About this book
Nina BerkhoutEducator's Guide ↓
A teenaged pacifist and a PTSD-afflicted Marine form an unexpected bond over a secret buried in a decommissioned nuclear missile silo.
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 family 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.
Gradually the two misfits form a bond, and Twyla begins to unearth the secrets that have left the Marine battling ghosts. Her discoveries force her to question her views on the wars until she realizes that even if she gets out of Halo, she won’t ever be able to leave Gabriel Finch’s story behind her.
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.
Gabriel Finch’s longish hair was fair like his mother’s. He was scruffy and less bulky than I’d imagined. Younger looking, too, with dark circles under his eyes. Even so, he had an intense gaze that went straight through me when he gave me a half-second glance.
He put a hand on my elbow and led me to the middle of the space.
“Wait here,” he told me. The silence and pitch black was dizzying. I stumbled, trying to keep balanced.
There was a loud click then, like the sound of Hawthorn’s football stadium lights going on. My eyes were drawn to the spot of brightness, where Gabriel stood by a big rectangular light on a tripod. He’d set these up in a circle around the circumference of the space and he began switching them on one by one.
My gasp echoed back at me as I followed the light washing over the dome.
About the Author
Nina Berkhout’s debut adult novel, The Gallery of Lost Species (Anansi, Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s, Éditions XYZ) was acclaimed by the Toronto Star (“Berkhout does a masterful job”) and the Globe and Mail (“deeply moving”). The novel was named an Indigo and Kobo Best Book and a Harper’s Bazaar Hottest Breakout Novel. Berkhout is also the author of five poetry collections, most recently Elseworlds, which won the Archibald Lampman Award.