Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Trent Reedy
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Everyone said that Mike’s dad was a hero and that he died fighting for his county, but that didn’t make being fatherless an easy thing to live with. About eight years later, just before Mike's sixteenth birthday, the first letter appears in the mailbox. It begins, “Dear Michael, If you’re reading this . . .” The letters are like a conversation with the man who had died when he was a child; letters full of love, support, and advice from the grave. Just as soldiers complete missions, Mike is given ‘missions’ from his father that encouraged him to try new things and follow his dreams. One of his hardest missions involves his mother who doesn't understand him at all and his pest of a younger sister. But a soldier never refuses a mission, right? Mike knows that one of his dad’s fellow soldiers has to be sending the letters to him, but no one will help him find the answer he needed to know. Mike begins his search for the truth behind his father's death.
Award winning author Trent Reedy, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan as well as a former High School teacher, uses his experience as a soldier and his understanding of teenagers to write an engaging novel. Characters are real and situations lifelike in this insightful story of a father who wrote letters of advice and love to his son ‘just in case’ he wasn’t able to see him grow up. The book illustrates human nature and family and school relationships without resorting to the bad language often used in young adult fiction. Told through the eyes of an adolescent boy on the brink of manhood, it is a heartwarming good read, appropriate for readers 7th grade to adult.