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Hand Me Down

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  634 Ratings  ·  127 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
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published April 12th 2012 by Dutton Adult
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Brittany Rehage
Nov 30, 2011 Brittany Rehage rated it it was amazing
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
May 04, 2012 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
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
Aug 03, 2012 M rated it it was ok
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
Dawn Coulter
Mar 31, 2012 Dawn Coulter rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bonnie Brody
Apr 12, 2012 Bonnie Brody rated it liked it
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
Feb 04, 2012 Jodi rated it really liked it
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
Feb 22, 2015 Caidyn rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 28, 2016 Allison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-mar16
While the premise of this book sounded right up my alley, and while it started out strong enough, I wasn't ever sold on what was happening. I thought that the ultimate showdown that occurred towards the end of the novel was not really worthy of the buildup in that it all seemed very cheesy and, while dramatic, not the right kind of dramatic for the situation.

I didn't like the character of Sam and didn't think to him be necessary to the story at all - there were enough crappy male characters and
T. Greenwood
Jul 03, 2013 T. Greenwood rated it really liked it
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
Jan 16, 2012 Sue rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, family-drama
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
Vi (the Vi3tBabe)
Apr 09, 2012 Vi (the Vi3tBabe) rated it really liked it
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
Apr 01, 2013 Patricia rated it really liked it
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
Jaime Boler
Mar 21, 2013 Jaime Boler rated it really liked it

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
Elizabeth B
Apr 15, 2012 Elizabeth B rated it liked it
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
Mar 14, 2014 Jami rated it liked it
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
Apr 08, 2014 Bookish Jen rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 17, 2012 Monica rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 15, 2016 Wendy rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-books
Liz is a 14 year old girl living a nightmare where nearly every adult in her life is a raging disaster. Her family is completely dysfunctional and abusive.
She's a tough, sassy and smart girl that I found myself rooting for, and I did like her character.
This book kept me interested and I was anxious to finish it to find out if Liz's situation ever improved. The first 3/4 read like a series of unfortunate events book, and I kept waiting for something to go right.
One thing I really disliked about t
Jun 25, 2015 Connie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very sad book about sisters caught in an impossible situation created by their parents. It ends well, but is painful getting there.
Anne Marcy
Aug 04, 2014 Anne Marcy rated it really liked it
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
Marie Cataquet
Feb 08, 2015 Marie Cataquet rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
This is a story of a dysfunctional family. Liz and her younger sister Jamie has no safe home. Liz parents are careless. Liz's mother married an ex-con Terrance and Liz & Jamie is force to move when the court says since Terrance is sex offender that can not live under the same roof. Liz's father is a abusive alcoholic and only wants the girls because he wants the money for child support. Liz feels betrayed by her mother that she choose Terrence over her kids and she is sent house to house. It ...more
Jaime (Twisting the Lens)
May 01, 2012 Jaime (Twisting the Lens) rated it really liked it
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
Jul 29, 2012 Lydia LaPutka rated it it was ok
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
Dec 21, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it

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
Feb 05, 2012 Ashley rated it really liked it
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
Rachel Valentine
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
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
Sofia Wren
Sep 05, 2012 Sofia Wren rated it really liked it

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.
Aug 25, 2012 Bookworm rated it really liked it
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
May 31, 2012 Carol rated it really liked it
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
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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 about Melanie Thorne...

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