Operation Oleander (Paperback)
“Full of detail about Army life, Patterson’s elegant prose brings readers deep inside Jess’s conflicted point of view.” —Publishers Weekly
Ninth grader Jess Westmark had the best of intentions when she started Operation Oleander to raise money for a girls’ orphanage in Kabul. She named her charity for the flower that grows both in her Florida hometown and in Afghanistan, where her father is deployed. But on one of her father's trips to deliver supplies to the orphans, a car bomb explodes nearby and her father is gravely injured. Worse, her best friend’s mother and some of the children are killed. Is this all Jess’s fault?
Valerie O. Patterson holds an MFA in Children's Literature from Hollins University, where she twice received the Shirley Henn Award for Creative Scholarship. She has also won a Work-in-Progress Award for her writing from the SCBWI. Valerie is an attorney in her day job and lives with her husband in Leesburg, Virginia.
"Many young readers will identify with the day-to-day trepidation felt by Jess, Meriwether, and the other families living on the base."
—VOYA, 3Q 4P M J
"Full of detail about Army life, Patterson's elegant prose brings readers deep inside Jess's conflicted point of view and the many stresses she is under, as she reevaluates her role as a member of a military family."
"Patterson poignantly depicts war's effect on those at home as Jess and her friends absorb and react to the events. This solid novel joins the growing number of books illustrating the war's effect on Afghan people."
"Patterson has an amazing ability to convey the tension and fear that families and friends of deployed soldiers bear every day and the heart-stopping terror when news programs show violence against troops that may result in one of their loved ones being wounded or dead."
—School Library Journal
"Patterson writes with compassion for both sides of this thorny issue, and her steady focus on the emotional trauma of the stateside teens keeps the story from devlolving into a coolly cerebral exercise in anti-terrorism strategy."