Homer P. Figg lives in Swamp Pine, Maine, in 1863. His older brother, Harold, is sold to the Union Army (illegally, Harold is only 17) by their cruel guardian, Squinton. Homer takes it upon himself to go in search of Harold and straighten the whole mess out and bring his brother safely home before he's killed in the Civil War. During his search, Homer's adventures take him from Maine, down to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and everywhere in between. He meets up with some interesting characters, including an outspoken abolitionist, a Confederate spy, and a tattooed lady, and actually lends a hand to the Union Army at the Battle of Gettysburg. Does he find Harold? You'll have to read it to find out.
Philbrick fills this wonderful story, which Homer himself narrates, with humor, wisdom, danger, devotion, and unpredictable twists and turns. Homer's voice is distinctly boyish, regional, and honest, except when he's fibbing, which is . . . occasionally.
A definite Newbery contender. And that's no fib.