Valerie O. Patterson

Operation Oleander


What do you do when something you intended for good goes terribly wrong? In the summer before ninth grade, thirteen-year-old Jess Westmark organizes her friends on Ft. Spencer Army base in Florida to collect school supplies for an orphanage in Afghanistan where their parents are serving in the US Army. The orphanage’s association with Americans, however, draws it under attack. The explosion shatters lives in Kabul—and across the world in Florida. Reeling from the impact, Jess struggles to respond. Her actions not only have implications for her own family and the strained relationship with her best friend, whose life has forever been changed by the attack, but also for her growing sense of responsibility to others—even strangers continents away.

"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." -- Publishers Weekly

Selected Works

"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. -- Publisher's Weekly Junior Library Guild Selection 2013, VOYA Top Shelf Selection Middle School 2013
Teen Fiction
“A story tender and true...each word seems to shimmer.”
–Han Nolan, National Book Awardee

Quick Links