Great Falls

Great Falls

by Steve Watkins


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One brother home from war. The other desperate to save him. A gripping journey together to the river's end.

Shane has always worshiped his big brother, Jeremy. But three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken their toll, and the easy-go-lucky brother Shane knew has been replaced by a surly drunk who carries his loaded 9mm with him everywhere and lives in the basement because he can’t face life with his wife and two small children. When Jeremy shows up after Shane’s football game and offers to take him to the family cabin overnight, Shane goes along — both to get away from a humiliation on the field and to keep an eye on Jeremy, who’s AWOL from his job at Quantico and seems to have a shorter fuse than ever. But as the camping trip turns into a days-long canoe trip down the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, Shane realizes he’s in way over his head — and has no idea how to persuade Jeremy to return home and get the help he needs before it’s too late. In a novel at once gripping and heartbreaking, Steve Watkins offers a stark exploration of the unseen injuries left by war.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763671556
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 04/26/2016
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,235,526
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile: 850L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Steve Watkins is the author of the novels Down Sand Mountain, What Comes After, and Juvie. A retired professor of journalism, creative writing, and Vietnam War literature, he now teaches Ashtanga yoga and works with the child-advocacy organization CASA. Steve Watkins lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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Great Falls 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
Jeremy has returned after doing three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan but he is not the same Jeremy that left. The town thinks of him as a hero but Jeremy doesn’t feel like a hero, he is haunted by the war and when he thinks about his fellow serviceman Atwell, Jeremy is overcome with emotion. Did he really do everything he could have done? There is a hardness to Jeremy, a wall that he brings with him and he not willing to remove this wall or share why this wall came home with him. Camped out in the basement of his childhood home, his wife and child live close by and he does stop to see them but he tries to keep his distance. Shane, his younger brother is on the football team at school and after getting hit hard in a game, makes a touchdown for the opposing team. Humiliated, Shane immediately walks off the field, where he finds Jeremy and the two boys decide to take off. Life is just too difficult for them both right now. It is a concussion that Shane has suffered which made him confused when he made the touchdown for the opposing team, but he had let his team down and he feels ashamed. It just feels right that the two of them get away for a while, perhaps Shane can help his brother with the issues that he has been having. It’s not an emotional time for the boys, it is more of an adventure as Jeremy takes Shane on a canoe trip that Shane feels lasts forever. Shane mind is elsewhere at first, as he is worried and scared concerned about where this trip will take them but as the trip continues the relationship between them changes. I liked the relationship between the brothers. They each were trying to protect each other in their own way and they each had their own issues that were dealing with. Shane tried to look out for him yet, Jeremy was looking out for him also. The ending, I wasn’t expecting that, but it worked in its own way. Jeremy’s issue took center stage in this novel and I liked the way that the author drew attention to it without throwing it in your face: the way Jeremy was constantly taking apart and putting together his M16, the way he looked over his shoulder repetitively, the way that Shane looked at him, and the way that he never slept, etc. A great book about living with challenges, about war, and about family and relationships. I received a copy of this novel from Candlewick Press, thank you for sending me a copy of this novel. This review is my own opinion.