The life of seventeen-year-old Matt is in a state of disarray: hostility and violence towards classmates at school; an emotionally unavailable father who has always seem to respect Matt’s brother T.J. more than Matt; a severely depressed mother who committed suicide several years prior; the recent death of his brother T.J. who died while fighting in Iraq; and confusion about his own future. When Matt finds T.J.’s personal letters and photographs, he goes on a physical and emotional journey to learn more about T.J., only to discover T.J. had secrets and a life separate from their family. Matt must learn to cope with the death of T.J., the revelations about T.J., and his feelings of anger and resentment towards his father and peers.
This emotionally driven novel will appeal to readers who have experienced the death of a loved one, who have family members and friends fighting overseas, who struggle with feeling inferior to siblings, and who have emotionally and/or physically absent parents.
This novel is best suited for individual readers and support groups struggling with the loss of a loved one. It allows for a dialogue to discuss emotions and behaviors frequently experienced after an unexpected death and the process of moving forward, especially when paired with the suggested nonfiction companions.
RELATED BOOKSNonfiction companions to this novel about grief:
Donnelly, Katherine. RECOVERING FROM THE LOSS OF A SIBLING. ISBN 9780595010424
Tatelbaum, Judy. THE COURAGE TO GRIEVE: THE CLASSIC GUIDE TO CREATIVE LIVING, RECOVERY, AND GROWTH THROUGH GRIEF. ISBN 9780060911850
By Jennifer E. M. Richey