Melanie Thorne earned her MA from University of California-Davis, where she was awarded the Alva Englund Fellowship and the Maurice Prize in Fiction. She lives in northern California. Visit her website here.
HAND ME DOWN: A Novel (2012)
Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Reid has spent her life protecting her sister, Jaime, from their parents’ cruel mistakes and broken promises. When their mother chooses her second husband and their new family over raising her firstborn girls, Elizabeth and Jaime are separated and risk losing the shelter of each other. Hand Me Down indelibly captures a contemporary family journey--how two young people, against incredible odds, forge lives of their own in the face of an uncertain future.
“Here’s a mother every reader will love to hate. . . . A sad, compelling read.”—People
“Melanie Thorne's debut novel is raw with emotion as she describes Liz's often futile efforts to protect her sister and herself from the predator their mother has invited into their lives. It is often hard to remember that this is, in fact, a novel and not a memoir… Thorne's novel is an eye-opener… she leaves the reader haunted by a nagging question: What happens to the children who are not so lucky?”—M. L. Johnson, Associated Press
“Difficult to read, but impossible to put down—this is perhaps the best way to describe Melanie Thorne’s debut, Hand Me Down. Like Janet Finch’s 1999 bestseller White Oleander, this is a raw and all too realistic story about a California teen forced to move from house to house—and often from bad situation to worse—after her well-intentioned but self-centered mother makes a life-changing choice.”–BookPage
"First-time author Thorne wears her heart on her sleeve in this semi-autobiographical tale about a 14-year-old who juggles equal amounts of hope and despair in her chaotic daily life… Liz continues to narrate her journey with prose that vibrates with intelligence and passion… Liz is a wise, wry, wonderful heroine.”
–Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Thorne writes convincingly from an adolescent’s perspective, admitting to having mined her own experiences. The family is believably and sadly dysfunctional, and readers will empathize with each character through their highs and lows....This is an intriguing first outing by a talented new writer.”—Publishers Weekly
"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
"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
"The prose here is sharp, fresh, deeply felt, and grimly funny.”—Clifford Chase, author of Winkie
“Thorne deals sensitively with a difficult topic, and the novel's adolescent perspective is sure to find popularity with YA audiences.”—Library Journal
Rights: Dutton/Penguin, World