Deborah Gray's Reviews > Personal Effects

Personal Effects by E.M. Kokie
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Jul 04, 2012

it was amazing
Read from July 01 to 02, 2012

This is categorized as a YA book, but I found it every bit as compelling and unable to put down as any adult novel. Written from the POV of a 17 year old boy, I was immediately drawn into his very believable high school life - his relationships, yearnings, difficulties and teen awkwardness. The dialogue seemed spot-on to me. But the normal teen angst was magnified and overlaid with the tragic death of his only brother in Iraq. Alternately ignored or verbally abused by a grieving, distant father, Matt is left to fend for himself, both in school and outside, resulting in academic and personal problems. When T.J's personal effects are delivered to the house by a representative of the army, Matt finds he knows nothing about his brother's life and feels the only way back to himself and anything bordering on a normal life, is to go in search of answers.

This story has surprising and deftly handled twists to a groundbreaking issue that makes you look at certain aspects of life a little differently. E.M. Kokie handles Matt's journey with empathy, humour and a sweet sensitivity that makes you connect with him in a very well written debut. I can't wait for more from this author. YA or not, I will be reading!
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