Wednesday, April 21, 2021

BLOG TOUR: The Half-Orphan's Handbook by Joan F. Smith


Welcome to the Official Blog Tour for Joan F. Smith's debut YA novel, The Half-Orphan's Handbook! Today, on our tour stop, we have an exclusive excerpt AND a tour-wide giveaway to share! So... Be sure to check it out and grab your copy now! Follow the tour, HERE.

Young Adult
Contemporary/Coming-of-age Fiction
Publish Date:
April 16, 2021

For fans of John Green and Emily X.R. Pan, The Half-Orphan’s Handbook by Joan F. Smith is a coming-of-age story and an empathetic, authentic exploration of grief with a sharp sense of humor and a big heart.

It’s been three months since Lila lost her father to suicide. Since then, she’s learned to protect herself from pain by following two unbreakable rules:

1. The only people who can truly hurt you are the ones you love. Therefore, love no one.

2. Stay away from liars. Liars are the worst.

But when Lila’s mother sends her to a summer-long grief camp, it’s suddenly harder for Lila to follow these rules. Potential new friends and an unexpected crush threaten to drag her back into life for the first time since her dad’s death.

On top of everything, there’s more about what happened that Lila doesn’t know, and facing the truth about her family will be the hardest part of learning how a broken heart can love again.



I sucked my top lip into my mouth and released it. “You’re grieving all over again.”


Another person with more than one bad thing that had happened to them. It seemed like that grief lightning handbook rule was right after all. I stared at my fingernails, trying to work up the courage to ask my bunkmates how to fix me. “How do you get over it?” I whispered.

Winnie and Madison exchanged a glance. “Even though it feels mountain-shaped, I don’t know that it’s something you can get over, exactly,” Winnie said. “Sometimes you’re going up. Sometimes you’re going down. Eventually you figure out that there are tunnels and that maybe you’re on one mountain of many, but no matter what kind of hiking boots or backpack you get, you’re still climbing a fucking mountain.”

Madison nodded. “It’s not something you get over; it’s some- thing you wade through. It just becomes one of your memories.” “Which bubbles at a pretty low burn for me,” Winnie added.

“A daily simmer. Like, while I feel like every day is pretty much the same without my dad . . .”

“I get really upset on anniversaries. My mom’s birthday, death day, holidays,” Madison finished.

“I can’t concentrate.” I traced the edge of my shorts. “I think about my dad constantly. I can’t sleep. My whole life took this massive turn without me asking for it. I didn’t get to say goodbye. To use your metaphor”—here I gestured to Winnie—“one second I had a mountain guide, and the next he’d just . . . evaporated. And I don’t even know why.”

“You don’t know why he did it?” Madison asked, her voice gentler than I’d ever heard it.

“No. And I’m positive it would help.”

Winnie leaned forward. “Your mom won’t tell you? Or does she not know either?”

“She knows.”

Praise for The Half-Orphan's Handbook

“A tender, honest exploration of finding a way through the impossible.” —Kirkus

“This debut novel’s believable characters make plain that suffering the loss of a loved one while young is difficult, and common.” —School Library Journal

The Half-Orphan’s Handbook is a masterclass in prose and character. Laugh and cry along with Lila and Noah as they navigate the complex space between tragedy and hope. Moving. Important. Beautiful.” —Laura Taylor Namey, New York Times bestselling author of A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow

“A beautifully written, funny, heart brimming story about a young woman’s tragic loss, the hard work and grace of healing and the irrepressible force of love.” —Francisco X. Stork, award-winning author of The Memory of Light


**About the Author**
Photo Credit: Sharona Jacobs
Joan F. Smith lives with her family in Massachusetts, where she works as an associate dean, a creative writing professor, and a dance instructor. She received her MFA in creative writing from Emerson College, and has written articles for The Washington Post and Thought Catalog on destigmatizing discussions around mental health and suicide prevention.

The Half-Orphan’s Handbook is her debut novel.

Stay connected with Joan F. Smith


***The Giveaway***

Giveaway Open Internationally
- ends April 29, 2021
Note: Not Responsible for Lost & Damaged Prizes in Your Mail Box

Blog Tour Organized by