Spotlight Wednesday: THINGS A BROTHER KNOWS by Dana Reinhardt

If you love contemporary YA fiction the way I love contemporary YA fiction, you need to RUN, not walk, to the nearest bookstore or hit "buy" on your e-reader and get this book. It's called THE THINGS A BROTHER KNOWS by Dana Reinhardt.

Levi, the main character, who welcomes his older brother, Boaz, home after a tour of duty overseas, tells the story, and I couldn't help but fall in love with Levi. Hard. He wants to connect with his brother, but things are different. Boaz is different. And he wants to know and understand what's going on with his brother, but it's hard for Boaz to open up. And it's hard for Levi to know what to say or do.

Levi and Boaz made me laugh. And they made me cry. I mean, there I was, sitting in my car, listening to the last CD of the audio version, and tears were streaming down my face.

It's not surprising to me that this book made the Top Ten list of YALSA's 2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults. I mean, not only is it a good story, it's a new story - one we haven't heard in various forms over and over again. I liked that about it. I liked that it felt fresh, that it's about brothers and more, and I loved that it told a story that is an important one for today's teens.

We have been involved in a war that has been going on for TEN years. And yet, do most teens understand what that means - for the people serving, for the countries we are fighting, for our nation? I worry sometimes they don't.

If my words aren't enough to persuade you to pick up this title, Booklist gave it a starred review, and had this to say: "Reinhardt’s poignant story of a soldier coping with survivor’s guilt and trauma, and his Israeli American family’s struggle to understand and help, is timely and honest. The clever, authentic dialogue beautifully captures the disparate dynamics of the family, friends, and marines in the brothers’ lives. Indeed, the characters seem so real that they may live in readers’ minds long after the final page is turned. Unlike Walter Dean Myers’ Fallen Angels (1998), about Vietnam, or Sunrise over Fallujah (2008), set in Iraq, this novel is not anchored in a specific war, but Reinhardt sensitively explores universal traumas that usurp the lives of many soldiers and their loved ones. Readers won’t soon forget Boaz and Levi’s search for understanding and the healing power of love."

Happy reading!


Lydia Sharp said...

Wow. Why am I just now hearing about this book for the first time? Why aren't more people talking about it? Adding it to my reading list ASAP.

Ghenet said...

This sounds fantastic. Will definitely add it to my list!

Samantha Rowan said...

This seems like a great book about growing up amid the lingering effects of war. Those are two topics that get little serious analysis. I can't wait to read it.

Micol Ostow said...

I love Dana Reinhardt - looking forward to this one!

kristen tracy said...

I read an arc of this and LOVED it. Dana is such a great writer. Love that The Contemps put a spotlight on this one. I found myself fully invested in Levi's quest to understand his post-war brother. Her books never disappoint. Except when I want them to be longer. Or published more frequently.

Kristen-Paige said...

anxious to my hands on this one - thanks for the recommendation!

Sarah Darer Littman said...

I'm reading this right now! So excited that you highlighted it. Also want to say that THINGS A BROTHER KNOWS won the 2011 Sydney Taylor Book Award for Teen Readers from the Association of Jewish Libraries.

Vivienne said...

This is definitely going on my list! Brilliant review.

Lindsey Leavitt said...

I've been wanting to read this. And now I will, because you said so.

Carly Reads said...

I LOVED this book! It's as excellent as everyone says it is and I'm so glad you have discovered Dana Reinhardt - how had I not read here before now?!?

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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