Each year on November 11 we celebrate Veterans Day in the U.S. It’s a time to acknowledge all that our war veterans have sacrificed for our country, and it’s celebrated on the anniversary of the 1918 armistice when, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the fighting of WWI came to an end. To that end, I thought it would be great to highlight four amazing YA books that feature veterans. Here we go!
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Hayley Kincaid hasn’t lived in one spot for more than a few months in five years. She and her father Andy just have each other, and whenever Andy’s PTSD gets too much, they move. Now they’re back at Andy’s hometown, and Hayley is going to school regularly for the first time in a while. She even gets to know Finn, a guy with his own secrets. But being at home might not be exactly what Hayley’s father needs, as his PTSD and the improper dosage of his medications push him to the edge.
Mare’s Ware by Tanita S. David
The last thing that Octavia and her sister want to do is go on a road trip with their grandmother, Mare, to a distant family reunion. Mare is an unconventional grandparent, and she has no patience for the girls’ preoccupation with technology and social media, or their laments about missing their friends. As the miles pass, she tells them her own story, of how she lied about her age when she was a teen to join the African American Battalion of the Women’s Army Corps. This is a fantastic dual point of view novel that reveals an aspect of WWII that’s underrepresented.
I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Skylar is just three months shy of being able to leave her small town and head off to college, a feat not all teens manage where she’s from. But when her mom loses her job, Skylar starts working at a quirky motel and her plans feel less and less attainable. There she meets her coworker Josh, who’s not much older than she is and who left their small town by joining the Marines. But after losing his leg in Afghanistan, he’s struggling to figure out who he is. Skylar and Josh’s friendship helps sustain them both as they navigate loss, grief, and reaching for their dreams.
American Road Trip by Patrick Flores-Scott
Things are going great for Teodoro Avila, who is looking forward to the summer before senior year with friends and a girl who likes him back. Then his older brother Manny comes from a tour of duty in Iraq, but he’s no longer the perfect older brother that T couldn’t compete with—he’s got PTSD and is barely hanging on. No one is sure what to do, until Xochitl, their sister, tricks both her brothers into a road trip that will hopefully help Manny heal. This is a great road trip novel about a family pulling together for one of their own.
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