Danny’s much-loved older brother, Eli, is killed fighting in Iraq. His mother becomes despondent and his father becomes even more gruff and distant. Danny spends one summer coming to terms with the death with the help of special friends. Eli is the older brother that we all wish we had growing up. He is many years older than Danny and has given Danny the kindness and understanding and big brother wisdom that Danny cherishes. The book is Danny’s recollection of one summer during his high school years when his perspective on life changes. Danny becomes friends with Isabelle and her brilliantly quirky younger twin siblings who have come to the small farm community for the summer. He also hangs out with classmate Walter, who is a highly intelligent, logical reasoning kind of genius and definitely not in Danny’s “in crowd”. After Eli is both a character study and a study of life so well written that it feels we are right there next to Danny, learning from him. Filled with philosophical questions and musings, I have taken advantage of the note feature on my Kindle edition by highlighting these gems. The book is an effortless read in that the author’s writing flows so naturally, yet the factoids and ideas tug at the brain. I hope this book receives awards and mention on YA lists for best of the year. It is a gentle story and deserves a wide audience. Highly recommend.
NetGalley review Publication date 8.14.12