Monday, April 15, 2013

Review: Personal Effects by E.M. Kokie

Title: Personal Effects
Author: E.M. Kokie
Year Published: 2013

Genre: YA Fiction
Pages: 352
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2013 Google Reading map): USA (Pennsylvania)


FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Seventeen-year-old Matt Foster thought that if he could only get his hands on his brother's stuff from Iraq, he'd be able to make sense of his death. He wasn't expecting T.J.'s personal effects to raise even more questions about his life. Now, even if it means pushing his dad over the edge..., even if it means losing his best friend..., even if it means getting expelled from school.... Matt will do whatever it takes to find out the truth about his brother's past.

Review: This is one of those books where I didn't read the inside flap before I read the book so I really didn't know what to expect or what was coming. I just assumed it was about personal effects from someone fighting in a war. Wow! What a wonderfully written and powerful book.

Matt is a junior in high school, his dad is strict military (yes, he's a bit of a stereotype), and his brother TJ who is 6 years his senior is serving his third tour in Iraq. Matt and TJ get along well, spend quality time together when TJ is home on leave, and have plans to take a big trip together when TJ gets home at the end of his tour. But TJ doesn't come home alive again.

When Matt goes through TJ's personal effects he gets to see a bit of his brother that he didn't know: photos of friends and his life in Iraq; clothing; and letters. After reading the letters and seeing the photos Matt puts together the pieces of a surprising life for TJ and he sets out to meet the people. What he finds  is so interesting!

I can't say more, but this book is beautifully written with emotion, friendship, family, the military, brotherhood, secrets, romance, and more. I highly recommend it.

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