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Extended Audio Sample Personal Effects, by E. M. Kokie Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (429 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: E. M. Kokie Narrator: Nick Podehl Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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After his older brother dies in Iraq, Matt makes a discovery that rocks his beliefs about strength, bravery, and honor in this page-turning debut.

Ever since his brother, T. J., was killed in Iraq, Matt feels like he’s been sleepwalking through life—failing classes, getting into fights, and avoiding his dad’s lectures about following in his brother’s footsteps. T .J.’s gone, but Matt can’t shake the feeling that if only he could get his hands on his brother’s stuff from Iraq, he’d be able to make sense of his death. But as Matt searches for answers about T. J.’s death, he faces a shocking revelation about T. J.’s life that suggests he may not have known T. J. as well as he thought. What he learns challenges him to stand up to his father, honor his brother’s memory, and take charge of his own life.

With compassion, humor, and a compelling narrative voice, E. M. Kokie explores grief, social mores, and self-discovery in a provocative first novel.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A 2013 Lambda Literary Award Finalist for LGBT Children's/Young Adult
  • Selected for the Fall 2012 Kids' Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jennifer | 2/20/2014

    " Matt goes on an adventure of self- and familial-discovery after his older, and much revered, brother TJ becomes another casualty of the recent Iraqi War. Matt must learn to address his anger and confusion stemming from his family's dysfunction, teen drama at school, and TJ's hidden life. Pros: appealing and relevant to the male teenage audience; emotion-driven; Cons: the ending is resolved a bit too quickly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Rachel | 2/12/2014

    " One of those books that grabs your attention from the beginning! Lots of twists and always has you thinking. A rough and gritty novel about a teenage boy who has lost his brother, but exactly how well did he know his brother (perhaps not as well as you might think.) A book I would highly recommend. Unfortunately it's not going to be in our JR/SR High School because of the harsh language. Which is the only controversial thing about it, but for the most part, I thought the curse words were a necessity to get the correct view of the character. Go read!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by MrsB | 8/30/2013

    " Kari's choice for May 2013 This is an extremely well-written and suspenseful book about a boy struggling with the grief of his brother's death. When the army sends T.J.'s personal effects home, Matt finds letters that take him on a trip to find out that he never really knew his brother like he thought he did. I will say the language is rough, but it is totally within the characterization of a 17 year old with an extremely difficult father and who is in serious pain. This book looks at many issues about what it means to be a man, but I can't say that it was an enjoyable read because the protagonist is just in such agonizing pain throughout the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Shannon | 8/19/2013

    " Matt is grieving over his brother, T.J.'s, death. T.J. lost his life serving in Iraq. It would be nice if Matt could talk to his dad about their loss. It would be nice if Matt could read all of those condolence letters sent by friends and strangers. It would be nice if Matt could openly look through T.J.'s personal effects delivered by the Army. But Matt can't do any of those things. Dad refuses to talk and refuses to acknowledge the letters (shoved in a closet) or the trunks (locked in T.J.'s room). Dad's whole presence exudes violence and threats and Matt is afraid of him. When Matt finally gets up the nerve to sneak into T.J.'s room and break open the trunk, he finds evidence of a T.J. he never knew. This evidence sends Matt on a literal and figurative journey of discovery. And that discovery is a shock - both to T.J. and the reader. This story is beautifully told by first-time novelist, E.M. Kokie. I wanted this to be a war story; it's not. It's a story of love, fear, and family, with a tiny touch of romance. This book isn't going to fly off the shelves, but it will appeal to many. Probably for the more mature teen (Matt talks like a teenage boy who has been mistreated by his dad his whole life). "

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