Age 14 by Geert Spillebeen


Age 14 by Geert Spillebeen

It is 1913, and twelve-year-old Patrick Condon wants to escape his unexciting life in Ireland. So he hatches a plan. Not wanting to wait until he is old enough to join the army, Patrick lies and says he is seventeen years old, and that his name is John Condon. Assuming the identity of his older brother, Patrick enlists. John fits in quickly, though it is obvious that John is not 17, or even 16. That doesn't matter. John is strong, fast, and a hard worker. He loves military life. This man's world is just what John wanted. But when WWI begins in 1914, John gets all he has been looking for, and more he does not expect, as he is just a boy...


Based on historical facts, this tale of an underage soldier captures the initial excitement and ultimate disillusionment of men, young and old, fighting at the front. Spillebeen's choice to reveal Patrick's fate in the first chapter may lessen the suspense, but readers will be emotionally prepared to bear the story's conclusion. Unadorned prose expresses unsettling truths in straightforward, clear terms. -- Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Geert Spillebeen is an author and journalist who lives in Belgium. Age 14 is his second novel published with Houghton Mifflin Children's Books; his first was Kipling's Choice which, in a starred review, School Library Journal said could become the next great war novel.

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Book Info


224 pages


Geert Spillebeen
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Publication date

25th June 2010



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