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One for Sorrow

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  557 Ratings  ·  102 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 tu
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 28th 2007 by Bantam (first published August 1st 2007)
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Fantasy Books by Goodreads Authors
32nd out of 263 books — 367 voters
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9th out of 42 books — 14 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,918)
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Dec 10, 2015 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
One of my favorites. ;-)
Jun 07, 2008 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: modern-fiction
Everyone needs to read this book.

Every once in a while, I let myself get talked into thinking I need to read some "real" literature and just pick something, and generally I feel completely apathetic about it at best, or downright hate it at worst (Frangipani, Everything Is Illuminated). Sometimes however, a non-fantasy book will catch my eye. I'll just instinctively know that I need to read it. I was walking out of the bookstore, and One For Sorrow was on the very end of the shelf; I glanced it
Jan 05, 2009 Cedony rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shaun Duke
Dec 22, 2008 Shaun Duke rated it it was amazing
Barzak's debut novel is a heavy hitter. It's a story of being a teenager in a dysfunctional family, going through the trials of the teenage life, of falling in love and having one's heart ripped out, of being confused about the world and about where you're supposed to be. It's about the emotional roller coaster that is the teenage years, dead friends, first loves, and trying to understand one's place in the world. It's the story of Adam, a fifteen-year-old boy who becomes friends with Jamie, som ...more
Eric Kibler
Jun 08, 2013 Eric Kibler rated it it was amazing
Take this book and put it on your bookshelf right between Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" and Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book". It belongs there, and that's a compliment.

It tackles the complicated emotional stew of adolescence and uses a teenager's relationship with ghosts, caught in between death and life, to do it.

I'm giving this book five stars even though it probably doesn't hit me as hard as it would a teenager. However, in the hands of a disaffected teen, this book would be powerful stuff
Dec 12, 2008 Haddayr rated it it was amazing
This book moved me. I believed it. I believe in the characters. It was so sad and beautiful and _honest._

It was also an incredibly creepy and interesting view of life and death. His ideas about what/where ghosts go, and their interactions with people . . . I believed Adam, and I believed _in_ him, and I believed his family and his town and his
random angry desperate wandering.

He is a lost boy in a town that everyone else has forgotten, and his family is unhappy and confused, but this is still a b
He leído bastante libros que sus críticas las comparan con el guardián entre el centeno, pero aun gustandome esos libros no se le acercan ni queriendo. Del camino al final si es un acierto, es un libro que más se asemeja con el de Salinger, pero teniendo voz propia. La historia cuenta con tres personajes principales, Adam que es el prota, un chico dulce y a la vez rebelde, conforme avanza el libro le vamos conociendo más, entendiendolo, se vuelve más complejo. Jamie, el chico asesinado, que Adam ...more
Jan 23, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing
I found "One for Sorrow" by accident. As it turns out, a movie I want to see---"Jamie Marks Is Dead"---is based on this novel. Boy am I glad I found it. "One for Sorrow" is one of the best books/stories I've ever read. Now there were some parts that dragged a bit. Not many, but some. However, you could say the slower parts were essential to the novel because of the great detail and character background they provided. As a whole, "One for Sorrow" touched me in a way I never expected. Even though ...more
Jan 30, 2008 Kirsten rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kirsten by: Celia Marsh
One for Sorrow is a unique ghost story that goes in some unexpected directions. When Adam McCormick's classmate, Jamie, is killed, Adam finds himself obsessed with Jamie's death and the friendship that the two of them could have shared if they hadn't both been so hesitant. When Adam learns that Gracie, the girl who found Jamie's body, has been seeing Jamie's ghost, he purposefully seeks her out. What follows is a strange almost-love-triangle, as Adam is torn between his loyalty to Jamie and his ...more
Brad Medd
Oct 07, 2015 Brad Medd rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
My experience with this novel was comparable to sinking into a lonely, surreal, bitter sweet dream; that of someone I know but have never met. It lulled me from the first word and and had me captivated until the last, and with any successful book, the story doesn't end on the final page.

