The Always War
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The Always War

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  1,622 ratings  ·  260 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...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published November 1st 2011)
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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...more
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
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....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...more
Full review at the Intergalactic Academy.

In my last review, I wrote that Ally Condie suggests a bit of the “we have always been at war with East Asia” themes of 1984 in her new novel, Crossed. In a weird bit of synchronicity, Margaret Peterson Haddix’s The Always War takes those slight, thematic elements of Crossed and expands them into a novel of their own.

Fifteen-year-old Tessa’s society really has always been at war. In a futuristic, but impoverished America, she’s stuck scrubbing hospital fl...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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.
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...more
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
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.
Brandon H
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
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.
The main character in my book has not been very influenced a lot the book was okay as it has come to the end of it. My main character Tessa has been very adventurous and even though she did get herself into situations that I disagree and that mayor my not have to be used in my life overall that book was very dull and boring at parts and even though it had some decent moments the plot twist was not very good and I kind of saw it coming the main character has not really one anything that as chang...more
An interesting premise, but it felt a little too slow to begin and to quick to be wrapped... For anyone else its 4 stars but i expect more from her:)
This was a simple book to read, I read it in one day. The story reminded me of the movie "War Games". Having said that. The book is meant for a young reader (9-11 yr.), for that age group it is a great book. I like the idea of the book, even though I have seen movies and read books with similar theme. I enjoyed the three main characters, Gideon, Tessa and Dax. I like that they all have different views of how the world around them is and when they find out really what is going on it all has a dif...more
Ms. Yingling
As long as Tessa can remember, Westam has been at war with Eastam. Life is grim as people slog to factories to make weapons and slink home to their tiny apartments. One bright spot in Tessa's life is Gideon, a childhood friend who was accepted into the elite military program and is now a war hero. However, Gideon is traumatized by his latest action-- bombing and killing over a thousand people. He buys a plane to try to make amends, and Tessa (as well as Dek, who is trying to steal back the plane...more
First Look: For some reason, when I first heard of this, I thought it was about WWII. Probably because the title "The Always War" reminded me of "The Never War". It's an interesting connection, actually, and I'm a bit surprised that the publishers let Haddix use such a similar title. (For the record, The Never War (by D. J. MacHale) was published in 2003, is part of a New York Times bestselling series, and has over 8,000 Goodreads ratings. So it's not exactly an obscure book.) Even after I reali...more
La Coccinelle
I know I've read some of Margaret Peterson Haddix's books before (Among the Hidden and Running Out of Time) and I remembered enjoying them, so when this title came up on Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab, I thought I'd probably like it. I don't know what the problem was; maybe I was a lot younger (and less discerning) when I read those other books... or maybe The Always War just wasn't very good.

My main complaint is that I just couldn't develop any sort of connection with any of the characters....more
Summer Szell
This book definitely had an interesting concept and really drove home the point Haddix was trying to make to the reader. Although I read Haddix books knowing I'm not going to fall in love with the characters, which for me is always a struggle being a character fan, her plot lines normally more than make up for the lack of character depth. However, this plot was not strong enough to overcome the strong dislike I had towards the character of Gideon. At times this character was downright whiny, pat...more
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
Jessica Bronder
Tessa is barely surviving. She goes to school, where everyone doesn’t like her, then cleans at a hospital to get by. Her parents have given up a long time ago and barely leave their bedroom. She attends the award ceremony of Gideon, a childhood friend. But things don’t go as planned when Gideon panics about not being a hero and runs.

Gideon was sent to the military school and is a pilot that dropped a bomb on the enemy. But he hacked into the system and learned that he killed innocent women and...more
Teacher 007.5
The Always War was a really easy read. I have not read the work of this author before so my experience with the story will be different from fans of her other work. I thought the story resembled a Star Trek episode where the "war" was a computerized fake war and people were selected to die in fake war attacks. This was similar. The characters were defined and developed although I really did not like Gideon. He truly was cowardly in nature but when he had to step up to a challenge he did. I liked...more
Kristin Lundgren
A slim volume,, and it isn't clear if there will be more in a series, as this one ends like it could be a stand-alone. It is the story a poor girl, Tessa, in a dystopian society in the future, where all resources go to keep the war going - a long-standing war between two countries. One day her childhood friend Gideon comes, and is to be awarded the highest medal of her community for his bravery in bombing a city. But at the last minute he refuses the honor and dashes off stage. Tessa follows, an...more
Tessa's world is bleak. Everything is gray, broken, and worn down, including the people after over 75 years of non-stop war. When hometown boy Gideon Thrall comes home a hero, everyone's spirits are lifted. Except Gideon won't accept the honors they want to bestow upon him for killing over 1,000 people. Instead, he escapes and buys a plane on the black market so he can fly to enemy territory where he hopes to apologize and make amends for what he did, even at the risk of his own life. He wasn't...more
Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa)
***3.5 stars***

I received this book from Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab. I love reading the books that Margaret Peterson Haddix writes. I know I can count on her to tell a great story that my kids will enjoy.

This book takes place in the future. For as long as everyone can remember they have been at war. The war has lasted over 75 years. Society is basically surviving without hope.

Tess is a teen who is going to a ceremony to see one of her old neighbors be awarded as a hero. The problem is th...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...more
At first, I thought The Always War didn't really have anything to do with the war, but I was quickly proved wrong.

Tessa is excited to see the latest war hero, Gideon, receive his medal. Gideon grew up in the apartment next to her and they played together as children. When Gideon refuses to accept the medal, claiming he is a coward, Tessa can't help but try to find out why.

The war, which apparently takes place between a future eastern United States against the western United States, has been goin...more
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always war 1 11 Dec 14, 2013 02:57PM  
Class of 2013: Book Review 4 12 Jun 12, 2013 09:57PM  
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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...
Among the Hidden (Shadow Children, #1) Into the Gauntlet (The 39 Clues, #10) Found (The Missing, #1) Just Ella (The Palace Chronicles, #1) Among the Impostors (Shadow Children, #2)

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