The Mosaic by Nina Berkhout

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 n...

Title:The Mosaic
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Edition Language:English

The Mosaic Reviews

  • Heather Pearson

    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

  • Jen

    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?

  • Elaine Tucker

    A slow start to this book, but it does not take too long before you are totally into it and just keep turning the pages one after the other to see what happens next. For a class project the students are to pick a Community Service and must spend 40 hours doing it. Twyla Jane chooses spending time with a Vet, a former Marine named Gabriel Finch.

    Gabriel is a rude and a recluse person who spends hours and hours in a decommissioned nuclear missile silo. What is he doing, that is the question? Gabrie

    A slow start to this book, but it does not take too long before you are totally into it and just keep turning the pages one after the other to see what happens next. For a class project the students are to pick a Community Service and must spend 40 hours doing it. Twyla Jane chooses spending time with a Vet, a former Marine named Gabriel Finch.

    Gabriel is a rude and a recluse person who spends hours and hours in a decommissioned nuclear missile silo. What is he doing, that is the question? Gabriel has a dog named Storm. Storm is a guard dog who snaps at you if you come to close.

    This book, The Mosaic by Nina Berkhout. is a great read and I recommend it to anyone who is looking to read an excellent story.

  • Barbara

    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.

  • Lexi Wright

    Twyla has big plans for her life. First, she’ll hightail it out of Halo, Montana, the military hometown she’s come to despise, the moment she graduates high school. Then she and her boyfriend, Billy, will head straight to California, where he’ll study to be a famous chef and she’ll become a renowned food photographer. It’ll be the escape Twyla’s always dreamed of. But as soon as she meets Gabriel, the brash former U.S. Marine she’s supposed to assist for community-service credits, Twyla begins t

    Twyla has big plans for her life. First, she’ll hightail it out of Halo, Montana, the military hometown she’s come to despise, the moment she graduates high school. Then she and her boyfriend, Billy, will head straight to California, where he’ll study to be a famous chef and she’ll become a renowned food photographer. It’ll be the escape Twyla’s always dreamed of. But as soon as she meets Gabriel, the brash former U.S. Marine she’s supposed to assist for community-service credits, Twyla begins to question exactly what she’s running from and why, and whether her heart is truly set on where she’s headed. As Twyla helps Gabriel complete the massive art installation in a decommissioned nuclear-missile silo that keeps his PTSD in check, he imparts how critical it is to question all our longest- and deepest-held beliefs. With this moving novel of self-discovery, Berkhout (The Gallery of Lost Species, 2016) offers a mindful, timely reminder about the perils of blind faith and the power of change.— Lexi Walters Wright, First published September 21, 2017 (Booklist Online).

  • Abigail Troppmann

    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.

  • Milky Mixer

    Nina Berkhout, this is the second time you have broken my heart! It was a pleasure getting to meet you at Word On The Street and to tell you how much I loved your earlier book, The Gallery of Lost Species. When I read the synopsis for The Mosaic, I thought, "Well this is unexpected." But just like Gallery, it took no time for me to get caught up in the characters and their sidelined world. Even now, I find myself sitting here thinking about Twyla and Gabriel and the rural landscape and the story

    Nina Berkhout, this is the second time you have broken my heart! It was a pleasure getting to meet you at Word On The Street and to tell you how much I loved your earlier book, The Gallery of Lost Species. When I read the synopsis for The Mosaic, I thought, "Well this is unexpected." But just like Gallery, it took no time for me to get caught up in the characters and their sidelined world. Even now, I find myself sitting here thinking about Twyla and Gabriel and the rural landscape and the story's interesting insights into war and pacifism and the individual and how grey it can become. Like I said, heartbreak! Thank you for writing this book. Thank you for the beauty you put on your pages. Now please tell me where to find my own pair of blueberry-colored cowboy boots. I'll wear them when I go to Whitehorse. ^.~

  • Michelle M. L.

    I just finished the last page and am in my feelings. I like happy endings that pull everything together at the end and this was not it. That said, I was drawn into the characters and their stories. It gave me a closer look at military life and life in the Plains. I was pleasantly surprised by the way the author included art throughout the story in varying ways. Not sure how this book came to me but I'm glad it did.

  • Bethany

    The Mosaic was moving and beautifully written, far more than I anticipated. The story follows Twyla, a young woman living in rural Montana who begins to fall for a former Marine who is surprisingly artistic, but is suffering from PTSD after serving two tours of duty in the Middle East. The book captures life in a small agricultural town in middle-America that is struggling economically and slowly fading. Reading the book I couldn't help but think of how it paints a portrait of some of the key vo

    The Mosaic was moving and beautifully written, far more than I anticipated. The story follows Twyla, a young woman living in rural Montana who begins to fall for a former Marine who is surprisingly artistic, but is suffering from PTSD after serving two tours of duty in the Middle East. The book captures life in a small agricultural town in middle-America that is struggling economically and slowly fading. Reading the book I couldn't help but think of how it paints a portrait of some of the key voters in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

    The author handles rather deftly the complex issues surrounding war, the military, and anti-Muslim sentiment. It is also a coming of age story that tackles the pain and complexity of love in a more realistic way then you typically see in a book written for a younger audience.

    I will say that Twyla is initially not very likable and says some really insensitive things. Also be aware that while not used in a positive or exculpatory context, there are instances of extremely derogatory language about Muslims. The author doesn't shy away from portraying the ugliness of racism. However, the story is poignant and thought-provoking and I would definitely recommend it.

  • Amy

    Very moving story about a young man back from war and the journey he embarks upon to heal from his time spent in the middle east. Quite a tear jerker.

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