top of page


Invisible Wounds of War

Purple Heart

Patricia McCormick


Ages 14+

When Private Matt Duffy wakes up in an army hospital in Iraq, he's honored with a Purple Heart. But he doesn't feel like a hero. There's a memory that haunts him: an image of a young Iraqi boy as a bullet hits his chest. Matt can't shake the feeling that he was somehow involved in his death. But because of a head injury he sustained just moments after the boy was shot, Matt can't quite put all the pieces together. Eventually Matt is sent back into combat with his squad-Justin, Wolf, and Charlene-the soldiers who have become his family during his time in Iraq. He just wants to go back to being the soldier he once was. But he sees potential threats everywhere and lives in fear of not being able to pull the trigger when the time comes. In combat there is no black-and-white, and Matt soon discovers that the notion of who is guilty is very complicated indeed.

About the Author

Patricia McCormick is a former journalist, novelist and National Book Award Finalist. She has a B.S. from Rosemont College, an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and an M.F.A. from The New School. Her other books include Cut, Sold, My Brother's Keeper and Never Fall Down. She has received numerous awards for her writing.

Patricia McCormick

bottom of page