Monday, February 11, 2013

After Eli

When Daniel's older brother Eli dies in the Iraq war, his family seems to go into a holding pattern.  Even though it's been three years, his mother is still so grieved that she is barely alive, and his father is just angry.  Neither of them pays much attention to Daniel.  His dad only notices him to yell about his grades and to disapprove of Daniel's summer job on a local farm. 

To help him deal with his brother's death, Daniel starts a Book of the Dead.  It's a collection of dead people and how they died.  Daniel is just as stuck as his parents are going through the motions of life without ever sharing or feeling anything real except for the ache his feels at missing his older brother. 

All that changes the summer Daniel is fifteen.  That's the summer Isabel moves into the neighborhood.  Even though Isabel will only be there for the summer, there is something about her that seems to wake Daniel up. 

Suddenly he sees the town geek as a real person and a maybe a real friend.  This unlikely trio along with the twins, Isabel's half-wild brother and sister spend the summer talking and thinking in ways that Daniel has never experienced before.  Maybe this summer Daniel will find a way to live after Eli. 

I really enjoyed Rebecca Rupp's newest book, but the characters a little more mature than I thought they would be when I picked it up.  Don't be fooled by the little kid on the cover.  There are flashbacks to Daniel's childhood throughout the book, but this is definitely a book about a fifteen year old!

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