Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Always War” as Want to Read:
The Always War
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Always War

3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  2,212 Ratings  ·  340 Reviews

For as long as Tessa can remember, her country has been at war. When local golden boy Gideon Thrall is awarded a medal for courage, it’s a rare bright spot for everyone in Tessa’s town—until Gideon refuses the award, claims he was a coward, and runs away. Tessa is bewildered, and can’t help but follow Gideon to find out the truth. But Tessa is in for more than she bargaine
Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published November 1st 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nov 27, 2011 Andrea rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juv-fiction, 2011
I felt it was not Haddix's best work. The premise is a war that has been going on for a least 70 years and the destruction it causes to those on the front lines and on the home front. Growing up in a physically and emotionally war ridden dystopian world leads three seemingly unlikely people, two teenagers and a child to uncover the secret of the war and their subsequent fight to bring peace. The characters, unlike Haddix's other works, are more symbolic than real. There is no real bond forming m ...more
Nov 25, 2011 Grace rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopian, ya-fantasy
2.5 stars
"The Always War" is a very short, simple dystopian. When I began it I was under the impression it was aimed at readers of The Hunger Games, and Divergent. After actually reading it, I've come to the conclusion that its target audience must be quite a bit younger, maybe twelve or thirteen at absolute oldest. When looked at through that lens I see the Always War as a fairly well written, slightly rushed book with a message about the value of hope. Nothing too individual, but it's not awfu
Very disappointing offering from Haddix. Pros - this book is basically a version of the movie War Games, but set way in the future but with a twist, where current place names and such have been distorted by the lack of access to real world information. I liked the idea of someone probing the folly of "thermonuclear war" again, the power of computers in our lives, especially for a new generation.

Cons - the cons outweigh that noble theme.

First - Haddix uses the question format to advance the plot.
Abraham Taha
The book starts off in an awards banquet where a man named Gideon was receiving an award for his bravery in the war. As he was getting the award he freaks out and runs off the stage. Tessa (an old friend) follows him to make sure that he was okay. Gideon was suffering from war trauma and decided to buy a plane off of the black market so that he could fly over to the enemy and apologies. When he gets there he finds out that all of what he had learned in the military was a lie. I got this book fro ...more
Nov 18, 2015 Angel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-shelf
Teas Stifling is a 15 year old girl living in a world of fighting, despair, and pain. They are In a middle of the war that is lasting a long time. Gideon is a young pilot for the army at the time, and he was going to receive a medal of courage. But when he is up in the stage about to receive it, he says that he is a coward and that he does not deserve it. Then Tessa sneaks into Gideon room, and then Gideon confesses that he killed 2000 innocent people in his last operation, and that really gets ...more
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

This was actually a mistake of mine: I downloaded Ms. Haddix's novel clearly aimed at young-adult/middle-grade novel while attempting to receive another galley. Once it was downloaded and I read the short blurb about a never-ending war with no known cause, I was interested enough to give it a try and it made for two hours of enjoyable reading. Though by no great shakes a complicated or dense novel, The Always War is action-packed, fast-paced adventu
Feb 24, 2012 Mara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: futuristic, 2-stars
Not at all Margaret Peterson Haddix's best book. At only 197 pages, it's not at all a long book, and the story manages to feel even shorter than that mere 197 pages. It has hardly begun before it is over, and I somehow doubt that there is going to be a sequel, though there is certainly room for one if the Author ever decides to write one. In the short time the Reader gets to know the characters, I didn't bond with any of them. Tessa quickly grows annoying with her constant blaming of Gideon and ...more
Douglas Larson
As I started reading this book, fairly early on I found myself saying, "this isn't one of Margaret Haddix's better works. Her writing is usually much better than this". I even found myself wondering, so is Margaret Haddix just churning out books now to make money on her name?

But after finishing it I realize that Haddix was using the story to illustrate a point about war. A very thought provoking and germaine point. So at the end I have forgiven her somewhat for the slightly sloppy story (making
Katy Jane
Ok, maybe 2 1/2 rating.
1. The characters were under developed and flat. Dek's home life was explained the most and she wasn't even the main character. Gideon was a whiney 18ish year old. Tessa was supposed to be smart because she read books but she wasn't that resourceful. Dek appears out of nowhere and is all the sudden a semi-main character. The love story between Tessa and Gideon wasn't even believable because there was no evidence of reciprocation from Gideon the entire time. Dek says that
Nov 10, 2011 A.T. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review also appears on Gypsy Book Reviews.

The Always War is Margaret Peterson Haddix’s new dystopian, but frankly, I’m not impressed with it at all.

