Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of In Harm’s Way: the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Story of Its Survivors (Young Readers Adaptation) by Doug Stanton and Michael J. Tougias

In Harm’s Way: the SInking of the USS Indianapolis and the Story of Its Survivors (Young Readers Adaptation)

by Doug Stanton and Michael J. Tougias

Publisher: Macmillan Publishers

Imprint: Henry Holt and Company

Release date: February 8, 2022

ISBN: 9781250771322

The USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by the Japanese on July 30, 1945 killing hundreds on impact; however that was only the beginning of a four day ordeal of survival.  Thrown into the South Pacific Ocean with only life vests, a few rafts, and no supplies, nearly 1,000 sailors  had to endure dehydration, injuries, the sweltering sun, and the worst – the sharks that fed on them each night. 

The bulk of the story’s focus is on survival and keeps the reader’s interest because of the gruesome details and struggles these, mostly young adults, faced while stuck in the ocean. The story moves quickly from the torpedo strike recorded on page 32.  Chapters are brief and easy to follow regardless of a reader’s familiarity with the Navy or the USS Indianapolis. The alternating experiences of the men on board cover the full scope of the attack and subsequent struggle to survive.  For those interested in a deeper dive, there is a glossary of naval terms and photos from the time period, which really connect them to this true story. 

Readers who enjoy action, adventure, survival stories, and certainly those who prefer nonfiction or wartime stories will thoroughly enjoy this title. At just 205 pages, it is a short book that will keep readers hooked. Fans of Walter Dean Myers, Alan Gratz, or Ruta Sepetys will enjoy In Harm’s Way–a true story that reads like fiction–making it an excellent bridge to nonfiction reading for reluctant readers.

— Sarah Carnahan

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.