If I Know It's Coming
by Nick Hupton
Published by North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc
Publication Date: June 1, 2012
If I Know It's Coming is a middle grade novel about a 13-year-old boy named Tim Hansen, who lives in a quaint little neighborhood in South Minneapolis. For the most part, Tim leads a normal, preteen existence. He is concerned about friendships, girls, sports, and even schoolwork from time to time. But when his mother, who is a nurse in the United States Army, is deployed to Iraq, Tim's relatively normal and happy existence gets flipped upside down. How will Tim cope without his mother? Will his family ever be the same? Middle school was unpredictable enough, but when Tim faces this sudden dose of mortality, the adventure is just beginning.
I've noticed recently that more and more books about military families and relationships have been published. There are so many people with family members, friends, and acquaintances in the military that we are all involved in one way or another. In If I Know It's Coming, we get to see how the life of one young teen and his family are affected when his mother, a nurse in the Army Reserve is called to duty.
I enjoyed reading this book and seeing this experience from a teenager's viewpoint. Tim is in the seventh grade, plays baseball, and just may have a crush on the daughter of his parents' friends, Nicole. The story begins with Tim's mother already in Iraq for several months. His father is there, but distracted and his sister is moody with random outbursts of anger. Tim's struggling with his mother's absence and when he tries to talk to his best friend Seth about it, he just doesn't understand. He brushes Tim's worries aside because he'd rather thing about sports or video games. How Tim navigates through these strained relationships are the major focus of the story.
If I Know It's Coming touches on many ideas. Why do people join the military? Why are our soldiers fighting in this war? What does it mean to have a sense of duty? How long will your military be in Iraq? What I appreciated most about the questions and how they were approached was that is wasn't in a preaching or judgmental tone. They were asked from a place of sincerity which I believe would allow for an open dialogue about these topics. It's not about right or wrong and should or should not. It is about this is how it is and how we respond to it, deal with it, and live with it as a reality.
This story does have a somber tone to it, but it is not all serious. There are moments of teenage awkwardness and humor that made this story endearing. While it is a middle-grade read, it is a book for teenagers, adults, and everyone in between. It would be a great book to read as a family. I enjoyed it and will recommend it again and again.
Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any way other than the book provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.