May 25, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: Personal Effects (Audiobook)

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Sepia tone book cover with teenPersonal Effects. By E.M. Kokie. 8 CDs. 9:08 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2012. ISBN 978-1-4692-0637-0. $54.97.
Gr 9 Up–Matt has had a rough time coping since his brother’s death in Iraq left him alone with his abusive father. When his father tries to keep him from looking through his brother’s personal effects, Matt can no longer just do as he’s told. Convinced that his things will give Matt insight into TJ’s “real” life, Matt secretly defies his father and discovers that his brother had a secret significant other in Wisconsin. Needing to deliver TJ’s final unmailed letter, Matt heads for Madison to seek out C, only to find that there was even more to TJ’s secret than he’d thought. Matt must choose a path for his own future. Will he follow in his father’s footsteps or will he defy him and accept who TJ truly was. Kokie’s stellar debut novel (Candlewick, 2012) is narrated by Nick Podehl who easily captures an unsure teenager’s emotional struggle. As Matt strives to find his own self-worth and uncover his brother’s TJ’s secrets, Podehl draws listeners in and keeps them invested in Matt’s story. He fluidly evokes the wide gamut of emotions that Matt experiences, while still maintaining a sense of underlying grief throughout. The expert narration coupled with a powerful and heartfelt story make this audiobook a must-have for all high school and public library collections.–Jessica Miller, West Springfield Public Library, MA