Book Review: Against the Grain

Against the Grain E-CoverTitle: Against the Grain
Author: Phil Williams
Genre: Contemporary / Coming of Age / Political
Age Group: Young Adult and Up
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

A tyrannical high school principal.
A young anarchist with nothing left to lose.
One way or another, this place is goin’ down.

Matt Moyer is an orphaned teen growing up on a primitive farm in the Pennsylvania coal region. He’s homeschooled by his eccentric and philosophical great-uncle, who’s a stickler for logic, reason, and intellectual honesty. Despite his uncle’s reverence for veracity, inconsistencies arise regarding the old man’s shady past and the teen’s parents.

Through a harrowing sequence of events, Matt is forced to attend a public school. The feral teen finds it difficult to cope with the hypocrisy, propaganda, and misinformation that adults and children so readily accept. Faced with the possibility of expulsion, arrest, and ostracism, he must make a choice. Will he choose the easy lie or the hard truth?

Adult language and content.

I wasn’t sure what Against the Grain would be about, but once I started reading it, I couldn’t stpo. Matt Moyer is an orphaned teen growing up on a primitive farm in Pennsylvania. He’s homeschooled by his great-uncle who is a tad eccentric, and has a pendant for people telling the truth and being honest. But despite that, Matt discoves some inconsistencies regarding his uncle’s shady past and his parents.

When Matt is forced to attend a public school, he finds it difficult to cope with hypocrisy, propaganda and the misinformation teens and adults readily accept. He has to make a choice between the easy road filled with lies, or the tough road filled with truths.

I didn’t want to give away too much of the plot, but Matt is pretty much an underdog fighting against the system. The story also focused a lot on how no one culd be trusted, the system can’t be trusted, and how we all have to think critically to find out the truths on our own. I certainly couldn’t just sit still while reading this – I felt a lot of emotions, mostly anger at the system, at authority, and how it influenced our every day lives.

A page-turner, with an intriguing world view and a likeable protagonist who, as the title says, isn’t afraid to go against the grain.


  1. I love the thinking critically message. With information and social media at our finger tips, it more important than ever to think critically before we believe something. Glad you enjoyed this!

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