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The Half Brother

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  760 ratings  ·  145 reviews
A passionate, provocative story of  complex family bonds and the search for identity set within the ivy-covered walls of a New England boarding school

When Charlie Garrett arrives as a young teacher at the shabby-yet-genteel Abbott School, he finds a world steeped in privilege and tradition. Fresh out of college and barely older than the students he teaches, Charlie longs t
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 17th 2015 by Doubleday
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3.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  760 ratings  ·  145 reviews

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I struggled.
Not too badly but I struggled with this book because the premise was good but totally predictable in the end.

2 brothers with the same mother. One born in the wealth of his fathers society one not.
The 2 brothers get on very well, but the one “introduced “ to the family privileged wealth though and fought to prove himself.

There’s more to the story than this but it’s basicallt encamping that.

An OK read.

Thank you to Doubleday books for my copy
"Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero".
----Marc Brown, an American author and illustrator of children's books

Holly LeCraw, an American author, created a heart-touching tale, The Half Brother, about two brothers who had different fathers and how their complex relationship and some dark family secrets fills them up with loss and regret.

When Charlie Garrett arrives as a young teacher at the shabby-yet-genteel Abbott School, he finds a world steeped in privi
Marianne Griebler
Jun 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, giveaways
Just finished this and I loved it!

Think 'A Separate Peace,' or 'Death Be Not Proud,' because this book has that sort of flavor. It's a tale of a young man with secrets, and though we all have secrets, it's this which make great books.

Charlie Garrett returns to his high school alma mater, an exclusive boarding school in Massachusetts, to teach English. In later years his half-brother Nick joins him, but it's the relationships these two have with their students; other faculty; and the girl they b
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
I read this whole book on a flight from Los Angeles to New York. Never done that before!

Like many others, I love a good prep school novel. Something about it feels so... naughty. It took me a moment to settle into what kind of book this would be, but once I did, I was glued. LeCraw has an engaging, intelligent, but easy-to-read voice that I would definitely return to in another book. Of particular interest to me was the complexity of many of her characters (mostly the supporting ones). The book
Paige Jennings
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that you read slowly and carefully to enjoy the well-crafted writing and imagery. It's so nice to have a story told to you rather than thrown at you. The descriptions and references make it so easy to identify with the characters even if you don't like them. Rather than pulling the parents and teachers off their pedestals in a wartime plunder, the author allows them to gently descend maintaining their dignity in spite of their flaws.
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Half Brother
Holly LeCraw

What it's all about...

Charlie Garrett is a young teacher at Abbott School. He falls in love with May Bankhead...a student...but doesn't really act on it until May is in college. May's father is the chaplain at Abbott School and also has a connection to Charlie. Charlie has a half brother...Nick...who also gets involved in Charlie's school life. That's sort of a short report on these characters but their personalities unfold so slowly that each page was a gentle surp
Judy Collins
A special thank you to Doubleday and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

THE HALF BROTHER by Holly LeCraw, a complex tale an exploration of family bonds, loyalty, love, and dark family secrets--from southern Atlanta to prestigious New England.

After Harvard, Charlie Garrett, longs to leave his complicated southern childhood in Atlanta, behind and find his place in the world. When he arrives as a young teacher at the Abbott School in north –central Massachusetts near the Vermo
Jessica Woodbury
Nov 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
I continue to read prep school novels, apparently in the hope that they will break out and do something different than the normal prep school novel. The normal prep school novel, if you aren't well versed, is set against a picturesque background, with well-bred and well-off students, where there is intellect and thought, and inevitably tragedy of some sort occurs.

This wasn't a book to break that formula. It had moments of real beauty, chapters of brilliance, but overall it didn't come together t
Rhiannon Johnson
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review originally appeared in this blog post:
I loved/hated the stream of consciousness writing and masculine tone but was intrigued throughout the novel with the detailed dynamics of the narrator's family, friends, and students. The academic setting made me wish I would have read this in the autumn but I really can't stop thinking about the prose. I will probably be dissecting this one in my mind for quite a while.
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that slowly, methodically worked its way into my head and took root.

