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Hand Me Down

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3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  542 ratings  ·  116 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...more
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published April 12th 2012 by Dutton Adult
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A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley CashGone Girl by Gillian FlynnTell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka BruntThe Book of Jonas by Stephen DauHand Me Down by Melanie Thorne
Kirkus Best Fiction of 2012
5th out of 100 books — 52 voters
Little Women by Louisa May AlcottPride and Prejudice by Jane AustenThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsSense and Sensibility by Jane AustenThe Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot
“Sister” Novels
197th out of 246 books — 99 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,129)
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Brittany Rehage
I don't have enough words in my vocabulary to describe how much this book moved me.

I could feel the pain Liz was going through each time I turned the page, and the anger she had at the world around her. I had more hope for her than I've had for any other character in a long time. She was such a strong character, with so much determination to not let the mistakes of those around her bring her down to their level.

I wanted to shake some sense into the adults in this book. They are flawed and not ve...more
Elizabeth
First, I suspect that Angela might have put this book on hold for me at the library as a joke. She knows how I detest any book that reminds me of "Bastard Out of Carolina" or the "Book of Ruth." Oprah type books that are supposed to be triumph over circumstance (but only) after focusing on the heinous types of hardship and abuse the characters are forced to endure. That being said, this book never stood a chance. "Hand Me Down" is akin to reading a watered down version of "Bastard Out of Carolin...more
M
2.5
This is a complicated book to review - it had four star potential, dipped down to three where it remained steadily, then took a really bad turn and ends with a 2. Which is to say I don't want to ignore that which the author did well, but those very strengths also highlight where she could have done better.
This is a somewhat original story of a girl whose parents have completely failed her - her father is a lying alcoholic who is abusive and manipulative, her mother was decent, it seems, until...more
Dawn Coulter
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jodi
Picture yourself a teenage girl left in the lurch by a mother who has chosen her convict husband over you and an alcoholic father who only wants you because of the extra money he’ll get for child support. Imagine how alone you would feel being shuffled from one home to the next each time being an inconvenience to the family you were staying with. Well that is exactly what Elizabeth and her sister Jaime are going through.

The girl’s mother Linda has chosen her recently released from prison, sexual...more
T. Greenwood
I picked this up after listening to an interview with Melanie Thorne on the Other People with Brad Listi podcast. So glad I did. This story is heart-breaking, particularly knowing it was inspired by Thorne's own life.

Elizabeth's mother is married to a convicted sex offender. Her father is a drunk. And when forced to choose between her husband and her daughters, she chooses him.

The girls are separated. Jaime goes to live with their father, leaving Elizabeth in a constant state of fear over her...more
Vi
When I first perused this novel while looking through Dutton’s latest catalog I was very intrigued. Melanie did an excellent job at telling Liz’s story and really making you feel for her. She really make me loathe her stepfather and mother, resent her father, and worry for her sister. The whole time I was wondering if she’d ever find a happy ending. When others would have lost hope a long time ago, Liz struggles and perseveres until the end, never giving up on her family and making the best of h...more
Bonnie Brody
Hand Me Down by Melanie Thorne is a heart-rending story of a dysfunctional family. Liz and Jaime are two sisters and Liz has always tried to take care of Jaime, her younger sister. When their mother marries a sex offender, she chooses him over the girls and tells the girls that they have to leave the home. Thus begins their sorrowful journey of living in one house after another, with one or another distant relative, and not always together.

Their father is a drunk and has a history of physical an...more
Patricia
Apr 01, 2013 Patricia rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: teens and adults
Recommended to Patricia by: won from Goodreads
I received this book as a give away from Goodreads and once I started the book I couldn't put it down.

The plot and characters of the book pulled me right in their world. The main character Elizabeth has the courage of a hero. Her life as she explains it is heart breaking. She feels like she has been shoved aside by her parents; her mother choses her boyfriend over her children and her Dad chooses booze over his daughters. This is a story of great courage shown by a young women who fights to over...more
Jaime Boler

