86 pages 2 hours read

Alan Gratz


Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2019

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Chapters 16-28Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 16 Summary: “Absolutely Average”

This chapter is part of the book’s third section, entitled “Operation Tonga: June 6, 1944, Three Hours Before the Beach Invasion in the Sky Over the English Channel.”

James McKay is a 19-year-old Canadian paratrooper preparing to drop down into German-occupied French soil. He talks with one of the other soldiers in his unit—Sam, a Canadian of First Nations descent—about why they joined the war.

Chapters 17-18 Summary: “If Day” and “Stronger Together”

James remembers “If Day,” which took place in his hometown of Winnipeg two years before. If Day was an elaborate simulation of German occupation in Winnipeg, intended to promote citizens buying war bonds and convince young men to sign up for military service. He and a large group of schoolmates used the demonstration to band together against a bully at their school, inspired by the war effort’s message of “we’re stronger together.”

Back on the plane, James and his unit prepare for their signal to jump out and parachute down to German territory.

Chapters 19-21 Summary: “Green Light,” “Knees in the Breeze,” and “Rommel’s Asparagus”

James parachutes down to the ground from the plane, accidentally losing a bag of weapons as he does so. He watches with horror as the German forces fire on his fellow paratroopers. He lands, cuts himself free of his parachute, and Sam finds him shortly afterward.

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