Charlie Garrett, fresh out of Harvard, gets a job as an English teacher in a small private New England school. His first day, he meets several people who will become integral to his future. Among them are Preston Bankhead, the school's chaplain, and his preteen daughter May. He begins a friendship of sorts with the two of them, occasionally playing chess with Preston and watching May grow up.

Her senior
Doubleday  Books
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
"I'm a total sucker for novels set at private boarding schools in Holly LeCraw's The Half Brother appeals to adult readers who loved the ivy lined setting but crave the complexities of adult relationships. LeCraw's book is a literary coup and examines the complexities of love and loss with the perfect scenic backdrop." - Lauren, Digital Marketing
Rhonda Lomazow
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written novel that drew me in from the first pAges.prep school setting a love that has to end.Ten years later when history starts to repeat itself we are drawn into the emotional world of siblings past love & ,a haunting love this perfect campus setting.
Aug 24, 2015 rated it did not like it
Oct 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
Ick. Dumb plot. Vapid characters.
Enchanted Prose
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Physical and spiritual love – a psychological novel (Massachusetts, 1990s to post 9/11; Atlanta, earlier in backstories): Put on your thinking cap! You’ll be lulled by the elegiac prose and the Currier & Ives imagery, but like our sensitive narrator who grew up in Atlanta suspecting “something easily missed, a golden egg hidden in the deepest underbrush,” you will too in this emotionally suspenseful, nuanced novel. Yes, there are secrets and ah-ha moments, thoughtfully plotted, revealed slow ...more
Jennifer Ridgway
This review originally appeared on Everyday eBook

The Teacher's Life: The Half Brother by Holly LeCraw
By Jennifer Ridgway

Prep school novels are their own category of books, and they always seem to enthrall people, exposing to them a side of life that many don't experience. Usually, though, the books center on the students (think Prep, The Tragedy Paper); Holly LeCraw turns this story on its head in her new novel, The Half Brother.

Charlie Garrett has just graduated from Harvard when he begins teac
Prior to reading this book, I had a definite idea in my mind that I like books set in academia. When I did read it, I realized that there are really only two books that I remember reading that are set in non fantastic schools - Donna Tartt's The Secret History and Marisha Pessl's Special Topics in Calamity Physics. I liked both, but there's an undeniable similarity between the broad outlines of the two. Similarly, this book. The Half Brother is different in that its the teachers we focus on inst ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
Nov 04, 2014 rated it liked it
What I liked about this novel and carried me through is the feelings Charlie Garret struggles with having been embraced by his step-father into a wealthy life full of old money and open doors only for the privileged. He thinks he has struck out on his own, but someone with well intentions may have pushed him on the path the teach at Abbot for an important reason. The relationship with his stepfather isn't the core of the novel, but it certainly seemed to shape Charlie in many different ways. Nev ...more
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebooks
When I think about fiction, boarding school settings, and particularly schools in New England, have always been high on my list for perfect settings. The Half Brother, by Holly LeCraw does have that perfect setting.

