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Second in Command

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  88 ratings  ·  35 reviews
"Sixteen-year-old Leo dreams of becoming a police officer and is on his way to earning the rank of Eagle Scout. He makes sure to always do the right thing and be responsible. With his mom deployed and his dad constantly working, Leo is often left in charge of his two younger siblings. Then Leo's brother, Jack, gets caught up in a dangerous plot that rocks the community. Ca ...more
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published February 1st 2019 by West 44 Books
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Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  88 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Luupi "The Reading Queen"
I don't give 5 stars easily so believe when I say Second in Command gave me so many emotions that now has a special place in my heart 💕

This book talks about what happens when one of the parents on a household leaves with the army, how the rest of the family deals with it and tries to carry on a normal life even though they know there is a vital member of the family missing.

The gem of Second in Command is my precious main character, Leo. This boy had the most pure intentions I've read, his only d
Triana (bibliomaniacism)
*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

"School is where you go to feel safe but what happens when it becomes a place of fear?"

this book is so timely with everything that's been going on, especially with this quote. It really spoke to me and touched my heart.

This book was super easy to read and super easy to understand, it really got it's message out there and I adored it!

I can't wait till more people are able to read this fantastic story.
Brian Montanaro
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written hi-lo verse novel about the emotional impact on a military family when a parent is deployed. In this book, Leo has to step up when his mom is deployed, and hold everything together. Engaging read!
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
ARC Review: Received for free via Netgalley for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I'm supposed to write a coherent review but all I had for 98% of the book was: F#ck. That's all I could get because this book just kept punching me in the gut, not letting me breathe. Like damn, can you let a person breathe Sandi Van!

And then that ending. Like punch me in the gut and then rip my heart out. But then pat it softly coz ugh, that ending! UGH!
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
This book is full of beautiful writing and definitely packs an emotional punch. It's in verse, and you'll find that it's short--that's on purpose. It's meant for struggling readers who need higher level content. But it would also be enjoyable for other kids, and adults! It broke my heart and put it back together again on every page--in a good way. Highly recommend.
Kate Quinn
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a really great and emotionally vibrant book in verse that gives a look inside the lives of military families and what happens when a parent - in this case the mom - is deployed. I really love the way it showed the pressure it put on the entire family, but especially the main character, Leo, who was the oldest child and the one who is supposed to hold everything together.
Toby Abrahamsen
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
3 1/2 stars Received a copy from Netgalley -

Good book for striving readers; engaging story told in an easy to read format.
Originally posted on: The Quirky Book Nerd

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is what is considered “hi-lo” fiction—short books that are designed to encourage young, reluctant readers to read more. This one seems like it is aimed for an early middle school to early high school audience, so basically mid-middle grade and early young adult. This novel focuses on how a family is affected when one member is deployed for the army—in this case, it i
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, ebooks, netgalley
Not what I expected ! When I received this I had no idea it was in verse, nor how short it was. So this review (and the 5 stars) is written from my inner (middle grade/junior high) child's point of view (probably 3 stars from an adult version of myself) . It was an easy read, easy to understand and it most definitely knows how to get a strong message across ! Perfect for those young ones looking to get into reading.

Thank you to NetGalley and Sandi Van for the ARC in exchange of an honest revi
Joy Givens
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is solid, sincere, and strong from start to finish! Sandi Van's poetry feels as natural as the beats of Leo's running feet, and the heartstrings of this story keep pulling the reader from one page to the next. Leo walks the line of being a thoughtful, honorable protagonist, while Van's well-wrought angst keeps him from falling into do-gooder territory, and the plot is tight and deftly managed. Highly recommend, especially for readers who benefit from fewer words on the page.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This would be a great book for kids. Low reading level, high interest. I really enjoyed the characters and their struggle with their mom's deployment.
Alyssa Chaney
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Check out this review and others at my blog Too Many Books!

A special thank you to Netgalley and West 44 Books for a free advance digital copy in exchange for a honest review.

I love verse novels and the raw emotions explored in this one make it a definite 5 star read. Leo is the eldest child and left mostly in charge of his younger siblings when his mom deploys and his father works. The emotions are very strong and really well explored, as Leo tries to balance his own needs and desires with his o
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Five stars – Well worth reading, whether YA or Adult

An inciteful short-form of the verse novel, Second in Command by Sandi Van pulls you along Leo’s emotional journey. He is the eldest of three siblings and steps up to help “parent” when his mom is deployed with the Navy. He worries as a parent for how his brother and sister deal with the absence of their mom, their sense of loss, his brother getting into serious trouble with a bad bunch, his little sister experiencing night terrors. Sleepless,
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
For the unfamiliar, a verse novel is a type of narrative poetry in which a novel-length narrative is told through poetry rather than prose.

