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The Namesake [Kindle Edition]

Steven Parlato , Jacquelyn Mitchard
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Gifted artist? Standout student? All his teachers are sure certain that Evan Galloway can be the graduate who brings glory to small, ordinary St. Sebastian's School. As for Evan, however, he can't be bothered anymore. Since the shock of his young father's suicide last spring, Evan no longer cares about the future. In fact, he believes that he spent the first fifteen years of his life living a lie. Despite his mother's encouragement and the steadfast companionship of his best friend, Alexis, Evan is mired in rage and bitterness. Good memories seem ludicrous when the present holds no hope. Then Evan's grandmother hands him the key--literally, a key--to a locked trunk that his father hid when he was the same age as Evan is now. Digging into the trunk and the small-town secrets it uncovers, Evan can begin to face who his father really was, and why even the love of his son could not save him.

In a voice that resonates with the authenticity of grief, Steven Parlato tells a different kind of coming-of-age story, about a boy thrust into adulthood too soon, through the corridor of shame, disbelief, and finally...compassion.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Fifteen-year-old Evan Galloway is struggling to deal with his father's recent suicide, but going to the same Catholic school that his father attended and dealing with his mother's emotional detachment don't make it any easier. So when his grandmother gives him a footlocker that belonged to his father, Evan is all too eager to discover some answers to his nagging questions. He expects to find old posters and mementos, but what he doesn't count on is finding his dad's old journals. As Evan goes on a journey to connect with his late father, he makes a chilling discovery that as a boy, his father was sexually molested by a Catholic priest, and Evan is able to slowly piece together the role this played in the man's suicide. The story is powerful, and the plot is well crafted, but the writing alternates between choppy and engaging, and the dialogue often feels forced. The story is slow to unfold, and reluctant readers are unlikely to push past the first few pages. Committed and patient readers, however, will take something away from this thoughtful coming-of-age story.-Candyce Pruitt-Goddard, Hartford Public Library, CTα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


"The story is powerful, and the plot is well crafted . . . [a] thoughtful coming-of-age story." --School Library Journal

"Parlato constructs an introspective debut about the aftershocks of family trauma. Evan's journey . . . is complex and solidly woven. Parlato's . . . ambitious, well-executed plot twists and nimbly handled cast make him a name to watch." --Publishers Weekly

"Before his father killed himself, [Evan's] home life was pretty normal . . . Now there's a hole in that life that can't be filled or explained. Parlato's debut novel . . . is a painstaking dissection of a father's past and its reverberations in his son's life. A memorable, disturbing story, carefully wrought." --Kirkus Reviews

"Steven Parlato's The Namesake is an emotionally stimulating young adult novel that delves into the powerful topic of abuse. Using dry wit, incredible similes and metaphors, and a very thought-provoking storyline, Parlato introduces the reader to an original and unforgiving exploration of the teenage psyche." --Blogcritics

"Steven Parlato's The Namesake totally knocked me off my feet. This is the type of book that keeps you reading, especially if you enjoy dark humor. It's jarring to be sure, but well worth your time." --Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile

"The novel shapes up to be one of the best contemporary reads I have ever read. The further I got into the book, the more I became convinced that [the author] was a genius with his writing. The characters were all perfectly laid out. I was able to connect with each and every one of them." --The Subtle Chronicler

Product Details

  • File Size: 1216 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1440554579
  • Publisher: Merit Press (December 18, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #366,480 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant, Painful and Nearly Perfect December 21, 2012
By Kim S.
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Steven Parlato has tackled two difficult subjects, suicide and sexual abuse, with grace, humor and brutal honesty.

Evan Galloway, protagonist of the story, delves into the past to try to unravel why his father committed suicide. In the process he digs up not only painful family secrets but the sordid history of the high school he attends, St. Sebastian.

It's not always an easy story to read, Parlato's prose pulls us into realms we'd rather not admit exist. It is graphic but not explicit in its portrayal of sexual abuse. Just when we think we can't face anymore, Parlato pokes holes in the tension with a moment of Evan's sarcasm or the wit of his best friend, Alexis. And somehow, through it all, the author manages to write a story exposing the failings of those who serve the church without casting God as the villain. Instead, it is God's grace that ultimately triumphs.

Although this may be considered a YA novel, the expert weaving together of teen angst and family drama make this an excellent read for any age.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I bought this book because the cover appealed to me. To keep myself out of a literary rut I do that occasionally.
I would never have guessed how much darkness lurked behind the light at the end of the pictured hallway.
This is a very tough review to write. One does NOT enjoy a story like this.
However, the truth is that this is one beautifully written book and deals with deeply depressing subject matter in an honest, sensitive, truthful fashion. I am an older adult and have a very difficult time hearing/reading of rape and sexual abuse, especially of children.
The protagonist's story is heartbreakingly difficult--his father's suicide would have been bad enough, but what he discovers is simply wretched.
The author handles all of the difficult situations, and the characters lives and hearts carefully and with respect as he spins his tale. I came to love Evan and deeply empathize with his painful journey. While I literally wept and felt sick during some of the passages, the book was well worth reading.
There is hope, grace and redemption in this novel, and it is much appreciated by the time we realize how much horror is present.

