Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

If You're Reading This

If You're Reading This

4.7 6
by Trent Reedy

See All Formats & Editions

Mike was seven when his father was killed in mysterious circumstances in Afghanistan. Eight years later, the family still hasn't recovered: Mike's mom is overworked and overprotective; his younger sister Mary feels no connection to the father she barely remembers; and in his quest to be "the man of the family," Mike knows he's missing out on everyday high


Mike was seven when his father was killed in mysterious circumstances in Afghanistan. Eight years later, the family still hasn't recovered: Mike's mom is overworked and overprotective; his younger sister Mary feels no connection to the father she barely remembers; and in his quest to be "the man of the family," Mike knows he's missing out on everyday high school life.

Then, out of the blue, Mike receives a letter from his father -- the first of a series Dad wrote in Afghanistan, just in case he didn't come home, meant to share some wisdom with his son on the eve of Mike's 16th birthday. As the letters come in, Mike revels in spending time with his dad again, and takes his encouragement to try new things -- to go out for the football team, and ask out the beautiful Isma. But who's been keeping the letters all these years? And how did Dad actually die? As the answers to these mysteries are revealed, Mike and his family find a way to heal and move forward at last.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 08/18/2014
Former Iowa National Guardsman Reedy (Divided We Fall) returns to Riverside, Iowa (last seen in his Stealing Air) to tell the coming-of-age story of 15-year-old Mike Wilson, who's still dealing with his father's death in Afghanistan, seven years earlier. Raised by his overprotective mother, Mike yearns to play football, but is pushed to focus on school and his part-time job. When letters written by his father before his death start showing up in the mail from an unknown sender, they give Mike a connection he thought lost forever. With each letter giving him a mission—go to a party, ask a girl out, forgive someone—he finds the courage and motivation to live fully. But in the process, he must confront bullies, get around his mother's disapproval, and find out the truth behind his father's death. Powerful and emotionally raw, with sympathetic characters and a thought-provoking premise, this tale reflects Reedy's strengths: evoking the small-town American spirit, capturing the feel of the military, and getting into the heart of his teenage protagonist. Ages 12–up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

Praise for If You're Reading This:

* "Powerful and emotionally raw, with sympathetic characters and a thought-provoking premise, this tale reflects Reedy's strengths: evoking the small-town American spirit, capturing the feel of the military, and getting into the heart of his teenage protagonist." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A moving study of war's long-reaching effects on families." -- Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Trent Reedy's previous novels:


"[Reedy] nails the angst of the middle-school lunchroom, the tentativeness of a first boy-girl relationship, and the mood of a family who has pulled up their roots for a new opportunity that's not going as well as hoped. This is a solid story that will ring true to readers for many years to come." -- SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

"This is a great choice for any reader, but especially for those who enjoy adventure." -- LIBRARY MEDIA CONNECTION


"Both heart-wrenching and timely." -- KIRKUS REVIEWS

"A beautifully written novel that introduces young readers to a fascinating culture." -- PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE

"Readers will readily find themselves rooting for Zulaikha in this simply told yet thoughtful story." -- THE BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS

