A teenage boy seeks connections with the people who received his beloved brother’s donated organs in this darkly humorous novel by the author of Inexcusable (2005).
A year after his 20-year-old brother Duane died in a diving accident, 18-year-old Eric still can’t seem to move forward. In an attempt to keep the “nothingness that is filling the Duane space” from taking hold, he reaches out to three of the donors who received his brother’s “pieces.” After meeting shy, redheaded Phil, brassy Barry and sweet single mom Melinda, Eric finds himself constantly asking the questions, “Who are these people? Who are they, to me? Who am I, to them?” Duane’s outspoken and softhearted ex-girlfriend Martha dispenses advice and comic relief as Eric puzzles out the answers and tries not to fall for beautiful Melinda, who is eight years his senior. As these unusual relationships take root, Eric realizes that what the donors are to him is a freshly minted family that helps ease the pain of the one that he lost. Each character springs fully formed off the page, and Lynch’s irreverent, inventive dialogue crackles, turning what could have easily been a maudlin soap opera into a sharply observed story of real human connection. Readers will be pleasantly reminded of the snarky stylings of John Green and Ned Vizzini.
Exceptional. (Fiction. 12 & up)