A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Divided We Fall is a hard-hitting, realistic depiction of what might happen if a state such as Idaho faced off against the federal government. National Guardsman Daniel Wright, the protagonist, is committed to the oaths he's sworn to his state and nation, but his convictions sometimes lead to misery for others. A half-dozen party scenes depict underage drinking, in which Daniel and his girlfriend JoBell participate. The language is rough but realistic, with frequent use of "damn," "hell," "s--t," and "a--hole," and occasional use of "p---y," "d--k," "bitch," "bastard," and "pissed." Daniel and JoBell clearly have a sexually intimate relationship, but the book gives no details. Realistic gun violence plays a big part in the narrative, with characters shot to death in two scenes.
What's the story?
When high-school senior and star football player Daniel Wright enlists in the National Guard, he swears to protect the president of the United States and the governor of Idaho. He doesn't expect to be called upon to carry a weapon into a riot in Boise, which turns out to be a disaster. Back home with his panic attack-prone mother and devoted girlfriend, JoBell, Daniel finds himself in the middle of a deadly skirmish between the state of Idaho and the federal government. Soon, his friends and fellow townspeople are taking sides for and against him. What will he do when the president and the governor both order him to attack the other?
Is it any good?
DIVIDED WE FALL asks tough questions about loyalty and patriotism but refuses to offer any easy answers. It thrusts protagonist Daniel Wright into the middle of an armed conflict, a precarious position made worse by his naivete and impulsiveness. Author Trent Reedy has a strong grip on military procedure, and the battle scenes he depicts are suitably realistic, chaotic, and devoid of false heroics. Engaged readers will enjoy debating whether Daniel makes the right choices and what he might have done to avoid the heartache that befalls him.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss the issue of states' rights versus federal oversight. Why do you think some people favor a strong central government, while others want the states to have more control?
How do different media outlets cover news stories in different ways? What's the difference between a slant and a bias?
Do you think high school seniors should be eligible to join the National Guard while they're still in school? Why, or why not?
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