Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers
Robin's parents aspire for him to go to college, but following September 11, he feels compelled to join the Army instead. By early 2003, Robin has completed Basic Training and is deployed to Iraq where he becomes part of a Civil Affairs Unit charged with building the trust of the Iraqi people to minimize fighting. Civil Affairs soldiers are often put into deadly situations to test the waters, and Robin finds that the people in his unit, who nickname him "Birdy," are the only ones he can trust. Robin quickly learns that the situation in Iraq will not be resolved easily and that much of what is happening there will never make the news. Facing the horrors of war, Robin tries to remain hopeful and comforting in his letters to his family, never showing his fear or the danger he actually faces.