Friday, June 3, 2016

The Always War by Margaret Peterson Haddix, 2011

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In a war-torn future United States, fifteen-year-old Tessa, her childhood friend Gideon, now a traumatized military hero, and Dek, a streetwise orphan, enter enemy territory and discover the shocking truth about a war that began more than seventy-five years earlier.
(256 pages)

The first time I read this book, I was absolutely floored by the plot twist. Margaret Peterson Haddix is a genius when it comes to inventing mind-bending scenarios, and The Always War is one of her very bendiest books. Unfortunately, it's also one of her shortest.

And that's what always frustrates me when I re-read it. Just when things are really getting hot, just when the plot twists are falling hard and fast and the world is about to change forever, the book ends. I know there's something to be said for letting the reader fill in their own ending (which I did, vividly, as a twelve-year-old girl after reading it for the first time), but I'd much rather have just read her description.

Besides its shortness, though, I love everything about this book. The worldbuilding is intriguing, the characters are realistically flawed and yet still lovable, and the plot - oh, gosh, that plot. I just can't get over it. I wish I could talk about it more, but I can't spoil the twists for you!

Anyway, this is a good book but doesn't make my list of favorite Margaret Peterson Haddix books because of its short length and rather abrupt ending. If you've never read one of her books, don't start with this one - maybe try Double Identity or Turnabout first; if you've read several of her other novels, then definitely give The Always War a go!


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