Teen Book Reviews

Gigged by Heath GibsonWith the mild winter we have had this year and warm weather promising summer just around the corner, the minds of many teens might be turning to thoughts of college. Others might be thinking about getting a job, or of joining the Armed Forces. If the last option is something you’re considering, then Gigged, by Heath Gibson might be a read for you.  Read the review below to find out more. 

J.T. is a soldier.  He gets up each day and trains like mad, follows a routine like clockwork, and sees everything in terms of battles to be won and lost. All of this is done in order to bury the hurt and vulnerable boy he was when he was Jason, a kid who was crippled in a car accident and went through a bad foster home experience that nearly broke him. J.T.’s current mission is simple; whip his cadets into shape and win the ROTC drill competition, get a scholarship to a tough officer training school called the Citadel, and then go serve as a soldier in the Middle East, following in his father’s footsteps. What J.T. didn’t count on was Chris Walker, the local bully who is determined to ruin his chances. When Chris take things one step too far, will J.T. doom himself with retaliation? Or will the love being shown to him by his new foster father and a few good friends help him sort out his life?

This book is extremely sly when it comes to character development. J.T. speaks with short sentences to everyone including the reader, because he likes to use as few words as possible. Flashbacks from before he started becoming a soldier show his humanity and help endear him to the reader, especially when they see the tragedy of how he’s turned himself into an emotionless void. There are also a few hints of how unreliable he is as a narrator, and that his problems may be deeper than they first appear. Small touches of southern Georgia permeate the book, like the oppressive heat and deep South cooking. Anyone who’s ever been bullied can understand what J.T. goes through with Chris, and while they won’t like what he does at the end, they will appreciate it and understand his motivation. Definitely a good book for teens in high school, especially one with an ROTC program.

Gigged is recommended for late teen readers, especially boys or those thinking of joining the Armed Forces. Check it out at Northeast Library or any other DC Public Library location today!

--by Brandon Digwood