Recommendations: Books With Characters Who Were/Are In The Military


A while back while fangirling with Puput @ Sparkling Letters over our love for I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios I got the idea of doing a book recommendation post for books that have characters who were or are in the military. Said post has been put off a few times but it’s finally here! 😁

I love reading books with characters who were or are in the military because nine times out of ten they turn out to be really powerful and memorable stories, I always learn something from them. I’ve noticed that I tend to find more NA or Adult with those aspects than I do YA. So, this is lacking as far as YA recommendations go. If anyone has any YA recommendations for me then let me know in the comments. I’m always on the look out for more.

*all synopsises are from Goodreads and all images link to Goodreads


I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

21469068If Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing separating Skylar from art school is three months of summer…until Skylar’s mother loses her job, and Skylar realizes her dreams may be slipping out of reach.

Josh had a different escape route: the Marines. But after losing his leg in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be.

What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and, soon, something deeper.

Compelling and ultimately hopeful, this is a powerful examination of love, loss, and resilience.

This is probably the third or fourth time I’ve recommended this on my blog and it still stands as one of my top favorites. I’ll Meet You There is such a realistic and bittersweet kind of story. It has those moments where it’s breaking your heart and then ones where it makes you smile. It’s also one of those books where you can tell the author has done her research and knows what she’s writing about. It has fantastic friendships, a cute romance that isn’t a cure-all, it covers disability, PTSD, and the aftereffects of war. It’s also very much the story of a girl and a boy who are trying to find their way in the world and navigate through some big changes. It doesn’t sugarcoat things and will make you cry. If you’re looking for a powerful story then this just might be the book for you. 

Rome (Marked Men #3) by Jay Crownover

17798233Sometimes the wrong choice can be just right . . .

Fun and fearless, Cora Lewis knows how to keep her tattooed “bad boy” friends at the Marked in line. But beneath all that flash and sass is a broken heart. Cora won’t let herself get burned again. She’s waiting to fall in love with the perfect man—a baggage-free, drama-free guy ready for commitment. Then she meets Rome Archer.

Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He’s stubborn, rigid, and bossy. And he’s returned from his final tour of duty more than a little broken. Rome’s used to filling many roles: big brother, doting son, supersoldier—but none of those fit anymore. Now he’s just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the dark demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer through it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes a blinding flash of color in a sea of gray. Perfect may not be in the cards, but perfectly imperfect could just last forever . . .

This is one of those books that I’ve reread so many times just because I love it so much. While Rome is the third book in the Marked Men series it can be read as a standalone. Honestly, this book broke my heart so many times. Rome is struggling with a lot in his life. Some of it is centered around things that happened with his family, which I won’t spoil, and then a lot of it has to do with things that happened while he was in the military. He shoulders all of it on his own because he doesn’t want anyone to see him suffering. And while this is a romance novel, again, the romance isn’t a cure-all. Which I feel is a must for books that deal with serious topics like this and have characters that are suffering from PTSD. This book is mostly a story about healing, learning that it’s okay to ask for help and be vulnerable, and last but not least that perfect might just be way too overrated. 

Consolation (Salvation #3) by Corinne Michaels 

23270403Liam wasn’t supposed to be my happily ever after.
He wasn’t even on my radar.
He was my husband’s best friend—forbidden.

But my husband is dead and I’m alone. I ache for him and I reach for Liam.

One night with Liam changed everything. Now I have to decide if I truly love him or if he’s just the consolation prize.

This is one where I feel the Goodreads synopsis doesn’t do it any justice. It makes the story sound less than what it was, in my opinion. Consolation is very much a story of grief and how to accept that it’s okay to move on. It’s extremely heartbreaking but also uplifting and hopeful. This book actually made me cry within the first chapter. Natalie, the main character, finds out that her husband died in a terrible accident overseas a month before she gives birth to their daughter. So, while struggling badly with that grief she has to learn how to navigate parenthood on her own. Then Liam comes back into the picture, he was her husband’s best friend and feels it’s his duty to make sure she’s alright. Well, one thing leads to another and they start falling for each other. I loved the romance between them and it was definitely a slow burn. This one does have several lighter moments and is different than the other two recommendations. Plus, it has a shocker of an ending that you won’t see coming. Although this is the third book in a series it can be read as a sort of duology with the fourth book. They’re the only two I’ve read in the series and I had no problems understanding what was going on. 

Others I’ve Loved But Haven’t Read In A While

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It’s been so long since I read any of these that I can’t remember full details to do an actual recommendation beyond saying that I loved them. However, if you enjoy(ed) any of the other’s there is a good chance you’ll enjoy these as well. 

Bonus – Books I’ve Been Recommended

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Personal Effects by E.M. Kokie

After his older brother dies in Iraq, Matt makes a discovery that rocks his beliefs about strength, bravery, and honor in this page-turning debut.

