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Purple Heart

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  2,268 ratings  ·  457 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
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Balzer + Bray (first published August 18th 2009)
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Asteropê If you go to the Lexile website and search the title you can find it. See:
It's listed as 760L
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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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,268 ratings  ·  457 reviews

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Apr 10, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, ya
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
Rebecca McNutt
Disturbing but timely, Purple Heart is one of the best Iraq War novels I've ever read, both in the complexity of its characters and the issues it addresses. Much like The Deer Hunter, Mash and Sunrise Over Fallujah, this book addresses the parts of war nobody wants to talk about, the non-glorified, ugly bits to it that really make us realize the true cost of taking a human life. What's also different about this book is that instead of vilifying Iraqui citizens as brutal terrorists, it points out ...more
Austyn Walls
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Title: Purple Heart
(Realistic Fiction)
Author: Patricia McCormick

This is a suspenseful psychological thriller, 18 year old Matt Duffy, a private with memory problems, with a traumatic brain injury. He, receives the Purple Heart in Iraq. Strong characters all throughout the book with very strong chapters and giving good visuals of what is going on in detail and good drama. As Matt remembers more and more, tension builds and he becomes confused about interpretations of the truth. The author raises
Anne Osterlund
Apr 22, 2011 rated it liked it
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.

Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 30, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Nov 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The main message of this book, and the theories and memories Matt (main character) portrays is amazing, and with each example or scenario has a message that links later in the book. Think of it as connect the dots. Generally, this book (in my opinion) is sad, mystery----ish, and suspenseful. It makes you think of each character in the book individually and personally, even if you dont know the character fully. At the end of the book, it REALLY makes you think of characters and pages you read in ...more
Celia Buell
Purple Heart is about Matt Duffy, an eighteen year old soldier in the Iraq war. Injured and in the hospital, Matt can't help thinking that he killed someone, an Iraqi street kid he knew. As he fights to remember the incident while battling a head injury, something just doesn't seem right about the whole affair.

I really have to say, I was not as much of a fan as I had hoped to be. The beginning hospital scenes seemed to drag on too long; they had no action and were really just kind of flat. Ther
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
Jun 15, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Destiny Russell
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Goodreads Book Review
Purple Heart was a thrilling book that kept me interested and on the edge of my seat wanting to know what happened.

It’s a fictional book that begins with Private Duffy, a loyal soldier, who is injured in duty and makes the long road to recovery by relearning how to walk and think; all while piecing together the leftover shreds of his memories.

I enjoyed taking a walk with Private Duffy down his road of self discovery. At first he had trouble, “... bits and pieces were comin
Phil Jensen
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
What was it like to fight in Operation Iraqi Freedom? What was the relationship between the US soldiers and the Iraqi civilians? How do our soldiers process what they have seen and done in war? Patricia McCormick does an admirable job of approaching these questions for younger adolescents.

I recommend this book to students in eighth grade or above if they are interested in military life. The soldiers in this book are generally well-intentioned. They are loyal to each other and have a sense of du
Mar 13, 2019 added it
Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick

This book is about a man named Matt Duffey who was struck by an RPG, and slowly recovers while he gains back memory little by little. The he can have his memory back as fast as he is is because of Dr. Meagan. He has trouble saying words and also taking in new data. The first thing he remembers is a kid in an ally way digging through debris. The question is what does this kid do or does he do anything?
I would highly recommend this book to all high schoolers and
Talia Colley
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tower-teams-vi
Very good short book on the hardships of war.
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"He reached over and took hold of the front of Matt's hospital gown as if he were grabbing hold of him by the straps of his vest. Then he let go and patted Matt on the cheek. 'You were lucky, man.'
'There was a dog,' Matt said.
Justin frowned. 'What?'
'Dog,' said Matt. 'There was a dog.'
Justin drew back slightly. 'Dude, I have no idea what the fuck you're talking about.'
'He was near the... you know, when you throw stuff away..." It was maddening. He couldn't remember the word.
Justin looked away, sc
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
How would you honor your veterans, especially when they go through so many problems just to keep us safe? This book has been rated a 4 out of 5 stars. Patricia McCormick did an amazing job of portraying everything that each veteran was going through. The imagery throughout the entire book was presented clearly and nicely. For some parts, it felt like I was part of the book and in the war. I liked the book for many reasons, but one reason was how the book started. It started off with suspense, du ...more
Tammy Dahle
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Talar Aroyan
Sep 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Personnel Response: Right away I knew that this book would be the one that I would not put down. The book had a lot of close relations with the war subject and I thought that it was very exciting book to read. Honestly If I was the one that was being honored by the Army Association with a purple heart that would be one of the best gifts anyone could have received to them personally. My overall personnel response of Purple Heart is that It has very good touching relationships with the real world. ...more
Ryan Pomerenke
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Readers will be quickly drawn into the experiences of Matt Duffy, an 18-year-old engineer serving in Iraq during the most recent war there. He has woken up in a hospital in Baghdad's Green Zone as he recovers for a head injury that he incurred in an alleyway altercation. There seems to be some sort of mystery involved with what happened in the alley because a young boy, who had been hanging around with his unit, was also killed during the altercation.

Due to his head injury, he is unable to remem
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: haunting, i-cried, dark
Wow. After reading this, I seriously needed some time to catch my breath. Between my past family and present family having fought/fighting in the army, the topic of war has always been very close to my heart and I admit I'm picky about what I read with this topic. I hate novels where the army is mocked or put in a bad light or just written in a sloppy style because I read in my family's letters and other books how horrible and life shattering war can be. This novel blew me away. I read it in one ...more
May 08, 2013 rated it liked it
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 "
Mar 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jaelyn Reeck
Oct 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Personal Response:
I think this book was really good over all. It was a really interesting story about the war in Iraq. Its really interesting how they have the main character, Matt, get hurt in one of the first chapters of the book. Some of the parts in the book were boring, and not very interesting, though.
Plot Summary:
The story was about a squad that had been fighting in the war against Iraq. In one of the first chapters of the book, Matt had gotten hit by an RPG, and was pinned underneath
Oct 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Logan Bartel
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: war
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dylan D.
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Grade: Middle School
Reading level: 760 Lexile
Genre: Historical
Main Characters: Private Matt Duffy, Justin, Wolf, and Charlene
Setting: In a War
POV: First Person

When Private Matt Duffy woke up in the hospital, He can remember everything up to he being hospitalized. He is suffering from TBI (traumatic brain injury). Matt is told that an RPG exploded next to him while he and his partner were chasing a suspicious vehicle down a dark alley. Then Private Duffy thinks there is more to this than people a
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.
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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
“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” 6 likes
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