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The Inside Battle

4.56  ·  Rating details ·  66 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Thirteen-year-old Rebel Mercer lives in west Texas with his dad, Nathan, and his aunt Birdie. His dad is finally home after serving in the military, and Rebel longs for his approval. But something isn't right. His dad has PTSD, and lately he has been spending his time communicating with a racist, anti-government militia group called the Flag Bearers. Rebel doesn't agree wi ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Yellow Jacket
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Average rating 4.56  · 
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 ·  66 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Hema Penmetsa
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved Melanie Sumrow’s debut novel THE PROPHET CALLS, so I had high expectations for this book, her second one. And, boy! Does she deliver.

This book, similar to the author’s debut novel, deals with poignant and timely subjects such as racism, immigration, white supremacy, and mental illness. Sumrow tackles them with such a direct and honest approach that the points she makes come across that much stronger. (I’m floored by her talent of exploring such weighty topics so gracefully and age-appro
Mr. Steve
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
I was so close to giving this 5 stars but I settled on 4. I really enjoyed it a lot. It was exciting and emotional and horrifying, and I hope it finds a large audience. Definitely for 7th/8th grade.

I also loved the author's book, The Phophet Calls, and am looking forward to reading more by her.
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Author Melanie Sumrow does it again -- she has a flair for writing books that keep me up turning pages! This story takes the reader inside a sub culture of our divisive society that is uncomfortable to experience, yet so important to know about. Memorable characters then lovingly show us a way out of hatred and fear.
Bonus: hand this one to reluctant readers on your robotics team!
Mandy Stallard
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookposse
Melanie Sumrow's second novel continues in the same vein as her first, The Prophet Calls, in that it tackles difficult topics. In The Inside Battle, publishing March of 2020, Rebel Mercer's father is suffering from PTSD, and he has become disillusioned with society. He decides that the best thing for him and Rebel is to go live in the middle of nowhere with a militia group called the Flag Bearers. Rebel quickly realizes that the Flag Bearers are dangerous, hateful people. While avoiding his dad, ...more
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ariel-s-arcs
Is it weird that I want to start this review by discussing the Author’s Note in the back? Maybe, but I am going to do it anyway. First of all, I love when authors explain why they wrote their book and give insight into their thinking process. Sumrow explains that she wrote this book for two reasons: certain groups trying to normalize racism in the U.S. and our country’s disservice to veterans suffering from PTSD. Both issues were seamlessly woven together in this original middle grade novel.

Polly Holyoke
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Melanie Sumrow has penned an outstanding story for older middle grade readers. She tackles the difficult topics of racism and the stigma of PTSD with tact and sensitivity in this tale of a 13-year-old boy forced to join a white supremacist militia along with his father. Rebel Mercer desperately wants to earn his father's acceptance, but Rebel soon comes to realize his own beliefs are painfully different from his father's and his fellow members of the Flag Bearers. Gripping and emotionally satisf ...more
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A thoughtful--and thought-provoking--portrayal of a 13-year-old boy, Rebel Mercer, who confronts the ugliness of bigotry and racism when his father exposes him to the Flag Bearers, an anti-government militia group, in the mountains of Oklahoma. Fast paced and beautifully written, Sumrow's sophomore middle-grade novel explores topical issues in a fresh, deeply sensitive way. Highly recommended.
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Little Bee Books for the ARC provided at BEA 2019 in return for an honest review!

While this book is technically for middle grade children, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it excellently tackled some incredibly important and relevant issues today, namely mental illness and trauma within the American veteran community, immigration, racism and white supremacy. The book shows how people, especially young people can get roped into hate and evil in their moments of weakness by agen
Jenn of The Bookish Society
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: march-2020
I enjoyed The Prophet Calls so much that when I saw that Melanie had another Middle Grade novel I jumped at the chance to get a early review up here. The Inside Battle did not disappoint. Melanie has a way of helping the reader to feel what it must be like to live inside a counter-cultural family.
Even as an adult reader I was enthralled with the subject matter. She captured exactly how people can be led into a group such as the Flag Bearers. This world will (hopefully) be foreign to young reader
Laney Nielson
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
More than anything thirteen-year-old Rebel Mercer wants his father's approval. But when his father who is suffering from PTSD takes Rebel to live with a racist, anti-government militia group in the mountains of Oklahoma, Rebel struggles to speak up against what he knows is wrong. As the author did with her debut novel (THE PROPHET CALLS), Melanie Sumrow skillfully immerses young readers (age 12 and up) in a world that will (most likely) be unfamiliar. What follows is a gripping, emotionally sati ...more
Cassie Thomas
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a book I picked up and sat down and read in one setting. I was so captivated by the mindset that Rebel’s dad was in, how Rebel wanted so badly to be seen by his father, and how through it all truth and friendship prevailed. This is a story that will need to be read and talked about all over.
Kristin Crouch
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author for sharing an ARC with Collabookation.
After the death of his mother, Rebel has been desperate for his father's approval. However, his father is growing increasingly erratic and unpredictable since his return from war. When Rebel notices his father following a hateful online group, the Flag Bearers, he wishes he would stop, but is ultimately powerless. When Rebel must choose between going with his father on a getaway, so his dad can get himself back together again, Rebel
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Never have I ever gasped or vocalized my thoughts so loudly while reading a book...until I discovered Melanie Sumrow’s writing. Much like her debut, THE PROPHET CALLS, her latest release (out now), THE INSIDE BATTLE, is a brave, unapologetic story that tackles difficult topics for the upper middle grade reader with dignity and empathy. Explaining her inspiration in her author’s note, Sumrow story examines racism and the stigma of PTSD. Thirteen-year old Rebel Mercer wants to been seen by his vet ...more
Katie Reilley
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I won The Inside Battle from an author giveaway on Twitter.