A child’s first providers and protectors are his or her parents. Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work. In her powerful, provocative, and semi-autobiographical debut novel, Hand Me Down, Melanie Thorne chronicles the epic struggle of a teenage girl suffering from neglect and abuse, determined to protect her sister at any cost. Hand Me Down feels so real that it reads like a memoir. Thorne’s story left me indignant and emotionally spent, which is proof of the author’s skilled writing and a...more
Elizabeth B
The stark realism of the MC's situation is heartbreaking. That alone makes this book worthy of a read. It does follow some formula fiction rules with the hard life, parental anger, etc. but it's no so dry that I couldn't overlook that and become engaged in the story. About midway through, however, the realism went away as the characters began to do the exact actions they had been preaching against for the entire novel. The ending was completely unrealistic to me with everything tied up in a nice...more
Caidyn
I'm just going to say that the description that is given up there doesn't do it justice. The book is full of things that most adults couldn't imagine going through. It was very well written and all the characters felt REAL. Stress on the real. They felt like real people in an actual family since, let's face it, we all have family members that are a bit messed up. The story developed well and I loved how Liz gave backstories on her family which really gave the story, in a whole, more depth. I rea...more
Jami
Mar 14, 2014 Jami rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
This was good, but I suppose I expected more based on all the reviews I read. I was interested to hear what happened to Liz, but there were some things that bothered me. First, the changes in time periods was abrupt and often I didn't realize right away that it was a flashback. Second, it was a bit irritating that all of the adult males were jerks or nerds. Third, the issue with good old Dad was never resolved. He just sort of disappeared and you don't really know what happened to him. Since he...more
Bookish Jen
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 upcoming homecoming game. She should be texting her friends, updating her Facebook page, keeping up her grades and getting involved with school activities. Yet, she is not and author Melanie Thorne expertly conveys Liz’s chaotic life in her debut novel Hand Me Down.

Liz’s mother has just gotten married to...more
Monica
Hand Me Down's protagonist, Liz, couldn't have been more endearing. This book has so many emotions to it, and Liz's unique voice takes you through them flawlessly. Hand Me Down is the perfect title for it, too, as she's swapped from house to house like a second-hand coat. She behaves more adult-like than her parents and has grown into a worry-filled teenager always wondering about the what-ifs. I found myself rooting for her since the very first page.
Anne Marcy
Honestly, I am really surprised at the bad reviews this book is getting. I thought this book was suspenseful, emotional and intriguing. I can tell I like a book by if I race through it, and I definitely did.
Many people who write reviews act as though it's common to find a book with a plot similar to this one, but I disagree. I have never read a book with a situation in the family such as the one that Liz, the main character dealt with. I also thought the characters were created so well, and I es...more
Jaime (Twisting the Lens)
Where do you go when you lose the only place you call home? Elizabeth Reid is faced with answering just that. At fourteen-years-old, she is told she is no longer allowed to live with her mother, whose sex-offending husband has just been released from prison. While Liz’s younger sister, Jaime, decides to go live with their father, Liz refuses to go back into the house of the man who abused her mother. Given her lack of options, she moves around to whatever friends and family will let her in. Howe...more
Lydia LaPutka
I was disappointed with this book. I read the review in the paper and was interested not only by the subject matter (children being moved around due to abusive/disinterested parents) but also by the fact that some of the setting is in Utah.

As outlandish as the abuse was, sadly, I know there are parents like the ones depicted in this youth fiction. What irritated me was that too many of the incidental male characters were perverted. I didn't think that was necessary. It makes it look like the wo...more
Laura Graves
http://www.owltellyouaboutit.com/posts/hand-me-down/

I found this one browsing around NetGalley one day and I thought it sounded like it could be great. While I really enjoyed it, I have to warn you that it’s very emotional and sad for about 95% of the book. I had to take a short break at one point because it was sort of depressing me.

Liz is one tough girl. She tries so hard to be strong for her sister. She’s a protector and that made me love her. I was so sorry that she never got a real childhoo...more
Sue
I won "Hand Me Down" by Melanie Thorne through the Goodreads Giveaway.What an appropriate title for such a moving novel.I can only give praise for this book.It really moved me.

This is the story of a fourteen year old girl, Elizabeth Reid,who has spent her life protecting her sister, Jaime, from her parent's neglect.It is the story of a disfunctional family, where Jaime goes to live with her father and Crystal. Their father has a drinking problem, and no time or money to invest in his daughter's...more
Ashley
Melanie Thorne's Hand Me Down is a difficult story to read, but it's worth it. Elizabeth, the protagonist, is a teenager, but is forced to act more responsibly than even her parents. Her mother has married a convicted criminal and her father is an alcoholic. As she moves from home to home she's forced to come to terms with her family and create a life for herself.

