Posted by Lisa Schroeder on Wednesday, January 26, 2011
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."