Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick
"When Private Matt Duffy wakes up in an army hospital in Iraq, he's honored with a Purple Heart. But he doesn't feel like a hero.
There's a memory that haunts him: an image of a young Iraqi boy as a bullet hits his chest. Matt can't shake the feeling that he was somehow involved in his death. But because of a head injury he sustained just moments after the boy was shot, Matt can't quite put all the pieces together.
Eventually Matt is sent back into combat with his squad—Justin, Wolf, and Charlene—the soldiers who have become his family during his time in Iraq. He just wants to go back to being the soldier he once was. But he sees potential threats everywhere and lives in fear of not being able to pull the trigger when the time comes. In combat there is no black-and-white, and Matt soon discovers that the notion of who is guilty is very complicated indeed."- summary from Amazon
I picked this up from my shelves to read recently mainly because I'd been reading a LOT of more light-hearted novels and so felt I needed something more serious to kind of balance it all out. I've also read a tiny bit of McCormick before ("Cut" and her story in "Up All Night") and was excited to read this new book of hers. This is a great book and is written so well. It's told in third person but mainly focuses on Matt and his story is so compelling. There's a bit of a mystery to it as Matt is trying to put the pieces back together of just what exactly happened to give him the head injury. The first half of the book details his recovery and the second half deals with him getting back out into the war. I don't think I've read a story about a soldier in a war, especially one still going on, and it hits you emotionally, reading about what these soldiers go through. This book opened my eyes and gave me a new-found appreciation for soldiers going into war. The relationships between everyone are clearly defined and the interactions are written realistically. This is definitely a book that needs to be read by everyone, no matter what age.
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