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Reading, Writing and Being Generally Awesome

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Brother, Brother - Clay Carmichael 3.5 StarsBrother, Brother ended up being much different from what I had expected. After reading the summary, I thought I would get a emotional, deep story about the reconnection of long-lost family members and the secrets behind their separation. On one level, that's what the book provides. On another level, the book is predictable and lacking essential pathos. Brother Grace's grandmother has passed away. His best friend, Cole, has skipped town, leaving Cole's little brother, Jack, on his doorstep. He has a job at the local hospice center and a small house that he can't afford. Brother has very little going from him until he sees a picture that is almost a mirror of his own appearance in a newspaper that his grandmother had been reading before her death, he decides to go on a search for the brother that he never knew he had. His adventure not only leads him to an unexpected family, but uncovers secrets of his past that his family has tried to keep hidden.This was not a bad book. It wasn't the best thing that I have ever read, but it did keep my interest for the entire novel. It's a pretty fast read, once you really get into the story. The way its written is almost addictive. The prose of the author made it easy to get lost in the story, but the shaky plot through me off. There were both positives and negatives that ultimately lead to me liking Brother, Brother, but seeing several places for improvement.The characters were, as a whole, unimpressive. Brother is a very likable character and his development is one that I truly enjoyed reading. From the very beginning, his strength and sense of right and wrong will impress the reader and ultimately make them root for Brother to find happiness. I also liked Brother's love interest, little Jack and Brother's great-aunt, but beyond them, I found that none of the characters ever redeemed themselves. By the end, many "i's" had been left "undotted" and "t's" uncrossed to the point where even thinking about it over a week later drives me nuts. I wish the author had pulled the story in tighter. Brother, Brother's ending was weak, in my opinion, and left too many questions about the future (and even some about the past). I also lacked the ability to feel sorry for any of these characters besides Brother and Amos. There was no emotional connection for me, thus it made it hard for me to full immerse myself--as I am a very emotionally driven person.The plot was stereotypical during some scenes, and we especially in several of the characters that we meet. For example, the druggie brother who hides behind bad behavior so he won't have to deal with his past and the neglect of the only family he's ever known, and the big, bad step-father who is more interested in his career than the sanity of his family. Plus the "twist" is fairly easy to deduce. I immediately knew where the author planned to take the story, which make it less enjoyable. The plot isn't very steady either. I don't know a real time frame, but everything seemed to happen so quickly and yet, very little was solidly resolved by the end.While not everything tied together well, I loved the way the author incorporated a big moral. It is very much shown that you should stay true to yourself and by following your heart and mind, you can have full power over your present and future life. Brother learns a lot about himself during his journey, which leads the reader to a very powerful message that should be prominent in our daily lives.While my feelings about this book as a whole are lukewarm, I wouldn't not be against trying this author's work again in the future. I think she has a lot of talent in storytelling. Many people will love this and a few people have already come to mind that I would recommend this to. It is a good story, but I just found I didn't have the right connection with it. Due to several mature themes, I would not recommend anyone younger than high school reading this story.I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review.This review can be seen here on my blog as well.