Author: Tim Tharp
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January, 2011
Genre/Format: Contemporary Historical Fiction/Novel
Summary: Ceejay never cared if she fit in anywhere because she was the younger sister of Bobby- a charming, bad boy who was her hero. She always knew she fit there. But then when Bobby returns home from fighting in Iraq, he is different. The connection between them is gone and Ceejay feels lost. The old Bobby has to be somewhere inside of this new Bobby and she is going to get him back to normal.
What I Think: This book is an interesting one as it deals with a bunch of topics that are not normally found in young adult literature. First, I loved that this book was set in a rural setting filled with blue collar families. I feel that it is a population that is not often represented in stories. This book is also a female coming of age story. Often coming of age stories have male protagonists, so it is nice to see one where the female main character grows up and finds her voice. When you begin the novel, Ceejay sounds so young and more selfish than her 16 years. By the end, Ceejay has become her own woman. Her emotional journey through hope, loss, death, acceptance, valiance all lead to a much stronger of a character.
Another interesting aspect of the book is the portrayal of post-traumatic stress disorder. Many times war stories are told before and during the war and then the affects are forgotten, but every soldier that returns brings some of that war back with them and it affects others more. Bobby represents many a young soldier out there that went to fight in a war way too young and saw things no one should have to see and did things that no one should have to do. It really puts everything into perspective.
Read Together: Grades 9 - 12
Read Alone: Grades 9 - 12
Read With: Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers, My Brother's Shadow by Monika Shroder, Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington
Snatch of Text:
Mentor Text for: Characterization, Making Connections, Conflicts, VoiceTopics Covered: Change, Love, Acceptance, Hope, Valiance, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Coming of Age, Death, Loss