If You're Reading This

304p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. Aug. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545433426; ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9780545700498.
Gr 6–8—Mike Wilson is an ordinary teenager, more responsible, perhaps, than most. His father died in Afghanistan when he was eight. Suddenly, he is getting posthumous advice from his father in the form of letters, the sender of which is a mystery. This is a good premise, if not a particularly original concept. Reedy misses the opportunity to grip his readers by doing the obvious. For example, Mike follows dad's advice—go out for football—only to discover that he's a star player. Mike's relationship with his overly protective mother provides some drama, and the developing friendship with his classmate, Isma Rafee, of Persian descent, will appeal to many teens, as will the revelation of the identity of the mysterious letter sender. Although predictable and cliche-ridden, If You're Reading This will appeal to reluctant readers.—Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME
Since his father died in Afghanistan, Mike has become a model citizen: getting good grades; working after school; and taking care of his fragile, overprotective mother. Right before Mike turns sixteen, a series of letters comes from his father, written before he died and outlining the horrors of war. The advice-filled letters add a didactic tone to this coming-of-age story.

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