VOYA, August 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 3) - Donna L Phillips
As in his earlier books, Words In The Dust (Scholastic, 2011) and Divided We Fall (Scholastic, 2014), Reedy uses his National Guard service in Afghanistan as a source for a story. This time, it is a bittersweet one, as Mike Wilson gets to know the father he lost when he was eight, thanks to a batch of letters and videos his father made during his tour. Should he be killed, his father arranged to have one of his Guard buddies mail them one at a time in the months before his son’s sixteenth birthday. Like Daniel from Divided, his mother is often overwhelmed by mental problems, and in spite of her anxieties, Mike loves football and is determined to play on the team. Dad’s letters conveniently support his decisions, urge him to enjoy the best years of his life, make fast friends, kiss a girl, and solve problems through living by a code Dad coins, “the Cowboy Way.” The letters get a little sappy, but the pieces fit together and build toward a more interesting and compelling climax as the identity of the secret messenger and the circumstances of his father’s death are revealed. Though it lacks the thematic heft of Reedy’s two earlier books with roots in the war, If You’re Reading This will work for readers who like well-written sports, play-by-play, and are willing to put up with a little barbershop men-to-boys advice in order to have the gridiron action. Reviewer: Donna L Phillips; Ages 12 to 18.
Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
Michael Wilson expected that there would be a few bumps in the road of his sophomore year. After all, Michael is not your typical sixteen-year-old. He loves football but does not play. He does not own a car so he rides his bike everywhere. He has never had a girlfriend and he is receiving letters from his dead father. Yes, Michael’s father died overseas while serving with the military in Afghanistan. That was seven years ago and today Michael received a hand delivered, though not by his dad or the postal service, letter. There would be more letters to come and each one encourages Michael to take a chance, to face a fear, to kiss a girl, to do something to move himself toward maturity. Michael’s mom cannot talk about her husband without overwhelming grief and Michael’s younger sister hardly remembers their dad. The only people Michael shares his letters with are a friend of the family who lives nearby and Isma, a young Muslim girl in his class who is often his study partner. The letters challenge Michael to become the man his father knew he had the potential to be, one who is smart and brave but also compassionate and loving. The reader begins to learn what kind of person Michael is and they will like what they learn. Michael stands up to bullies, stands up for friends and is not afraid to face the consequences of his decisions. Even when he hides his participation on the football team from his mother and is found out, he takes responsibility for his mistake. When he finally discovers who has been delivering his Dad’s letters, he learns the manner in which his father died and learns that he was a hero. This title is recommended for all middle school and high school collections, and especially for reluctant readers at the high school level. Reviewer: Joyce Rice; Ages 12 up.
Kirkus Reviews
A moving study of war’s long-reaching effects on families.Mike Wilson’s father “had been dead seven years the day his first letter arrived.” How can this be? Who is sending them? His father died in Afghanistan on Aug. 28, 2005, and 15-year-old Mike, his mother and his younger sister have moved on with their lives, though his mother avoids the painful subject of his father. It’s difficult, though, to navigate high school without a father’s guidance, and this letter and those that follow are intended to help. Many contain a mission for Mike—get involved with a sport, ask a girl out, go to church, get your driver’s license, go easy on your sister, and be nice to your mother. The letters offer Mike an approach to succeeding in high school and a means of saying goodbye to his father, and they offer readers, along with Mike, a compelling mystery: How can a dead man send letters? Mike is a believable character, his first-person narration capably spun. A whole story constructed around letters intended to teach life lessons can’t help but feel didactic, though earnest and well meaning.Readers will anticipate each letter right along with Mike, and they may receive some good guidance about life along with him. (Fiction. 10-16)
School Library Journal
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

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Trent Reedy is the author of Divided We Fall, Burning Nation, and The Last Full Measure, a trilogy about the second American Civil War; If You're Reading This; Stealing Air; and Words in the Dust, which was the winner of the Christopher Medal and an Al Roker's Book Club pick on the Today Show. Trent and his family live near Spokane, Washington. Please visit his website at www.trentreedy.com.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

If You're Reading This 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My son read this for school and I read along with him, the story was very moving.
ReviewsComingatYA More than 1 year ago
As a high school teacher, I see so many young men drifting through the day with no guidance from a father figure. For 15-year-old Mike, who lost his father in Afghanistan, daily life is its own struggle. Bullies, a lack of self-confidence, no clear path in life has left Mike feeling confused until letters from his dead father arrive and show Mike that life isn't what he thought. With a set of missions (such as to ask a girl out), Mike now has a clear goal. Wanting to play football, Mike must move past his mother's disapproval and find his own identity. Inspiring and powerful, Reedy gives all young men hope.
thebookneard More than 1 year ago
GREAT book!! this book had funny,cute, and heartfelt moments. I TOTALLY LOVED THIS BOOK!!!
YoungMensanBookParade More than 1 year ago
Creative and deeply rooted The book, If You’re Reading This, took on a kind of story that has not been used often. It was creative how the book channeled feelings through a newfound connection, from the son of a dead soldier to his father’s messages. Then the notes lead him to a different life that unravels as you progress through the story. The conflicts come in once the rapidly created changes start to come back at him. Choices and even more changes are made as this creative and deeply rooted story finishes up. It’s a book that I really enjoyed and think people who appreciate well-made books might like. Review by Young Mensan Jose C., age 12, Vandalia Mensa
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He is a very good writter he came to our school mattoon middle school i now have all of your books and want to become a writter some day :) rate infinty ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel is quite thought-provoking.  It helped me remember that we have many families who have sacrificed and many more who continue to sacrifice so we can enjoy watching our children grow up.  The novel does not lean left or right, but, instead highlights the human emotions that are not always obvious.  Additionally, I hope more people will read this novel so we can begin to focus on the heroes in our everyday lives as well as the ones who have gone before us.  If You're Reading This is ideal for families, but any teenager who feels alone or who may feel that he or she needs some guidance during a challenging time can draw some level of strength from this novel.  All middle schools and high schools should invest in a copy.