Reviewed by Melanie Kline

Elizabeth Reid is fourteen-years-old and is probably the most traumatized teen I have ever read about. Her parents are divorced and her father and his girlfriend live off of the system. They scam and con anyone and everyone to support their habits and avoid getting jobs. Liz’s mother, Linda, seriously needs some counseling as well. She is stuck in a rut, believing that she needs a man to love to make her life complete and all she manages to do is continually harm Liz and her younger sister, Jaime.

Linda meets a man at church, Terrence, and is quick to marry him and move him into the house knowing that he is a convicted pedophile. She chooses not to believe it and listens to him when he says that it is not true. She sticks behind him when he is again convicted and sent back to prison and upon his release moves him back into the home with Liz and Jaime and the new baby. Terrence’s parole officer is informed that he is living in a home with two teenage girls and Linda is told that they cannot all live together so she chooses to send the girls away “temporarily” until they get things worked out.

Liz is sent from home to home of friends and family. People who take care of her for a time, but never keep her, until she winds up with her Aunt Tammy. At Tammy’s home Liz finds the love and acceptance so craves so badly until her mother intervenes and forces her to move to her Aunt Deborah’s because she feels it will be better for her with the strict rules and church going beliefs.

Hand Me Down by Melanie Thorne sweeps out of control at the climax and all of the characters are forced to take deep looks at not only themselves, but also each other. This is a very tragic story and has the potential to be amazing, but fell short of the mark. I was utterly engaged with the plot, but it also felt completely distant and cold at the same time.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Dutton Adult. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.