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The Things a Brother Knows

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  2,579 Ratings  ·  403 Reviews
Levi's older brother Boaz returns from fighting with the Marines in the Middle East. He's safe. Levi's family has waited three long years for this. But Boaz is no longer the brother Levi thought he knew. Even if nobody else wants to see it, Levi can tell that Boaz has changed; something's wrong. When Boaz announces he's off to hike the Appalachian Trail, Levi knows he's ly ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Ember (first published September 14th 2010)
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I've always been interested in how the relationship between guys works, especially brothers. It's a relationship I can't experience myself, so my interest is peaked when I see a book about brothers.

In this story we have two brothers, Levi and Boaz. Boaz is the older brother who is perfect in every way, well at least in Levi's eyes. Their family is surprised by Boaz's decesion to join the Marines and fight in the Iraq war. They plead with him not to go, but his mind is set, he's going. It's been
I could easily read another couple hundred pages of this, but at the same time I think it's just long enough.
It's concise, but beautifully written in its dryness - the kind of writing that once in a while just hits you with a particularly piercing and visual sentence.
It tells the story it wants to tell - nothing more, nothing less - in about three hours of reading. It's complete, but clearly, tangibly just a beginning.

The relationship between siblings is something that's always fascinated me, an
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jaglvr for

Boaz is coming home. That's what the reader learns early on. Boaz is everything that the narrator, Levi, is not. Boaz was the star athlete at school. He could have his pick of colleges and scholarships. And (at least according to Levi), he had the most gorgeous girlfriend in the world. But against everyone's wishes, especially their parents', Boaz enlists in the Marines.

The Katznelsons had relocated to the United States from Israel. Boaz's parents can't und
Sep 20, 2012 Riley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Riley by: Jennifer
I am currently on page 46 of 242 in The Things a Brother Knows. So far I have enjoyed the book since it fits my tastes and is a realistic fiction book. I will give a brief idea of the book so far without any spoilers. This book is about a boy whose intelligent and successful brother enlists in the marines rather than going to any high level college of his choice. The book doesn't show what happened durring the war, but what happened after. His brother won't leave his room and has changed a lot s ...more
Elizabeth B
Apr 15, 2011 Elizabeth B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books I think everyone should read. As a wife of a military man and coming from a long line of military folks, I’m already biased toward this book. That said, I’ll admit that this book was hard to get into at the beginning. It moved slowly, was a bit confusing and aggravating the way nothing seemed to happen or change. BUT, thinking back on the times I’ve faced similar circumstances of soldier homecomings, this is exactly what it is like. The author has done an amazing job o ...more
Abby Johnson
Levi's brother Boaz joined the Marines after high school and spent three years fighting overseas. Now he's home, but everything has changed. Levi has become a mini-celebrity because of his brother's return - girls notice him at school, he gets the job at the video store that everybody wants. But inside, Levi wonders... if people knew how it really was at the Katznelson house now, would they still be so excited? Because Boaz went straight to his room and didn't come out for three days. Even now, ...more
Feb 12, 2013 Jamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ls-583
Jamie Poorman

APA Citation: Reinhardt, D. (2010) The Things A Brother Knows. New York: Wendy Lamb.

Genre: Contemporary realistic fiction.

Format: Print (Hardover, 245 pages)

Awards: Recipient of the Sydney Taylor Book Award

Recipient of the California Book Award

Named one of Kirkus 2010 Best Books for Teens

School Library Journal 2010 Best Books of the Year

Booklist Children's Editors' Choice List

One of NPR's five best teen books of the year

ALA Top Ten Best Fiction for Teens list

Selection Process:
Jan 12, 2011 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teenbooks
Summary: Levi’s older brother Boaz has returned from a tour of duty in the “war on terror.” Levi and his family are puzzled by his behavior; he is remote and uncommunicative, shutting himself up in his room all day and refusing to rejoin family life. Levi is frustrated with his brother and feels anger and dislike towards him for acting this way. Luckily he has the support of his friends Pearl and Zim. Levi sneaks into his brother’s room and finds maps with mysterious markings. When Boaz announce ...more
Nov 08, 2010 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Levi is a junior in high school, and as the novel opens, his older brother, Boaz, is returning home from his tour of duty with the marines, in Iraq. Boaz has been gone for a long time (after enlisting right after high school), and has effectively cut off communication with his family. Upon his return home, those communication lines are still cut. Boaz spends all his time in his room, and Levi knows that he's working on a plan involving the computer and maps, but has no idea what it could be.

