Friday, May 25, 2012

Top 5: A Memorial Day Special

Since we're all about to head out on the long weekend for Memorial Day. We thought the perfect Top 5 would be a look at books that deal with soldiers who have recently returned from or are in combat.

Something Like Normal  by Trish Doller
Travis is a Marine, just back from Afghanistan and dealing with the fact that a bunk with 20 guys near by feels a lot more like home than his quiet house with his parents and brother. On top of that, Travis is dealing with a girlfriend who dumped him while he was deployed and a funeral that he has to attend for his best friend who was killed in action. What does it say about his life that the current bright spots are hanging out with a girl who used to hate his guts and the idea of heading back to a sandy dessert on the other side of the planet? (read the full review here)


The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt
Ever since his older brother shocked everyone by turning his back on college to join the Marines, his house is a miserable place to be. When Boaz comes home he won't step into a car, he won't talk to anyone and he spends all day in his room, only coming out to ask Levi to fix his computer, so it's not really that much of an improvement. But when Boaz finally leaves his room, with the plan to hike the Appalachian Trail, Levi decides to help him finish the trek and bring Boaz home for good. On the journey Levi learns more about what his brother saw and did in Iraq, the personal cost of war hits home in a real way, and Levi begins to understand the things a brother should know. (read the full review here)


While he was Away by Karen Schreck
Penna Weaver thought she knew what it meant to be a strong girlfriend. She'd supported her boyfriend David when he went to boot camp and she was ready to be there while he was away on deployment. But the blogs and forums all say that she is supposed to send him positive emails at all times even when she's feeling anything but. David is struggling to find the right words on his side of the world as well. Is it possible for love to last when there's so much being left unsaid?

Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am  by Harry Mazer and Peter Lerangisby
Ben's friends are all going off to college and talking about their dorms and scholarships, but he keeps his plans a secret until the last minute, he's joining the reserves. His best friend Niko and his girlfriend Ariela are surprised but supportive. When Ben suffers a traumatic brain injury while he's deployed, Ariela and Niko rally around his parents and his autistic brother Ben. At their high school graduation, none of them could ever have guessed what the first year out of school would bring.

Ghosts of War  by Ryan Smithson
Lots of teens think they know what it would be like to be a soldier, they've seen the movies and played Modern Warfare. But Ryan Smithson knows the real deal, he signed up for the reserves after 9-11, when he was seventeen. At 19 he deployed to Iraq and Ghosts of War tells the story of his time there from the heart-pounding moments of being fired on to the mundane daily grind of being constantly on duty. Ryan's memoir of his time in the Middle East gives you a look at what it's really like to be a teen soldier.




More on this topic

Our series on soldiers from Arlington Reads 2011
Our "Soldiers and their Families Back Home" Booklist

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