Several months ago I posted on Instagram (@a_readers_diary) that I was looking for a trashy teen read to get me out of my reading slump.
This is what was suggested to me.
Creek View is a small town but that doesn't stop Skylar from her big dreams. Her full ride scholarship will get her out of that small town and allow her love of art to grow. Josh Mitchell had big dreams too. Joined the Marine Corps straight out of high school, deployed to Afghanistan, and returned to Creek View missing a leg.... Skylar didn't want to treat him any differently. She didn't want to like the boy turned hero that she's worked with for so many years. She didn't want to feel pity for him. But for some reason, she kept looking out for him. She found herself wondering where he went when his mind took over. She wanted to understand why there were three version of Josh, the boy she's grown up with, worked with, crushed on, and hoped for. She needed the real Josh to show her what was going on when his mind took him back to the war. She wanted to help, but she didn't know how to start.
Told from alternating view points, we see Sky struggling to understand Josh. We watch her struggle with all the emotions she feels towards Josh, to her best friend moving across the country, to why she feels tied to Creek View when she's tried so hard to leave it all behind. We get to see her heart mend and break. We get to see her grasping the reality of growing up and moving on. We get to see what it's like to become yourself.
But we also see Josh struggling with the war he can no longer fight physically, but can't stop fighting mentally. We see flashbacks of his battle buddies signing Single Ladies in the dust. We see the memories flooding back to him that he can't control. We see him start to fall for Skylar, knowing he isn't the person she thinks he is. Watching Josh was something I wasn't prepared for.
Heather Demetrios showed war in a way that needs to be understood. They can put up a fight, do what they gotta do. But in the end, they suffer. They signed up to fight. They signed up not knowing the emotional damage that war causes people. They never imagined to lose their best friends when everyone was supposed to have each others backs.. Loss is something you can't just ignore, it's something that has to be remembered. But how many memories can they handle?
Over 20 Veterans are taking their own lives every day.
Over 10% of our homeless population is Veterans.
We see these people every day and never stop to wonder what happened to them.
We never stop and ask to hear old stories, good or bad.
We sidestep asking them how they are doing because how good could they really be doing?
We can't keep ignoring this, they need our help whether they are asking for it or not.
Veteran Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Help For Homeless Veterans: 1-877-424-3838