News & Reviews & 3 Days Left!

The paperback of Hand Me Down comes out in three days! Have you seen her new beautiful face? Despite being unsure of it at first, I have now grown to love this cover as much as—or possibly even more than—the hardcover.

I hope new readers out there will want to pick up the book and hold it, that they will choose it off a shelf at a bookstore and take it home with them. Books just want to be loved, and I hope that all of you who enjoyed Hand Me Down in her first incarnation will tell your friends that she has been reborn. And that she is now cheaper! Though her price is not a reflection on her character. Her insides are still the same despite the new and less expensive exterior.

Also, the paperback has bonus material! I don’t know of any other novel that has added material from the character rather than the author. In this case, a new epilogue that is an essay Liz writes for her creative writing class featuring Liz and Jaime and their family ten years later. So many readers have written to me and asked for a sequel. This epilogue is not exactly a sequel, but if you wanted to know more about what happens to the girls after the events in HMD, here’s your chance.

You can preorder the paperback now from your favorite book retailer. Or wait until next week when you can pick it up in person at a bookstore. Or, you can enter this Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win one of ten free copies.

If you’re still not sure if you want to read HMD, two great reviews came out this week that might help convince you. One of my favorite book bloggers, Devourer of Books, (who is also one of my favorite follows on Twitter—check her out she’s smart and funny) wrote this fantastic review of Hand Me Down, the audio version. She addresses why the book is not YA, though it does have crossover appeal, and talks about how the fact that she was so angry with the characters proved her engagement with the book. “The hate didn’t make me dislike the book, though. On the contrary, the hate just showed me how completely invested I was in Liz’s story, and I, well, devourered Thorne’s story.” Love that last line. Told you she was funny. On Twitter she also said she was “glued to her earbuds.”

Another fabulous book blogger, Book Magnet, posted this thoughtful and kind review. The blogger, Jaime Boler, even spells her name the same way my Jaime does, which is not that common. She says all kinds of wonderful things about my book, including, “Thorne’s story left me indignant and emotionally spent, which is proof of the author’s skilled writing and adept characterizations,” and, “Thorne leaves readers with white knuckles as they wait to see if Liz and Jaime survive and even thrive…If you enjoy books narrated by strong teen girls, wise beyond their years, then Hand Me Down is a must read.” Generous as she is, she has also invited me to do an interview with her on her blog which will be coming soon!

I’m so grateful for these reviews, for all the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, for being featured on She Knows Red Hot March Reads list, for all the emails and Tweets and Facebook posts…it’s a great way to kick-off the paperback release week! Hopefully this is just the beginning of a long and healthy paperback life for my baby.

Three more days!

Hand Me Down’s New Paperback Face!

So this arrived today:

hmd paperbacks in box

Eye-catching, isn’t it? Striking, right? I think it really pops in a way that will get people to pick it up, and the thumbnail stands out online, too. My favorite part is the moon in her eye. Plus, the paperback has bonus material—a new epilogue that I’ll talk more about later, but is pretty exciting, since this isn’t something you get in a lot of books: a little extra from the characters at the end.

I’ll be updating the site with the new cover image, more info about the new epilogue, and new upcoming events, so stay tuned!

But for now, bask in her beautiful glow:


Quotes from The Book Thief

I just finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It took me a while to get into it—the narrator is Death, so I didn’t really connect to anyone until Liesel started to take a stand for herself and became a character I rooted for, not just one I felt sorry for. Then I fell in love with this book, its characters. I’m not the only one, of course. It’s a bestseller and has won all kinds of awards, but I particularly liked the the commentaries and asides on storytelling. Like this one:

Of course, I’m being rude. I’m spoiling the ending, not only of the entire book, but of this particular piece of it. I have given you two events in advance, because I don’t have much interest in building a mystery. Mystery bores me. It chores me. I know what happens next and so do you. It’s the machinations that wheel us there that aggravate, perplex, interest and astound me.

I especially love that last line. I often peek at the ends of books before I finish reading them.

Words had also brought her to life. “Don’t punish yourself,” she heard her say again, but there would be punishment and pain, and there would be happiness, too. That was writing.


And also, I loved this line: “Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.”

And: “I am haunted by humans.”

This was such a moving and powerful and heartbreaking book. But this is the second WWII book I’ve read recently and with all that’s going on in the world right now, I think I’d like to read a (moderately at least) happy book next. Any suggestions?

Hand Me Down on Good Morning Texas!

Good Morning Texas

So, Hand Me Down made her TV debut last week on Good Morning Texas. Sometimes I’m still so in awe that I even HAVE a book out there, you know? This was one of those moments. I was so proud seeing her up there with those other books, in a real live TV studio, with the book-savvy Gwen Reyes of Fresh Fiction talking about how great she is. “Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult,” she said. Why, thank you.

