Book Review: The Inside Battle

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 with his dad’s newfound ideas, but he turns a blind eye to them. So when his best friend Ajeet beats Rebel at a robotics tournament by using one of Rebel’s pieces, Rebel begins to wonder if there’s some truth to what his dad has been saying, and he lashes out at Ajeet.

Expelled from school, Rebel’s dad takes him to the mountains of Oklahoma, where they meet up with the Flag Bearers. Soon his dad is engulfed in the group and its activities, and they’re becoming more and more dangerous. When Rebel gets wind of a planned attack on an African American church, he knows that this group has gone too far and innocent people could get hurt. Can Rebel find his voice and stop the Flag Bearers from carrying out their plans before it’s too late?

The Inside Battle is a gripping story of family, bravery, and speaking up for what’s right from author Melanie Sumrow.

Expected publication: March 3rd 2020 by Yellow Jacket

What did I think?

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 readers and the story takes a scenario that they can relate to and shows all sides of it.

This is the kind of story that should be taught in every public school and homeschool. We can’t come together unless we understand each other. I’m adding it to our 9th grade booklist.

I’d hand this to Middle School readers right on through adults.

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