"Before I even saw the uniforms I knew." Despair, struggle, gritty determination and a tiny glimpse of hope are now the weft and warp of seventeen year old Matt Foster's world. School hallways deliver knifing stabs at the raw feelings he wears on his chest. "I hit him...and then I just couldn't stop" is what he reports to his dogmatic father. It was the shirt that did it. The shirt that said "Bring Our Troops Home" on the front and then "Not in Pieces" on the back and the name of his own brother, T.J., was listed there. This is the brother Matt saw in the coffin... the pieces of him that were left from the war in Iraq.
Matt Foster has some enormous challenges before him. He lives in subterfuge trying to survive the mood swings and black and white thinking of his father. His mother is long gone as a painful family memory. Then, the trunks arrive with T.J.'s personal effects and Matt has a mystery and a chance for enormous discovery staring him in the face.
This is a brave kid. This is a feeling kid. This is a kid with heart. The story is written with incredible sensitivity, with a feeling that this could be you wandering along with a feeling there are questions waiting to be answered but you aren't even sure what the questions are until you start getting the answers whether you are ready for them or not.
This is a kid who has been born into a family with problems and rigid solutions and no recognition that everyone is feeling and struggling and in pain. They just march on and they better do it the "right way" or else. This is a powerful book about the right to find yourself and to be yourself and the primal drive to grow, to rise up and find what matters... to find what is truly "right" for you including your sexual orientation.
Love. Truth. Acceptance.
This is a real beaut of a journey....haven't seen one like this in a long time. Chris Crutcher would be proud. 341 pages Ages 14 and up