I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Pax by Sara Pennypacker, Jon Klassen
Published by Balzer & Bray/Harperteen on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
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.
I was really excited when found out this book was going to be available at ALAMW. It was available at the Harper Collins booth, and all you had to do to get a copy was either turn in your coupon from the booklet you received at registration, or nicely ask for it at Harper Collins (Thank you Karen!).
Once I started reading PAX I realized that this was going to be a very special book. It wasn’t going to be the type of story that you forget, or leave behind once you finish it. This was going to be the type of story that would linger with you and touch a part of your soul. PAX is a book filled with the harsh realities of life. There is loss, love, sacrifice, friendship, loyalty, violence, war and duty. It touches upon the special bond between pet and owner, and the devotion they have for one another. It also touches on the cruelty of humans, and the devastation that war brings. This isn’t just a simple Middle Grade book with pictures in it. It is a story that has many layers, and many truths deep within it’s core.
It’s a sweet story about a boy named Peter, and his fox Pax. Peter has raised Pax since he was just a kit and they share a very special bond. Due to the coming war, Peter is forced (by his father) to abandon Pax on the side of a rural road. Peter is laden with guilt for leaving Pax behind. Peter runs away the first chance he gets and heads off to try to reunite with his fox. Both of them struggle through the obstacles of nature as they search for one another, they each encounter similar but very different circumstances that teach them about themselves and “grow-up” as their paths gradually come closer together. Both Peter and Pax meet new friends along their journey to reuniting and both learn truths about themselves along the way. The story is told through the point of view of Pax and Peter, which I LOVED (especially Pax’s point of view). The writing and imagery of this book was absolutely stunning. The sentences wrapped around you like a warm blanket as you kept reading, almost like it was already comforting you for those moments of heart break to come. I definitely loved reading this story, even with all the heart ache it caused. My only issue with it was the ending. I just felt that things could have been concluded better. Maybe its just me and I missed the point of the ending, or maybe I’m being greedy for wanting more, or wanting the ending I envisioned in my head and desired in my heart. I highly recommend this book to everyone. PAX is a beautiful story that teaches many lessons and values that all kids should learn and all adults should be reminded of without being overly preachy.