Barzak's ideas are original, fascinating, and tap into that lost, confused, lonely part of the soul we've all experienced. It's written beautifully, and every word, paragraph and chapter leads seamlessly into the
Logan England
Mar 26, 2010 Logan England rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, favorites
Great book. A lot of sadness without a clear cut happy ending, but a glimmer of hope nonetheless.
Jose Luis Robles Magdaleno
<<¿Cómo se puede querer algo y tenerle miedo al mismo tiempo? Seguro que era la sensación más estúpida del mundo. Seguro que era el tipo de sensación que hacía que la gente perdiera el sentido común.>>

Un libro que descubrí gracias a su película "Jamie Marks is dead" la cual me gusto mucho y decidí que tenia que leer el libro.
Nos encontramos con la historia de Adam quien tiene una relación con el alma de un compañero de colegio Jamie, quien fue asesinado recientemente. Una historia de
Mar 12, 2008 Res rated it did not like it
The one where a kid is murdered and Adam befriends his ghost. I gave it 65 pages.

I had two problems with it: style and motivation. The style is a little too true to the way a fifteen-year-old might tell a story -- which is to say, meandering, repetitive, and trite. (In fact, all the actual fifteen-year-olds I know would probably do a better job than this, though maybe not on the first draft, which is what it reads like.)

And I couldn't make sense of why any of the characters made the choices the
Carol Stowe
May 15, 2013 Carol Stowe rated it it was amazing
This was a good book, part young adult, part coming of age story. When Jamie Marks is found murdered, his would-be friend Adam becomes the only thing that keeps the murdered youth tethered to this life. But the tether that gives Jamie life sucks the life from Adam. Adam must decide to choose life and after that, must choose how to live. It starts with death and ends with life. Read it now so that when the movie comes out you have a comparison.
Jack Skillingstead
Jul 29, 2014 Jack Skillingstead rated it it was amazing
It dawned on me, as I neared the end of this book, that I might be reading a so-called Young Adult novel. I'm glad to report that categories of ALL types eluded the reading experience. Barzak is a fine writer. Period.
Jan 30, 2016 Tânia rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People into contemplation

“Sometimes you've got to be able to listen to yourself and be okay with no one else understanding.”

I was really looking forward to the “as hunting as The Lovely Bones” suggestion on the blurb but turns out this was not what I expected. It sounded way much better in my head than it did on paper.

I can’t quite put my finger on it but there’s just something about this story rather than the book itself. I liked the first half all right: Adam’s family dynamics, his relationship with Gracie, which
Aug 02, 2015 Alex rated it it was amazing
Started this book Friday evening. Finished it Sunday afternoon. If I didn't have to work, sleep, eat or spend time with other human beings I would have finished it much sooner. Not only was this one of the best books I've read this year, it is one of the best books I've read in my life. The underrated film version of "One For Sorrow" has the unfortunate title of "Jamie Marks is Dead" and I cannot understand why that switch occurred. I saw the film a few weeks ago and enjoyed it quite a bit. I fo ...more
Julia Peak
Jan 05, 2015 Julia Peak rated it really liked it
The novel One for Sorrow is written by Christopher Barzak. It revolves around Adam McCormick, a 15 year old boy who tries to overcome the conflicts he faces in his daily life. Adam befriends Jamie Marks, who is soon after found murdered in the woods. With the death of Adam’s grandmother, his mother being paralyzed, and living with a neglectful father who makes Adam feel unloved, he just couldn't take the death of his friend. Adam needed Jamie, and so he found a way to see him, even if he had to ...more
Jun 29, 2014 Anthony rated it it was amazing
Barzak's novel, the basis for the soon-to-be-released motion picture Jamie Marks is Dead, can only be described as "haunting." I'm not trying to be clever or precious by describing a novel about ghosts with that word; I'm trying to capture the idea that months after reading it, the sense of the story still sticks with me. Certain scenes replay behind my closed eyes after I glance at the book cover or someone mentions it on Twitter or Facebook. Interestingly, not the scenes most heavily featured ...more
Sep 19, 2014 Kelly rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, film-tv
This book was well written overall (though some parts of it fell flat construction-wise) and had an interesting premise. Barzak has a talent for matter-of-factly inserting the bizarre into the everyday in a way that was compelling; I was reminded of some of Kelly Link's short stories in this respect (incidentally, she apparently liked this book, as she has a blurb on the back cover). I didn't find the protagonist to be a particularly sympathetic character, though (he's really whiny and convinced ...more
Pamela Huxtable
Nov 03, 2014 Pamela Huxtable rated it really liked it
A gloriously complicated novel that makes you give up on trite, wrap-it-up solutions.

