E.M. Kokie, September 2012. Matt’s a pretty unhappy kid. His beloved big brother T.J. died in Iraq; he’s in unrequited love with his best friend Shauna; his dad is distant at best and violent at worst; and he’s failing out of school. Then his brother’s personal effects come in from the military, and Matt discovers a treasure trove of love letters to T.J. from a woman named Celia, whom he hadn’t known existed. There’s even an unopened, unsent letter from T.J. to Celia, and Matt makes it his mission to drive Shauna’s car hundreds of miles to Madison, Wisconsin, to meet Celia and deliver the letter.
When Matt arrives in Madison, he’s shocked to learn that while Celia put her return address on the letters in order to skirt Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, T.J.’s real lover was her brother Curtis. Matt finds this impossible to handle at first, but quickly is won over by Curtis, Celia, and their love for T.J., and delivers the letters as planned. Then he realizes Shauna’s been into him all along, and he stands up to his dad. Sure, it wraps up a little neatly, but it feels like a triumph because the reader is rooting for Matt all along. Great, fast-paced read, and the gay content is handled elegantly. Highly recommended.