I hope you all enjoyed your weekend and had time to reflect on this Memorial Day.
My young adult book review this week fits in with the holiday as the characters face the realities of life after war. Though dark at times, the book does leave the reader with a new understanding of what our military faces and encourages profound respect for the sacrifices so many young people make in service to our country.
Thank you to those who are currently serving, those who have served and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Written by Steve Watkins
Shane’s big brother Jeremy has finally returned home after three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shane thought having his brother back home would fix everything, but his once happy-go-lucky brother has been replaced by an angry, bitter person who can’t get through the day without a drink. With his brother living in the basement, unable to face life with his wife and two kids, Shane struggles with high school, caring for his brother’s family, and stress at home. Then, after Shane embarrasses himself spectacularly in a football game, Jeremy suggests they get away and takes Shane to the river. Excited to escape his high school embarrassment and spend time with his brother, Shane goes along. Little does he know this journey will be more than he bargained for, and his brother needs far more help than Shane can give.
“Great Falls” written by Steve Watkins is a powerful, gripping tale of family and the effects of war. Beautifully and thoughtfully written, the author captures the struggles many teen boys face as they strive to prove themselves as men in a society that expects them to be tough. Shane is thoughtful, kind and untouched by the grim realities of the world, at least until his brother returns home. Through Jeremy, Shane and the reader get a glimpse of what war can do to a person. Shocking, sad, and thoroughly thought-provoking, this is a great read for teens and adults. Appropriate for ages 14 and up due to some profanity, scenes of war, violence and adult themes.
Thank you to Net Galley and Candlewick Press for a reading copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.