Purple Heart
Purple Heart
Purple Heart
Patricia McCormick
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When Private Matt Duffy wakes up in an army hospital in Iraq, he's honored with a Purple Heart. But he doesn't feel like a hero.There's a memory that haunts him: an image of a young Iraqi boy as a bullet hits his chest. Matt can't shake the feeling that he was somehow involved in his death. But because of a head injury he sustained just moments after the boy was shot, Matt can't quite put all the pieces together. Eventually Matt is sent back into combat with his squad—Justin, Wolf, and Charlene—the soldiers who have become his family during his time in Iraq. He just wants to go back to being the soldier he once was. But he sees potential threats everywhere and lives in fear of not being able to pull the trigger when the time comes. In combat there is no black-and-white, and Matt soon discovers that the notion of who is guilty is very complicated indeed.National Book Award Finalist Patricia McCormick has written a visceral and compelling portrait of life in a war zone, where loyalty is valued above all, and death is terrifyingly commonplace.

Book Details


  • Fiction

Age Level: 

  • 12 and up
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When Matt wakes up in a hospital after being hit by a bomb, he receives a medal called a purple heart. Although its a great honor, he doesn't seem to be proud of it. A memory of a little Iraqi boy named Ali is constantly popping in his head. Did he kill this little boy? Because of his brain injury, Matt cant quite pinpoint what happened when he and his buddy Justin got split up in the alley. Actually, he doesn't understand how he and Justin couldve gotten separated in the first place. Would he want to hurt Ali?

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Private Matt Duffy wakes up with pain in his head while an army doctor is taking notes on a clipboard. The doctor checks his reflexes and memory. Shortly after, he diagnoses Matt with a traumatic brain injury. With this brain injury, Matt can't remember common words and especially why he is given the highest medal in the country, a Purple Heart. All Matt can remember is being alone in a filthy alley, like most of the alleys in Baghdad. Though dirty, a little Iraqi boy is there. In a quick second, the boy is dead. The scene terrorizes Matt because he thinks he killed the boy.

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