The Dangerous Summer of Jesse Turner
“Everybody knew I was an outlaw’s kid” begins D. C. Reep and E. A. Allen’s energetic YA novel The Dangerous Summer of Jesse Turner, as our eponymous young hero Jesse, from Liberty, Missouri, introduces himself by relating the notorious fact about himself: that his father was a well-known criminal. Determined to prove himself different, Jesse volunteers to join Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and his “rough riders” as they take ship to Cuba in 1898 to fight in the Spanish-American War. Among his fellow volunteers, Jesse befriends a New Yorker named Ben and a Commanche named Ben – and he also makes an enemy in Ike Dillon, whose own family was dealt a tragedy by Jesse’s father. Reep and Allen follow these and other vibrantly-drawn characters through the tedium and terror of military life, from camp intrigues to the heat of battle – and of course meeting the Colonel himself.