Dare you to move // Switchfoot
Review can be viewed on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/QpoeBp
Wow! This is a really great contemporary Young Adult novel! I really enjoyed it surprisingly. The great reviews on convinced me to give it a read and it sounds like my kind of story! It is well written and definitely worth the read.
This story is about Travel Stephenson comes back to his hometown Fort Myers who is on a one month-leave after serving a year in Afghanistan. On his return, he notices that things aren’t the same anymore and a lot of things have changed during his absence. His parents are on the brink of splitting up and his younger brother has stolen his girlfriend, his friends and his car.
It’s great to read a story from the guy’s perspective. In Travis’ point of view, we get an insight into what he went through as a Marine, how it affected him and it’s left him wondering if his life can ever be normal again. The flashbacks of being him in the war were vivid visualizations that haunt him in his nightmares and led to his post-traumatic stress. He is consumed with the guilt of his best friend Charlie who was killed and he felt that it should have been him. He has hallucinations and thinks he sees Charlie everywhere.
Travis didn’t have a sole purpose of why he wanted to take part in joining the Marines. It was mainly because of his dad. He was tired of the pressure of living up to his dad’s expectations of becoming the person who his dad wanted him to be. For the first time, Travis wanted to say no and do something for him for once, going against his dad’s wishes. I think it’s difficult for anyone to be under that kind of pressure of being who your parents want you to be because it’s not about what you want to do with your future, it’s what the parents want. I loved Travis’ mum! She was the only one in Travis’ family who was really supportive of him and I really liked how caring Travis was towards her.
Travis isn’t perfect; he has flaws and makes mistakes, like everyone else. Even when people say he’s a hero, he says that he is not. His relationship with Harper Gray is the one good thing he’s got going for him. I really liked reading about how their friendship evolved to something more meaningful. What I found quite sweet was when Travis made a reference of Harper’s name to Harper Lee.
Their friendship had a rocky start at first because Travis is the one who ruined Harper’s reputation during middle school to which Harper gave Travis a punch in the face. There were so many nice scenes with Travis and Harper; I loved reading the scenes with the grocery shopping and at Waffle House. I think their relationship just worked together and they deserved each other. There was no instalove and no cheesy lines. There was good development and it felt was realistic.
“And, Jesus, she’s a good kisser. So good that I want to beat the hell out of whoever taught her.
She’s probably right about this being a mistake, but right now? I don’t care.”
In the emotional scenes made me tear up a little, especially with Charlie’s funeral, Travis meeting his mum and giving his speech on his best friend. I think that scene in particular was very moving and touching. I loved that Harper was there for him at the funeral, despite Travis coming clean and told her he hooked up with his ex Paige.
My only criticism is that I think that Harper forgave Travis too easily with what happened in middle school. She should have been angry with him longer than she was, but she just seemed to have put the past behind her, maybe because she really cared for him, as he cared for her. I felt like the story was too short to have depth and it could have been longer to develop the characters more.
I gave this book 4 stars out of 5. I liked the writing in this story and it stirred emotions in me. It’s a short and bittersweet read. I felt like it did kind of gave me an insight into what happens to army soldiers and how rough they have to live, they’re putting their lives at risk and it shows show devastating war can be. The cover of the book is quite misleading; this book isn’t really about a love story, though part of it is about romance. It’s more to do with dealing with guilt, loss and coming terms with PTSD. The last chapter was a nice way of ending the story.