Some Of The Parts by Hannah BarnabySome Of The Parts by Hannah Barnaby

Some Of The Parts

byHannah Barnaby

Reinforced Library Binding | February 16, 2016

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For fans of Love Letters to the Dead and I’ll Give You the Sun comes a heartrending story of a teen who sets out on an unusual quest. 
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, yet she can’t even say his name out loud: “N—” is as far as she can go. Then Tallie comes across a letter in the mail, and it only takes two words to crack the careful façade she’s built up:
Two words that had apparently been checked off on her brother’s driver’s license; two words that her parents knew about—and never revealed 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.
Hannah Barnaby’s deeply moving novel asks questions there are no easy answers to as it follows a family struggling to pick up the pieces, and a girl determined to find the brother she wasn’t ready to let go of.
Hannah Barnaby has worked as a children's book editor, a bookseller, and a teacher of writing for children and young adults. She holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College. Her first novel, Wonder Show, was a William C. Morris nominee. Hannah lives ...
Title:Some Of The PartsFormat:Reinforced Library BindingDimensions:304 pages, 8.5 × 5.68 × 0.87 inPublished:February 16, 2016Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0553539647

ISBN - 13:9780553539646


Read from the Book

ONE  HOLD ON  Saturday 9/20  We are driving around town in Mel’s inherited Oldsmobile when we see the pig truck. Mel and I first became friends when she was the only one in my comp class who liked my short story. It was called “The President Dreams of His Mother,” and it was about how the president of the United States had a dream that he was talking to his mother and she was completely naked the whole time and he was so disturbed by the dream that he couldn’t concentrate on his job, which resulted in the nuclear annihilation of the entire East Coast. Truthfully, the story wasn’t very good. But Mel called it “delightfully obtuse” and clapped for an inappropriately long time at the end of my reading. I’m never sure if Mel knows what she’s talking about but I make a lot of effort to believe that she does, because it’s nice to think that someone is (a) knowledgeable and (b) on my side. Mel never knew my brother very well--we were more friends within the boundaries of the school building than friends who paint each other’s toenails at sleepovers. Amy and Zoey and Fiona had filled that category, but they hadn’t come over since the accident and I hadn’t tried to call them. Maybe none of us knew who was supposed to call first. Then Mel showed up at my house, and when she did, she acted totally normal. Her visit was like the social equivalent of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. For a week I had been holding my breath whenever I went anywhere because people were constantly coming up to me and hugging me, or pretending they hadn’t seen me because they didn’t know what to say. Mel just knocked on my front door and said, “Do you have any chocolate? I am dying for some chocolate.” She even used the word dying without cringing or gasping or anything. So I let her in. Hanging out with Mel makes it easy for me to be quiet. There’s no pressure for me to talk because Mel is always working on something and she is fully focused on whatever that is. She doesn’t care if I zone out when I see a pair of mittens that look like the ones my brother had when we were little, or a car that looks like the one he wassaving up for when he died. A black Mustang. There are more of those around than you might think. So it’s a decent arrangement, even though Mel is not always easy. Her voice is like gravel under tires and her laugh is harsh and she makes jokes that aren’t funny. And she drives like a maniac. I don’t think it occurs to her that I might have a personal issue with reckless driving. At least, I hope it doesn’t. I hope it’s just ignorance and not cruelty. It is useful to have a friend with a car. We are in the same grade, but she is a year older because once upon a time herparents sent her to an expensive school that was called “progressive” and then turned out to be a front for a religious cult. Mel had to repeat third grade, and her mother has never gotten over it. It is difficult to keep my composure when she drives like that. I am always waiting for the next crash, the sickening crunch of metal and glass, the pain, the sirens, the chaos. For all her faults, Mel insulates me from the rest of the world, the world that looks so bright andsharp now, in the after. She talks and talks and fills my ears so I don’t have to listen for those terrible sounds. She keeps a list of word combinations that would make great band names. Terminal Butterfly. Soapbox Evangelists. She makes up games for us to play so I don’t have to think. Our favorite is Opposite. “What’s the opposite of bridge?” I ask. “Burn,” she tells me. Today Mel is driving