Adam is a 15 year old about to discover how troubled he is. For Adam, trouble comes in threes - his classmate Jamie is murdered, his mother is paralyzed in a car accident, and his grandmother dies. Bothered by Jamie's death in ways he cannot define, Adam befriends Jamie - Jamie's ghost, that is. Adam's world begins to deteriorate further, and he runs away with Jamie to Youngstown.

Barzak lets the details of the
Jan 20, 2011 _incubus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
l'ho finito in treno... oddio che libro strano.. però gli ho messo quattro stellette lo stesso... perchè adam se le merita per il viaggio che ha fatto e perchè non ha abbandonato jamie, non l'ha dimenticato ma è riuscito ad andare avanti, e perchè girasole è una parola bellissima *-*

cmq... di cosa parla questo libro? della morte, della speranza, dell'amicizia, dell'amore, della famiglia, del fatto che si può sempre correre e di un viaggio; un viaggio che il protagonista fa sia materialmente che

Mar 23, 2015 Angie rated it it was amazing
I can't contain how much I loved this book. The bond which is created between Adam and Jamie is just beautiful. As outcasts one alive and one dead they come together to define love and what it means to really live life. Both who are bullied for being who they are. Although Adam felt he should have stopped them from bullying Jamie he can't change what has already happened but he can let Jamie know someone cares about him now that he is gone. So when Jamie attaches himself to Adam an incredible bo ...more
this hurt me a lot. but mostly in a good way.

“I tried. I tried to burn that memory of my regret. But I wasn’t dead yet, I was just on my way to dying, and it’s harder to burn memories when you’ve still got life left. When you’re alive you have to learn how to live with things like regret.”

gorgeously written, beautifully crafted; weird as hell, but so unique and with wonderful characters. and oh yeah: really damn painful.

basically, this was great.
Bookmarks Magazine

Christopher Barzak's One for Sorrow is a rare thing indeed--a horror novel with heart. It's not often that such a book, particularly a debut (Barzak's reputation comes from his short fiction), is described as "lovely, melancholy" (Village Voice). But Barzak balances his story's supernatural aspects, which he delivers with simple assuredness, with the uncertainties and complexities of adolescence. One for Sorrow has been compared to The Catcher in the Rye and Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones. In t

Nancy Kress
Aug 01, 2014 Nancy Kress rated it really liked it
A fascinating novel that is hard to classify: part ghost story, part love story, part family drama, part coming-of-age story. The writing is lovely. The story wanders a little in the middle but gets back on track by the end. I hope the forthcoming movie can preserve the lyrical feel of the novel.
Scott Graham
Sep 04, 2014 Scott Graham rated it really liked it
Eerie melancholy story of the friendship between two teenage boys, one living and one dead. Made into the also quite effective film "Jamie Marks is Dead"
Jessie Young
Jun 28, 2014 Jessie Young rated it it was amazing
Very different. Refreshing. I'll be interested to see what the film's like
Dec 13, 2014 Debra rated it really liked it
I received this book as a Goodreads winner. The book is a great coming of age story that kept me reading till the end. One for Sorrow is an honest piece of work that young adults as well as adults will enjoy.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Christopher Barzak is the author of the Crawford Award winning novel, One for Sorrow, which was made into the Sundance feature film, Jamie Marks is Dead. His second novel, The Love We Share Without Knowing, was a finalist for the Nebula and Tiptree Awards. His third novel, Wonders of the Invisible World, is a 2016 Stonewall Honor Book. He is also the author of Before and Afterlives, which won the ...more
More about Christopher Barzak...

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“Don’t ever put your happiness in someone else’s hands. They’ll drop it. They’ll drop it every time.” 90 likes
“Sometimes you've got to be able to listen to yourself and be okay with no one else understanding.” 71 likes
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