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Purple Heart

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  1,427 ratings  ·  331 reviews
When Private Matt Duffy wakes up in an army hospital in Iraq, he's honored with a Purple Heart. But he doesn't feel like a hero.

There's a memory that haunts him: an image of a young Iraqi boy as a bullet hits his chest. Matt can't shake the feeling that he was somehow involved in his death. But because of a head injury he sustained just moments after the boy was shot, Mat...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Balzer + Bray (first published August 18th 2009)
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Joe e Matt it the main character, Then there is Jason who is a big part of the story line. There are more people in the book but these are the main two.
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Community Reviews

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3.5 stars

18-year old soldier Matt Duffy wakes up in an army hospital in Baghdad. His memories of the events leading up to his hospitalization are spotty at best, he is suffering from TBI - traumatic brain injury. Matt is told that an RPG exploded next to him while he and his partner were pursuing a suspicious vehicle down a dark alley. But private Duffy feels that that is not all. His dreams are filled with the images of a 10-year old Iraqi boy shot through the chest. Matt starts to think he mig...more
Anne Osterlund
Matt can’t remember. Not how he arrived in the army hospital. Or what year it is. Or who won the world series.

Though he misses his unit. He knows he’s in Iraq. He knows he wants to get back to Wolf and Justin and Charlene. He knows he’s a soldier.

But he doesn’t know why the army’s giving him a purple heart. Or why they won’t really ask him questions about what happened in the alley. With the dog with the broken tail. And the kid that floated-up, up, until all Matt could see was his sneakers.

3.5 Stars

The brain does some funny things to help protect us. Frustrating, but necessary. Some memories stay with us while others fade and disappear. The idea and science behind it never fails to frustrate and fascinate me. Should some things be forgotten?

Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick jumps right in! Readers are introduced to an injured, groggy, and confused Private Matt Duffy in a hospital bed in Baghdad. He is suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI), so only hazy dreams and flashes re...more
From an adults perspective the story is weak in most parts, but it's not fair to be too critical of a YA novel, especially one that does give them some perspective of this war. Children who are turning 18 and eligible to join the military were 9 when this this political situation began. I work as a YA librarian and had a 12 year old ask me "what does 9-11 mean?"... :0 ... This was in reference to 9/11/01. It was in fact on 9/11/10 that I was asked. Kids live blindly in their world of Team Edward...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

Going to war wasn't a first choice for Matt Duffy, but it seemed like the most sensible. He hadn't done that great in school, so college for him didn't really make sense. On the other hand, his little sister was a good student, and joining the Army would provide the necessary funds to send her to college when the time came.

Whatever his reason for joining up, Matt found himself in the middle of Iraq doing the patriotic thing for his...more
I don't like reading books about war, but I feel it's my social responsibilty to try and understand what young men and women go through in these situations. I am glad I read Purple Heart and have come to appreciate the service that Matt Duffy, an 18-year-old young man fighting in Iraq has given our country. Matt is in a Baghdad hospital t recovering from a traumatic brain injury, trying to recall the details and make sense of what happened. Where did the attack come from? Did he really shoot and...more
Audible Review

2 stars. I know. I just didn't connect with Purple Heart. I was waiting for that emotional connection one disc after another but it failed to evoke any strong emotions from me. I still could not pin point as to what made this experience just two-dimensional and forgettable. The narrator was just okay, his voice rather too mature for an 18-year old teenager. Perhaps that's a factor, perhaps not. It was just lackluster IMO.

