Flashback Friday: PERSONAL EFFECTS by E.M Kokie
Jan 9th, 2015 by Liza Wiemer

flashback-friday-featuredFlashback Friday is a meme created by Jaime and Erin of Fiction Fare and Meg and Kassiah of Swoony Boys Podcast. For more info, click here: Flashback Friday


by E.M. Okie

Hardcover, 352 pages

Published September 11, 2012

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Buy here: IndieBoundAudible | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Connect with the author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


From Goodreads:

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.

My review:

It’s been over two years since this novel came out, but looking over my list of books I’ve read on Goodreads, this one still stands out. It was powerful, chocked with tons of emotion, heart, pain, truths. Anything that can have that kind of staying power more than deserves to be highlighted!

Personal EffectsPersonal Effects by E.M. Kokie

I read Personal Effects a week ago, and I am still stunned by it. WARNING – Do NOT read the ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS first, which is something I always do. It reveals a strong clue of what happens in this novel, and I think it will be a MUCH bigger surprise if you wait. There also is a lot of strong language.

Personal Effects is a YA novel about seventeen-year-old Matt Foster who’s living with in the aftermath of his brother T.J.’s death. He’s an extremely angry young man with an abusive father who forbids Matt from looking at his brother’s personal effects. Of course, he does, and that leads Matt on a journey of discovery and a road trip to find out more about his brother. This is a powerful, gritty novel with a lot of emotion, angst. Readers will deeply appreciate Shauna for her loyalty to Matt. Despite all the hell that Matt goes through, readers will notice his personal growth. He could easily have followed in his father’s footsteps – he definitely is encouraged to do so – but in the end, he decides he wants to be so much more. There’s a lot of pain in this novel. It’s insightful and eye-opening. Definitely recommend this first-person narrative if you are interested in novels about what happens to families after a loved one is killed while serving our country.

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