Hand Me Down

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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 has never been loved best of all.

Hand Me Down indelibly captures a contemporary family journey–how two young people, against incredible odds, find love in the most unlikely places and forge lives of their own in the face of an uncertain future.

CHAPTER 1 

My mom and her husband are doing it in her bedroom. I listen to her bedsprings squeak and their hushed, heavy breathing. I need to pee, but if I get up they’ll hear me, and that sudden, conscious silence would be worse than the sound of chimp squeals and hyperventilation muffled by our hollow bedroom doors and the three feet of hallway in between. At least she’s not screaming, Oh, God, like I’ve seen in movies. I chew the slippery skin on the inside of my mouth and wonder if it’s still a sin to take the Lord’s name in vain during sex, or if then, it is like a prayer…CONTINUE READING

Praise for Hand Me Down:

“Hand Me Down, which recalls the gritty power of Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina, is fiction with the ring of truth.”  –San Jose Mercury News

“A compelling read.” –People

“Thorne populates her pages with characters who are fascinating and sharply drawn…Liz is a wise, wry, wonderful heroine.” —Kirkus Reviews, *starred review*

“The novel is sad, strong, evocative as hell and all together terrific. Liz emerges as quite a likeable and unlikely hero.”—John Lescroart, bestselling author of Damage and The Hunter

“Melanie Thorne writes with a clear eye, a steady hand, and a strong voice . . . . Smart, hyper-vigilant, tenacious, severely mistreated and deeply likable, Elizabeth is a tough and tender heroine for the ages. Hand Me Down is a compelling, intelligently contemporized version of a traditional coming of age story full of family betrayals old and new.”—Pam Houston, bestselling author of  Cowboys Are My Weakness and Contents May Have Shifted 

 “The prose here is sharp, fresh, deeply felt, and grimly funny.”—Clifford Chase, author of Winkie

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Reviews

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012. “This novel is unflinching in its portrayal of adult irresponsibility and neglect as well as the emotional, psychological, and physical toll of abuse…an absorbing, sympathetic new novel.” –Booklist “Hand Me Down, which recalls the gritty power of Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina, is fiction with the ring of truth.” … Continue reading Reviews

Excerpts

Hand Me Down A Few Selections from Chapter 1 My mom and her husband are doing it in her bedroom. I listen to her bedsprings squeak and their hushed, heavy breathing. I need to pee, but if I get up they’ll hear me, and that sudden, conscious silence would be worse than the sound of … Continue reading Excerpts

Author Q&A

Author Q&A with Melanie Thorne (Download Thorne Author Q&A) 1. Events in your own life inspired Hand Me Down. What made you choose to write a novel instead of a memoir? When I first started writing Hand Me Down, I had this idea that when it was published, it would say “based on a true story” … Continue reading Author Q&A

Interviews & Features

Live! Watch me read from Hand Me Down.  Recorded by LitSeen on April 18th, 2012 at the Booksmith in San Francisco. Live Interview with Beth Ruyak on Capital Public Radio’s “Insight” I discuss, among other things, the “grit” in Hand Me Down with Emmy award-winning journalist, radio host, and all around lovely person, Beth Ruyak. Live! I … Continue reading Interviews & Features

Discussion Guide

If your reading group is discussing Hand Me Down and you’d like me to join you, all you have to do is ask! In person (within reasonable driving distance) or via Skype, I’m happy to talk with your group and answer any questions you might have about the book or the writing process. Learn more and/or … Continue reading Discussion Guide

Buy Hand Me Down!

Buy Hand Me Down from any of these booksellers and you’ll also receive my utmost gratitude invisibly attached to your copy of the book. For free, I might add. What a deal! Amazon Barnes and Noble IndieBound (support local and independent bookstores when you can!) Powell’s Books Hardcover, paperback, and e-book versions are available.   … Continue reading Buy Hand Me Down!

Book Clubs

One of the best parts of having Hand Me Down out in the world has been connecting with readers. I sincerely hope that your reading group will consider choosing Hand Me Down. Previous book clubs have found discussions flowed easily about the variety of conversation-worthy topics including family betrayals, the way inherited traits and learned behaviors … Continue reading Book Clubs