Purple Heart starts with Private Matt Duffy, an 18-year old...more
Tammy Dahle
My Thoughts:
A Middle School Librarian asked me to preview this book before putting it on the shelf for her students. Purple Heart is a book I would have totally judged by it's cover and passed it over. I don't normally seek out books about war. I'm so very glad I had the opportunity to read Purple Heart and experience Patricia McCormick's amazing story.
Purple Heart gives you a chance to experience the War in Iraq from a soldier's point of view. It's not pretty. Matt is laying in a hospital bed...more
There is a plethora of young adult literature being published of late concerning contemporary warfare, its effects on those left behind,and the impact on those who serve. "Purple Heart" focuses mostly on the ramifications of warfare on the soldiers who fight. Eighteen-year-old soldier, Matt Duffy, wakes up not knowing where he is or what has happened. He is in a hospital in the "Green Zone" in Baghdad, Iraq, suffering from TBI - Traumatic Brain Injury. After receiving a "purple heart" for being...more
My overall opinion on the book is that is a pretty good book. There were a lot of parts that made you think and then there were a lot of parts that made you wonder what was going to happen. When the book starts out it seems kind of boring but it gets better throughout the book. The middle part where he is getting questioned and finally gets to go back is my favorite part. The one part that I absolutely hated was the ending. It was one of the worst endings if ever read in my opinion.
If you like w...more
This is on the 2014 Abe list.

I struggle with Patricia McCormick... I absolutely loathed Never Fall Down; it felt appropriated, colonialist. With Purple Heart, once again she's done a lot of research and seems to have immersed herself in interviews with Iraq war vets and family members. She used the 3rd person to flesh out Matt's story of surviving an RPG with traumatic brain injury and his return to the front. And even though I was intrigued by Matt's story and horrified by the deeply layered "...more
Ryan Pomerenke
Matt, the main character, wakes up in a military hospital with no recollection of the event that got him there. Justin, Matt’s best friend from his unit, comes and explains what happened to him. Matt was informed that him and Justin were chasing a potential threat down an alleyway. Once they were separated from their unit, they were ambushed. An RPG blast hit Matt and caused a severe concussion. As more details from the incident come to light, Matt learns there was a little Iraqi boy that was ca...more
I have to say I'm not sure what I was expecting when I picked up this book, but this wasn't quite it.

