Hand Me Down: Book summary and reviews of Hand Me Down by Melanie Thorne

Hand Me Down

A Novel

by Melanie Thorne

Hand Me Down by Melanie Thorne X
Hand Me Down by Melanie Thorne
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Book Summary

A tough, tender, debut novel, in the tradition of Dorothy Allison and Janet Fitch, Hand Me Down is the unforgettable story of a girl who travels between California and Utah in search of her true family, having never been loved best of all.

Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Reid has spent her life protecting her sister, Jaime, from their parents' cruel mistakes. Their father, who'd rather work the system than a job, pours every dollar into his many vices, denying his daughters the shoes and clothing they need. Their mother, once a loving parent, is going through a post-post-adolescent rebellious streak and finds love with a dangerous ex-con. When she chooses starting a new family over raising her first-born girls, Elizabeth and Jaime are separated and forced to rely on the begrudging kindness of increasingly distant relatives.

A string of broken promises that begins with Liz's mother swearing, "I would never hurt you, Liz. You're family," propels her between guest beds in two states searching for a safe home. All the while, Liz is burdened by her stake in a bleak pact with a deceitful adult: to tell the truth about the darkest of her circumstances will cost her the ability to shelter Jaime. As Liz spirals into the abyss of fear and shame that haunts her sleepless nights, can she break free from her bonds in time to fight for her life?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Failed by the adults in her life and forced to be the grown-up when she should be experiencing first dates and football games, Liz is a wise, wry, wonderful heroine." - Kirkus Reviews

"Despite a lackluster ending, this is an intriguing first outing by a talented new writer." - Publishers Weekly

"Debut novelist Thorne is at her best in the evocative descriptions of place - the frozen beauty of a Utah winter, the prosaic décor of a suburban household - but this reader was often confused by the sudden shifts in the characters' behaviors and emotions. Still, Thorne deals sensitively with a difficult topic, and the novel's adolescent perspective is sure to find popularity with YA audiences." - Library Journal

"The novel is sad, strong, evocative as hell, and all together terrific. Liz emerges as quite a likeable and unlikely hero." - John Lescroart, bestselling author of Damage

This information about Hand Me Down was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Melanie Thorne

Melanie Thorne earned her MA in creative writing from the University of California, Davis, where she was awarded the Alva Englund Fellowship and the Maurice Prize in Fiction. She lives in northern California.

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