The Way He Lived

The Way He Lived

Book - 2008
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Llewellyn Worldwide

Starred Review"It’s a testament to Smith’s skills that although her central character speaks only through other people’s recollections, his identity emerges distinctly by the end of the novel."

Publishers Weekly, starred review

Winner of the 2009 Utah Book Award (young adult category)

Sometimes being true to yourself means sacrificing everything...

Joel Espen could never be who he really was in the small town of Haven. Still, there was always something different about him. Sixteen years old. Green eyes that could see right into your heart. A selfless need to save people. Even the way he died reflected the way he lived: helping others. But how are you supposed to just go on living like normal after suddenly losing your brother . . . your best friend . . . your first love?

As the six teens who were closest to Joel try to find the meaning behind his death, they begin to realize that tragedy can sometimes set you free—by revealing who you truly are.

Publisher: Woodbury, Minn. : Flux, c2008
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780738714042
Branch Call Number: Fiction Smith TEEN


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vpl_teens Dec 13, 2016

Rating: 3/5

The Way He Lived is a novel focused around the death of a well liked teenager named Joel. Throughout the book, Joel's personality is told through six perspectives. I definitely preferred some characters over others, but all the characters were well thought out and interesting. The novel and story in itself was repetitive and insanely cheesy. It didn’t have a proper story line. It followed six people throughout their daily lives with the casual mention of Joel, the dead boy. I would have enjoyed more mystery to it and it would have made the story a lot more interesting if all six of the character’s stories met at the end.

Reviewed by Emma S. for Teens Read it First,

Aug 09, 2016

Beautifully written. All the characters were realistic and interesting. A book about death and grief could easily become depressing or sappy, but this book is neither of those things. By seeing the deceased character through the eyes of others, we see that each of us means different things to different people.

Mar 07, 2015

Provides a unique reflection on how different people handle grief and loss. A thoroughly touching and beautiful read.

Sep 27, 2011

This was a beautiful book. I loved the style of writing and the way the story was told. You fell in love with him with every story, then had to let him go all over again.


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