Watkins’ latest (Juvie, 2013, etc.) rings with the truth of the plight of veterans who’ve struggled to return to their daily lives after having witnessed what no doubt is sheer horror. Shane’s present-tense narration is fast-paced, full of blunt, uncompromising, sometimes-shocking cruelty. Readers can’t help noticing how Watkins plays Shane’s football prowess against Jeremy’s war stories. Both are battered warriors making sense of what they’ve been taught to do. A gripping, moving, disturbing tale of homecoming.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Watkins’ treatment of the troubled Jeremy is unsparingly honest yet deeply compassionate, and his fastpaced, suspenseful story is a searing indictment of war and its impact on those who are trying to do a job in the face of unforgiving tragedy.
Watkins (Juvie) delivers a powerful, emotionally raw tale, heartbreaking in its portrayal of damaged veterans, the price some pay to serve, and the toll it takes on their friends and family.
This stirring untold story sheds light on issues that those in the military face. The gritty language underlies the young men’s continuous struggles. Watkins portrays family life with a returning veteran with PTSD in a way that will appeal to reluctant readers, especially those who like war or adventure stories.
—School Library Journal