One for Sorrow

One for Sorrow

by Christopher Barzak
4.5 8


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One for Sorrow by Christopher Barzak


Part thriller, part ghost tale, part love story, One for Sorrow is a novel as timeless as The Catcher in the Rye and as hauntingly lyrical as The Lovely Bones. Christopher Barzak’s stunning debut tells of a teenage boy’s coming-of-age that begins with a shocking murder and ends with a reason to hope.

Adam McCormick had just turned fifteen when the body was found in the woods. It is the beginning of an autumn that will change his life forever. Jamie Marks was a boy a lot like Adam, a boy no one paid much attention to—a boy almost no one would truly miss. And for the first time, Adam feels he has a purpose. Now, more than ever, Jamie needs a friend.

But the longer Adam holds on to Jamie’s ghost, the longer he keeps his friend tethered to a world where he no longer belongs . . . and the weaker Adam’s own ties to the living become. Now, to find his way back, Adam must learn for himself what it truly means to be alive.

Praise for One for Sorrow

“Christopher Barzak’s sympathy and humor, his awareness, his easeful vernacular storytelling, are extraordinary, and his mournful, unforgettable teenagers drive us deep into the land of the dead practically before we've even fastened our seatbelts.”—Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn
“An amazing, original debut from an amazing, original writer. One for Sorrow may be the most haunting ghost story I’ve ever read.”—Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club
“An uncommonly good book with brains, heart, and bravery to spare. Readers who don’t find themselves in sympathy with Barzak’s characters were never adolescents themselves.”—Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners
“An honest and uncanny ride through the shadows between grief and acceptance. This is how real magic works.”—Scott Westerfeld, author of Uglies and Extras

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553384369
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/28/2007
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 797,430
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Christopher Barzak was born and raised in rural Ohio, has lived in a southern California beach town, the capital of Michigan, and the suburbs of Tokyo, Japan, where he taught English in rural junior high and elementary schools. His stories have appeared in many venues, including Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Trampoline, Interfictions, Nerve, Salon Fantastique, and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Currently he lives in Youngstown, Ohio, where he teaches writing at Youngstown State University. One for Sorrow is his first novel.

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One for Sorrow 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Talekyn More than 1 year ago
Barzak's novel, the basis for the soon-to-be-released motion picture Jamie Marks is Dead, can only be described as "haunting." I'm not trying to be clever or precious by describing a novel about ghosts with that word; I'm trying to capture the idea that months after reading it, the sense of the story still sticks with me. Certain scenes replay behind my closed eyes after I glance at the book cover or someone mentions it on Twitter or Facebook. Interestingly, not the scenes most heavily featured in the movie trailer, and not the "big" scenes. I think I can say without it being considered a spoiler that the scenes of Adam wandering homeless in Youngstown have entered my dreams and still make me ache. I want to shake Adam back to reality, and to protect him from that reality at the same time. What is interesting about the book is that while it is a ghost story, the supernatural elements are almost peripheral to the relationship beats and Adam's journey of self-discovery. Yes, there are ghosts (Jamie Marks most notable among them) and other supernatural elements (Adam's ability to communicate with other peoples' shadows, for instance) but there are whole chapters where those aspects, especially the latter, go unexplored. And yet unlike my reaction to similar novels, I didn't feel dissastisfied at unanswered questions (including but not limited to "exactly how does this ability of Adam's to see the dead/speak to shadows work, where does it come from?"). I felt like such abilities are just an accepted part of life in Adam's world, for those (like Adam's grandmother) who know how to look for them, and that was enough of an explanation for me. The characters are what make the novel so compelling. Adam, his possible girlfriend Gracie (who also sees ghosts, or at least one in particular) and his possible boyfriend Jamie (the ghost who clearly crushed on Adam and sensed a kindred spirit) are so finely-crafted, so real. They are all confused teenagers; Adam's indecision about whether he loves Gracie or Adam, or both or neither, and insecurity about what he wants and who he is is palpable throughout the book. I'm ranking it with John Green's The Fault in our Stars and David Levithan's Two Boys Kissing as the best fiction I've read so far this year, YA or not. All three books brought tears to my eyes, sometimes at unexpected moments.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was quite a page turner for me. It could be a little disturbing for sensitive souls, but the title should clue everyone in that this book contains a lot of sadness.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought it was fabulous! I am hoping he writes a series. It left me wanting to know more.