My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won’t find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could’ve been better or what worked or didn’t work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it’s here I probably think it won’t injure your brain if you read it.
The only goal fourteen-year-old Liz Reid has is to keep her younger sister Jaime from being hurt. Unfortunately they share homes with the people that could hurt her most- their father, an unapologetically manipulative alcoholic who has nearly killed them all once before; their mother, a once-caring parent who has hit a midlife-crisis and has found new love; and worst of all- her boyfriend, a formerly convicted sexual offender who eyes both girls behind their mother’s back.
When the police tell their mother that it’s not legal for the girls to be under the same roof as her boyfriend, she makes a fateful decision – she kicks her children out. Now oscillating between guest bedrooms in two different states with distant relatives, Liz has to keep a long-distant eye on Jaime’s welfare.
Strings of broken promises lead Liz to believe that one day their mother will return to the woman that she remembers, the one that stepped in front of their father’s fists in order to save them. But the years are passing with the boyfriend still sending Liz veiled threats, and Jaime is beginning to resent Liz’s constant worrying.
HAND ME DOWN is a crushing semi-autobiographical debut about a young girl trying to hold her family together while being passed around the country, never knowing if there will be a welcome smile at the next airport, or a bed that she can sleep safely in at the end of her journey.