Danny Wright is a high school senior in the Idaho National Guard. He's a football player with a girlfriend and a group of friends he hangs out with a lot. He lives with his mother, who has an anxiety disorder. When the Idaho governor refuses to obey a controversial new federal law, Danny's Guard unit is sent to quell protesters in Boise. Things get out of hand and civilians are shot and killed, the president makes threats, and the state closes its borders, followed by federal troops setting up barriers at the border as well. Danny's senior year has gotten much more complicated!
I read to several teenagers, and we've had a difficult time finding good books that will keep their interest. I was thrilled when we ran across this book, which is exciting and realistic, and immediately caught the kids' interest. The author did a great job of laying out this interesting scenario, and the characters are complex and nuanced -- no one is pure evil or good, and everyone is flawed in some way. [Spoiler alert: HOWEVER, late in the book Danny kills a federal soldier, and we all thought the book went downhill fast, as we careened toward the inevitable cliffhanger, with his friends (and girlfriend) taking up arms.]
In addition to the violence, there is a lot of drinking and sexual activity. With the increasingly outrageous behavior towards the end of the book, the kids sort of lost interest, and with all the booze and sex, I am not inclined to try to change their minds. We won't be reading book 2, but I would try other books by this author.