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Twyla Jane Lee has one goal. To finish senior year so she can get out of her military hometown of Halo, Montana. But to graduate she needs to complete forty hours of community service, and that means helping out a rude and reclusive former Marine named Gabriel Finch.
A young veteran of the conflicts in the Middle East, Gabriel spends his days holed up in a decommissioned nuclear missile silo on his farm. Twyla assumes he’s just another doomsday prepper, readying his underground shelter for Armageddon. But soon she finds out the truth, and it takes her breath away. In the underground dome, Gabriel is making a mosaic made entirely of ammunition — a dazzling work of art that depicts life before the wars — in Uruk, an ancient city near Baghdad.
While Twyla helps Gabriel finish the mosaic, she convinces him to enter his work in the Museum of Modern Art’s “America’s Next Great Artist” competition, with the aim of winning the $100,000 prize that could save his family farm from bankruptcy and affirm Gabriel’s true calling as an artist. But as public voting for the best entry heats up, the mosaic — and Gabriel — become the target of Halo’s military community, and Twyla finds her own emotions and ideals put to the test, as her dreams, and her understanding of war, are turned upside down.
A beautifully written and thought-provoking novel about a teen facing the collision of love, ideals and uncertainty about her own future.