My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was drawn to Eleven Eleven because of its focus on World War I, which I haven’t read a whole lot of. While I wasn’t immediately grabbed, I was drawn into the story more and more as the book went on, and I ended up really enjoying it (as much as you can enjoy such a brutal story, I guess).
I think this book did a great job showing both sides of the war, as well as touching on all of the propaganda circulating about “the enemy.” I’m used to seeing things from the Allied perspective, so seeing the German side was especially interesting. This, along with vividly depicting the brutality of the war – as well as just how young a lot of these soldiers were – were the biggest strengths in Eleven Eleven.
My main complaint about this book is I wish it had been longer. It took me a little while to warm up to the three main characters, but once I did, I really came to care about them. However, I feel like it could’ve been a little more impactful if we’d had more time with them, since just as we were getting to know them, the book ended. Axel, Eddie, and Will don’t meet up until near the end; I think this part of the book would’ve been even more powerful if they’d met sooner or spent more time together.
I liked the parts where we got to see the boys’ home lives, and I wish there’d been more of that, so we could really connect with just what the boys had at stake. Those parts of the book were mostly exposition, and probably would’ve been easier to connect to if there had been less telling and more showing.
I liked this book, and I’m glad I picked it up. There were definitely some areas it could’ve used more development, though.