The Things a Brother Knows

( 35 )

Overview

The story of a young marine’s return from war in the Middle East and the psychological effects it has on his family.

Finally, Levi Katznelson’s older brother, Boaz, has returned. Boaz was a high school star who had it all and gave it up to serve in a war Levi can’t understand. Things have been on hold since Boaz left. With the help of his two best friends Levi has fumbled his way through high school, weary of...
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Overview

The story of a young marine’s return from war in the Middle East and the psychological effects it has on his family.

Finally, Levi Katznelson’s older brother, Boaz, has returned. Boaz was a high school star who had it all and gave it up to serve in a war Levi can’t understand. Things have been on hold since Boaz left. With the help of his two best friends Levi has fumbled his way through high school, weary of his role as little brother to the hero.

But when Boaz walks through the front door after his tour of duty is over, Levi knows there’s something wrong. Boaz is home, safe. But Levi knows that his brother is not the same.

Maybe things will never return to normal. Then Boaz leaves again, and this time Levi follows him, determined to understand who his brother was, who he has become, and how to bring him home again.

Award-winning author Dana Reinhardt introduces readers to Levi, who has never known what he believes, and whose journey reveals truths only a brother knows.

From the Hardcover edition.

Winner of the 2011 Sydney Taylor Award for Teen Readers

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With exceptional sensitivity, Reinhardt (How to Build a House) chronicles a soldier’s troubling homecoming, in this timely novel told from his younger brother’s point of view. Three years after joining the Marines and serving overseas, Levi Katznelson’s brother, Boaz, returns to his Boston suburb a hero. But he seems to be a different person: withdrawn and uncommunicative. After isolating himself from the family, Boaz announces his plans to hike the Appalachian Trail, yet Levi suspects his brother has another itinerary in mind. Using a route marked on a map Boaz left behind, Levi follows Boaz’s path and eventually catches up with him. Walking side by side with his brother all the way to Washington, D.C., visiting ex-Marines and soldiers’ families along the way, Levi learns more about his brother’s experiences--like why he’s stopped riding in automobiles--than Boaz can explain outright. Refraining from making political judgments about current conflicts, Reinhardt personalizes a soldier’s traumas in terms civilians can understand. Levi’s growing comprehension of Boaz’s internal turmoil is gracefully and powerfully evoked. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2010:
"The emotional journey is leavened with humor and a little romance, but it moves toward the conclusion with an inevitability that grabs and doesn't let go. Every character contributes and brings a point of view that adds to a fuller picture of the personal consequences of war without being simplistically pro or anti. Powerful."

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, August 30, 2010:
"With exceptional sensitivity, Reinhardt (How to Build a House) chronicles a soldier’s troubling homecoming, in this timely novel told from his younger brother’s point of view . . . Reinhardt personalizes a soldier’s traumas in terms civilians can understand. Levi’s growing comprehension of Boaz’s internal turmoil is gracefully and powerfully evoked."

Starred Review, Booklist, October 1, 2010:
"Reinhardt’s poignant story of a soldier coping with survivor’s guilt and trauma, and his Israeli American family’s struggle to understand and help, is timely and honest."

From the Hardcover edition.