It's a truly heartbreaking story. At times I was unsure if I would be able to finish it, partly because of the subject matter and par...more
Rachel Hanville
I got this book for free through Goodreads First Read.

Elizabeth has spent her whole life watching out for her little sister Jaime and living with her mother. However, Jaime ends up moving to her father's to get away from having to live with her stepfather who is a sex offender. Elizabeth eventually is forced to leave her home when her mother chooses her stepfather over her and it tossed from house to house, not knowing how long she will be staying at each one.

I thought this book was very realis...more
Terryann
THORNE, Melanie. Hand Me Down. unabridged. 8 CDs. 9 Hours. Recorded Books. 2012. ISBN: 978-1-4640-3661-3 $34.99. NF

When Liz’s mom moves her into her aunt’s house she says it is only temporary; until her husband Terrance gets out of trouble with his parole officer. Liz wants desperately to protect her sister from their predator stepfather and be with her mother, but as the months pass she slowly realizes that she may never get to go home. Liz is increasingly forgotten about as she is passed along...more
Sofia Wren

1. This book follows in fine tradition of literary survivor fiction.


There is something fascinating about literary fiction focused on troubled homes. It's kindof like a trainwreck--much is constantly at stake for the main character, they make mistakes, and I can't stop watching. White Oleander by Janet Fitch and Bastard Out of Carolina are not only compelling examples of this genre, but also of great writing.

Like those two books, Hand me Down is about a young girl Liz in a bad family situation....more
Bookworm
Hand Me Down was a difficult and emotional book to get through.
At the heart of this novel is fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Reid who is trying to survive as best she can in the dysfunction she is being raised in.
It was hard to read about this young girl as she goes through the most difficult years of her life, the years where she should have a strong support system and be surrounded by those who love her, just trying to find a place to call home.

Liz is forced to leave home after her mother Linda...more
Carol
This is a worthy effort by a young writer who probably has a promising future as a novelist. Despite the first person present tense which I consider somewhat awkward, the book was involving and well written. It sometimes seemed more like a Young Adult novel than a mainstream literary effort, however, possibly because the protagonist herself is a very young woman of fourteen. The plot revolves around a young girl (with a younger sister) who is constantly being confronted with the consequences of...more
Anncleire
“Hand me down” non è un libro facile, la storia è complicata, triste e così verosimile che mi ha spezzato il cuore in più punti, ma mi ha davvero colpito tantissimo.

Liz, Elizabeth, è la protagonista una ragazza di quattordici anni che convive con una situazione familiare pessima. Il padre è un alcolista, violento, sempre ubriaco che alza le mani sulla madre che ha sempre cercato di proteggere le sue due figlie Liz e sua sorella, di due anni più piccola Jamie. Dopo anni di fughe, la madre Linda l...more
Summer
This book tells us about the life of a young girl who always plays second to everyone in her life. Her mother is married to a sexual pervert and Elizabeth has to move out of her mother's home so the husband can live there. Her father is an alcoholic who puts his booze in front of everyone. Her sister goes to live with her father. Elizabeth moves in with her aunt and for once she knows what it feels like to be loved and cared about. SHe begins to make friends and is enjoying going to school. Her...more
Erika
308 pgs. I zipped right along through this book and finished in a couple of days. 14 yr. old Elizabeth Reid lives with her mom and younger sister, Jamie and her mom's ex- convict husband, Terrence. Terrence is a sex offender and the girls' mother often makes decisions in Terrence's favor over theirs. The girls' father is an alcoholic with a bad track record. So from the beginning, Liz has already overcome many struggles based on her home life. This was heartbreaking to read at times. I really wa...more
Levian
Liz was a 14-years-old that spent her whole life protecting her younger sister Jaime. once a seemingly perfect family, her father started hitting their mother the moment she refused to give her money for boozes. after their divorce, her mother got together with an ex-convict that assaulted women. he continued to taunt Liz and harassed her until she was sent to live with Aunt Tammy in another town. despite being free from her stepfather's sexual harassment, Liz found it difficult to feel safe any...more
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I am the author of Hand Me Down, a semi-autobiographical debut novel given 3.5/4 stars by People magazine and named a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012 and a 2013 YALSA Alex Award nominee.

My hobbies include reading, writing, watching smart TV, singing, crafting, swimming, gardening, and traveling, especially to warm, pretty places. I play guitar poorly. I can juggle. I'm a Libra. I love the ocean....more
More about Melanie Thorne...

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