Purple Heart
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Purple Heart

3.79 (2,112 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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.

National Book Award Finalist Patricia McCormick has written a visceral and compelling portrait of life in a war zone, where loyalty is valued above all, and death is terrifyingly commonplace.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 198 pages
  • 142.24 x 213.36 x 22.86mm | 294.83g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 0061730904
  • 9780061730900
  • 1,250,394

Review quote

"McCormick builds the plot subtly and carefully with rich, spare prose."--Kirkus Reviews
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Rating details

2,112 ratings
3.79 out of 5 stars
5 26% (552)
4 38% (801)
3 28% (584)
2 6% (133)
1 2% (42)

Our customer reviews

Going to war wasn't a first choice for Matt Duffy, but it seemed like the most sensible. He hadn't done that great in school, so college for him didn't really make sense. On the other hand, his little sister was a good student, and joining the Army would provide the necessary funds to send her to college when the time came. Whatever his reason for joining up, Matt found himself in the middle of Iraq doing the patriotic thing for his country. Even though they warned the young soldiers during basic training, he was surprised by the heat, the noise, and the people. There were slow days with routine missions; welcome days after some of the scary attacks Matt had witnessed. Recently, they'd lost their squad leader, a fellow named Benson. Amazing that this fact is one of the few things Matt can remember as he wakes up and finds himself in a hospital, answering questions from a man in scrubs standing at the foot of his bed. When Matt begins to ask questions of his own, he learns that when he and his partner, Justin, followed an insurgent into a dead-end alley, there was an explosion and he suffered a TBI (traumatic brain injury). With the exception of a weakened right leg, everything else seems to be in working order. Doctors are prescribing rest and saying he'll be back with his unit in no time. With time to think, Matt is trying to remember just exactly what happened. As events of the attack begin to come back to him, he realizes he may have been responsible for something terrible. How can he bring back the memories - and does he really want to remember? Patricia McCormick shares the life of an American soldier in Iraq. YA novels dealing with the Iraq War are beginning to appear on bookstore shelves, and PURPLE HEART offers readers a chance to experience the war through the eyes of a young soldier trying to make sense of why he is fighting and whose lives he is effecting in this controversial war. McCormick reveals not only the point-of-view and mindset of American troops, but also a glimpse of the life of the regular Iraqi citizen trying to cope in a country at war. Teens thinking about military service, teens that have family and friends stationed in Iraq, or teens just curious about the distant place they hear about on the news will all benefit from and appreciate the service and story of Matt Duffy. *Gold Star Award Winner!show more
by TeensReadToo
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