Youngblood by Matt Gallagher

February 25, 2016 Review 0 ★★★★

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Youngblood by Matt GallagherYoung Blood by Matt Gallagher
Published by Atria Books on February 2, 2016
Genres: War
Pages: 342
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
An Amazon Best Book of the Month
The Millions “Most Anticipated” Book of 20

“An urgent and deeply moving novel.”—Michiko Kakutani,The New York Times

The US military is preparing to withdraw from Iraq, and newly-minted lieutenant Jack Porter struggles to accept how it’s happening—through alliances with warlords who have Arab and American blood on their hands. Day after day, Jack tries to assert his leadership in the sweltering, dreary atmosphere of Ashuriyah. But his world is disrupted by the arrival of veteran Sergeant Daniel Chambers, whose aggressive style threatens to undermine the fragile peace that the troops have worked hard to establish.

As Iraq plunges back into chaos and bloodshed and Chambers’s influence over the men grows stronger, Jack becomes obsessed with a strange, tragic tale of reckless love between a lost American soldier and Rana, a local sheikh’s daughter. In search of the truth and buoyed by the knowledge that what he finds may implicate Sergeant Chambers, Jack seeks answers from the enigmatic Rana, and soon their fates become intertwined. Determined to secure a better future for Rana and a legitimate and lasting peace for her country, Jack will defy American command, putting his own future in grave peril.

Pulling readers into the captivating immediacy of a conflict that can shift from drudgery to devastation at any moment, Youngblood provides startling new dimension to both the moral complexity of war and its psychological toll.

I have to confess that war themed things aren’t generally my thing. I never really got into war movies (I’ve never watched Saving Private Ryan, for example). And I’ve never really read any war novels, either. What I’m trying to say (other than that this book is outside my usual genre) is that there is more to this book than just war.

Jack Porter is in charge of his own group of soldiers, and they seem to like him just fine. They follow his orders and no one really argues with him. Then a new guy joins the team, Daniel Chambers. And he doesn’t agree with Porter. From there the group is torn in two. Some people follow Chambers, and slowly more and more people begin to follow him. And Porter? He doesn’t like it, especially when he hears that Chambers doesn’t have a good past in this region of Iraq. In order to get rid of Chambers, Porter has to find evidence of his crimes; which may just be too tall of an order.
This book sucked me right in from the first page. Gallagher described the environment so vividly that I could swear I smelled the sun and sand, and the bitter tang of too many people, too close together. And blood. Oh, the hot copper scent of blood. For all the violence that happened, this book was focused on so much more. There was the way people interacted, the battle between a scorpion and a spider that lingered throughout the story, the heart pounding nature of always being alert to the dangers that surround you.

I honestly don’t think I can do this book any justice with my review. Young Blood was fantastic. And when I finished reading it, I passed it along to my friend who loves war themed movies and books. This is a book that should be shared, and read—even if it isn’t your thing.

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