Pax

Finished Pax by Sara Pennypacker.  I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Pax was only a kit when his family was killed, and “his boy” Peter rescued him from abandonment and certain death. Now the war front approaches, and when Peter’s father enlists, Peter has to move in with his grandpa. Far worse than being forced to leave home is the fact that Pax can’t go. Peter listens to his stern father—as he usually does—and throws Pax’s favorite toy soldier into the woods. When the fox runs to retrieve it, Peter and his dad get back in the car and leave him there—alone. But before Peter makes it through even one night under his grandfather’s roof, regret and duty spur him to action; he packs for a trek to get his best friend back and sneaks into the night. This is the story of Peter, Pax, and their independent struggles to return to one another against all odds.

Told from the alternating viewpoints of Peter and Pax, this story truly showcases Sara’s mastery of characterization and her fluent ability to pay off small yet beautiful details. The conflicts that Peter faces are mostly internal and center around the anger that has affected both him and his father in the wake of his mother’s unexpected death. Peter can’t shake his grandfather’s claim that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” when he wants so badly to distinguish himself from his closed-off father. Pax’s hardships, on the other hand, are more external; his domestication has left him an unskilled hunter and misled him as to the true nature of men. However, it is the beautifully-crafted characters that Peter and Pax encounter on their separate journeys who ultimately help the protagonists find what they are looking for, in addition to each other. These distinctive and multi-dimensional individuals leave a rare kind of impression on the reader while subtly infusing it with themes of loyalty, self-worth, denial, and truth.

PAX is ready to become a universal and timeless classic, like CHARLOTTE’S WEB, to be read and discussed by whole communities and generations to come.”

I bet the comparison to Charlotte’s Web left you skeptical, right? But no, it’s actually really that good.

I couldn’t stop reading this book and I was so nervous during Pax’s chapters.  (I was very worried that he would get hurt or killed, and I can deal with the death of fictional people so much easier than I can deal with the death of fictional animals.)

I won’t tell you how many times I cried during this book or how long it took me to stop crying at the end, but it’s all so worth it.  Get this book and share it with everyone you know.

Highly recommended.

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