Mike was seven when his father was killed in mysterious circumstances in Afghanistan. Eight years later, the family still hasn’t recovered: Mike’s mom is overworked and overprotective; his younger sister Mary feels no connection to the father she barely remembers; and in his quest to be “the man of the family,”Mike knows he’s missing out on everyday high school life.
Then, out of the blue, Mike receives a letter from his father — the first of a series Dad wrote in Afghanistan, just in case he didn’t come home, meant to share some wisdom with his son on the eve of Mike’s 16th birthday. As the letters come in, Mike revels in spending time with his dad again, and takes his encouragement to try new things — to go out for the football team, and ask out the beautiful Isma. But who’s been keeping the letters all these years? And how did Dad actually die? As the answers to these mysteries are revealed, Mike and his family find a way to heal and move forward at last.
WHY SHOULD YOU CHECK IT OUT?
For everyone who has ever lost a loved one, especially a parent, the fantasy of hearing from them again is a strong one. But for Mike, those letters are very real. No doubt there’s a lot of young adults who could use his Dad’s words of wisdom and encouragement.
Straight-forward and artistic, the painting-like quality of the cover has a very classic feel. Once you’ve read the synopsis, all of the overlaid images make perfect sense–from the letters to the dog tags to the football field. Probably the only complaint is that Mike’s head looks very photoshopped on–and we can’t unsee that.
Trent Reedy is the author of WORDS IN THE DUST, winner of the Christopher Medal and an Al Roker’s Book Club pick on the Today Show, and STEALING AIR. Trent and his wife live in Spokane, Washington. Please visit his website at www.trentreedy.com.
EARLY REVIEWS SAY…
Powerful and emotionally raw, with sympathetic characters and a thought-provoking premise, this tale reflects Reedy’s strengths: evoking the small-town American spirit, capturing the feel of the military, and getting into the heart of his teenage protagonist. (Publishers Weekly)
A moving study of war’s long-reaching effects on families. … Readers will anticipate each letter right along with Mike, and they may receive some good guidance about life along with him. (Kirkus Reviews)
Hardcover & ebook, 352 pages
Published on August 26th 2014 by Arthur A. Levine Books (ISBN 0545433428)