Rated 5 stars ***** (Viking Juvenile. ebook. 372 pp. 2013.)
Hayley Kincaid and her veteran dad have been traveling across the country in his truck for years as he home schooled her and they evaded reality. Life was good, despite the fact he suffered from PTSD from his time in Iraq and had many bad days and nights brought on by drugs, drinking binges, and flashbacks. After settling down in her grandmother’s old house during her senior year so she could go to a real school, Hayley was hopeful her dad would get better. Instead he deteriorated even more, necessitating a constant cycle of lying to the world and herself about his behavior.
Little by little, parts of her own soul began to be cut away by her dad’s binges along with the return of the stepmother she hated. While teetering on the edges of sanity, Finn entered her life. Not exactly a heartthrob, his silly antics and banter helped keep her mind off the seriousness of her home life and made her feel a ray of hope through her despair. Unfortunately even Finn couldn’t keep her father’s PSTD from worsening as his self destructive path seemed to be leading in one direction. Haley and her dad would soon find themselves in the biggest fight of their lives.
Laurie Halse Anderson’s realistic portrayal of Hayley and her father’s struggles with PTSD sheds a new light on what soldiers go through when they return from their service to the nation. Reading it may cause some of her readers to seek the help they need for their loved ones.
On a side note there were many editing errors that will, hopefully, be corrected in future editions.
Recommended for readers aged 14 and older.