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if you are reading this

The war in Afghanistan has had many casualties, many soldiers and many more family members.  Each deal with his or her losses in different ways, yet all are similar. Something has been taken that an never be replaced. Questions are raised that can never be answered, and lives are broken in ways that can never be fixed.

Mike, a young man whose father was killed in Afghanistan, begins to receive letters from his dead father on his sixteenth birthday.  Obviously, he wants to learn who has held those letters for the past eight years, but more than that, he wants to learn about his father and the dreams he had for his little boy.

Mike has always wanted to play football, but he knows he should be working to help his mother pay the bills since she alone is financially responsible for the family, and it is difficult for her to raise him and his little sister. His mother is also dead set against his playing football because she fears he will be hurt.  The letters encourage him to pursue his dreams and become the best he can, so he forges his mother’s signature on the release form for football and begins to live a life of lies and deceit.

How he resolves his dilemma and uncovers the sender of the letters makes this a moving story for any young person – especially a young man- who may be in conflict with his parents.  I recommend its purchase for any library with teen readers.