Sunrise Over Falluja is well-researched, presenting a gritty picture of the Green
Zone of Baghdad and the “redder” zones surrounding it in those early years of the Iraq War.
The young soldiers never know what’s around the corner or what orders they’ll get next. They live on pins and needles for days on end, or get bounced from mind-numbing boredom to intense fear in an instant.
Although the characters are fictional, their growth from uncertain teens to deep-thinking adults in the matter of a few months is heartrending. Unfortunately, as in the non-fictional war, some of them don’t make it the whole distance.
Author Walter Dean Myers is no stranger to war. Birdy, the hero of this book, is the nephew of a soldier in Meyers’ Vietnam War novel, Fallen Angels, winner of the 1989 Coretta Scott King Award.
What Sunrise Over Falluja lacks in story arc it makes up in the vivid depiction of setting and day to day life in a world so different from our own, safe here in the United States. The truth of it is awe inspiring, and more than a little bit frightening.
Sunrise Over Falluja is recommended for ages 12 and up.