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.
Yes, this book is as good as it sounds. I loved it, and for those wanting to read guy-POV young adult, PERSONAL EFFECTS delivers. Now, on with the show!
The Valentine's Sweet Six
1) Your book has been out in the wild for 6 months now. Congratulations! What's been your favorite part of the debut author journey!
Hearing from readers. Hands down, the most amazing part has been hearing from people, especially teens, who are reading and discussing Personal Effects.
2) What scene in your book do you LOVE the most?
Oh, wow, I think of the book as a whole, not the sum of its parts. So, I don't think I can pick a "favorite." And then there are spoiler issues -- some of the bits of which I'm most proud would give away key plot points. But, okay, from early in the book, I am really proud of the scene between Matt and his father in the kitchen discussing the fight. That scene has been there from the first draft, but with each revision I think it gained focus and tension. It has all these sharp-edged sentences and heavy silences that I love.
3) If you had to pick a literary character you LOVE (and not your own), who would you pick and why?
I love so many characters, especially when they are supporting characters who encompass a lot of complexity. Like Severus Snape -- he is so wonderfully complex and layered. A great character.
4) What's the craziest/most memorable valentine you've ever received?
Nothing too crazy, and the ones that are memorable are too personal to share. ;)
5) If you were a Brach's heart, what phrase would be written on you?
6) The all-important choice: Flowers or Candy?
Candy (good answer!)
Thank you so much for stopping by the blog and talking with us. You can follow E.M. on Twitter, Facebook, and her blog.