The Mosaic
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.A beautifully written and thought-provoking novel about a teen facing the collision of love, ideals and uncertainty about her own future.

The Mosaic Details

TitleThe Mosaic
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 5th, 2017
PublisherGroundwood Books
ISBN-139781554989850
Rating
GenreArt, Photography, Fiction, Young Adult, Young Adult Contemporary

The Mosaic Review

  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    Senior Twyla Lee has always considered her hometown of Halo, Montana, to be a dead end, and she and her boyfriend Billy Goodwin have plans to move to California for a better life. Billy's not a local, and he has his parents' financial backing and dreams of cooking his way to fame. Although Twyla enjoys taking photographs just like her grandfather, she has floated through school, barely passing and participating in few extracurricular activities. Although she may have dreams, they seem submerged Senior Twyla Lee has always considered her hometown of Halo, Montana, to be a dead end, and she and her boyfriend Billy Goodwin have plans to move to California for a better life. Billy's not a local, and he has his parents' financial backing and dreams of cooking his way to fame. Although Twyla enjoys taking photographs just like her grandfather, she has floated through school, barely passing and participating in few extracurricular activities. Although she may have dreams, they seem submerged beneath Billy's ambitions. When she has to complete community service hours by helping out at the home of Gabriel Finch, a Marine who has severe PTSD, Twyla has no intention of getting involved. The man is rude, and even his dog Storm is not particularly friendly. Eventually, Gabriel reveals his secret: he's using ammunition to create a mosaic in one of the area's decommissioned missile sites on the family farm. His labor of love is a tribute to the wonders of ancient civilization and a way of atoning for what happened when he was serving in the Baghdad area. Twyla decides to enter the mosaic in a contest held by the Museum of Modern Art. Not only would the $100,000 save his family's farm, but possibly give Gabriel a reason to live too. While I liked the descriptions of this amazing art treasure, I saw the book's ending coming from a mile away, which was a little bit disappointing. The judgment and bigotry of some of the citizens of this small town are displayed clearly in the book, showing how quickly the sentiments of a small town can turn against someone who was once a favorite son. While there are things to like about Twyla, I wondered about her rootlessness and her lack of a goal as well as how many times she missed signs about what was in Gabriel's future from what he said about not having much time left to finish his work. I also didn't see the point of the drama about her parent's relationship, and I wondered about what will happen next to this small town, a lot like many others in our country, dependent on one or two industries whose departure dooms them. Twyla's family wants more for her than working at the local slaughterhouse, but had she not planned to hitch onto Billy's coattails at first, I wondered what her fate might have been. If nothing else, readers will finish this book with the firm realization that war and conflict are complicated, and there is not one side to matters.
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  • Heather Pearson
    January 1, 1970
    Twyla has her life planned, knows what she wants and the guy she is going to do it all with. until she meets Gabriel, and injured war veteran. Her community service stint is supposed to be a one of , no strings attached. At first she dislikes Gabriel, but over time she starts to meet the real man behind the solitary, don't need any help image he presents. This community service arrangement brings out the worst in her seemingly perfect boyfriend.Twyla has to confront a lot of truths she is now le Twyla has her life planned, knows what she wants and the guy she is going to do it all with. until she meets Gabriel, and injured war veteran. Her community service stint is supposed to be a one of , no strings attached. At first she dislikes Gabriel, but over time she starts to meet the real man behind the solitary, don't need any help image he presents. This community service arrangement brings out the worst in her seemingly perfect boyfriend.Twyla has to confront a lot of truths she is now learning. She has to determine who she truly wants to be as opposed to who others expect or are pressuring her to be. While Twyla is learning about becoming an adult, Gabriel begins to confront the ghosts that have haunted him since his earlier deployments. I was fascinated to read about the ammunition mosaic that he is creating and how it was helping him to cope.This was a thought provoking read. It wasn't light and fluffy, but more a gritty story that reflects true to life issues that teens have to deal with. I had me thinking about gossip and heresay as opposed to the underlying truth of situations. Twyla learned that you can't take everything at surface value especially when people and their emotions are involved.To learn more about art made with ammunition, visit the website of artist John Ton A google search for ammunition art found many more examples. I received an advance reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review,#IndigoEmployee
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    This is a really powerful book about a girl who just wants to get out of her close-minded, dying military town in the middle of Montana. She and her boyfriend dream of going to California where she will get away from the military industrial complex and take easy pictures of the surf and people's weddings.But before then she has to complete community service with a terse Marine veteran who is more complicated than he seems. Will he burst Twyla's worldview?
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  • Abigail Troppmann
    January 1, 1970
    It was simply breath taking. An incredible contemporary piece that explored the depths of humanity through real characters. Slow to begin with, but once Gabriel's secret is revealed to Twyla, you cannot put it down. Genuinely an eye opener. Incredibly thought provoking, and an absolute must read if you don't mind your heart breaking and then rebuilding itself all over again.
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