Monday, March 28, 2011

Book review: The Last Full Measure by Ann Rinaldi

My summary:
Fourteen-year-old Tacy Stryker lives in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania during the period of the American Civil War and she is present when the Battle of Gettysburg commence in July 1863.Tacy's father is involved in the war as a doctor, trying to save lives on both sides, and her two of her brothers, Brandon and Joel, are off fighting while Tacy is at home with her Ma and her disabled brother, David. David is so bitter for having to stay at home doing "nothing", he wanted to be a soldier as well but he was turned down due to his bad leg. Still David one day has his chance to give the last full measure.

My thoughts:
This was absolutely an amazing historical read, it was the first book I've ever read by Ann Rinaldi but I'm sure that it won't be the last. The Last Full Measure isn't a YA historical fiction that will give the reader loads of information about the Battle of Gettysburg. This is the story of the people of Gettysburg and their families and the drama many the people there experienced during the battle. This is also the story of the 200-400 free black Americans living in Gettysburg at the time of the battle, according to the author this is the first work of fiction that have addressed important piece of fact.

This story is told from a fourteen-year-old girl, Tacy's, point of view and for me she was a credible main character. Tacy isn't some kind of heroine fighting alongside with the men in the war, she is a girl trying to get by. Tacy grows as a character throughout the novel, from being a child towards becoming a young woman. During these days of hardness I believe Tacy learns a lot about humans in general and herself. There are several other characters in this story but I didn't feel like there were too many characters to keep track of. Every character brought something unique to the story.

The shortest little scenes could bring tears to my eye. That's how good Rinaldi writes about encounters that might have happened during this war (or any war really) perhaps not identical to the ones in the novel but similar enough. It reminded me of stories my great grandmother, she's almost a 100(!) years old, have told me about her experiences from the Second World War here in Norway. I'll save those stories for another day but my point is that even though the Civil War was a very different era of course but in many ways a war is a war. I feel that The Last Full Measure was realistic and historical accurate. It was at times very sad, I cried, but that's how it is in times of war.

Several of the characters in this novel actually lived at the time in Gettysburg and I think it is wonderful of Rinaldi to bring them to life again. It is something that I find very touching and I loved reading the authors note where several additional facts about the characters where included.

I want to read more of Ann Rinaldi's novels now so I would appreciate suggestions on Rinaldi novels that I should read in the comment form below.

The cover:
It's quite boring I must say and wouldn't have intrigued me to pick the book of the shelf in a store.

My rating of this book:
4.5 stars out of 5

Want a second opinion? Check out these reviews written by some of my book blogging friends:
Becky's Book Reviews
The Mod Podge Bookshelf
Rebecca's Book Blog

Want to know more?
Add The Last Full Measure to your Goodreads wish list.
Visit Ann Rinaldi's homepage 

The Last Full Measure by Ann Rinaldi
Published: November 2010
Pages(hardcover): 224
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
ISBN: 0547389809 (ISBN13: 9780547389806)
Full disclosure: 
Review copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For honest review. 

This book can be purchased from a number of local retailers and on-line book stores such as Amazon or The Book Depository (I'm not an affiliate of either). The latter store does by the way have free shipping to about 100 countries.


  1. Sounds really great, I think I might just squeeze it in-between my To Be Reviewed reads in the near future :)
    I really loved your review, very informative! Thanks Ladybug!

  2. I like the sound of this. I am intrigued by historical YA, I think there is so much potential there to be written.

  3. Nice review. I found your blog from your post on book blogs. What you said there is really true - the cover/title aren't super eye catching. But it sounds like a fun read. I'm trying to add some YA historical fiction to my TBR. I'll have to check this one out. :)

  4. Quite the boring cover, yes. But I am glad the story is good :)

  5. Sounds like a great tween read--I actually do like the cover, too!

    Best of luck with the coming baby!

  6. Ann Rinaldi is a phenomenal historical fiction writer. My favorite book by her is a Break with Charity about the Salem Witch Trials. This one sounds awesome too. Thanks for a great review!

  7. Definitely read more. Ann Rinaldi is a treasure. I devoured her books when I was a teen. I agree with Jan von Harz's choices. I especially loved Fifth of March and Finishing Becca.

  8. Thank you guys for all your lovely comments, I really appreciate it :)

    Alison and Jan: Thank you both so much for your suggestions! I'm taking down the titles :)

  9. I haven't read anything by Rinaldi so I don't have any recommendations but this sounds like a great historical read.

  10. This sounds like a great book, I will have to check it out.

    I second Jan's suggestion of A Break With Charity ("Heksejakten" på norsk). It was one of my favourite historical novels when I was younger.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts =)