Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Things a Brother Knows review

Levi has always looked up to his brother, Boaz, but when the elder brother joins the Marines and ends up gone, fighting the war for three years, things between the brothers change. Levi realizes that things have changed even more than he imagined, when Boaz returns home from the war and proceeds to sit in his locked room, speaking to no one, obsessively working on a mysterious project for hours on end. 

For the past three years, Levi had to deal with not only the absence of his brother, but also the concept of Boaz being a hero. Levi is tired of always being referred to as "Boaz's brother" and has been forced to go through high school as just that. And now that Boaz is back and acting very much anti-hero, Levi isn't really sure what his role as a brother is anymore. 

When Boaz sets off a strange and secretive journey, Levi does what any little brother would do and follows him. The pair end up on an emotional walk where one learns more about the other than either imagined. Levi has never really known what to believe, in terms of whether the war is good or bad, whether he's supposed to help his brother or leave him alone, but he knows he has to do something.

I took an emotional rollercoaster with Dana Reinhardt's latest book, but one I didn't want to get off. My husband, being a veteran of this current war as well, was in the back of my mind the entire time I was reading, making it a bit more difficult reading on that level, but I was so in love with the writing, that my own personal emotions just made the situation of Levi and Boaz feel more real.

There are certainly some funny moments with Levi's friends, Zim and Pearl, making the heaviness of the subject matter bearable. The author managed to create these amazing characters and make their emotions and dialogue feel realistic, by taking the sadness and mental hardships of Boaz and Levi and infusing sarcasm and wit from caring friends.

I've loved Dana Reinhardt's work since I picked up How to Build a House a few years ago and this latest book does not disappoint. One of the best I've read this year, I'm highly recommending it to all of you!

What a great cover too!

Things a Brother Knows
Dana Reinhardt
256 pages
Young Adult
Wendy Lamb Books
978-0375844553
September 2010

1 comment:

Abby said...

I love Dana Reinhart, too, and I'm actually going to meet her at this YA Lit Conference I'm going to in a couple of weeks!! I haven't read THINGS yet, but I will probably pick it up at the conference. Glad to know it stands up to her previous work!