I would NOT give this book to a young/innocent teen, nor would I give to a teen already struggling with deep depression or anxiety or defeatism. There is simply too much unpleasantness and I could see it completely overwhelming someone already on the edge.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A review from Bookworm1858 April 14, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm not really sure why this book callled to me as on the surface it doesn't really seem like a "Stephanie" book. It's a male narrator dealing with grief and some very dark subjects in a literary novel fashion. But it is contemporary YA mostly set in a high school and featuring religious questioning so maybe those were elements I somehow sensed.

My rating for this book is largely based on personal enjoyment, which was not very high for this book. It is dark: the book opens with the narrator reflecting on his father's suicide and that hangs over the entire book as Evan delves into his father's tortured past (if I mention that his father was an altar boy, you might be able to figure out some of what he endured). I do not tend to like dark books and there were many difficult passages for me.

As for the writing, I thought this book had a more literary quality unlike a lot of YA, which tends to lean commercially in my opinion. However some of the characterizations felt off. Evan is supposed to be very smart (having skipped at least one grade) but I didn't really get that impression from him. He was more sensitive than some of his peers but intellectually, he seemed average. His best friend Lex has had some trauma in her past and I thought the reveal of that darkness wasn't handled as well as it could have been (I don't want to reveal spoilers) although by the end, it was almost completely laid bare.

Another element that was hard for me was just the formatting. This book isn't divided into chapters but every few pages, there are section breaks. I would have preferred for each of those sections to be turned into chapters. This is a very odd little personal preference that probably wouldn't bother anyone else.

Overall: A warning that this book is definitely on the dark side and more suited for older readers. Definitely check out some other reviews to see if this one might be right for you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tough read, but worth diving into April 12, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Evan is attempting to deal with his father's suicide. There is a lot of anger built up because he didn't understand how his father could kill himself when nothing seemed to be that bad. In comes grandma with a key that opens up a trunk his father had when he was a teenager. Evan opens the trunk and begins to dive into his father's childhood. As he investigates, he finds out a lot of difficult times that gives him more clues to what his father may have been dealing with. Along with this, his best friend is sticking by his side and adding in moments of humor and possibly a little of a love interest. As Evan develops as a person, he learns more about his father, his family, and most of all, himself.

My thoughts:
I need to stop reading such sad books. This was a super tough read. A lot of very personal issues popped up for me as I was going through it. I tend to stay away from books that describe sexual abuse because it is a difficult issue for me to deal with. Even though there is a positive conclusion, I was still crying through several scenes. I was mixed between wanting it to end and wanting to keep going. In most cases, I don't recommend putting these books out in my classroom libraries. This is something I would give to select students. I really wish there was some mention of the sexual abuse within the summary, even though it may have led to me not reading it. It's just nice to know up front before dealing with such explicit material. Bring tissues and dive into Evan's world. Join him as he makes discoveries about his family history that may just make us all breathless.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I would recommend highly.
I just finished this book. I could not put it down. It made me laugh, cry and everything in between. The main character was seeking answers concerning his fathers suicide. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Eileen Barchi
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
They require you comment, so here goes...I read tons of teen and young adult fiction and honestly if I had read they back, I might not have picked it up. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kasey J. Tritt
4.0 out of 5 stars Young boy dealing with the loss of his father
I would categorize this book as young adult book that can also be quite appealing to adults. What is it like to be a young boy, a teenager, and deal with the sudden loss of one's... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Helena
4.0 out of 5 stars the horrible issue and its impact on the life on an ...
the horrible issue and its impact on the life on an individual is presented in a very good way. i recomend
Published 7 months ago by alexander schutzman
4.0 out of 5 stars review
{My Thoughts} – I had an extremely difficult time getting involved in this book. It came down to I finished it because I wanted to know why? Read more
Published 8 months ago by Zapkode Marie
4.0 out of 5 stars unexpected
Really great writing about really grim topics. This was a page turner that left me horrified yet hopeful. Great character development.
Published 8 months ago by Amy D. Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars BethC
During the reading of this book, I began to wonder why the heck I'd bought it then why in the world I was continuing to read. Having completed it, I'm glad I continued! Read more
Published 11 months ago by B. Cowlham
4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and Powerful
The Namesake is one of those books that stays with you long after you read it. It tackles tough issues, such as child sexual abuse and suicide, with honesty and sensitivity. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Melody Maysonet
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps You Guessing!
Loved all the suspense and wonderful storytelling, mixed with humor and lots of heart. You don't want to miss this one!
Published 13 months ago by Kym Brunner
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Powerful, Yet Uplifting
As everyone else has indicated in their reviews, this book deals with some seriously heavy subject matters. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
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More About the Author

Steven Parlato, a published poet and illustrator, teaches college writing and literature. He has also appeared on stage in roles ranging from the Scarecrow to MacBeth. Steven's debut young adult novel, The Namesake, won the 2011 Tassy Walden Award for New Voices. He is represented for fiction by Victoria Marini of the Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency.

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