So, there’s these three characters: Tessa, Gideon, and Dex. And Dex is a girl, by the way. I thought it was a guy from the summary, but when she shows up, it shocked me. Anyway, it’s told in Tessa’s view, but in third person, and oh my god, Tessa is stupid. I really feel bad for calling her that, but I mean, somebody says the schools in Eastam m
Leigh Collazo

More reviews at

OVERALL RATING: Recommended, 2 of 5 stars

SUMMARY: Three young people from the future accidentally enter enemy territory and discover the truth about a war that has shaped their lives and has continued for more than 75 years.

POP CULTURE COMPARISON: Isn't there a Star Trek episode where two planets are at war and people go to die by a lottery system? There is no actual war, just people selected to die to simulate the war on both sides. It's been going
Andy Hollums
Jun 02, 2012 Andy Hollums rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, juv
Read Ender's Game or The Virtual War instead.

This book would definitely be rated no higher than PG, possibly G. There are no language or sex issues. And despite the title, there's no violence either.


I love a good dystopian novel. Give me a protagonist ready to break through the drab, gray malaise of her life and defy a tyrannical government and I'm usually hooked. Unfortunately, this wasn't one of those times. Especially given the current state of our own society - groping TSA ag

Dear Ms. Haddix,

Definitely NOT up to usual standards.

1. Underdeveloped plot. As with Haddix's many other novels, this had a very solid premise. The development of it, however, never really came to fruition. That really surprised me.

2. Gideon. I hated Gideon. Not only is the the whiniest ex-military ANYTHING since the young Luke Skywalker, but his asinine insistence on surrendering to NO ONE got really old really fast.

Dude. There's no one there. Put your hands down, you idiot.

3. Tessa. Is pre
Feb 28, 2014 Montana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: second-term
This book is about a girl named Tessa who is living in a war filled life. He neighbor ,Gideon, is a war hero and every thing is fine but then she falls for him and trys to help him. Unfortunately she gets caught up in something big about the war she accendently get on a plane with gideon and flys out to the war zone. She finally understands war... or dose she. I would recommend this book to anyone who like si-fi and fiction.
Mar 27, 2016 Alexa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally Finished on January 25th, 2012. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

Although I wouldn’t give it the same 5 stars I did when I first visited in 2012, I definitely enjoyed this one. It has this fantastic, fast-paced feel from the very beginning, and, even though there isn’t a lot of, shooting and fighting or anything like that, the feeling of that kind of intense action carries through from beginning to end.

My only complaint is that the ending felt a little rushed and weird. It’s hard to explain w
May 03, 2015 Isabel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alright, obviously this book wasn't meant to be a huge, epic novel or whatever, it's a quick read and I really enjoyed it. Sure, maybe it could've been longer, but honestly I think it was a good length. It had pretty much everything it needed, no extra details, straight to the point. I kind of wanted more romance, but I think I'll survive without it.

As for characters, Haddix managed to fit two whole back stories in less than 200 pages (almost three, we only get a glimpse of Gideon's story). May
What used to be the United States has been at war (East vs West) for 75 years. Through it all, there have been advances in safety--pilots flying drones remotely over enemy strongholds; the whole war has become an air-war with no soldiers on the ground. Young pilot Gideon is about to receive a medal for his courage, joining only eleven other soldiers before him, but as he stands on the stage, he can't go through with it: he knows he is not a hero; he has killed over a thousand civilians, many of ...more
Jan 03, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade

“No,” Tessa said again, stubbornly shaking her head. “We each got ourselves into our own mess. I followed him. You stowed away on his plane. We’re both responsible for being here too.” This is probably my favorite dialogue of the entire book. Why? Because Tessa basically says, “No, we’re all responsible; let’s stop blaming other people/things and take responsibility for our own actions.” Yes, thank you. Finally.

The mishmashed names that the characters had for what is obviously suppose
Renée Poffley

The Always War begins with 15-year-old Tessa attending a ceremony honouring war hero Gideon Thrall, a young man who used to live beside Tessa. Tessa soon finds out that Gideon needs help escaping government persecution as he tries to discover the truth behind the remote bombing of over 100, 000 people for which he was being celebrated. She stows away in a black-market plane Gideon flies into enemy territory, along with a young girl named Dek, an orphan who works for the black market. What they

May 08, 2014 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
key issues: War, enemy territory, friendship, death

List of Characters:
Gideon:young pilot, courage, guilty, Tessa's hero {protagonist}
Tessa:fifteen year old,fighter,crosses war zone with Gideon {Protagonist,Narrator}
Mrs.Thrall: Gideon's mother, grateful, rich, happy {antagonist}
Dek:Gideon and Tessa's friend, worked in the war, helpful, {protagonist}
Mr.Singleton:Seventy,Military man, Tessa's oldest friend {protagonist}

