by Brendan Halpin

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Rosalind is mourning the deaths of both her moms, and Sean is working on his own issues—the only thing they have in common is a little DNA

When both of Rosalind’s mothers die, she moves in with the donor father she never knew. Fifteen, angry, and feeling completely alone, Ros refuses to speak to her biological father, Sean, sharing her feelings only with her journal. But through a series of emails and text messages, Ros and Sean slowly get to know each other.
Sweet, comic, honest, and moving, Donorboy is the story of two people who seem to have nothing more than genes in common stumbling toward a shared future. Brendan Halpin has crafted a thoroughly modern take on love, family, and figuring it all out.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504006538
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 04/07/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 210
Sales rank: 305,700
File size: 4 MB
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Brendan Halpin is a teacher and the author of books for adults and young adults including the Alex Award–winning DonorboyForever Changes, and the Junior Library Guild Selection Shutout. He is also the coauthor of Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom, with Emily Franklin, and Notes from the Blender, with Trish Cook, both of which the American Library Association named to its Rainbow List. Halpin’s writing has appeared in the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles TimesRosie and Best Life magazines, and the New York Times’ “Modern Love” column. Halpin is a vegetarian, a fan of vintage horror movies, and an avid tabletop gamer. He lives with his wife, Suzanne, their three children, and their dog in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston.

Brendan Halpin is a teacher and the author of books for adults and young adults including the Alex Award–winning Donorboy, Forever Changes, and the Junior Library Guild Selection Shutout. He is also the coauthor of Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom, with Emily Franklin, and Notes from the Blender, with Trish Cook, both of which the American Library Association named to its Rainbow List. Halpin’s writing has appeared in the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, Rosie and Best Life magazines, and the New York Times’ “Modern Love” column. Halpin is a vegetarian, a fan of vintage horror movies, and an avid tabletop gamer. He lives with his wife, Suzanne, their three children, and their dog in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston.

Read an Excerpt


By Brendan Halpin


Copyright © 2004 Brendan Halpin
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5040-0653-8


Okay, so here we go with my grief journal.

Jesus, that's mad corny. "My grief journal."—What are you doing, Ros? Oh, I'm just writing in my grief journal. Okay, grief journal grief journal, mad corny, mad libs, mad stupid, mad at the world (are you paying attention, Denise? Make sure to ask, why do you think you wrote mad at the world there?) I don't know, genius, maybe because my parents are dead and my dad is some dork and not Kurt Cobain or Bono or even that Everybody Loves Raymond dork or anything else I used to imagine, he's just a regular nonfamous dork like any dad, and I have absolutely no idea on earth why he would want me to live with him, I want to live with Aunt Karen, I want to die like Mom. And Mommy.

No, Denise, not really. I mean, I don't particularly feel like living now, because it seems really pointless, but I don't really feel like doing anything as big a deal as killing myself, and probably you don't want to hear this, Denise, but I don't really want to die a virgin, even though there's nobody I really ... sorry, IM from Sasha, probably I should do this in a real journal instead of on the computer and it did cross my mind to say, "I have to go write in my grief jrnl:-[" but I was too embarrassed, it's too—see now when they ask what's hard about having two moms, probably the hardest thing is that when something is really really gay, like a grief journal, you can't say it's really gay, because that's like dissing my mom, who's dead ...

Okay, fuck you grief journal and fuck you Denise, because I just sat here and cried for like ten minutes because my ... fuck.

I don't want to do this. Are you going to collect it, Denise? Am I going to fail grief? How did you do in grief? Did you ever take grief? What do you do when you go home? Do you have some dork that you love? Do you drive home and get crushed by stupid foodstuffs? I like that word. "Foodstuffs."

What the hell was I writing about before I cried twice. Fuck you Denise, fuck you Denise, I hate you Denise, I don't want to sit with the sadness Denise, I want to not feel like this ever, I hate Sean who I can't even call Dad because he's just the stupid donor, I can't even figure out why he wants me, especially since Grandma is all, "I'm just too old, honey," and Uncle Mike is all, "I have to work on some of my own issues right now."

