This YA novel is a relatively new book (publication date: June 19, 2012) about an old topic: how does the warrior come home from the war?
When Travis returns home from Afghanistan, his parents are fighting, his brother has stolen his girlfriend, and he keeps seeing his friend Charlie in odd places, even though Charlie died in Afghanistan. Can Travis be vulnerable enough and honest enough to build a relationship with Harper, the girl whose reputation he ruined back in middle school?
I liked the story part of this novel, but the crude and profane language and the casual attitude toward premarital sex, although realistic, made me want an expurgated version. I get it: Marines talk and act like, well, Marines. But a little of that goes a long way. And author Trish Doller didn’t really put as much profanity and crude guy talk in the book as she could have. I still could have done without.
That issue aside, Travis is, as the blurb says, a young man with an “incredible sense of honor, . . . an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.” The religious and moral ideas and choices that define Travis are questionable, but Travis is still an honorable man trying to understand himself and come to terms with his war experiences in a complicated world with very little guidance. I think there a lot of Travises coming back from Afghanistan, and this book would speak to them and to their loved ones in a very immediate way.
Thanks to the publisher, Bloomsbury, for sending me an ARC of this timely YA novel.