Hand Me Down by Melanie Thorne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked this up after listening to an interview with Melanie Thorne on the Other People with Brad Listi podcast. So glad I did. This story is heart-breaking, particularly knowing it was inspired by Thorne's own life.
Elizabeth's mother is married to a convicted sex offender. Her father is a drunk. And when forced to choose between her husband and her daughters, she chooses him.
The girls are separated. Jaime goes to live with their father, leaving Elizabeth in a constant state of fear over her sister's well-being. And Liz is sent to Utah to live with her aunt who shows her a world she has never had access to before. I fell in love with her aunt Tammy. (For once, a wonderful character named Tammy!) And I ached for Liz as she struggled between the opportunity this new life offered and her sense of obligation and loyalty to her sister and mother.
Elizabeth is a fabulous narrator: precocious, smart, protective, but still a child. This book reminded me of all the wonderful books I love about broken childhoods: White Oleander, Bastard Out of Carolina, The Glass Castle.