Mike was seven when his father was killed in mysterious circumstances in Afghanistan. Eight years later, the family still hasn't recovered: Mike's mom is overworked and overprotective; his younger sister Mary feels no connection to the father she barely remembers; and in his quest to be "the man of the family," Mike knows he's missing out on everyday high school life.
Then, out of the blue, Mike receives a letter from his father -- the first of a series Dad wrote in Afghanistan, just in case he didn't come home, meant to share some wisdom with his son on the eve of Mike's 16th birthday. As the letters come in, Mike revels in spending time with his dad again, and takes his encouragement to try new things -- to go out for the football team, and ask out the beautiful Isma. But who's been keeping the letters all these years? And how did Dad actually die? As the answers to these mysteries are revealed, Mike and his family find a way to heal and move forward at last.
Trent Reedy is the author of Divided We Fall
, Burning Nation
, and The Last Full Measure
, a trilogy about the second American Civil War; If You're Reading This
; Stealing Air
; and Words in the Dust
, which was the winner of the Christopher Medal and an Al Roker's Book Club pick on the Today Show
. Trent and his family live near Spokane, Washington. Please visit his website at www.trentreedy.com
- ! "From If You're Reading This:
I intend to write you a couple of
letters to make sure you have some help from your old man. My plan is for you to
be given my letters in order, one at a time, early in your sophomore year of high
school, so that you'll have read them all by your sixteenth birthday.
to be there for you. I tried. I swear to God nothing was more important to me than
getting back home to you and your mom and sister. I know you'll be good to them,
help take care of them. I'll never get to know the man you're becoming, but I hope
you'll take your time with my letters to get to know me.
\tThey're calling me
to formation. I have to stop for now. I miss you, buddy.