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Reviewed by Brenda Casto for Readers' Favorite
Annie, by Ron Mahaffey, introduces us to Cody Miller, who at the age of thirteen loses his parents. He decides that, as soon as he can, he will follow in his father's footsteps and join the military. In the meantime, he lives with his grandparents in the Colorado Mountains. As a senior in high school, he enlists in the army and it's about this time that fellow classmate Ann Wilson catches his eye. However, she is dating a football jock so Cody thinks he doesn't stand a chance. Cody leaves for the army two weeks after graduation and, as fate would have it, Ann Wilson has also enlisted. It turns out that they are headed to the same post in Vietnam. A relationship develops between the two and as they near the end of their tour of duty, Cody asks Ann to marry him. Before she can answer him, they find themselves under attack. He wakes up four months later in an American Army Hospital. His heart is broken at the information he receives. He decides that he will lose himself in the Colorado mountains. Fate isn't through with Cody yet and he learns that sometimes what we think we know isn't the truth at all.
Mr. Mahaffey really brings the setting of this story to life! From the jungles of Vietnam to the Colorado mountains, the author's rich descriptions allow the reader to feel as if they are right along with Cody. The characters seem so real, the danger so realistic that I could almost hear the shooting as Cody and his troop rushed through the jungle, trying to reach safety! Cody was such a well fleshed out character -- even though he was often clumsy, when it came to keeping his troops safe he didn't falter once! His feelings and reactions were spot on, and while I thought his plan of going into the Colorado wilderness seemed a bit much, honestly I could understand why he wanted to do it. His plans had me thinking about all of the other soldiers who returned from that war, needing to hide away from society.
The romance between Cody and Annie was sweet and it seemed that destiny certainly had a plan for the pair. I found it endearing that Cody named his horse after Annie and often talked to it while he was on the trail. Along with the romance, there is a smidgen of a mystery surrounding Cody and Annie's parents and the connection they shared. It isn't often that I read books that center around the Vietnam War, but after reading Annie I am rethinking that. His storytelling brought not only the war to life, but the struggles that were faced when wounded soldiers made it home. Annie pulled me in so completely that I couldn't put the story down and finished it in one sitting!