Feb 25, 2016

Review: Some of the Parts by Hannah Barnaby


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Title: Some of the Parts
Author: Hannah Barnaby
Publisher: Knopf Books
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Published February 2016
Hardcover, 304 Pages



Summary: 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 fa├žade she’s built around herself: ORGAN DONOR. 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.
Penguin Random House reached out to me and asked if I was interesting in reading this book a few weeks before it came out in exchange for an honest review, and I was definitely on board with it! The summary drew me in right away, because it's a situation I've never really considered before -- not only having to lose your brother, but then finding out that the pieces of him are not entirely gone. It was a concept that I found it really hard to wrap my head around, so naturally, I wanted to pick up the book and give it a shot. 

(There are some minor spoilers ahead in this paragraph, so please skip to the next paragraph if you haven't yet read this book!) So as the summary explains, Tallie is struggling to cope with the loss of her older brother Nate. As if being haunted by his death isn't enough, she has a whole new guilt resting on her shoulders: she was the one that crashed the car that killed him. That's definitely a burden I don't think I would ever be able to live with. So it makes matters worse, because not only is she being treated with sympathy because she lost her brother, but she's being treated with extra sympathy because everyone assumes she's dying inside with the guilt of being the reason that he died.

And matters only get even worse when Tallie comes home from school one day to an envelope from an organ donor company - only to find out that Nate, the brother that she thought she had lost, still lives on in the bodies of several different people. (Again, I don't have any experience with said topic, but I can only imagine how mind-boggling that can be for somebody.)

I really sympathized with Tallie throughout the entire book. Even if I didn't personally experience anything like she went through, I know loss, and it's certainly a very lonely feeling. One of my favorite characters in the entire book was her best friend, Mel. Mel was everything that anybody would want in a best friend - quirky, reliable, creative, and always willing to help out her best friend with anything she needs, no matter how morally wrong and/or illegal it may be. (As a matter of fact, she reminded me a lot of my own best friend.)

(There are some spoilers ahead, so please skip to the next paragraph if you haven't read this book yet!) What I wasn't crazy about in this book were two things - towards the ending, and also Chase. So I'll start with towards the ending. Throughout the entire duration of the book, I felt that Tallie was pretty level-headed. She was quiet and careful, and no matter how much she was hurting inside or how much she couldn't mentally handle the sadness and what was going on around her, she managed to remain calm. So why, all of a sudden, towards the end of the book, did she just snap and go on this complete wild-child rampage and take off to Boston and run everywhere and try to jump out of a window? I was pretty taken aback, because although I knew that she was going to have some sort of moment where the loss of her brother just made her do something rash, I didn't expect her to do everything that she did. It felt a little weird - almost like I picked up the wrong book and all of a sudden I was in some sort of action-thriller instead of a contemporary novel. It went from being a story about a girl who is coping with the loss of her brother to the story of a runaway trying to jump out of a hospital window because the ghost of her brother is telling her to. It was a little strange.

(More spoilers, continue to the next paragraph.) I also wasn't that big on Chase himself, mainly because I didn't find him to be very trustworthy. Every time Tallie confided in him, he managed to spill it. And then she still confided in him. Like what? I don't know what she saw in him that kept her trusting him, but whatever.

All in all, I did enjoy Some of the Parts. I felt that it was a well-crafted book about accepting loss and blame and managing to move on after terrible tragedies even when the entire world is expecting you to crumble and fall. Hannah Barnaby is a great writer and I'd definitely be interested in reading more of her work in the future. I'd like to thank Penguin once again for reaching out to me with this book, and I'm so glad that I got the chance to read it! (We even got a second copy to give away, which was fun too!)

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