Publication: February 16, 2016
By: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
Sometimes bad things happen, and we are not the same when they are over.
For months, Tallie McGovern has been coping with the death of her older brother the only way she knows how: by smiling bravely and pretending that she's okay. She’s managed to fool her friends, her parents, and her teachers so far, yet she can’t even say his name out loud: “N—” is as far as she can go. But when Tallie comes across a letter in the mail, it only takes two words to crack the careful façade she’s built around herself:
Two words that had apparently been checked off on her brother’s driver’s license; two words that her parents knew about—and never confided to her. All at once, everything Tallie thought she understood about her brother’s death feels like a lie. And although a part of her knows he’s gone forever, another part of her wonders if finding the letter might be a sign. That if she can just track down the people on the other end of those two words, it might somehow bring him back.
Hannah Barnaby’s deeply moving novel asks questions there are no easy answers to as it follows a family struggling to pick up the pieces, and a girl determined to find the brother she wasn’t ready to let go of.
*I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
PRAISE FOR SOME OF THE PARTS
“A touching depiction of the pain of grief” — Kirkus Reviews
“Barnaby’s elegant, well-paced novel stands out from others examining the death of a loved one both for its understated writing and for its penetrating exploration of the outer limits of grief and guilt… A deeply affecting depiction of moving on after a great loss.” — Publisher’s Weekly, starred review
I had a feeling this book was going to break my heart, and it did. Tallie's grief for her brother Nate is palpable. It consumes every facet of her life until it's all she can feel. When she decides to go looking for the recipients of her brother's organs, you know it's not going to end well (for her), but all you can do (as a reader) is hang on for the ride.
Tallie eventually crashes and burns, and it's heartbreaking to read. But she is not without hope. Surrounded by a support system of people who love and care about her, and who want to see her heal and move on, Tallie begins the process of piecing her life back together again.
"Sometimes bad things happen, and we are not the same when they are over."
And that's okay.
HANNAH BARNABY has worked as a children's book editor (HMH), a bookseller at independent children's bookstores, and a teacher of writing for children and young adults. She holds an MA in Children's Literature from Simmons College and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She began writing her first novel, during her time as the first Children's Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library. She lives in Charlottesville, VA.