a bit more reasonably than usual because even she is not immune to the effect of the maple trees that line the highway, their leaves turning obscene shades of red and orange. I am holding my hand out the open window and letting it coast the invisible wave of air. And because my hand is pleasantly numbed by the chill-edged air, and because the leaves are rioting all around us, and because the sky is so blue, I am temporarily fooled into thinking that the world might be coming back online. Mel has just said burn when the pig truck appears in the distance, like some strange mirage. We come up on it slowly. I recognize the sort of truck it is as we get closer, know to expect something alive inside of it by the ventilation holes all around thehuge metal cargo container. It is not until we pull up alongside the truck that I see the shocking, dreadful pink of the pigs. Their bodies are pressed against the metal, bulging out of the holes like fleshy bubbles. I can’t see their faces, can’t make out their individual bodies, so it is as if there is just one endless mass of pig stuffed into the truck, as if they have all been mashedtogether into some kind of living, breathing, horrible pulp. “Oh my god,” I whisper. Mel looks over. “Gross,” she comments, but she says it so casually that I know she isn’t having the same trouble breathing that I’m having. My chest is tight and my throat is, too, and I’m caught between wanting to retch and wanting to cry. This is how I am now. Unfeeling, numb, until something pierces my casing and I pour messily out into the world. I try to gather myself back into place, but it’s no use. The pigs are too pink, the sun deepening their color until they are almost as bright as the trees. All I can do is cover my eyes. It feels like cheating, but I do it anyway. And Mel must see me do it because she says, “Hang on,” and I hear the enormous engine of the Oldsmobile groan with the effort of accelerating. I peek out from between my fingers to see the front edge of the trailer recede past my window, and as we pass thetruck’s cab, the driver waggles his fingers at us and grins.    TWO  MISS MISERY   Mel and I head for Common Grounds and get there just in time for my shift. I try to avoid coming here on my days off--Cranky Andy doesn’t like having to treat his employees like customers. It stretches the limits of his already limited social energy. He’d rather be practicing his foam-art technique or making a spreadsheet to chart sales trends in baked goods. So Mel likes to drive me to work because she can get a latte to go. The only other place to get coffee in town is Dunkin’ Donuts and Mel says their coffee tastes “like industry,” whatever that means. Common Grounds used to be a drugstore, and when they converted it into a coffee shop, they decided tokeep some of the old features, including the automatic doors. They swoosh open as if by magic. I mean, it’s not magic, obviously. It’s magnets or electric sensors or something. Anyway, the swoosh was accompanied by a ding until Cranky Andy said he couldn’t stand it anymore and made them disconnect the dinger. Cranky Andy gets what he wants. No one else in this town can make a decent latte, especially not with decorative designs engraved in the foam. I had just gotten used to the ding when it stopped. I had just stopped being startled by it and now Ikind of miss it. But I’ll adjust. I have to, if I wantnormal again. I started working here two weeks after the accident. School wasn’t out yet but it was clear to everyone that I wasn’t going back. Nothing really hurt anymore, my cuts were healing into a map of pink scars threading across my hands and forearms, but I was still tired all the time. My teachers agreed (or were convinced) to give me incompletes on my report card and let me make up the final exams over the summer. So I had a jump on the rest of the summer-job scrabblers when I walked into Common Grounds and asked for an application. Cranky Andy watched me fill it out. “You’re that girl,” he said after I handed it back to him. I had used my full name: Taliesin West McGovern. My parents named me after Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture school in the Arizona desert. They visited it on their honeymoon, and my mother even applied to go there but then she got pregnant with my brother. Of course I knew exactly what he was talking about, but I made him say it anyway. I was still forcing people to acknowledge it. I wasn’t letting anyone get away with less. “What girl?” “The girl who . . .” He paused, but barely. “That accident on River Road. Your brother died?” I nodded. “That sucks,” he said. It was just a fact, the way he said it. There was no disputing it. “It does.” He looked down again at my application, like it was a picture of something interesting. Or distasteful. “You’re hired.” “Because you feel sorry for me?” That was still important then. Less so, now. Cranky Andy raised his eyes, set them on me. “No, because I can’t stand chatty and you don’t talk much. And because I don’t feel like interviewing a hundred high school