Tyshawn’s father has come back from Afghanistan with a brain injury, and he and his mother have to find ways to cope with the resulting massive changes in their lives.
First of a new series, Support and Defend, that focuses on teens affected by their parents’ military service, this brief, low-reading-level entry attempts to capture the myriad aftereffects of a war-inflicted injury. After his mother, busy with her job and disappointed in the turn her life has taken, moves out, the full burden of caring for his disabled father falls to Ty. Exhausted and discouraged, his prized basketball skills slip, his grades began to fall, and his unsympathetic girlfriend, Shania, becomes increasingly disgusted that he is no longer able to spend much time with her. Fortunately, a teen support group at the local veterans’ center and Malayeka, a girl in the group, neatly and predictably fill the emotional void in his life. Ty, at first believably skeptical of the group’s usefulness, so quickly and fully embraces it that it undermines the credibility of his character, pushing this effort into the realm of shallow bibliotherapy. With his father slowly improving, his mother conveniently recognizes the error of her ways, but the feel-good ending blunts any useful impact.
Jones is known for his edgy teen fiction, but here edgy gives way to trite. (Fiction. 11-16)