One For Sorrow

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Random House Publishing Group, Aug 28, 2007 - Fiction - 308 pages
77 Reviews

Part thriller, part ghost tale, part love story, One for Sorrow is a novel as timeless as The Catcher in the Rye and as hauntingly lyrical as The Lovely Bones. Christopher Barzak’s stunning debut tells of a teenage boy’s coming-of-age that begins with a shocking murder and ends with a reason to hope.

Adam McCormick had just turned fifteen when the body was found in the woods. It is the beginning of an autumn that will change his life forever. Jamie Marks was a boy a lot like Adam, a boy no one paid much attention to—a boy almost no one would truly miss. And for the first time, Adam feels he has a purpose. Now, more than ever, Jamie needs a friend.

But the longer Adam holds on to Jamie’s ghost, the longer he keeps his friend tethered to a world where he no longer belongs . . . and the weaker Adam’s own ties to the living become. Now, to find his way back, Adam must learn for himself what it truly means to be alive.

Praise for One for Sorrow

“Christopher Barzak’s sympathy and humor, his awareness, his easeful vernacular storytelling, are extraordinary, and his mournful, unforgettable teenagers drive us deep into the land of the dead practically before we've even fastened our seatbelts.”—Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn
“An amazing, original debut from an amazing, original writer. One for Sorrow may be the most haunting ghost story I’ve ever read.”—Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club
“An uncommonly good book with brains, heart, and bravery to spare. Readers who don’t find themselves in sympathy with Barzak’s characters were never adolescents themselves.”—Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners
“An honest and uncanny ride through the shadows between grief and acceptance. This is how real magic works.”—Scott Westerfeld, author of Uglies and Extras

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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The writing is lovely. - Goodreads
Brilliant writing, but lacks a satisfying conclusion - Goodreads
Barzak is a fine writer. - Goodreads
Lots of truth inside fine writing. - Goodreads
Outstanding writing. - Goodreads
My review drops because of the ending. - Goodreads

Review: One for Sorrow

User Review  - Stacey Myers - Goodreads

This was a really weird book - I forced myself through it but I didn't love it at all. Read full review

Review: One for Sorrow

User Review  - Nikki - Goodreads

3.5 stars Read full review

Selected pages


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
Section 15
Section 16

Section 9

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 4 - I think, even, if I ever die, and they stick me in a cemetery, and I have a tombstone and all, it'll say "Holden Caulfield" on it, and then what year I was born and what year I died, and then right under that it'll say "Fuck you.
Page 4 - That's the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful, because there isn't any.
Page 38 - You put your left foot in/You take your left foot out/You put your left foot in/ And you shake it all about/You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around/That's what it's all about! Yeehaw!" As I sang and danced, I moved toward a freshly dug grave just a few plots down from Jamie's. The headstone was already up, but there hadn't been a funeral yet. The grave was waiting for Lola Peterson to fill it, but instead, as I shouted out the next verse, I stumbled into it. I fell in the grave singing,...
Page 32 - What's most remarkable," my mother kept slurring, "is that I was on my way to the bar, sober, and Lucy was driving home, drunk." They'd both had arguments with their husbands that day; they'd both run out to make their husbands jealous. Learning all this, my mother and Lucy felt destiny had brought them together. "A virtual Big Bang." said my mother. Lucy said, "A collision of souls.
Page 34 - In these stones he was always a transparent figure. Things passed through him. Rain was one example; another was leaves falling off the trees, drifting through his body. Kids in school said, "I saw him!

About the author (2007)

Christopher Barzak was born and raised in rural Ohio, has lived in a southern California beach town, the capital of Michigan, and the suburbs of Tokyo, Japan, where he taught English in rural junior high and elementary schools. His stories have appeared in many venues, including Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Trampoline, Interfictions, Nerve, Salon Fantastique, and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Currently he lives in Youngstown, Ohio, where he teaches writing at Youngstown State University. One for Sorrow is his first novel.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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