I was happy it was my book up there representing us on our first TV appearance, looking all cool, calm, and collected, instead of me, who would have been sweaty and nervous. My book baby is still so pretty. I suppose all new mothers think that, right? She’s almost six months old. Can you believe it?

Anyway, check out this segment of Buy the Book on Good Morning Texas. Hand Me Down gets mentioned around minute 2:47, but the other books sound interesting, too. I’ve added several of them to my TBR list.

Bursting at the Seams

I’ve been waiting to post here until I could take the time to write something poignant and meaningful, offer some deep reflections on the days before my book is born into the world for real. But, man, releasing a book requires hustle. So maybe—hopefully—that post is on its way, but this is not it.

In this post I want to tell you how full I feel. Stuffed, actually, bursting at the seams with news, with gratitude, with pride. I feel nervous, happy, scared, loved…this process has been a wild ride, that’s for sure. And it’s only going to get wilder.

More musings to come, but for now, let me share with you some of the latest news about Hand Me Down.

  • People Magazine gave the book 3.5/4 stars! They called it a “compelling read.” Look for the review it in the April 23rd issue, on sale today.
  • ML Johnson at the Associated Press wrote this wonderful review of Hand Me Down, which was then picked up by dozens of news outlets, including the Huffington Post and the Washington Post! “Melanie Thorne’s debut novel is raw with emotion.”
  • Last Sunday the San Francisco Chronicle included the first line of Hand Me Down in their book section of the paper and online. W’s mom called all excited to see that I’d shown up in her Sunday paper.
  • Cindy Wolfe Boynton at Book Page wrote a thoughtful review, Reality Sparks Affecting Debut” that made my day. She called the book “impossible to put down” and said, “Readers vividly see and experience right along with Liz, thanks to Thorne’s sharp storytelling.” It was included in this special edition of Book Page. Plus, she interviewed me for a piece that is going to run in the Salt Lake City Tribune.
  • Daily Candy featured my book in their “Spring Ink” section, “15 Books to Read While the Trees Blossom.” The other books in this list look really interesting, too!
  • Hand Me Down made it onto Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Fiction” list for April.
  • Confessions of a Vi3tbabe posted a great review this week. “A heartfelt story that I couldn’t put down…Hand Me Down is truly a moving and empowering story, one I think everyone should read.”
  • Candace’s Book Blog also posted a wonderful review. “This book was pretty fantastic. I thought it would be one I’d only read just a little at a time…but the second day I picked it up I ended up reading the whole thing. It sucked me in and I totally and completely ached for Liz and her horrible horrible situation.”
  • And finally, I got a tiny mention in the Press Democrat in an article about books set in Sonoma County along with fellow Dutton authors Sere Prince Halverson and Jennifer Chiaverini. And, this reporter may do a feature on just me a little later!

See, that was a lot of news! Not to mention the Goodreads reviews—mostly great—my launch event tomorrow night at Copperfield’s, my event with Pam Houston at the Booksmith in SF next week, my other upcoming events, my live interview on Capital Public Radio in Sacramento on May 1st, and a forthcoming Q&A in the East Bay Express. Phew!

I’m so happy for all the attention my labor of love is getting, and I really appreciate all the support from my friends and other authors and booksellers and people I don’t know who took the time to write something kind about my book. Thank you, thank you.

Hand Me Down’s First Reviews

Writers get used to being criticized in writing workshops. The point is to make the work better, so we critique, we review, we discuss, we suggest. We take the best advice and we revise. And we revise for days or months or years and we put the work out there again—to a new workshop group, a thesis committee, and eventually, an agent. We brainstorm with the agent, revise some more, get feedback on the revisions, and (can you guess?) revise even more. We send our work to publishers. Someone likes it, buys it, and then we brainstorm with an editor, revise, hear their thoughts, revise again. And then the work that we started back in grad school is becoming a real live book and will be entering the big bad world. And I’m terrified she’s going to get beat up.

It’s not that I can’t take criticism. I can. I mean, it’s not like I walk around yelling, “Criticize me!” but I handle constructive feedback well. I think the difference now is that the book is finished. I’m not turning in a chapter to be workshopped to friends and fellow writers, or a revision to an editor I trust. This is the finished product released for review without any intention of making it better. Final judgement.

This is what I thought about all weekend while I waited for the Publisher’s Weekly review of Hand Me Down that I was told would be in yesterday’s issue. It’s my first official industry review so I was understandably nervous and when I got the news, it was good! The magazine called me a “talented new writer” and said, Continue reading