Ever since his brother, T.J., was killed in Iraq, Matt feels like he’s been sleepwalking through life — failing classes, getting into fights, and avoiding his dad’s lectures about following in his brother’s footsteps. T.J.’s gone, but Matt can’t shake the feeling that if only he could get his hands on his brother’s stuff from Iraq, he’d be able to make sense of his death. But as Matt searches for answers about T.J.’s death, he faces a shocking revelation about T.J.’s life that suggests he may not have known T.J. as well as he thought. What he learns challenges him to stand up to his father, honor his brother’s memory, and take charge of his own life. With compassion, humor, and a compelling narrative voice, E. M. Kokie explores grief, social mores, and self-discovery in a provocative first novel.

Meet Me Here by Bryan Bliss

In a single night—graduation night—Thomas has to decide: Do what everyone has always expected of him? Or forge an entirely new path? Bryan Bliss’s absorbing examination of one boy struggling with expectations and realities will appeal to readers of Sara Zarr and Chris Crutcher.

Thomas is supposed to leave for the army in the morning. His father was Army. His brother, Jake, is Army—is a hero, even, with the medals to prove it. Everyone expects Thomas to follow in that fine tradition. But Jake came back from overseas a completely different person, and that has shaken Thomas’s certainty about his own future. And so when his long-estranged friend Mallory suggests one last night of adventure, Thomas takes her up on the distraction. Over the course of this single night, Thomas will lose, find, resolve, doubt, drive, explore, and leap off a bridge. He’ll also face the truth of his brother’s post-traumatic stress disorder and of his own courage. In Bryan Bliss’s deft hands, graduation night becomes a night to find yourself, find each other, find a path, and know that you always have a place—and people—to come back to.

I’ve heard a lot of great things about both of these books and they’re definitely two that I hope to get around to reading soon. Personal Effects, in particular, sounds like an incredible book. Have any of you guys read Personal Effects or Meet Me Here? What did you think?

Have you guys read any of these? What did you think? If not, are they on your TBR? 





28 thoughts on “Recommendations: Books With Characters Who Were/Are In The Military

    • They’re both such great books, aren’t they? I actually ended up rereading Rome again recently. I love that book so much. You should definitely check out Corinne’s military romance series. What I have read of it I’ve loved. I hope you end up enjoying them too. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love these recommendations! I have I’ll Meet You There on my TBR and I am looking forward to reading it sometime soon, from the way you describe it it sounds so powerfu and unforgettable 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m terrible because I forgot this was marked as spam and that I approved it. Sorry it took me a while to reply!! 🙈
      I’ll Meet You There is definitely powerful and unforgettable! I really do hope you end up enjoying it whenever you do get to reading it. I’ll be looking forward to your thoughts on it, Marie. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha no worries, I did this a couple times as well 😂 No reason to feel bad, thank you! ❤ I really want to read that one soon, need to put a reminder – or already put it into my basket so I just have to buy it next time I go on Book Depository 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great post Melissa, and actually I’ve never really read a book that’s featured a character in the military before; either currently in or was previously in. I guess given the depth of the characters and kind of the scars that can sometimes come with the service it makes more sense to see them in NA or Adult books ore than YA ones, at least that’s what I think.
    I haven’t actually read any of these myself, and I’m more of a YA than NA/Adult reader as it, but I do have I’ll Meet You There on my to-read list and I really want to get around to it soon. The fact that you enjoyed it so much and rated it so highly just goes to show I need to pick it up when I next get a chance. It sounds like it was really well written, and I guess the bittersweet aspects would fit well with Josh’s character after coming back from Afghanistan and having lost his leg as well.
    Great post again Melissa! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Beth!! 💕
      Yeah, you’re probably right. I was actually thinking about that after I posted this and realized I’ll Meet You There is one of the only YA stories that broach the whole military topic with a main character who has been in the military that I’ve come across. Even the other two in my bonus recommendations that are YA as well seem centered around characters who know someone who was in the military rather than them having been in it themselves. It does make sense that it would be more of an Adult or NA thing rather than YA.
      But yes! You should so read I’ll Meet You There! It’s one of those books that I will definitely never forget and never stop recommending. Hearther Demetrios just did a fantastic job with the whole thing. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s all right Melissa! 😀 ❤
        I think it's just the nature of the topic you don't tend to have too many YA characters who are old enough to join the military and see the kind of things that would have a lasting effect on them. I guess at the same time as well it can be a heavy subject for YA characters. It's great it's still touched upon I guess but the more I think about it the less I'm surprised by the fact that most of your recommendations were Adult of NA.
        I have it on my to-read list so hopefully I'll be able to get around to it soon! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s definitely the nature of the topic. I mean I think it’s great when more serious topics or mature things are covered in YA but some things do seem to be a bit too complex and most things concerning the military seem to fall into that category. Not that YA is less than Adult or NA but it’s just something that doesn’t directly happen in the age group of characters that make up YA as far as contemporaries go. The more I think about it the less surprised I am too.