In this story the protagonist, Charlie Garrett is just out of Harvard when he is hired as an English teacher at the Abbott School in Massachusetts. Growing up in Georgia, Charlie lived with his mother, Anita, wealthy step-father, Hugh and younger half-brother Nicky, 12 years his junio
Aug 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Charlie is a twenty two year old college professor who is leery about starting a new job. Being raised in upper class, he always was privileged among his peers. Going to Harvard was a worthy accomplishment, but he does not gloat in his success. Teaching is the least thing of his concern when he meets May, a very attractive girl who lures him to kiss her. The consequences surrounding their relationship has terrible effects, yet they cannot stay away from each other. Charlie makes a drastic decisi ...more
As a teacher one of my secret desires is to teach in a New England prep school - to feel the crisp fall New England air as I kick magenta and orange leaves on the way to the school’s homecoming football game and have all my students fan over me because I am their brilliant and adored history teacher. Because of this I tend to gravitate towards books with prep school setting. With The Half Brother LeCraw has captured life in a small prep school with its richness and quirkiness, so the setting did ...more
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
After graduating Harvard, Charlie Garrett makes his way to a small private school in New England that is as quaint as a storybook. He is offered a teaching position in the English department and even though he still resembles a student himself, decides it's as good a place as any to start adult life. His love of literature and rapport with the students is a huge success and Charlie becomes a beloved part of the Abbott family. But Charlie's real family is complicated. His search for a father figu ...more
Mimi Fintel
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Family secrets can change the course of a life. This story is set in a boarding school in Massachusetts. Charlie is already teaching at Abbott School when his half brother, Nick, also joins the staff as a teacher. Nick is a charismatic charmer and is immediately enveloped in adulation from the students and staff at Abbott. Charlie and Nick are both in love with the same woman although Charlie finds out a family secret that convinces him he must not pursue his love. The book takes place over the ...more
South Buncombe Library
4 stars. I loved reading this moody novel, and I think it would make an excellent book club selection. There's plenty to think about and discuss, what with the Southerner-in-the-north theme and the literary classics Charlie is teaching at his boarding school and the potential ick factors with the family drama, but I wonder if Holly LeCraw is even on anyone's radar as being an author to watch. I'll certainly put this one on my staff picks shelves in the library and am happy to recommend to anyone ...more
Tamar Ossowski
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A masterfully told tale filled with secrets and shame and deception. The journey that LeCraw takes you on is viewed through the eyes of the self loathing Charlie Garrett, a southern gentleman and a high school English teacher. It quickly becomes apparent that Charlie lives a life which is as equally heartbreaking as it is joyous. The Half Brother begs the question - what are we each willing to give up for true love? The novel unfolds in unexpected twists and turns before reaching its very satisf ...more
May 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
I thought about giving this book 2 stars, but decided it was really less than OK. I wasn't drawn to the characters at all. I didn't really care what happened to them, and what did happen was so predictable. The book was like soap opera plots which all revolve around people hiding the truth from each other. I wouldn't recommend this book. It was pretty much a waste of time.

note: I received this book from the publisher as an advanced readers copy
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
A 2.5 star read: Meh, take it or leave it. This will be published in February 2015 and I'm hoping it's not a repeat of things to come in 2015 reading as it was in 2014. I felt it was underdeveloped in many parts and where time would zip through in a matter of a few sentences and then drone on in other parts. A major secret is revealed in one sentence and then moves on as though this little bomb wasn't even dropped. I would say skip it.
Mar 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
I read until chapter 6 but it never did get better for me. The dialog between the characters just wasn't interesting. These people were not leading lives I wanted to read more about. I didn't finish this book because I was anxious to move on to the next in my TBR stack. Thank you for the opportunity to try a new author though.
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Goodreads first reads and the publisher for the advanced copy.
I liked this book, but didn't love it. The writing is full of detail and the characters are quite complex; however, the story itself isn't very original and reminded me of other books I've read before. I'd be very interested to read more from the author in the future, to watch her literary journey.
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Holly LeCraw was born and raised in Atlanta, granddaughter of a former mayor and daughter of the founder of Oxford Book Store, where she worked throughout high school. She graduated from Duke University and later received a master's in English from Tufts University. She now lives outside of Boston with her husband and three children.

Her debut novel, The Swimming Pool, was a Top Debut of 2010 (Kirk
“A naive, excitable teenaged reader is a beautiful thing. Someone who's never heard of Elizabeth Bennet or Jay Gatsby, until you tell him. And they all still believe in truth. That's the fun of it.” 3 likes
“Sometimes there were kids who were simply born to be thirty, or fifty, or seventy; I could see their unfinished teenaged faces overlaid with the transparencies of their aged selves and had to resist telling them so - that the maturity that wanted was going to happen, that someday they would look as completed as they felt, in their fleeting, truest moments.” 1 likes
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