Then again, Mom told me they didn't know the donor which is obviously a lie, so maybe the petri dish part is a lie too, maybe, ick, well, I can't even imagine this dork having sex with Mom, but then again the idea of Mommy having sex with Mom totally icks me out anyway, so maybe moms are just yucky and shouldn't have sex at all but then they wouldn't be moms, so there is what they call a conundrum, a dilemma if you will, impaled on the horns of the dilemma, killed by a truckload of turduckens.

Okay, IM from Sasha again, I guess she's nice to check on me, but I hate everybody worrying about me and talking about me and asking how I'm doing and how they all just look at me when I come to lunch because now I'm tragic, oh my God that is so sad, oh my God, I am so sorry, Oh my God Ros. Oh my God. I love them but I hate them and I wish they would shut up except when I don't want them to, but they always get it wrong.

I hate this, Denise. It doesn't help. Can I stop now? Please? Are you even going to read this?

You didn't read it, Denise, you just asked if I did it and how it made me feel and I really want to smack your fucking face when you ask me stupid shit like that or when I tell you how much I hate you and you say, "I know that you're feeling a lot of anger right now. Would you like to talk about that?" No, actually, I would like to smack your chubby cheek and see my handprint in red and watch the tears run out of your eyes and have you look at me and cry and ask me why why, it isn't fair, you only want to help me, you hate these ungrateful kids and then run out of the room and never ever come back and still feel the sting of my hand on your chubby little fucking cheek.

But that would mean something going my way for once, so instead you just do that annoying thing you do. "Let's talk about why you're feeling that way. How do you feel when you think about hitting me?"

I feel good, Denise. I feel real fucking good.

Ok, I'm lying. I feel like shit today and every day and I hate everybody.

I don't want to do this, Denise. I have nothing to say. Mom's still dead, and the last thing I said to her was some bitchy thing and I hate that, I hate you, I hate me, why does the last thing I ever say to her have to be some mean thing? I hate it, Denise, I can't stand to think about myself, I can't stand anything.

I don't have anything to say. I can't see the screen because I'm crying again.

This is a sucky idea, Denise. My grief journal is dumb, my grief journal is dumb, Denise is dumb, Sasha is dumb, Rosalind is dumb, and whatever fucking idiot invented the turducken is dumb. I think I'm going to go veggie just to protest. Also that should fuck with Sean, so that's good. He'll try to be all sensitive and pretend like he's not annoyed, but I'm like fuck you Sean, send me back to Karen if I bug you, but you won't so I will make you pay if I ever decide to talk to you. I guess I'm gonna have to if I am going veggie. Or I could write him a note. "Going veggie. Buy tofu. Hate you. Send me to Aunt Karen." I think I smiled. Still my grief journal is dumb, stupid, mad corny, mad mad mad.

Dear My First Grief Journal:

Still not talking to Sean. Sean is my dad. Sean is the donor. Sean is some dork who lives in this house. I guess it's my house now. I hate that. I hate this stupid single guy house with the stupid big TV and PS2 and cable even though I kind of like those things. I think I want to live in my own house, in my real house, and I think I could stop the sale. Then I could have my real room and my real door and the thing on the trim in the kitchen where Mom marked how I grew.

But I guess Sean would have to live there too, and Mom is never coming home, and Mommy isn't either, and I know I would wake up every day thinking it was a bad dream and I didn't tell my mom I hated her just before she died because I couldn't go to some dumb party with people it turns out I hate.

I don't want to think about that. It makes me hate myself. Why can't I say I'm sorry? I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, please come back so I can tell you I'm sorry.

Okay, other stuff, other stuff. Sean's house is weird and boring. I want to go live with Aunt Karen.

