Book Review | The Things a Brother Knows
by Dana Reinhardt

Score: 4.5

© 2010, Wendy Lamb Books, a division of Random House Children’s Books.

Boaz Katznelson, the eldest son of a transplanted Israeli family, has everything going for him as he graduates from High School. At the top of his class and accepted to Ivy League schools across the east coast, he can choose just about any path he wants, and his choices is…to join the Marines and fight in Iraq.

His family is devastated, his girlfriend speechless, his younger brother, Levi, is left completely abandoned. Now Boaz has returned home, but he is no longer the person he was when he left. The town calls him a hero, but he has changed in specific – he will no longer ride in cars, he spends days alone in his room – and not so specific ways. When he tells the family that he is going to hike the Appalachian Trail, Levi knows he is lying, and he is determined to discover the truth and bring his brother home.

The author who brought us A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, has provided an intense novel of brotherly love betrayed and redeemed as Levi’s despair over his brother’s choices and their effects on each of them lead Levi on a journey to restore order to his family, his brother and ultimately his own life.  The writing is powerful, emotional and spellbinding. I could not put the book down as I hoped, with Levi, for a positive resolution to Boaz’s post-war issues. The journey is a transformative one for both Levi and Boaz, with a conclusion that is both surprising and satisfying.

Grade Level: 9th-12th

Ages: 14-18

©2011 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and all rights reserved.
Books used in this review were provided by my local public library.
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