B for Buster by Iain Lawrence

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Nicknamed after his hometown of Kakabeka, Canada, Kak dreams of flying with the Allied bombers in World War II. So at 16, underage and desperate to escape his abusive parents, he enlists in the Canadian Air Force. Soon he is trained as a wireless operator and sent to a squadron in England, where he’s unabashedly gung ho about flying his first op. He thinks the night ops over Germany will be like the heroic missions of his favorite comic-book heroes. Good will vanquish evil. But his first time out, in a plane called B for Buster, reveals the ops for what they really are—a harrowing ordeal.

The bombing raids bring searchlights . . . artillery from below . . . and night fighters above hunting to take the bombers down. One hit, Kak knows, and B for Buster, along with him and his six crewmates, could be destroyed.

Kak is terrified.

He can’t confide his feelings to his crew, since he’s already worried that they’ll find out his age. Besides, none of them seem afraid. Only in Bert, the slovenly caretaker of the homing pigeons that go on every op, does Kak find an unlikely friend. Bert seems to understand what the other men don’t talk about—the shame, the sense of duty, and the paralyzing fear. As Kak seeks out Bert’s company, he somehow finds the strength to face his own uncertain future.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Iain Lawrence

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Iain Lawrence is the author of many acclaimed novels.
Published December 18, 2007 by Laurel Leaf. 336 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Travel, Action & Adventure, War, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for B for Buster

Kirkus Reviews

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Kak has nightmares of falling out of the sky, he fears waiting, and he fears flying, “hurtling through space above a planet made of fire.” This is a familiar story elevated by eloquent writing, a fast-paced plot, and research neatly woven into the narrative.

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Publishers Weekly

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This story, told through the eyes of a 16-year-old who lies about his age to enlist, presents "a gritty, unglorified picture of what it was like to be a fighter pilot during WWII," according to PW 's starred review.

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Publishers Weekly

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The author balances action-packed scenes aboard Kak's plane, B for Buster , with more introspective moments on land as the teen strives to come to terms with a terror he cannot shake.

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