A really pleasant surprise this morning. Though I don’t think it will appear in print until tomorrow, One for Sorrow has been reviewed in The Washington Post. And reviewed well! An excerpt:
Traveling through this story with Adam is like a nightmare, but the kind that fascinates you so deeply that when you wake up, you grab the first person you see and tell him about it. The language is deceptively simple. Barzak writes about the supernatural with fearless originality. The ghost doesn’t appear to Adam as a specter glimpsed in a mirror or reflected in the bathtub water; instead, the dead boy, naked and wearing the grit of the grave between his teeth, climbs onto Adam’s back and rides him through the woods to the abandoned crime scene. Jamie can temporarily re-warm his dead flesh by choosing one of his memories and burning it from within, a page of his life lost forever. He begins with the memory of who murdered him.
The portrait of Adam’s family is also unexpected. What drives Adam crazy is not so much that his mother is bound to a wheelchair as that she becomes best friends with the drunk driver who caused her accident. And the love story is just as fresh. When Gracie introduces Adam to sex, he decides she smells like a sunflower, not the plant but the word “sunflower.”
One for Sorrow is ultimately a coming-of-age story, more melancholy than morbid and, by the end, profoundly hopeful. The writing is beautiful, honest and heartbreaking. Sometimes it takes a character infatuated with death to remind us why life matters.