Book Review: Hand Me Down

Hand Me Down: a novel, by Christen Gillan

Publisher: Christen Gillan; May 12, 2016


Today I had the pleasure of reading Christen Gillan’s debut novel, Hand Me Down. This is most definitely a unique romance, in that it tells the story of Kate and her ex brother-in-law, Alex.  Kate is a gamer geek, loner, and has the mouth of a sailor.  Alex has been busy rebuilding his life since his wife Jenny (Kate’s sister), cheated on him and became pregnant by her secret lover. Kate has not had contact with Alex since his divorce from Jenny, but when Jenny’s home needs repairs, she talks Kate into paying Alex a visit to ask him to pay for it. As awkward as that first meeting is, thus begins an interesting friendship.

Kate is an unusual and quirky character.  She likes to play X-Box Live and scream and cuss over the headset with other gamers, her best friend is a lesbian that lives with another woman, and Kate is still a virgin at 23 years old.  Kate is definitely not a girly girl, frequently choosing gaming t-shirts and sweats as her attire.  Having developed Type 1 Diabetes as a child, she used to struggle with being chubby, but has lost weight and has grown greater confidence about her body image. Kate’s sister Jenny, is just an awful person. She cheated on her ex-husband (Alex) with her yoga instructor, tried to pretend the baby was her husband’s, but ended up divorced after he insisted on a DNA test, proving that it was the Yoga Instructor’s baby.  Jenny is basically a brat and throws temper-tantrums, making the reader delighted that Alex is away from her.  Alex is a big, strong, rugged Architect. Gillan’s descriptions of Alex make him sound absolutely dreamy, he’s kind, gentle, intelligent, and sexy. Plus, he has a cool dog named Bowie, which always scores points with me:)  As Kate and Alex reconnect, Kate is torn between what she thinks she is beginning to feel, and what her family would think if she were to be with Alex.

Hand Me Down is definitely an interesting romance because it’s not a story line you read everyday. Alex has always been a good guy and was not the reason his marriage to Kate’s sister ended.  He was not the wrong-doer, but what are the boundaries and limits when it comes to your sister’s ex-husband?  This story brings up various moral questions about what’s acceptable or appropriate, but in the end it comes down to love and following your heart. Although I felt Alex’s character could have been more developed, I loved Gillan’s writing style. While reading this novel you can feel the emotions that the characters are experiencing, especially the chemistry between Kate and Alex, as well as, the awkward tension. I feel that Hand Me Down is a great debut novel and can’t wait to read more from this new author!

Want to learn more about Christen Gillan and see something really cool and different?  Visit her website at:

*Christen’s website has a playlist of songs either mentioned in the novel or that served as inspiration, which is an awesome idea!

**I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.


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