Children's Literature - Maggie Chase
When Levi's older brother Boaz returns from war and sequesters himself in his room for weeks on end, Levi seems to be the only one who really finds it troublesome; everyone else just makes excuses for him. When Boaz does come out, he goes everywhere by walking, refusing to drive or enter cars, he barely communicates beyond single words or grunts, and essentially shuts Levi and the family out of any thinking he might be doing. Levi wants his big brother back, but nothing Levi tries seems to draw him out. As maps go up on Boaz's bedroom wall, Levi resorts to a little cyber-snooping to try to figure out what his secretive, enigmatic brother is planning. With the help of his two best friends, spunky Pearl and laid-back Zim, Levi is able to follow Boaz when he finally hits the road for a personal journey and quest that is revealing, frustrating, and satisfying for both brothers. This book is as much about Levi's journey as it is about Boaz's; it will take a persistent reader to stick with it, since it's somewhat plodding. I kept waiting for tension, thinking that Boaz might be up to no good, but that never came. Instead, it is a story of family relationships, the faith we put in those relationships, and the power of love and respect. The teenagers in this story are pretty cool people, one of the qualities that may help a teen reader stay with it. Reviewer: Maggie Chase
VOYA - Cheryl Clark
When smart, talented Boaz chose the Marines over college, it shocked everyone, especially his younger brother, Levi, who idolized him. Now Boaz has returned from war, and life can go back to normal. But the aloof, serious man who comes home is not the same boy who left. Boaz spends all his time in his room with the radio playing static, studying maps. His parents say he just needs time, but Levi believes something is very wrong. Then Boaz announces he's going to hike the Appalachian Trail, but Levi knows he's lying. He's seen the map with addresses traced across the Northeast in Boaz's room. Levi realizes that if he's going to help, it's now or never—it's time to reach out to the brother who keeps pushing him away before he loses him forever. Reinhardt has tackled a timely, serious issue that is well deserving of attention. Without taking a side on the contentious wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Reinhardt addresses the effects of war on one American family, and a teenage boy in particular. The story itself drags a bit as Levi struggles with how to react to his brother's seeming indifference, and more background on Levi and Boaz's relationship as brothers would have made the story more compelling. However, the issue of posttraumatic stress disorder in soldiers is an especially relevant topic for young adults to contemplate as they make future plans, and this novel will likely influence their perspectives on the realities of war. Reviewer: Cheryl Clark
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Dana Reinhart's emotional journey (Random/Wendy Lamb Books. 2010) about a soldier's homecoming and the guilt and trauma that accompanies him is told from his brother Levi's point of view. Levi knows that his older brother Boaz joined the military a man and has come back a ghost. Boaz was a star high school student and gave up everything to fight in "some desert country half a world away." Levi just wants life to return to the way it was prior to the war. Levi searches to discover why his brother has changed. When Boaz announces that he is leaving to hike the Appalachian Trail, Levi sets out to follow him to discover what he's been through and bring him home again. Narrator Joshua Swanson brings many strong characters to life with perfect intonations and accents, from Levi and Boaz to Abba, their father who grew up speaking Hebrew, to their grandfather, Dove, who grew up in Israel and joined the army at 18. Levi's best friends Pearl, who is a giddy flirt, and Zim, a slacker, add a bit of levity. Readers will be left with memorable characters engrained in their minds long after they're through listening and will gain insight into the psychological consequences of war.—Janet Weber, Tigard Public Library, OR
Kirkus Reviews
Levi's older brother Boaz enlisted in the Marines after graduating from high school rather than attend an elite university as expected. Levi has felt the distance grow between them prior to and throughout his enlistment. Now, Boaz—renamed Bo—is returning home from the Middle East. The person who arrives bears little resemblance to his previous self, holing up in his room and barely communicating. When Bo announces his intention of hiking the Appalachian Trail, Levi (who has snooped in Bo's Internet history) knows better. With a little help from best friends Pearl and Zim, he joins Bo on his personal hegira. The first-person, present-tense narration takes readers steadily toward the core of what has happened to Bo. Levi's reflections and observations are crisply apt and express essentials succinctly. The emotional journey is leavened with humor and a little romance, but it moves toward the conclusion with an inevitability that grabs and doesn't let go. Every character contributes and brings a point of view that adds to a fuller picture of the personal consequences of war without being simplistically pro or anti. Powerful. (Fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375844560
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/13/2011
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 137,527
  • Age range: 12 - 16 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Dana Reinhardt
Dana Reinhardt lives in San Francisco with her husband and their two daughters. She is the author of A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, Harmless, and How to Build a House.
Visit her at www.danareinhardt.net.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 35 )
Rating Distribution

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(24)

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(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 14, 2011

    One of the best books I've ever read

    Touching, tender and subtle - the story of Levi's effort to reconnect with his soldier brother Boaz is one of the best books I've ever read. Boaz returns from war and is changed; Levi wants to understand him, but can't. So Levi joins Boaz on a walk from Boston to D.C. in a story that's ultimately about connection - whether two people can or can't connect. Dana Reinhardt conveys with one sentence - sometimes even one word - what it would take lesser writers a paragraph to do. She trusts the reader implicitly to understand the big moments without ever signaling "this is a big moment." And in so doing, the story weaves its way into your heart and under your skin and stays with you long after you've finished reading. A beautiful story about humanity, connection, love and healing that should be read by everyone.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Anonymous

    Amazing and heartwarming srory... loved it!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Great worth the price

    When i saw the reveiws i was undecided about if i wanted to buy a book or look in the free section for something else im super glad that i bought this book it really is a tuoching story of connection it worth the money believe me

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2011

    Great

    This book was assigned for summer reading and i hate reading and i read it in less then 2 days.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jaglvr for Teens Read Too