Second in Command is a verse novel about Leo, a 16 year-old teenager thrust into a parental role with his two younger siblings while his mom is deployed in the military and his dad is consumed at work and too exhausted and detached to lead effectively at home. What I enjoyed most is how the author used the verse novel construction to tell the story concisely
Julia Colangelo
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. The poetic structure really helps to convey the emptiness and pressure that Leo feels when his mother is deployed. It's amazing how much character development is conveyed in so few words, the warmth of the family, the unsaid tension between father and son, etc. The verse format makes this book accessible for teens who struggle with reading with a fascinating story they can relate to. Definitely would recommend to teens and adults.
Alanna Medina
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. Leo was such a strong main character. I loved how we got see how he handled the responsibilities of being the oldest child and how he dealt with his mom being deployed. And the ending was just the perfect way to finish the story.
Tori Bovalino
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book! I cried so many times reading this. Sandi has truly created a beautiful, heartfelt story that grips you from the very first page. The poetry is gorgeous. I can't wait to see what she does next.
Sarah Teremy
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Second In Command is a very easy and quick read which tells an emotional story that many military families can relate to. Very creative and highly recommended for young adults!!
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent story telling via verse!! 🙂
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really good book. Would recommend.

It being written in verse makes it a breeze to get through. And it still manages to convey the feelings of family, loss, loyalty, confusion and commitment that a teen in these situations may face. It's a quick snapshot but it gives a good picture.

This is listed as a book for reluctant readers and I get why. I think it's a great starter for someone who finds reading to be daunting or uninteresting.
Emma McDowell
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
love it
Claudia Recinos
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lovely and moving.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Movingly written in verse, this story was a page turner. I was impressed by how Van was able to develop complete, complex characters with fewer words than your traditional novel. I also loved the interwoven nature of Leo's pursuits, and the way the Scout Law was a thread binding them all together. Highly recommend!
Garrett Mosier
Nov 18, 2019 rated it liked it
The book I read was Second In Command. Overall I thought that the book was pretty boaring. The boom really didn't have a good story. I wouldn't recommend this book to someone. It was a pretty fast read because it is written in powertry. It seemed like the same things just keeped on happaning. When I read it the book seemed like it went really slow. It was hard to pick it up again and read. At the begining of it it was some what interesting. I am probley not read this kind of book again. If you l ...more
Sarah Avallone
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great novel in verse for middle school and junior high! I can’t wait to share it with my 7th graders.
Carla Catalano
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
This was incredibly well written and I read it early this year before it was officially released. The characters are relatable and I will definitely use with my struggling readers - especially 11th graders and ELLS. Compulsively readable! This book is an honest picture that touches on many issues facing teens today.
Seattle  Tuesday
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
There once was a family of five that did what they needed to thirve. While mom was away they worked thourgh the day and prayed she would come home alive.

This book shows what some people simply don't understand. Responsible. Stuck between what you should do and what your heart wants. Leo Instead of having the world in his hands. He has it on his back. He is asked to do what most 16 year olds aren't.
This book gives us a view on what its like for families of vets while there family member is deplo
Jelke Lenaerts

This is a very quick read that I would highly recommend to a lot of people. The writting is very easy to get into which makes this important story more accesible to everyone. I'm glad I read this book because the experience of the main character isn't one I've ever read about but I know it's one that a lot of teens go through. The only problem I actually had with this book is the fact that I felt a bit emotionally detatched from the story. If you want
Mar 04, 2020 added it
A moving realistic-fiction novel-in-verse told from the perspective of sixteen-year-old who becomes a second-in-command parent when his mom is deployed and his dad works long hours.

Leo knows what he wants: to become an Eagle Scout and a police officer, and knows right from wrong. But when his younger brother Jack begins to push away and gets involved in a horrible crime of hate Leo struggles to keep his word and keep his family together.

A story of family, responsibility, integrity, and the com
Adrienne Carrick
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s amazing how prose can convey such a beautiful story. What a talent to be able to pick the perfect words in the perfect sequence and affect your readers so intensely.
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