I received this book several months ago through Net Galley as an ARC. I thought the premise sounded interesting, a young man and his half-brother both working at a private high school in New England.
I have to say, this book had several layers to it and several story lines that converged at the end. Charlie Garrett is the main character, an intelligent and hard-working young man, who is a bit self-centered and rather immature. He is drawn to the daughter of the faculty chaplain, which I found rather creepy and totally inappropriate, but thankfully he does not act on his feelings until the daughter, May, returns to the school years later as a teacher herself. Charlie has some things in his past, though, that will affect his present, and once he realizes what those are, he pushes May away. Then comes Charlie’s younger half-brother, the charismatic and charming Nick, who also gets a job at the Abbott School. He soon becomes involved with May. But Nick is hiding some inner torment and secrets and is less than stable. Add in some students with their issues, the parents and their problems, and Charlie’s story of trying to define himself uniquely and you have the working of a thought-provoking and busy plot.
While I enjoyed this story, and Ms. LeCraw’s writing, I was a bit frustrated with Charlie. He needed to truly get a life. Going to Abbott so young and then just festering there year after year, while somehow thinking he was doing everything for the good of everyone else — well, that is no way to live your life. Charlie also keeps a lot within, sacrificing, so to speak, in order to spare others the hardship of his feelings or his knowledge (there are some twists and surprises to this plot). He would have done better to evaluate where he was at in his life and where he wanted to be, and then make a plan to get there.
Intriguing and written with a good flow and introspection into the characters, I enjoyed THE HALF-BROTHER.