May 13, 2013 Lo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I very much wanted to give this book a higher rating, but I think couldn't because some parts of it annoyed me.

I've read Dana Reinhardt's other books and thought they were really good (of course, I read them back when my taste wasn't so good, so you never know), and already got used to the author's strong female main characters. I feel like because this book was narrated by a guy main character, Reinhardt changed up her style to "fit a guy's point of view." While I'm okay with the change, I didn
May 22, 2011 Jjarndt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Things a Brother Knows, by Dana Reinhardt, is about a brother that goes off into the marines during the Iraqi war. Boaz decides to leave his family behind, going off to fight a war no one really understands. When Boaz finally returns, Levi, the main character, and Boaz's younger brother is worried about Boaz. Boaz is now distant from everyone, stuck in his room, only coming out to eat. When Boaz finally leaves his room he tells his family he is going to travel the Appalacian trail. Levi, how ...more
Feb 09, 2011 Beverly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am generally skeptical when reading books that have to do with the military and the current on-going conflicts. As an Army wife, I'm usually appalled by the lack of understanding that seems to be rampant in many of the books or I'm put off by the fact the many of the books on this theme seem to be written for the single purpose of protesting the war without any thought to actually writing a good story. So, I was a little wary of reading The Things A Brother Knows.

I'm happy to say that I was pl
Levi's brother Boaz joined the Marines at age 18, a sudden and surprising decision for him. He comes back after three years at war as Bo, who sleeps on the floor, hides in his room at all times, and refuses to ride in a car anywhere. There absolutely needs to be books about this, because how many people see a brother, a husband, a son, a cousin, or a friend go to war and come back a different person? The basic plotline is a good and important one.

What didn't connect for me were the characters. B
Aug 24, 2013 Bethany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My day was horrible until I opened this book and started reading it. Once I started reading it, I just couldn't stop!

I don't know what it was. The plot, the characters, the ending, or just the whole book in general, but I loved it! This is the type of book I've been looking for. I wish there were more books like this one, where the main relationship is between two brothers, and not between girlfriend and boyfriend like most books these days.

The book was beautifully written. The thing I love mos
Feb 09, 2011 Stefani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-teen, audiobooks
A solid story about a boy about turn 18, whose brother returns after three years overseas (I believe Iraq) as a Marine. The family dynamics were interesting, and the pain that accompanies someone returning home with PTSD is something many will relate too. The family's desperation to have their brother/son/grandson back and back to normal is tough to think of but realistic. Some of the language can be a bit flowery (definitely a woman writing), yet this prevents the message from being too heavy. ...more
Lauren Goetz
Feb 13, 2013 Lauren Goetz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought The Things A Brother Knows was excellent! It was a book about dealing with the struggles of a brother who comes home from war and he is like a whole different person. In my opinion, the author did a really good job on focusing on the relationship between the two brothers. In the beginning, Levi and Boaz (the brothers) are very distant and barely speaking to each other. Eventually though, their relationship starts to heal and the brothers become closer. This book was also cool because i ...more
Mrs. Nicole
The Things a Brother Knows explores the power of the relationship between brothers. Levi Katznelson anxiously awaits the arrival of his older Marine brother, Boaz, to return home from his three year stint fighting overseas. When Boaz arrives home he distances himself from his entire family, refuses to ride in a car, and stays holed up in his room for days. Despite the fact that the Marines released Boaz and declared him "healthy" he is clearly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Boaz ...more
Apr 05, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tender, modern tale of two brothers trying to find out who they are.

Boaz has recently returned from the war, deemed "healthy" and sent home. However, his family quickly discovers that there is nothing healthy about him. He sleepwalks through the day, thrashes and screams at night and refuses to travel in cars.

When his younger brother Levi finds out Boaz is planning on walking from Boston to D.C., he drops his summer job and joins him without permission.

