A young medic finds both tragedy and romance while on her first tour of duty in the war in Afghanistan.
Nineteen-year-old Elinor Nielson (aka Ellie, aka Buffy) has a brutal introduction to the reality of war when a member of her patrol group steps on an IED. A sniper takes advantage of the chaos, attempting to pick off the rest of the company. The appearance of a mysterious, green-eyed Afghan girl only intensifies the situation. Ellie’s quick thinking keeps her fellow soldiers from dying, but more problems await her return to camp. A hostile bunkmate, a spineless commanding officer and the appearance of an elite group of Navy SEALs thrust Ellie into wartime politics. When Husna, a young Afghan boy, is taken into custody for interrogation, it is Ellie who is asked to win his trust. The SEAL commander, Ben, is interested in the proceedings, but he seems equally interested in Ellie. Saturated with realistic details, this wartime mystery adventure is highly explosive. (A lengthy author’s note describes Massey’s experiences in revolutionary Romania, along with other inspirations, buttressing the story’s realism.) The inclusion of cultural and political commentary elevates this above other wartime tales, but underdeveloped characters keep the romantic fireworks to a minimum.
Readers who pick it up for the war details will not be disappointed. (Fiction. 14 & up)