    Gold Star Award Winner! Boaz is coming home. That's what the reader learns early on. Boaz is everything that the narrator, Levi, is not. Boaz was the star athlete at school. He could have his pick of colleges and scholarships. And (at least according to Levi), he had the most gorgeous girlfriend in the world. But against everyone's wishes, especially their parents', Boaz enlists in the Marines. The Katznelsons had relocated to the United States from Israel. Boaz's parents can't understand his need to join the military. After all, they are not in Israel anymore, and in the United States, it's not mandatory to enlist. But Boaz has a need inside that he can't convey to his family. Now, it is three years later, and Boaz is home. THE THINGS A BROTHER KNOWS is told through the eyes of Boaz's high school brother, Levi. The two used to be close before Boaz started driving in high school. Now, Levi just wants to know what makes Boaz tick. Since Boaz arrived home, he's been locked in his room. Levi knows that something is wrong with his brother, but the rest of the family won't admit that Boaz has changed. When Boaz asks to borrow Levi's computer, Levi begins to snoop at the web sites Boaz is visiting. Levi discovers that Boaz is planning a trip to various locations down the East Coast. But he can't figure out the final destination, nor what Boaz wants to do on the trip. Boaz tells their parents that he wants to travel the Appalachian Trail. Levi knows it's a big lie, but he's consumed with the "why" of the trip rather than anything else. Levi manages to catch up with Boaz on his walk, and the two brothers work their way to Boaz's final destination. I have to admit that this is the first book by Dana Reinhardt I truly loved. I enjoyed HOW TO BUILD A HOUSE quite a bit, but THE THINGS A BROTHER KNOWS, I loved. Levi Katznelson (what a great last name!) was a spirited, sarcastic (at times) character that you just had to love. He reminded me a lot of the characters that John Green creates. The story is definitely not an easy topic and very relevant in today's climate, but it was one that needed to be told. And is told well. Levi's persistence slowly works its magic on his brother, and by the end of the story, all is revealed, though the ending may not be what the reader is expecting. There are highs and lows in the story that work beautifully together to tell the turmoil of one returning soldier, and the brother who loves him and wants to understand what happened to change him so much.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2013

    Love it!

    This book reminds me of my brother. I will always love him and hell him through tough times.<3

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2012

    Great book with real issues and views that any sibling of a sold

    Great book with real issues and views that any sibling of a soldier can understand and connect to

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  • Posted September 20, 2012

    A great premise, but only average execution The reader learns


    A great premise, but only average execution

    The reader learns early on that Boaz is coming home from his time serving overseas. Boaz's younger brother, Levi, excitedly awaits Boaz's return, hoping that things will go back to normal. But Boaz returns from war a changed man. He is distant, and removed. Boaz spends all of his time locked in his room, not speaking to anyone. Levi worries for his brother, and he tries and reconnect with him. When Boaz vanishes again, lying to his parents about where he is going, Levi follows Boaz. Determined to figure out how to get his brother back, Levi embarks on a journey to figure out who his brother has become after his tour, and how he can get him back home again. This novel shows just strong the bonds of brotherhood are, and what brothers will do for one another. This novel explores the relationship between two brothers and the power of family. A book not about siblings, The Things a Brother Knows also examines the lasting impacts of war. Although well done, this book was not as emotionally charged as I was expecting. It was good, but it had the potential to be great. The humor is somewhat dry, and the whole book comes across a little flat. This book is definitely more for younger readers. All in all, The Things a Brother Knows was a simple read to pass the time, nothing more, nothing less.

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  • Posted May 14, 2012

    After reading The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt, I re

    After reading The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt, I realized that even though a piece of paper might say somebody is fine, they might not actually be. The book revolves around Levi Katznelson, a junior in high school whose brother Boaz has just returned from three tours of duty in Afghanistan. All Boaz does is stay locked up in his room looking at old maps. Soon enough Boaz leaves on a &ldquo;trip&rdquo; and Levi tags along to see what his brother is really up to. This is a great book, and has taught me to get down to the bottom of things when I know someone is trying to evade how they really feel. I really liked the book because it didn&rsquo;t revolve around a marine during his deployment, but after, and how Boaz has changed. It was a nice change of pace to read a book relating to war but without all the killing and shooting. -Hank

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2012

    A little off topic.

    I want to start off by saying I loved this book. But a reveiw bptherd me alot.Someone stated to go and read the hunger games. Please, just because its realistic fiction and not mainstream Sifi, dont give it a bad reviw.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2012

    Auw

    Very cute!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Omg : p Omg uno word :(

    Oog :(

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Thoughtful

    Easy to read yet makes you think.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Sweet!

    Really lightweight!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Wow

    Wow this book was awesome!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2011

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    Posted December 30, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2011

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