie got the film she learned quickly from a friend at the community center to develop the film. when jamie developed the film she found out the truth about wars that it wasn't so great.but a couple of weeks later she noticed something werid in the films, they were all pictures of the moon. then when she tryed to talk to her dad(the cernol)about it,her dad interupted and told her that her brother was missing. but then the book ended with the family playing cards and waiting for a call from the army about tj.i didn't like the ending becuse it left us(the readers)at a cliff hanger where the brother is still lost.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mr. Steve

    Maybe I have a thing for books about girls who are trying to deal with life while family members are fighting in the Vietnam War; I don't know. Summer's End is one of my favorite recent books and I really liked this one too. There was one review of this book (from Horn Book, I think) that called Shooting the Moon "complicated and unpredictable - just like war". I think that is an accurate portrayal of this book. I might even add "heartbreaking". I loved the dynamic of Jamie's family and how surpr Maybe I have a thing for books about girls who are trying to deal with life while family members are fighting in the Vietnam War; I don't know. Summer's End is one of my favorite recent books and I really liked this one too. There was one review of this book (from Horn Book, I think) that called Shooting the Moon "complicated and unpredictable - just like war". I think that is an accurate portrayal of this book. I might even add "heartbreaking". I loved the dynamic of Jamie's family and how surprising and complicated her father, "The Colonel" was, especially when dealing with his own son's decision to enlist. I loved Shooting the Moon as a title for this book - literally: TJ sends back film from Vietnam to develop, a lot of which is of the moon. But also the phrase "shooting the moon" could be related to this story as well. Not sure who the audience is here, but I would love to make one.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    A true five star book and a book that should not be limited by being called young adult literature. This is a story about VietNam, and about fathers and sons and daughters. Jamie's brother goes to Viet Nam and send her film to develop - more and more he sends her pictures of the moon. The moon could be the link between them - in pictures and reality they both see the same moon. But shooting the moon can also mean taking a full out risk - in cards when you shoot the moon you try to get all the ca A true five star book and a book that should not be limited by being called young adult literature. This is a story about VietNam, and about fathers and sons and daughters. Jamie's brother goes to Viet Nam and send her film to develop - more and more he sends her pictures of the moon. The moon could be the link between them - in pictures and reality they both see the same moon. But shooting the moon can also mean taking a full out risk - in cards when you shoot the moon you try to get all the cards - and Jamie spends the first summer playing gin rummy. She also takes full out risks in trying to connect with her dad - a Colonel in the army. The Colonel also takes full risks for his children. A lovely book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Jamie, daughter of an Army Colonel, has grown up loving the military and everything it stands for. Along with her brother TJ, they would play war with little green army men. TJ is too old for game play and decides to enlist for some real action. Surprisingly his dad would rather him go to college first. TJ against his fathers wishes ships off to Vietnam. Through the pictures he sends to Jamie, she learns about the sacrifice of war. Even though this is a war story, I think that this has limited bo Jamie, daughter of an Army Colonel, has grown up loving the military and everything it stands for. Along with her brother TJ, they would play war with little green army men. TJ is too old for game play and decides to enlist for some real action. Surprisingly his dad would rather him go to college first. TJ against his fathers wishes ships off to Vietnam. Through the pictures he sends to Jamie, she learns about the sacrifice of war. Even though this is a war story, I think that this has limited boy appeal. I enjoyed it and it was a quick read. I especially liked how Jamie's character matures throughout the story.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Luan

    This was a great middle grade read that has enough depth to satisfy adult readers too. The story follows a young girl whose brother has recently shipped off to Vietnam. Hers is an army family and this particular war has thrown their family values and ideas of the good fight into disarray. Shooting the Moon takes just a slice of what was happening during the Vietnam war and does a fantastic job of showing the growth and change that happens when life is touched by the uncertainty of what the futur This was a great middle grade read that has enough depth to satisfy adult readers too. The story follows a young girl whose brother has recently shipped off to Vietnam. Hers is an army family and this particular war has thrown their family values and ideas of the good fight into disarray. Shooting the Moon takes just a slice of what was happening during the Vietnam war and does a fantastic job of showing the growth and change that happens when life is touched by the uncertainty of what the future brings. A quick, great read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    MangoReads

    If only this book was in every bookstore. Classic.Jamie and her bro T.J. live on an army base.Jamie would love to go to war but she is to young. When T.J. goes out to Vietnam Jamie feels like war is romantic and great.But when T.J. delivers film for Jamie to develop.Will she ever think differently about war? The ending is memorable.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    My grandfather bought me this book almost seven years ago when I was 14. Although this is a middle-grade book, if I read it seven years ago, I think I wouldn't like it as much as I do today as an adult. This book beautifully illustrates how military life is like for a 12 (and a half)-year-old army brat during the Vietnam war. But what made me really drawn into this book was when Jamie, the narrator, mentioned that she prefers Marvel over DC on page 30. (I know, it's such a very minor element in t My grandfather bought me this book almost seven years ago when I was 14. Although this is a middle-grade book, if I read it seven years ago, I think I wouldn't like it as much as I do today as an adult. This book beautifully illustrates how military life is like for a 12 (and a half)-year-old army brat during the Vietnam war. But what made me really drawn into this book was when Jamie, the narrator, mentioned that she prefers Marvel over DC on page 30. (I know, it's such a very minor element in the story, but anyone who likes Marvel better than DC is automatically an interesting person to me.) And then, on the next page, TJ, her brother who's in the medical team in Vietnam, sends her a roll of film for her to develop, and that's where she learns about what was really going down there at the war. As someone who's interested in film photography, I enjoyed reading the part where Jamie explains how film is developed. And thinking about it now, I realized that a huge part of the reason why I like this is book is that. Overall, this is a good book about photography, the army, and the Vietnam war. It wasn't as specific about the war as I would like it to be, but I understand that this was written for 12-year-olds and not for a 20-year-old who wants her history class compressed into a 160-page book. Nevertheless, this book could be a great starting point about war for middle-grade readers.

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