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After Eli

by Rebecca Rupp

Published by Candlewick Press, 2012
245 pages
ISBN: 978𢠩636-58106

Ages 1114

Danny抯 much older brother Eli died in the Iraq War when Danny was younger. Now fourteen, Danny feels invisible at home, where his mom is shut down and his dad抯 full of anger, but his 揃ook of the Dead敆a collection of stories from across centuries about how various people died梚s the only outward sign that he抯 still affected by what happened. Isabelle is a girl from New York City spending the summer in Danny抯 small town with her family. Danny is entranced by her free spirit and alarmed by her younger siblings, twins Journey and Jasper (nine-year-old nihilists and totally entertaining). If a summer spent falling in love with an unattainable girl proves to be a maturing experience, an even greater one is a summer spent getting to know Walter, the ultimate nerdy outsider at Danny抯 school. Ridiculed by other kids, Walter is smart and kind, and weird in a way that Danny comes to admire. Isabelle, Danny, and Walter discuss and do things Danny would never do with his other, more popular, friends. Danny is also working on an organic farm run by his brother抯 best friend. His dad doesn抰 approve, but Danny loves it. Rebecca Rupp抯 story of friendship梖leeting, real, and learning to tell the difference梐nd a family still shell-shocked from grief is full of moments big and small that strike a perfect chord. Her narrative is insightful, moving, and funny, and through it all, Danny抯 memories create a wonderful portrait of Eli, the irreverent brother who adored him.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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