Sunday, September 23

Personal Effects by E.M. Kokie

Personal Effects by E.M. Kokie
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Candlewick
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 352

Summary: 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.

My Thoughts: It took me awhile to get into this one. The first 50 or so pages I just didn’t feel into the story. But once I got through that, wow, oh wow, this was so good.

We are introduced to Matt who lost his brother T.J. in Iraq.  He’s a mess. He’s failing in school and in life. He doesn’t know who to turn too since he sure can’t turn to his dad. His dad is a control freak, who wants Matt to enlist as well. He’s bent on Matt doing exactly what he says when he says it.

Matt thought he knew T.J. but once T.J.’s belongings arrive after the funeral, Matt goes through the lockers and gets to know his brother in a whole new light. He finds things out he never even imagined.

There is also a little bit of romance in this one between Matt and a friend of his. That made the story oh so more sweet.

This took me by surprise. It was a very emotional read for me. I felt like I really got to know Matt and T.J. in his own way too.

Personal Effects was a bit slow at the start but don’t give it up if you feel the same way. It gets so addicting to read because you want to know what happens and more about T.J. and who he really was. I felt like I really was in Matt’s shoes. Every emotion he felt, I felt.

Wow. Oh Wow.

Overall: A really great novel about loss, grief, and trying to overcome it in your own way. Matt was such a great character and I’m glad I read this one. I just can’t believe everything that happened, I’m still kind of surprised about it. And I never even saw any of T.J.’s secrets coming, which is unusual for me! Add this one to your debut list now!

Cover: Like it. It fits the book. Kind of dark yet enticing. 

What I'd Give It:

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