Yes, it's a story about soldiers in the Iraq War. But half the book is the main character in a hospital, having problems with his memory. That...wasn't so exciting. Look, I've read lots of books about people having memory problems. Making it a young American soldier didn't really change anything. It just...wasn't interesting to me. Of course there's the whole mystery of "What exactly happened whe...more
Joe e
This was a very good book, it had really got me thinking about events from earlier in the book.
Matt P
Purple Heart is a book about Private Matt Duffy and his service in Afghanistan. Matt wakes up in a hospital with a terrible headache and no idea of what happened to him. The terrible headache he has is a side effect of a much worse condition, traumatic brain injury. After a few days in a hospital in Baghdad’s Green Zone, a zone where no fighting occurs, Matt’s buddy and fellow squad mate Justin comes in and explains what happened to Matt. They were chasing some adversaries known as insurgents do...more
Henry J.vasquez
I think this book s alright and easy to read. I think it sad how Matt lose his memory and can only remember something. I also hate how his squad Had to leave him in the hospital. I also think something bad might happen to Justin and that letter might been the last thing he hear from him. But so far i like the book and it and easy book to read too, so it might be something you want to look in to.
Cole Solana
Feb 14, 2014 Cole Solana rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young adults
Recommended to Cole by: i pick up at a libraby randomly
Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick has once again created a breathtaking novel. The setting of Purple Heart follows around a young soldier Private Matt Duffy around after he recieved a Purple Heart ,because he has been injuired in Iraq. He has been diagnosed with TBI (Tramatic Brain Injury). Private Duffy tries desperately to get back to his squad, but struggles remembering what happened to put him in the hospital. He has visions but can't quit put his finger on it. He works everyday to walk and...more
while I didn't love this book, it gave me a small bit insight as to what my cousin went and is currently going through. . .while serving in Iraq he was hit in the head with shrapnel and suffered a very serious TBI. The recovery of an TBI, coupled with combat memories, makes a difficult recovery. The character, Matt, in this book shares his story of a similar situation.
This young adult book about a kid at war touches on some interesting topics, while telling a very quick story. Nothing is given a lot of emphasis though, so it could just be an enjoyable read. The issue given the most attention is that the main character is too young to deal with being at war, while his girlfriend is struggling with a biology class. He mentions that he'll be a vet unable to drink legally. He and his buddies spend their free time playing war games, Halo and with silly string. The...more
"Good Soldiers" by Finkel is good prep for this book. Even absent that, the contrast between Matt's reality and what is happening at home is striking. And yes, I cried. I think anyone would. It is a book about the loss of innocence that goes beyond what any teenager should experience, but that unfortunately many of our servicemen do.
A very decent tale of soldiers in the current Iraqi war, with empathy for all involved. The book does not take a political position but instead lets you see into the minds of the soldiers who are fighting it for us. The author did several interviews to make it realistic.
I had high hopes for this book. I've never really read any war stories before, and I thought this one would be good since it was an Abe Lincoln Award book this year, but it fell flat for me. The biggest problem was the use of third person narration. At first, I thought I could just get used to it, but as I kept reading it just made the story less emotional and powerful. I didn't feel like I got to know Matt, so I hardly felt for him while he was undergoing the tragedies that happen in this book....more
I appreciated the way that McCormick took a timely topic - the Iraq War - and helped us see the effects of this war on soldiers and Iraqis alike. Her protagonist, Private Matt McDuffy, is complicated and all the more real because of it. He struggles to piece together the events that landed him in a military hospital with a concussion, and he wonders about the friendly Iraqi boy he left behind. I did not give it a higher rating because some of the later plot developments felt unnecessary and the...more
Jhoxelin Portillo
The book was good. Matt was confused because Justin wouldn't talk with him but they ended up clearing what had happened in the incident. Justin was injured; Two soldiers died.
Jeremy G
I would recommend this book for anyone who likes mystery or war books. However, this book has some foul language. Generally, I would recommend it for teenagers due to this language. I really enjoyed reading this book and once you start reading, it is hard to stop. I extol the author of this book.
This book is about a young man in the army named Matt Duffy. Matt was deployed in Afghanistan when he got Traumatic Brain Injury from an incident during the chaos of a gunfight. While Matt is in the ho...more
Edgar Sabalu
It was a great book keeping a story and its conflict pretty clear.
Jessica Bukowinski
Very quick and engaging read
Sarah Maddaford
The end of the book left me feeling rather blank. I guess there was hope that eventually Matt would recover enough from the brain injury and trauma that he could actually help the Iraqi people as a soldier, but it just doesn't feel like it. I feel like this is a cautionary tale for young people who enlist in order to achieve glory through defending their country. War is ugly and, while there isn't a lot of description of the fighting, McCormick doesn't hesitate to show that. Soldiers, especially...more
I'm not entirely sure how to review this book. I LIKED it, don't get me wrong. McCormick has an amazing writing style that just makes me happy to read her book. It's insightful and poignant and... I don't know. I just like it. I liked it when I read "Cut".

She really kind of exposes what's happening with soldiers. The idea that they're being thrown back into the war before their ready, after injuries. Matt Duffy, our main character, still can't remember most of what happened to him but he was sen...more
Bryan Wilson
This is a well-written look at a young soldier's life in the Iraq war, with language that is accessible for YA readers. In many respects, Matt Duffy, the protagonist, and his compatriot Justin are just kids, dealing with the ups and downs of life in combat. As the book begins, we learn that Matt has been "on the business end" of an RPG and is being evaluated for TBI (traumatic brain injury). The investigation into "the incident" dominates much of the early part of the novel, shedding light on th...more
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Uses 100% all natural ingredients and has no side effects at all! 1 1 Sep 12, 2014 12:26AM  
Pages 1-34 2 2 Sep 12, 2012 03:59PM  
Purple heart: What do you think of the book? 2 5 May 15, 2012 05:10PM  
Social Life in a War. Can people be made friendly by the prospect of Death? Would you? 2 2 Apr 05, 2012 06:40AM  
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Patricia McCormick is a journalist and writer. She graduated from Rosemont College in 1978, followed by an M.S. from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1986 and an M.F.A. from New School University in 1999. Her first novel for teens was Cut, about a young woman who self-injures herself. This was followed by My Brother's Keeper in 2005, about a boy struggling with his brother's ad...more
More about Patricia McCormick...
Cut Sold Never Fall Down My Brother's Keeper Just Add One Chinese Sister (p)

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“That first phrase-please bless me, Father, for I have sinned-was so humbling and so total, Matt always felt a kind of absolution as soon as he said it” 2 likes
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