The width of young adult fiction focusing on the effects of the Middle East conflict have expanding in a thoughtful way with Dana Reinhardt’s The Things a Brother Knows. Levi, a high school senior, is a bit ambivalent about his brother Boaz’s return from war. As Bo’s three years away progressed, he detached himself more and more from the family, which irked Levi. And, when Bo does return home, he looks the same, but he couldn’t be different. He doesn’t leave his room, he speaks in three-word sentences, he won’t get in a car, and he appears to be planning something. Levi is both concerned and irritated by Bo. All he wants is his brother back, the brother who planned to go to college, the brother who had a bright future. Now, with his return from war, Bo’s outlook and personality are dim.
Told from Levi’s perspective, the book is filled with a teenager’s unique voice that readers will love and relate to. Self-deprecating and quick-witted, Levi provides the reader with fluid and fast-paced narration. Reinhardt, as she tells the story through Levi, does an insightful job demonstrating their differences. Bo is a soldier; he looks like a Marine. Levi has long hair and the spindly body of a cross country runner. They are complete opposites, and Levi could leave it at that. But Bo is his brother, and Levi wants to help. His other family members, including his mother and father and his grandfather believe time will heal Bo’s wounds. Levi isn’t so sure.
Read The Things a Brother Knows, Dana Reinhardt’s compelling story of what happens when a soldier attempts to transition back to the life he once knew.