[I received a copy of this book from its Canadian publisher Random House Canada. This does not affect my opinion of the novel.]
Ohhhhh, The Half Brother. What can I say about this book? It gave me a lot of conflicting feelings, that’s for sure. I haven’t read too many prep school books, but I found this to be a fun introduction, albeit my disappointment with its ending.
The Half Brother follows Charlie Garrett’s life at Abbott School, a private prep-school where teaches English. Straight out of university, young teacher Charlie soon falls in love with the champlain’s daughter May – and her with him – and all seems to be going well for them. That is, until he resolves to break it off. Charlie thinks he’s in the clear when May moves away, but when she comes back, Charlie tries to set her up with his half-brother Nick. Will everything work out for everyone in the end? Or will this love triangle create more pain?
I have to say that I was transfixed by the first half of the book. I seriously could not put it down. Charlie’s reason for breaking up with May was intense, and I was completely invested in the Charlie-May-Nick love triangle. This continued right until the end, even though I felt like the book was slowly losing steam. Still, I was enjoying the book enough to keep reading any chance I got. (Plus, there are some genuinely great moments in the book; I especially loved watching Charlie teach and thought his unexpected reaction to reading the final lines of The Great Gatsby to his English class (as was his tradition) to be perfectly heartbreaking.) The big problem for me was the resolution. I don’t want to go too deep into my explanation as I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone (if you’ve read this book, let’s talk), but I was incredibly disappointed with how everything played out. It was just a little too perfect for me, and it was quite unsatisfying as far as endings go. Will others enjoy it? Sure, but for me, I wish it had ended just a little differently.
Verdict: An engrossing book that had me captivated early on, but delivered what I think was an underwhelming resolution.
Read if: You love prep school novels, enjoy books with love triangles, want to learn more about the Half Brother.
Have you read The Half Brother? What did you think?! (I’m itching to talk to someone about this!)