Here Dead We Live review by dancechicka
Here Dead We Live
by Andrew MacQuarrie
Age Range - 12 and up
Genre - Faith-based

Student Review

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Age at time of review - 13
Reviewer's Location - Leopold, Missouri, United States
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Trial, tribulation, and turmoil.  Salvation, safety, and emotional simplicity.  You’ll find all that and more in A.M.H. MacQuarrie’s debut military fiction novel, Here Dead We Live.  Stephen Dukes, hometown hero and undisputedly Ypsilanti’s most acclaimed and talented quarterback ever, seems to have everything going for him.  Devout fans, a loving family, the most beautiful girls in town on his arm.  To top it all off, a half-academic half-athletic full ride scholarship to one of the most acclaimed seminaries in the country, Atherton, where his father plans for him to become a pastor, is practically in his hands.  Everything, that is, until he registers for the United States Marines and choosing to go against all of what the population of Ypsi had pegged him for.  And, as usual, everything he used to have wasn’t all it seemed.  His devout fans turn away when it’s their support he needs most.  His loving family is shattered when his abusive father escalates his attacks, livid over what the choices his son has made.  The girls disappear as suddenly as they came.  And, needless to say, the Atherton scholarship is no longer needed.  Stephen heads off to war with no friends, no money, and no support and understanding.  When he arrives, he is silent, vague, and unreadable.  The only one who can begin to break through Stephen’s shell is his bunkmate Ryan Sturgeon, an ex-drug dealer with a tumultuous heart as he yearns for a love her can never have.  As they both set out to battle with their own personal secrets and regrets, neither of them can fathom how their war will put their faith and will to live to the test….
 
“Stephen started to scream, but was quickly silenced by a crash of cold steel to his head.  He crumpled beneath the blow, and, as he gazed into dozens of eyes glaring down at him, he slowly lost consciousness.”
 

Opinion: 

Ok, where to begin…..this novel was solid.  Not a classic, not stupendous, not a Mark-Twain-and Jane-Austen-have-nothing-on-me kind of book.  But it was solid, nonetheless.  The good and the bad seemed to kind of balance each other out.  In some parts, in was exciting, invigorating, and refreshing.  At other parts, it was just plain dull.  Sometimes the sentences were awkward and distorted, but sometimes they flowed as a much more experienced writer had written them.  Some parts, especially the end, were powerful and raw.  Some were tired and emotionless. I liked how MacQuarrie tried a wide range of characters that could be easily connected with and understood—it seemed to make the novel move along at a better pace.  It was also very realistic and in-your-face current.  Considering that this is MacQuarrie’s debut novel, I believe it is a good solid read for anyone who is interested in military fiction or just looking for a bit of action in their novels.

“So maybe this war was a waste.  Maybe it was nothing more than a contest between a bunch of rich old men.  Maybe Stephen’s life didn’t mean anything to them.  Maybe none of their lives meant anything to them.”

I would recommend this book was ages twelve and up, for some mild swearing, some sexual references, alcohol consumption, and a plot thread about drugs that runs throughout this book.  There is also a situation where the subject of sexual orientation is debated, so if that bothers you or your child, I warn you now.  To be clear, this book does talk about faith in God and Jesus Christ, so if you are sensitive to that issue, too, you may want to refrain from reading this novel.

So, will Stephen and Ryan each find what their looking for—spiritually, emotionally, and mentally?  Or will they even get out of the war alive?  Read Here Dead We Live by A.M.H. MacQuarrie to find out!

Rating:
3
Content Rating:

Content rating - religious perspective

Explain your content rating: 

As I said, there is a religious perspective, drug use, mild swearing, and sexual situations.
KEYWORDS

ME, YOU, OR THEM: 

CHARACTERISTICS AND EMOTIONS: 

ACTIVITIES, HOBBIES, PLACES, AND EVENTS: 


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