I had a hard time putting this one down! The story dealt with important and timely topics such as immigration, racism, white supremacy, militia groups, and veterans with PTSD in an appropriate way for upper middle grade readers.

Thirteen year old Rebel lives with his dad and aunt Birdie in Texas. Rebel is a thinker and tinkerer who loves robotics and is looking to make a connection with his dad who’s home after a long time away in the m
Karen McKenna
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was captivated by Rebel from the first chapter and could not put this book down. Rebel loves robotics competitions, but in Texas football is king and he fears he will never make his ex-Marine dad proud of him. From their first interaction, the reader discovers an unhealthy, awkward, heartbreaking relationship. Rebel wants nothing more than his dad's love and approval, but his dad is suffering from PTSD and has become involved with an anti-government, radical, racist militia group called the Fl ...more
Misty  Miller
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Inside Battle is a gripping story about the desire for acceptance and the search for truth. How far should one person go to gain that acceptance? This is the internal struggle Rebel faces as he traverses the path of right and wrong. His love for his father and his desire to make him proud directly conflict with his internal sense of what is right and just.
Melanie Sumrow weaves an intricate tale that propels the reader along the treacherous path of self-discovery as we walk with Rebel in his
Dan Allbery
Melanie Sumrow's The Prophet Calls was my favorite book of 2019. With The Inside Battle, Sumrow crafted another story focusing on a fringe group, white nationalists. I tip my hat to Sumrow for tackling such gritty subject matter, but often one bold craft move was immediately diluted in the next chapter. This book does/will spark conversations about veterans, PTSD, rising anti-government sentiment, and the power of speaking up. *Be sure to read her author's note.*

I have been waffling back and for
Trina M.
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rebel stole my heart in this fantastic tale of his inner struggle about real life issues. This story not only was an enjoyable given the subject but so enlightening for all people! As I read TIB I felt for Rebel and is journey. People of color definitely should read to understand how hate is taught and not innate. I was proud of how this character was able to navigate real world problems at such a young age. Sumrow has done her due diligence in helping show what some go through given the people ...more
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was an extremely powerful book, but a difficult one for me to read. As a highly sensitive reader, a strong emotional reaction to a book makes it hard for me to objectively review a book, but it's important to share some insights about this book with you. First, it led to a fantastic discussion around our dinner table as the anxiety I experienced while reading it sparked a great conversation about how our dislike for the behavior of characters affects our reading of a book. It's not often th ...more
LS Johnson
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
This well written book is also a frightening read, not based so much on scary events in the book but rather because the events in the book have happened. This is a purely fictional piece of work, but there are news stories of mass shootings in places of worship; news stories of militia groups that are active in our country; news stories of service veterans who do not receive proper care of PTSD. If I still taught middle school history, I would use this book in my curriculum. I will be recommendi ...more
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Inside Battle is a powerful novel about families, and relationships, the military, PTSD, and racism. The resonating theme for me is that we have to give young people a voice. Like Rebel and Calliope and Ajeet, our youth need to be empowered to make a difference by standing up for what is right. As Josiah said, “The voices of children matter, especially since they are often the only carriers of truth.” This is a meaningful novel for middle school, high school, and beyond.
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a compelling story of a young boy having to confront a lot of things about himself, growing up and deciding who he is, most importantly having to decide if he should do the right thing, even if it could be dangerous and hurt someone he loves.
A brave, thought-provoking, compelling novel that tackles PTSD and racism head-on in a way that feels just right for upper middle grade readers. This is a unique and engaging page turner that will give middle schoolers a whole lot to think and talk about.
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
it was very good. It was very good.
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excellent Book!
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Author’s Note of Melanie Sumrow’s powerful middle grade novel The Inside Battle asks, “...would my voice make a difference?” As I continue to learn & grow, I am discovering that EACH voice matters and this #mglit will help students find their own voices, too.

“Even though I knew what some people around me were saying or doing was wrong, I felt torn about speaking out against them. After all, weren’t some of them the very people I’d been taught to respect and love? Even then, would my voice ma
Brigit Young
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
THE INSIDE BATTLE tells the story of Rebel, whose father suffers from PTSD after his time in the military. Tragically, his dad's untreated trauma leads him to join an anti-government, racist militia. Rebel's deep need to make his father proud of him butts up against the knowledge that his dad's beliefs are horrifying. THE INSIDE BATTLE is written with empathy and dignity while never losing sight of its strong moral compass. If you have an age 11+ reader in your life, you must get them this book.
rated it it was amazing
May 23, 2020
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