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In the summer of 1914, thousands of Americans travelled to Europe for vacations or for business. Little did they know that they would soon be in a war zone. Some travellers, like the characters in this story, went back to their homelands to visit relatives. In Over the Waves, thirteen-year-old Joel Peterson takes on the job of escorting his mother back to Sweden. His father stays behind in the States and is counting on Joel to do a good job and make sure nothing goes wrong. To Joel, it seems like an easy way to prove that he is old enough to make big decisions. Joel enjoys meeting his grandparents in Sweden and making new friends, especially a pretty girl named Kari. But lazy summer days end abruptly when World War I breaks out and Europe is thrown into chaos. Suddenly, Joel is faced with the monumental task of finding passage on a ship back across the Atlantic where mines and German U-boats lurk in the waters.

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