Today we're excited to spotlight Price of Duty by Todd Strasser! Read on for more about Todd and his book, plus a guest post about the "Forever War" & giveaway!
Meet Todd Strasser!
Todd Strasser is the author of many award-winning YA novels, including The Wave, Give a Boy a Gun, Boot Camp, and Fallout, which the New York Times called, “Superb entertainment... and gripping suspense.” Todd’s Help! I’m Trapped In … middle-grade series has sold more than 5 million copies world-wide. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages, and several have been adapted for TV and film, including The Wave, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and will be a Netflix series in 2019, and Drive Me Crazy, which starred Melissa Joan Hart (Clarissa Explains It All, Sabrina the Teenage Witch) and Adrian Grenier (Entourage).
Jake Liddell is a war hero.
The military is considering awarding him a Silver Star, a huge honor for any soldier -- especially for the son of a military family.
Only Jake's questioning everything his family brought him up to believe.
Now at home, recovering from his physical wounds, the memories of what he experienced "over there" haunt him. Meanwhile, he feels pressure from all sides. Some people want him to speak out against the military system he was brought up to honor and respect. Others, like his famous grandfather (a general himself), are urging him to return to the battlefield to fight again.
Jake was raised to believe that fighting for one's country was a moral obligation. But now that he's seen firsthand the human cost of war, he is no longer sure.
Bestselling YA author Todd Strasser delivers an engrossing and timely novel about very real issues faced by the young people caught in today's "forever war," and the price they pay.
In Price of Duty, when Jake Liddell returns home from the Forever War, it is not a reference to Joe Hadleman’s marvelous science fiction novel by the same name. Instead, sadly, it is a reference to the very real war that the United States has been involved in since 2001.
Many historians date America’s current Forever War -- also called the Global War on Terrorism -- to the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Towers, and America’s subsequent invasion of Afghanistan. As of this writing, some 17 years later, the war continues in the Greater Middle East and in parts of Africa. It has now become the longest conflict in American history, and it is difficult to imagine it ending any time soon.
If we define war to include any conflict in which the US is launching extensive military incursions, including drone attacks, then the US is currently involved in hostilities in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya.
In Price of Duty, I have purposefully not specified where war is taking place, because over time the locations of the Forever War have shifted. It is probable that they will continue to shift. At this writing, the United States has a military presence in more than 130 countries around the world.
There are around 1.2 million active service people in the United States Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force), as well as an additional 800,000 in reserve. Reservists are trained personnel who can be called upon to fight if necessary. Currently, we hear about few deaths among American service people stationed in or near war zones. However, in Afghanistan alone since 9/11, more than 2,400 American servicemen and women have died.
Today’s military offers young people tempting inducements to enlist. There are military bonuses that can sometimes go as high as $40,000, offers to help repay student loans, and many educational and training benefits. In times of relative military inactivity, young people can often be lured into enlisting in the belief that they “won’t see combat.”
But that is never a sure thing. In the years prior to 9/11, anyone who enlisted believing that they wouldn’t see combat probably had a very different military experience than the one they’d imagined. The same thing could be said prior to Operation Desert Shield, or during the early years of the War in Vietnam, or in
Strasser Forever War post for YA books central 2
1941 before Pearl Harbor. The obvious reality is that none of the two million active and reserve members of the United States military has any idea when or where they may be called into battle.
In the meantime, the U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) has active units in more than 3,000 high schools around the country, preparing roughly half a million students -- age 14 to 18 -- annually to enter the military if they choose (It is estimated that in any given year roughly 40% will enlist after graduation). Also, military recruiters are allowed inside many high schools to actively recruit.
In addition to the financial and educational inducements mentioned above, young people are constantly exposed to military ads on television and the internet emphasing teamwork, honor, and pride. And while the military may be good at helping young people develop those admirable traits, there is always the other side of the military that is not advertised. You won’t find any ads featuring a soldier who’s had both legs blown off below of knees by a landmine. Nor soldiers incapacitated for life by PTSD. Nor will you find ads featuring the forever traumatized family of a young soldier who has died in war.
Like most people, I wish that we could live in a world without war. But that does not appear to be a realistic hope. As long as wars continue, the young people who enlist in the military will continue to die in them. It is my hope that, if they read Price of Duty, at least they will have a realistic idea of what they could be getting themselves into ... before they enlist.
Price of Duty
By: Todd Strasser