Saturday, May 26, 2012

Personal Effects

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (September 11, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0763655279
  • Author: E. M. Kokie
  • Cover Art: Love it, it conveys so much I want a poster!
  • Overall rating:*****+ out of 5 stars!
  • Obtained: I received an ARC for review. Thank you!

Personal Effects by E. M. Kokie
Reviewed by Moirae the fates book reviews.

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. (Synopsis provided by goodreads)

You know that rare feeling you get with a book? The one where you read the first chapter and already feel like you've known the main character your whole life? Or the feeling you get from a book where you have to stop yourself from reading more just to make it last longer and to sleep?

Personal Effects gives the reader both. Just from the synopsis I guessed what  the "shocking revelation" about T.J. was. Even having guessed it, it didn't take anything away from the experience of reading this book. I loved Matt. He was such a strong character and had such an awesome voice I was sucked in after the first page. 

When we learn of T.J.'s death, my heart broke for Matt. He went through so much after he finds out about the death. All of this makes the reader's heart break even more. Matt has a very close friend Shauna who I really liked. I wish she had had more face time in the book, but at the same time I think that what time she had was just right.

This is such a powerful book, I don't think there are enough book on this subject in the Iraq War. Kokie did such an amazing job on showing us what Matt was going through. 

Having a male narrator was a refreshing change in YA. I loved this book. This is a book I will buying a finished copy of when it releases. If you want a new book, with a strong male voice I would highly recommend this book.

So say we all!

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