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The Mosaic

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  73 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Twyla Jane Lee has one goal. To finish senior year so she can get out of her military hometown of Halo, Montana. But to graduate, she needs to complete forty hours of community service, and that means helping out a rude and reclusive former Marine named Gabriel Finch.

A young veteran of the conflicts in the Middle East, Gabriel spends his days holed up in a decommissioned n
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Groundwood Books
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Laurie Varga It depends on the maturity of the reader.

I can't recall if there was swearing but there are a few scenes of violence or the aftermath of violence. Of…more
It depends on the maturity of the reader.

I can't recall if there was swearing but there are a few scenes of violence or the aftermath of violence. Of course, one of the main themes is war so that's to be expected. There are a few mild, romantic scenes and the anticipation of making out but they are not at all graphic.

I'd read much racier adult books as a pre-teen but I'm an anomaly. I suspect most parents today wouldn't give this to anyone under 14.

Hope that helps!(less)

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Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Halo, Montana is a dying town next to a military base. The future of the majority of the kids in this town involves oil fields, the slaughterhouse, or enlisting in the military. Twyla and her boyfriend plan to move to California to start a catering business. Twyla will be in charge of the logistics and photographing the food while Billy goes to college and does the cooking. On their off time they'll surf and enjoy life and
This borders on an age range that crosses from YA into twenty-something where Twyla has all of the trappings of a senior in high school with global issues of the effects of war and mental health. She's got a boyfriend, she's got dreams after graduating. But she's also got a 40-hour service project where she's dropping in on a veteran who served two tours in Iraq and getting to understand his PTSD and the "project" that he himself is working on.

Berkhout uses this project and the relationship tha
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was very bittersweet. It moved my heart in many ways, big and small. It also made me so sad.
I read it for the White Pine 2019 List.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a really powerful book about a girl who just wants to get out of her close-minded, dying military town in the middle of Montana. She and her boyfriend dream of going to California where she will get away from the military industrial complex and take easy pictures of the surf and people's weddings.

But before then she has to complete community service with a terse Marine veteran who is more complicated than he seems. Will he burst Twyla's worldview?
Abigail Troppmann
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was simply breath taking. An incredible contemporary piece that explored the depths of humanity through real characters. Slow to begin with, but once Gabriel's secret is revealed to Twyla, you cannot put it down.

Genuinely an eye opener. Incredibly thought provoking, and an absolute must read if you don't mind your heart breaking and then rebuilding itself all over again.
Senior Twyla Lee has always considered her hometown of Halo, Montana, to be a dead end, and she and her boyfriend Billy Goodwin have plans to move to California for a better life. Billy's not a local, and he has his parents' financial backing and dreams of cooking his way to fame. Although Twyla enjoys taking photographs just like her grandfather, she has floated through school, barely passing and participating in few extracurricular activities. Although she may have dreams, they seem submerged ...more
Enid Wray
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An incredible, powerful, touching, finely nuanced story about the horrors of war - and that there is nothing black and white about the fact of war - and the power of art to heal. This is also a story about the Cold War and the arms race and detente between the US and the Soviet Union… a period in history which the current younger generation knows little about and needs to know about… especially given the current global political climate.

Things to love about this book include:
the relationship bet
Heather Pearson
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian, ya
Twyla has her life planned, knows what she wants and the guy she is going to do it all with. until she meets Gabriel, and injured war veteran. Her community service stint is supposed to be a one of , no strings attached. At first she dislikes Gabriel, but over time she starts to meet the real man behind the solitary, don't need any help image he presents. This community service arrangement brings out the worst in her seemingly perfect boyfriend.

Twyla has to confront a lot of truths she is now le
Laurie Varga
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'd give the first half of "The Mosaic" 3 stars and the second half 5 stars.

The writing is exceptional throughout and the author brings poetic resonance to a hard-luck rural town where the only thing propping it up is the military presence. I found the main character for the first 1/3 of the story was the fictional town it was set in, Halo, Montana. Unfortunately, Halo is a most depressing place with no redeeming qualities or characters that inhabit it. Even the heroine, Twyla Lee, failed to shi
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Mosaic was moving and beautifully written, far more than I anticipated. The story follows Twyla, a young woman living in rural Montana who begins to fall for a former Marine who is surprisingly artistic, but is suffering from PTSD after serving two tours of duty in the Middle East. The book captures life in a small agricultural town in middle-America that is struggling economically and slowly fading. Reading the book I couldn't help but think of how it paints a portrait of some of the key vo ...more
Milky Mixer
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nina Berkhout, this is the second time you have broken my heart! It was a pleasure getting to meet you at Word On The Street and to tell you how much I loved your earlier book, The Gallery of Lost Species. When I read the synopsis for The Mosaic, I thought, "Well this is unexpected." But just like Gallery, it took no time for me to get caught up in the characters and their sidelined world. Even now, I find myself sitting here thinking about Twyla and Gabriel and the rural landscape and the story ...more
Elaine Tucker
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A slow start to this book, but it does not take too long before you are totally into it and just keep turning the pages one after the other to see what happens next. For a class project the students are to pick a Community Service and must spend 40 hours doing it. Twyla Jane chooses spending time with a Vet, a former Marine named Gabriel Finch.
Gabriel is a rude and a recluse person who spends hours and hours in a decommissioned nuclear missile silo. What is he doing, that is the question? Gabrie
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This one didn't have me rapt with attention. I'm not entirely sure what it was that kept me from loving it. The main character, Twyla, definitely isn't the independent type. She seems to follow whatever male interest she has, but by the end, that's not entirely true. The ending was good, but I felt like it was rushed. It wasn't the ending I was hoping for, but it was good and realistic nonetheless. I wish Billy would have had a "come-t0-Jesus" epiphany/moment. I was nervous about what Gabe was l ...more
Michelle Leonard
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, young-adult
I just finished the last page and am in my feelings. I like happy endings that pull everything together at the end and this was not it. That said, I was drawn into the characters and their stories. It gave me a closer look at military life and life in the Plains. I was pleasantly surprised by the way the author included art throughout the story in varying ways. Not sure how this book came to me but I'm glad it did.
Ruth Aileen
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Page turner. Heart breaker. Tear jerker. Love. Love. Love.
Ron Bruce
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
I'm glad I read this one, pretty good little story.

4.5 stars.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very slow first 60 pages, but worth the finish
Petra Willemse
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A surprisingly powerful read. This book took me on a journey that I won't easily forget. The ending truly touched me and surprised me.
Sam - Spines in a Line
Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and you can find more of my reviews at

This one has an interesting premise: the MC, a pacifist living in a military town, is paired up with a veteran to complete her volunteer hours in order to graduate high school. Beyond focusing on this coming-of-age/growing up and getting out aspect, it’s also an exploration of PTSD, the treatment of veterans, and the ambiguity of who the ‘good guys
Lexi Wright
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
Twyla has big plans for her life. First, she’ll hightail it out of Halo, Montana, the military hometown she’s come to despise, the moment she graduates high school. Then she and her boyfriend, Billy, will head straight to California, where he’ll study to be a famous chef and she’ll become a renowned food photographer. It’ll be the escape Twyla’s always dreamed of. But as soon as she meets Gabriel, the brash former U.S. Marine she’s supposed to assist for community-service credits, Twyla begins t ...more
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