kids who don’t have the attention span to take a coffee order.” I didn’t need a job, really. I was only there because I couldn’t stand it at home, where the air had turned to wet cement and all of us were choking on it. The automatic door swooshed and the not-yet-abolished dinger dinged. I jumped. “You okay?” “I’m great,” I said. “When do I start?” “Right now, if you can.” I looked around. There were, like, three customers in the whole place. “I don’t know how to make anything,” I told him. “You don’t need to. I make the drinks, you handle the register and the bakery stuff. It gets delivered in the morning, ready to go.” “What if it gets busy? Shouldn’t I be able to help with--” He put a possessive hand on the milk frother. “I work alone,” he said darkly. So that was my first day at work, standing at the register, knowledgeless, while Cranky Andy slippedinto the back room to record a Minecraft tutorial on his phone. I realized later that we hadn’t discussed how much I’d get paid. But it didn’t really matter. I would have paid him for getting me out of the house, for reinstalling me in the outside world. School ended without me. Summer limped toward fall, and I forced it to carry me on its sweaty back. I was too tired to walk. I woke up in the morning and never felt like I had slept. I was mechanical and dazed, but I proceeded. I ate, I showered, I passed my final exams. I worked. I rode in Mel’s car and braced myself for the crash that never came. I kept on being the one who survived. The job was like medicine: vaguely unpleasant but probably good for me. Dealing with customers during a rush was exhausting--the eye contact, the forced smiles, the small talk--but I liked it when it was quiet. I spent my time alphabetizing bags of coffee and arranging muffins under glass domes as if they were exhibits in a museum. And Cranky Andy turned out to be a pretty decent boss. He is not the owner of Common Grounds--that’s some guy who used to live here and now lives elsewhere but couldn’t be bothered to sell the place. Early on, I made the mistake of asking Andy if he was going to buy it. He snapped, “It’s not for sale!” and then dumped a bag of beans into the huge industrial coffee grinder with a surprising show of upper-body strength. I kept myself busy with small, simple tasks and tried to ignore how hollow and disjointed I felt. Sometimes watching the people in the coffee shop was like watching a room full of ghosts who didn’t realize that they were in another dimension altogether. That nearby there was a tree ringed by flower arrangements, dried and bleached by the sun that relentlessly rises every day. So I pretended I didn’t know this either, tried to appear as if I was just like them, because that was what I wanted. I wanted to be like them again. Oblivious. Content. Caffeinated. Unharmed. Mel takes her coffee and oinks to me on her way out the door, her way of telling me that (a) I didn’t imagine that truck and (b) life goes on. I oink back, still shaky but determined to hide it. Determined to act normal. And then Amy comes in. Amy and Zoey and Fiona. The trio that used to be a foursome, when I was part of the club. The friends who used to star in the movie of my life. Until the movie jumped genres from comedy to tearjerker. Of the three of them, Amy’s the only one who reacts to the sight of me. Her eyes widen ever so slightly and she pauses a half step but keeps walking. Plants herself in front of me andsays, “Large skim latte, please.” And then, “Hi.” Before I can answer, she starts digging around in her bag, staring into its vast unseeable depths. She never could find anything in there. I’d given her a flashlight for her birthday as a joke. I think about mentioning it. “Got it,” Amy tells no one in particular. Someone other than me. She extracts a debit card and holds it out, pinched between two fingers, her eyes set on something behind me so she doesn’t accidentally make eye contact. I take the card, careful to keep our hands from touching. Fiona and Zoey are hovering behind her. “Hurry up,” Zoey whines. “We’re already late for our pedis.” School started three weeks ago but it’s still warm enough outside, just barely, to wear flip-flops. This is where Mel would jump in with a sarcastic warning about the dangers of foot infections from unsanitary salon tools. But Mel is not here. Mel is driving around with herlatte, scouting the roads for freshly run-over animals. Amy glares at Zoey and for a second I think she’s going to defend me--the slow cashier at the coffee shop--or herself--the one whose bag is too big. But she doesn’t say anything, and as I hand her card back, I am weirdly aware of how close our fingertipsare. Our fingerprints coexisting on the same plastic surface, our trace bits of DNA overlapping. We used to be this close all the time.

Editorial Reviews

"Barnaby’s elegant, well-paced novel stands out from others examining the death of a loved one both for its understated writing and for its penetrating exploration of the outer limits of grief and guilt." —Publishers Weekly starred review