Hand Me Down

Front Cover
Dutton, 2012 - Fiction - 311 pages
25 Reviews

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?

Thorne writes with a command of language that is at once affecting and enticing. Her debut is the kind of voice-driven reading experience fiction lovers crave.

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The plot is gripping, but also very sad. - Goodreads
She drew me in with her storytelling. - Goodreads
I really enjoyed Melanie's writing and realism. - Goodreads

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lisan. - LibraryThing

I was disappointed that this book was compared to books like White Oleander, and Bastard Out of Carolina, then didn't live up to the promise. It wasn't as well written, although the story was interesting enough to keep me going. Read full review

Review: Hand Me Down

User Review  - Bookish Jen - Goodreads

Elizabeth “Liz” Reid is fourteen-years-old and it seems she has the entire world on her young shoulders. She is at an age where she should be thinking about boys, her favorite rock bands and the ... Read full review

About the author (2012)

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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