Plot Summary: The East and the West are at war. The war is suppose to last forev
Cathy Jaskiewicz
This is a book I've had on my 5th-grade-classroom library shelf for a couple of years, & I decided to read it so I can help students with book choices. I thought it was poorly written, and I would have disliked it when I was in 5th grade. The protagonist is an insecure pre-teen? teen? who hero-worships a "golden boy" neighbor who is a military hero. Basic premise: awkward, nerdy girl has a crush on the captain of the football team. All the characters, especially the golden boy, consistently ...more
Russell Kepes
Nov 21, 2014 Russell Kepes is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
11/14/14 on pg. 8
Tessa is a girl that grew up during the war. A boy named Gideon, returns from the war and is receiving a bravery. When he goes to get it he says "No, I am a coward." and runs out. Tessa in shock runs out of the room and chases Gideon. When she sees him she thinks he is sick and that is the reason y he didn't take the award, but he said that all "I did was kill people." Then everyone that was on the stage came running out and Tessa hid.
I thought that this was like a mystery bec
Sep 27, 2016 Exander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather Johnson
This was not the most enjoyable read... I was disappointed in this book, even if I did not have to suffer long through it, as it's a short story. I did not find many of things about this book believable (Tessa's behavior/thought process; nine year old Dek's maturity, development, reasoning, and abstract thinking; Gideon's woe-is-me, PTSD-like symptoms). I did not like any of the characters. I figured out the plot less than halfway through and felt bored reading the rest of the book. Just spill t ...more
Austin Wendel
Apr 28, 2016 Austin Wendel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this book four stars. I gave this book four stars because it was a really good book, it had a lot of mystery in it and those are on of my favorite books to read. I would recommend this book to people who like mystery. If you do not like mystery this book is probably would not be the right book for you. My little summary for this book is that Tessa is living in a middle of a war zone so everyone in her town is very precious. There is a hero so she thinks is a hero his name is Gideon he bom ...more
May 30, 2012 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i thought it was alright,the book way by way too fast.i didnt really know what time they were in.i mean time as in past,present,future,.i wouldnt reccomend this book for people who really like fast pace action got boring through the soon as there was an action part,it would slow down alot.but it was a quick and alright make the time pass.
Barbara Klipper
I love some Margaret Peterson Haddix titles, others not so much. This is one of the not so much ones. The anti-war message was a little heavy handed and the characters not as well developed as they could be. Even so, it is a quick read and I think it will have some appeal to middle certainly is discussable.
Jun 10, 2016 Jaina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.

The first time I read this book, I was absolutely floored by the plot twist. Margaret Peterson Haddix is a genius when it comes to inventing mind-bending scenarios, and The Always War is one of her very bendiest books. Unfortunately, it's also one of her shortest.

And that's what always frustrates me when I re-read it. Just when things are really getting hot, just when the plot twists are falling hard and fast and the world is about to chan
Brandon H
Jan 17, 2014 Brandon H rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Always War there are some parts and characters that are believable and there are also some parts that are not very believable. For the main character her name is Tessa. She is believable because the author made her seem like what a normal teenager and what a normal teenager would do.But one character that is not always believable is Gideon because he was awarded the medal of honor but instead of accepting it he gave the medal back. He said that he couldn't accept the medal because he bomb ...more
Dec 08, 2013 Nmmathews rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book depicts a society that is plagued with a forever war and how people view those individuals participating are hereos.This is another well-written book from Haddix that is an easy read for all.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
always war 1 12 Dec 14, 2013 02:57PM  
Class of 2013: Book Review 4 13 Jun 12, 2013 09:57PM  
  • The Blending Time
  • Epitaph Road
  • Outlaw
  • Vulture's Wake
  • The Big Dark
  • The Dark Zone (Galahad, #4)
  • Truancy City (Truancy, #2)
  • The Cydonian Pyramid (The Klaatu Diskos, #2)
  • Empty
  • Assault (Recon Team Angel, #1)
  • I Pledge Allegiance (Vietnam, #1)
  • The Limit
  • Siberia
  • The Forgetting Curve (Memento Nora, #2)
  • The Carbon Diaries 2017 (Carbon Diaries, #2)
  • Bad Apple (Merits of Mischief #1)
  • The Secret Under My Skin
  • Neva
Margaret Peterson Haddix grew up on a farm near Washington Court House, Ohio. She graduated from Miami University (of Ohio) with degrees in English/journalism, English/creative writing and history. Before her first book was published, she worked as a newspaper copy editor in Fort Wayne, Indiana; a newspaper reporter in Indianapolis; and a community college instructor and freelance writer in Danvil ...more
More about Margaret Peterson Haddix...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »