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MWD: Hell is Coming Home

2.92  ·  Rating details ·  156 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Liz served in Iraq with her trusty military working dog, Ender, by her side. But now that her tour is over, she has to readjust to life in her small New Hampshire town. Despite being surrounded by people she’s known her whole life, Liz feels entirely alone and soon gets trapped in a downward spiral of flashbacks and blackout drinking. Things seem destined for a bad end, bu ...more
Hardcover, 157 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by Candlewick Press
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Average rating 2.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  156 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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Ange (Libby Blog) Schmelzer
This is one heck of a brutally honest and gritty book about a women's return from serving in Iraq. This isn't nice, clean war stories. This is raw and powerful. The main character is a broken person when she returns who is struggling to care enough about herself to get the help she needs. She does everything she can to push everyone away around her, but one person gives her a second chance by believing in her. It has a nicely hopeful ending.
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Realistic, sad, gritty and for mature audiences. Heavy PTSD themes.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
To see more reviews check out MI Book reviews

I grabbed this book because I have been on a graphic novel kick lately. This book far surpassed any expectations I could have for it.

The book follows Liz coming home from war. She was one of the women serving in Iraq. She worked with a MWD or a military working dog. She was very in tune with her dog, Ender. Ender is not part of the book for long. He is mostly seen through flashbacks that Liz is having due to her untreated PTSD. She find another dog an
Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: usa, graphic-novel
Not sure why this was aimed at teens; it's better suited for an adult audience. The characters are adults, and the themes are heavy and brutal, even though the dog storyline helped lighten it up a bit.
S Shapiro
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This graphic novel is a moving portrayal of a woman returning from war to face a home in which she no longer knows how to function. It's full of intense, important themes: women in the military, PTSD, sexual harassment, civilian interaction with veterans. Braided storylines of military working dogs, and the ways in which animals help people deal with trauma, are particularly poignant. It is gritty, true, but I'm a little confused as to why people feel teenagers aren't familiar with gritty themes ...more
Aug 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016
Read ARC.
There are few books marketed towards teens about the Iraq War, and even fewer (if any) about women in the military, so in theory, this book fills a unique niche that most librarians would be excited about. Unfortunately, this one doesn't fit the bill-it is not a book for teens. When Iraqi veteran Liz returns home after being wounded in a violent tank attack, she is angry, unemployed, living with a grandmother who doesn't want her around, and suffering from what appears to be PTSD. One
Stephanie Tournas
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
MWD (military working dog) is a moody and moving graphic novel about a young woman veteran of the war in Iraq, returning to her small New Hampshire town. Injured in body and mind, Liz grieves for her faithful dog Ender, her best companion in combat. Her grief comes out in aggressive, self defeating behavior towards all who try to help her. Flashbacks tell of the roadside bomb that changed her life, and of sexual humiliation at the hands of her male comrades. Her only real affection is for a merc ...more
Disjointed, chaotic and deeply felt, this story is so similar to others I've been witness to among soldiers coming home. The buried pain and grief that only ever seems to bubble up with the assistance of drugs and/or alcohol, the disassociating stress that comes from activities that others would see as benign, the brief and rare and all-too-brief moments of's all here in beautifully drawn gray (because nothing is truly black and white). Liz's story is not enjoyable, and it's certainl ...more
Andrew Lovell
Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it
The story of a woman who served in Iraq working with a military trained dog. She returns home after an IED badly wounds her and kills her dog. It is an opportunity for the reader to see a woman's experience of dealing with PTSD and the physical, psychological, and sexual trauma that come with serving in the military during war time.
About half way through the story I wanted to give up on the book because it wasn't "exciting" and the main character was annoying, pestering, belligerent, and very u
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story of a young vet suffering from PTSD provides is portrayed starkly and honestly in MWD by Brian David Johnson and Jan Egleson. The complexity of Liz as a character is handled incredibly well, avoiding the typical cliches associated with the traumatized soldier returning home. Her relationships with family members, co-workers, fellow drinkers and most importantly dog help to reveal her in different ways, which provide her the depth that allows me to really connect with her, even though I ...more
Rod Brown
May 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
I thought having dogs and a female veteran would help this graphic novel rise above generic troubled-soldier-returns-home works of fiction, but the execution makes lands it in the below average range of the genre.

(Funny thing: After reading the book, I had no idea what the MWD in the title meant until I came here to write my review. Is it really not in the text of the story or did I just miss it? I now see that military working dog is referenced on the dust jacket, but I rarely read cover copy
The tone of this grim PTSD story about a female solider coming home after her military dog was killed in action is spot on. It definitely left me with a lingering feeling of empathy for the main character and female soldiers in general. I do wish parts of it were better fleshed out, like the creepy doorway man who is hinted at, but never fully explained.

Also, it could really benefit from a title switch (or at the very least a clarification about the acronym) as the story revolves more around the
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Miss Kitty
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I dug this and read it in an afternoon. Wooo short power read! I feel so accomplished. This is a rare book with dog death that I didn't want to rage at and I think that's mostly bc the protagonist likes dogs more than most people. *fist bump* If anything I wish that it could have focused more on the trauma recovery process than just the hot mess part of trauma. It was still really good.
Edward Sullivan
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A grim, tough, unflinchingly honest portrait of an Iraq War veteran suffering from PTSD struggle to put the pieces of her life back together after returning home. An emotionally powerful look at the toll war takes on a soldier's psyche.
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I still don't understand dog people.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wish the ending of the book was different. I wanted to know more that happened with the girl and see less of her hostility.
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Topic is important, but characters were pretty unlikeable. And art not to my taste at all. And I'm not sure this is a good fit for 'young readers.' Might do better for adults.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it
wonderful drawings, flawed and believable characters, remarkable lack of sentiment for a book about dogs and death--and then two pages before the book is over everything's magically fine. wtf, mwd?
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I did not like the art - all the people looked too similar and kinda ugly - but it made me cry a bit so that's always good!
Feb 09, 2017 rated it liked it
very strong language. alcohol. abuse. older teens.
Mar 17, 2017 added it
I would shelve this as more of a "new adult" book rather than a YA. I sometimes had difficulty telling female characters apart, as they are drawn in such a similar way. The topic is necessary, but overall, this story felt choppy.
Jenn Lopez
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Although this is definitely a worthwhile topic to be covered in literature, this book didn't do it for me. The topic of PTSD is difficult to explain to anyone who hasn't experienced it. This seemed to be a story about a female soldier and her military working dog (MWD - which is never explained anywhere in the book or acknowledgements pages). However, the story flip flops back and forth between the returned soldier's need to work with a ferocious dog locked up in animal control, and her actions ...more
Feb 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
A difficult but important book about our veterans, especially women soldiers who face sexual assault as a part of their PTSD coming home mental state. Also features dogs as a part of the war effort. Heart-wrenching.
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wish I'd had the actual hard copy graphic novel

I read a lot of Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs) of books but I've read very few graphic novels.

Because this was an ARC and I read it on my Kindle, some of the reading experience was off for me. The formatting was definitely not correctly in place and the reading experience became a matter of putting a puzzle together. The illustrations were in black and white, which didn't ruin the story but they were smaller than I'd hoped for. And I have a Kindle
Paula Soper
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, 2016
I received this ARC from the Candlewick Press vendor at the NCTE conference. I picked this book up now because I knew that it was going to take a few more days to finish Neal Shusterman's Scythe and I wanted to read something quickly.

This is a great graphic novel. I don't even like dogs, but I could relate to kind people who help a broken woman. (BTW, MWD stands for Military Working Dog.) I appreciate the beginning of Liz's journey back to herself after the trauma of war. Because of the language
I read an advance copy of this graphic novel, so the art was not all in full finished form; the drawings were still a little rough. It was pretty good though; it's about what happens when a female soldier returns home from Iraq, suffering from a difficult adjustment to civilian life. She was a dog handler (hence the title: Military Working Dog) and I picked it up thinking it would have a lot more to do with the doghandling than it really did, so that was a little disappointing to me. But it give ...more
Aug 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rummanah (Books in the Spotlight)
This graphic novel is about a female veteran who worked with a MWD. It covers tough topics such as PTSD and alcoholism. The graphic novel contains strong language and would be more suitable for adults. Since I read an ARC of the graphic novel, the artwork wasn't in color and at times hard to make out. The transition between the present day and the flashbacks aren't as smoothed as I had hoped. Overall an okay read.
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