Crisp dialogue and believable characters ma
May 12, 2011 Ricki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Levi's older brother, Bo, returns from war, he is withdrawn and doesn't leave his bedroom. Everyone claims he is an American hero, and Levi wonders if any of them understand what he is going through.

There isn't a lot of plot in the book, but the writing is fantastic. As with her other books, Reinhardt does a great job showing rather than telling the reader. I tossed between three and four stars, but the book made me cry, so I think that makes it four-star worthy. :)
Jun 02, 2011 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: realistic, audiobooks
A beautiful story of two brothers, as well as a touching look at war and post traumatic stress disorder. Levi's older brother has come home from serving as a marine in the Middle East, and Levi is unsure how to relate to him now. Boaz is quiet, keeps to his room, does not engage in conversation, and Levi senses Boaz is planning some kind of mysterious trip. But when he lies about it to their parents, Levi realizes he has to do something.
Apr 03, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another of the YA novels I've had on my shelf for work for a bit. A very satisfying, quick read. The characters were real and honest and true, if maybe a little cliched. Having had a brother come back from a conflict a different person, I felt Levi's need to find the person his brother had been. Loved the descriptions of first love, too.
A different take on a going to war story. The point of view (the younger brother observer) is strong, as are the secondary characters. It also has a strong male point of view, especially from a female writer!

I don't feel as if we got to know Boaz as well as some of the other characters - he's the centerpiece of the story, but just as absent in it as he is to his family.
Emma Peat
Sep 01, 2010 Emma Peat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the very latest book by Dana Reinhardt, and it is a must-read! It weaves in elements of suspense with a teen's perspective, proving that we don't always know what others' do. I loved it. I also appreciate that while the story's backdrop is the Iraq war, its purpose is not to preach-but is instead to show to power of friendship and family.
What started a little slow for me, something that felt like a middle-of-the-road title throughout a lot of the book, really nailed it at the end. This is a book that is powerful, that slaps you in the face when you aren't ready for it. The quiet before is deceiving.

Full review here:
Edward Sullivan
Realistic, emotionally honest, and timely story.
Erin Brauer
Jan 18, 2014 Erin Brauer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty powerful conclusion. I wasn't quite sure where the author was going with the story for a bit, but she tied it together in a very meaningful way!
This was a fucking good book.
Nov 11, 2016 Morgan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book felt like a roller coaster that crashed and fell apart at the end. There were a few plot twists throughout the story, which kept it alive. To me, the most important part of a story is the ending. Unfortunately, the ending is what threw the entire book off and made it horrible, in my opinion.
The Things a Brother Knows starts off with a seventeen year old boy named Levi, who has mixed feelings about his brother's homecoming. Boaz served three years for the marines in Afghanistan. When
Jun 26, 2017 Aina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book felt more like a draft than a finished product. All the characters came across like sketches of real people - the confused protagonist Levi, the stern father, the emotional mother, the manic pixie girl best friend, the irrelevant other best friend, the random bland love interests. Even the subject of this story, Levi's brother Boaz, remained a mystery until the end. Why did the brothers go on a walking trip and but not interact beyond a few conversations? What was the point of Levi fal ...more
Aaron W. Matthews
I really enjoyed this book. Maybe because we're a military family and I have a younger brother, but it was good. It was a coming of age story; about decisions and feeling left out and abandoned and not understanding the choices of those we love, but ultimately about family being the unspoken balm to what hurts us most in the world. There's an unspoken understanding in unconditional love - and we need that. It's what helps us find our way home, heal, and put the pieces back together when they see ...more
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Why don't you have a bio section?

Because I hate writing about myself.

But wouldn't that be easier than answering a whole bunch of FAQs?

Maybe. Probably. Go on...

So where are you from?

I'm from Los Angeles, but now I live in San Francisco. Except for the summers where I go back to Los Angeles in search of the sun.

What are you doing when you aren't writing?

Laundry, usually. Sometimes dishes. And I re
More about Dana Reinhardt...

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“My brother, he says. My brother is dead.
"And again he asks me to kill him. One more time before he falls to his knees and sobs. And i get it. I do. Because i have a brother too.”
“Don't worry about the finish line. Don't question what you're doing. Just quiet your mind and keep up the pace.” 9 likes
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