MWD by Brian David Johnson
Kirkus Star


Hell Is Coming Home
Email this review


A gritty, hard-hitting, and honest portrayal of one young woman’s difficult journey to putting the pieces of her life back together after serving in the Iraq War.

More a crossover book for adults than one strictly for teens, this black-and-white graphic novel will slap some reality into readers who believe in the glamour of war. Liz, the white protagonist and a former military working dog handler, returns from Iraq after having her leg shattered, sustaining another injury that leaves a scar across most of her torso, and losing Ender, her German shepherd, to an IED. While the half-hearted welcome from the people in her Mayberry-like New Hampshire town makes her feel mildly appreciated, the fallout from PTSD, sexual violence she experienced while in the Army, blackout drunkenness, and an inability to trust anyone for any length of time leads to a downward spiral. Flashbacks accost her often, coming most predictably in vehicles, putting herself and others in danger. Only with the help of Jack, a Vietnam veteran, and Brutus, an aggressive stray dog she rescues from a roadside, does she begin to have hope. The story’s strong language, graphic depiction of war, and Liz’s unpredictable behavior make this an emotionally taxing read, but the ups and downs also effectively give readers a sense of Liz’s trauma.

A nuanced and skillfully composed snapshot of one woman’s postwar struggle to live. (Graphic novel. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5706-2
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2016


ChildrenWONDERFUL FEELS LIKE THIS by Sara Lövestam
by Sara Lövestam
ChildrenTHE INEXPLICABLE LOGIC OF MY LIFE by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
ChildrenPIECING ME TOGETHER by Renée Watson
by Renée Watson
ChildrenDREAMLAND BURNING by Jennifer Latham
by Jennifer Latham
ChildrenWE ARE OKAY by Nina LaCour
by Nina LaCour


ChildrenDOGS OF WAR by Sheila Keenan
by Sheila Keenan
NonfictionA SOLDIER’S BEST FRIEND by John C. Burnam
by John C. Burnam
ChildrenSUNRISE OVER FALLUJAH by Walter Dean Myers
by Walter Dean Myers