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      • Oh I’m all for diverse reads in YA fiction, and I think we need more than what we currently have on the bookshelves as well, but I think authors need to be careful of really heavy subjects like this. It’s kind of in the genre “young adult”. Yes you get people our age reading these books but there are a lot of people much younger than us who pick them up as well and maybe some of the things that come hand in hand with military stories aren’t suitable for young readers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I completely agree! I think it’s all about a balancing act. Realizing that teens can handle heavy topics in books and that they should be discussed while also realizing when it could be too much for some readers.
        Sometimes I think I forget the fact that YA is essentially geared toward teens. I think that has a lot to do with blogging and knowing more bloggers my age or older than me. But yeah there are definitely things in military stories that wouldn’t be suitable for younger readers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You do get some YA books that have warning stickers on (or they do in Waterstones) saying they’re YA books for a more mature audience. I guess really heavy books will need these stickers. I just finished reading More Happy Than Not and while it was a good book I wouldn’t say it was something I’d recommend to younger YA readers.
        I feel the same sometimes, until I’m browsing in a bookstore and I see young teenagers looking at the same books I am. Kind of surreal I will admit! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s cool that they do that! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bookstore here use warning stickers but I kind of wish they did.
        Yeah, I’ve heard that about More Happy Than Not a few times. It’s on my TBR for this year because I keep seeing so many positive reviews.
        It really is! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • I haven’t seen it on many books. In fact the only one I can really remember seeing it on was the ACOTAR series, but there are probably more.
        My review will be a positive one for it I can tell you that already, it’s a brilliant book and I’m sure you’ll love it as well! 😀 ❤


  3. OMG THIS THING IS UP FINALLY HAHAHAHA 😛 ahem, I’m so stoked that you finally finished this post and even more stoked than I’ll Meet You There is number 1! Hahaha like you I probably have recommended it for more than 5 times because it’s THAT GOOD mhahaha I agree that it’s so, so powerful and cover a lot of serious topics effortlessly. Out of all the other books I only ever read Dear John, which I love and hate at the same time hahaha almost all Nicholas Sparks books make me sad </3 I'm gonna need to check out the other books and Meet Me Here sounds amazing! Great list Melissa 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • It took my so long to finally sit down and write it and then ever longer to get it just right. I didn’t realize how long it had been since I read some of them. 😂🙈
      But yes! I’ll Meet You There will always be my number one and one of my go-to YA contemporary recommendations. It really is just such a fantastic book. Are you going to read the new book Heather Demetrios is publishing this year? I’m really excited for it. 😁
      I’m the same with Dear John, I loved and hated it. I actually kind of liked the movie ending better lol. Nicholas Sparks books definitely end up making me sad too. Except The Lucky One. That one is actually a relatively happy one with a few sad moments.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know!! Recommendation posts are always harder than imagined hahaha aww reading this makes me want to re-read it AGAIN 😂 but noooo I have so many new releases I want to read hahaha of course! Bad Romance is on Netgalley but it’s not available for request 😦 I wished for it but haven’t heard back but either way I’m going to buy it myself hahaha the summary sounds so intriguing ❤ oh yes, I watched the movie and it was indeed less sad hahaha

        Liked by 1 person

      • Right? I used to think it was as simple as putting books and their summaries in a post but it’s better when you talk about why which can take a while lol. I know the feeling. There are so many books I want to reread but then there are ARCs and new releases. There just needs to be more time for reading lol.
        I wished for it too but haven’t heard back either. Hopefully we both hear back soon! But yeah I’ll definitely be buying it too. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Sooo much yes for I’ll Meet You There! It’s the only one I’ve read from this list but that book was gooood. Such great characters and such a great romance, and it also deals with issues that I don’t often think about so it was eye-opening all at once. It’s definitely one of the books I’ll reread when I get the chance. ❤

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  5. Such a wonderful post. I love books related to the military/navy etc. I haven’t read any of these! Some do interest me though. I’ll Meet You There is definitely one I’ve seen around and I’ve been meaning to pick it up for some time now but, like a lot of books, I haven’t got around to it! Rome is also definitely one that’s interesting me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much!! 😁
      I’ll Meet You There and Rome are both incredible books. Especially I’ll Meet You There. I know what you mean about having not gotten around to a lot of books. Our never ending TBRs do make it a bit impossible sometimes. 😂
      If you do end up reading any of these I hope you enjoy them!


  6. I loved Rome! But I have to admit – as a military vet myself – I do steer away from books with military men. I was obviously in the wrong military. No hot men with 6 pack abs who are gentle, tortured souls. That military I would have stayed in 😉


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