Kinda Like Brothers

Nothing is going right for 11-year old Jarrett: he’s gotta pass summer school at an all-boys charter school if he wants to advance to seventh grade, and he overheard the teacher tell the principal she thinks he stupid and won’t pass; his best friend Ennis, recently back from his summer trip to see his dad in Jamaica, is acting aloof and strange; he’s scared to tell the girl he likes, Caprice, about his feelings for her; but worst of all, the most recent foster baby that his mom has taken in came to them with an older brother, Kevon, who’s Jarrett’s age and has taken over his room, his friends, and is turning his life upside down.  Kevon and Treasure were only supposed to stay for a weekend, but as time drags on, tensions between Kevon and Jarrett flare up as Jarrett feels increasingly cheated by everything and everyone in his life.  It’s only when he discovers that Kevon is keeping some major secrets that Jarrett hatches a plan to expose Kevon, in order to get back at him for invading his life and ruining his summer, and hopefully get rid of Kevon for good.

Kinda Like Brothers, Coe Booth‘s first book for younger readers, shares the same contemporary voice readers are familiar with from her novels for older teens.  The realistic plot is engaging, the characters are emotionally authentic, and the quick pace is compelling.   In one short month, as he’s confronted with a myriad of life lessons, Jarrett’s got a lot of growing up to do: on a personal level, Jarrett is facing his own jealousy and intense feelings of victimhood, his propensity for eavesdropping and snooping, and the disastrous repercussions of acting on impulse;  he’s beginning to see that everyone struggles with feeling like an outsider, trying to hide their imperfections and protect themselves from shame, and in so doing, Jarrett is starting to develop some empathy; and on a broader scale, Jarrett’s eyes are opening up to the harsh reality of racial injustice faced by black men in America today.  Just like real life, there’s a lot going on in Kinda Like Brothers, and just like in real life, there’s unfairness, pain, and vulnerability, but there’s also faith, love, and the courage to do the right thing.

  • Posted by Cori


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