Except I hate her too, I'm sick of her stupid phone calls, every night, honey is there anything you need, how you holding up kiddo, honey I'm feeling sad and missing your moms tonight, sweetie I'm really sad and I just want you to know that we are sharing that. Whatever. Take care of yourself, bitch. Nobody cares if you're sad, nobody cares if I'm sad, even stupid Sean who keeps looking at me like won't you please talk to me, and I just act like I don't even see that because the hell with him.

Denise, I really think this idea sucks. I felt okay when I started writing, and now I feel shitty and sad and I just want to lie on my bed and not sleep and wake up wondering where I am and then remember it all and dream about Mom at the foot of my bed saying honey I just want to check on you, I want to make sure you're okay, I'm sorry I had to leave. But she never says don't worry about being a bitch to me just before I died ...

Goddammit Denise I have tears running down my face and big mascara streaks on my cheeks. Is this helpful? Is this a therapeutic dose? Can you just give me some drugs or something to make me feel normal? I don't want to cry anymore, I'm sick of crying every night and every day and when I'm peeing after C block and then while I wait for the T after school and I'm sick of everything.

And no I don't have any suicidal ideation, I learned that in my peer counseling training, isn't that funny? I was going to help those poor girls with issues. Because I really care. Those bitches look at me like I'm radioactive now. But I know all the questions to ask. Am I thinking about hurting myself? Only if raiding Sean's liquor cabinet counts as hurting myself. Maybe it does. Do I have a plan to hurt myself? I don't actually even know if he has a liquor cabinet, and I don't want to do anything that might cause me pain.

Maybe getting drunk would. Sasha puked really hard last summer, but I was too scared, I didn't want Mommy to get mad or disappointed, so I just held Sasha's hair while she puked, and the sound of her puking made me want to puke, but I didn't.

I'm not answering the IM's anymore. I don't want to talk about how I am and I don't want to hear about whether Andy likes her oh my God he looked at me oh my God who gives a fuck.

Dear My First Grief Journal that Denise keeps asking about and that I don't want to do but I'm still such a fucking goody goody that I won't stop doing because it's my assigned homework even though I stopped actually doing my math homework isn't that funny?:

There's never any food here. I think I really am going veggie. I thought it was a joke but I want to kill that pencil neck on tv with his stupid yellow chickens even though those might not be the turducken chickens, but anyway, I can't eat any meat without thinking about how it comes in a truck that overturns and kills somebody's mom.

So I did leave a note. I left out the hate you part. It said, "Sean. I am a vegetarian. Please buy food. There is never any food here." and I didn't sign it. When I got home from school the next day the house was completely packed with food. Organic everything in the fridge and every cabinet packed with organic vegan stuff. He even bought those horrible fruit-juice sweetened cookies that Mom always ...

Anyway. I guess I should have been touched or something, but it just made me want to smack him. Like I just had to say jump and he would say how high and that is a pathetic loser of a 35-year-old unmarried man who will do that for a 14-year-old.

He left me a note. It said, "Rosalind—Bought food. Will microwave one organic burrito of your choice in exchange for five words. Think it over."

I've got his five words right here.

Subject: Five words

Dear Rosalind:

Well, I guess Did You Fuck My Mom is, in fact, five words. I hope you enjoyed the burrito.

Mine was cold in the middle.

So listen. Or, rather, read. I have taken your five words as an invitation to tell you some stuff about me. I'm going to send you something every day at my lunch hour. Maybe you'll write me back sometime. Maybe you won't. Maybe you'll talk to me. Maybe you won't. In any case, I hope you will at least read what I write to you and not delete it. I guess I don't know if you will or not.

Okay, so I am sorry that I was choking on black beans and soy cheese in a whole-wheat tortilla when you asked your question and so didn't get to answer it. My standard comeback when somebody swears unexpectedly ... well, never mind. Anyway, I thought about getting indignant, like what happens between two adults is none of your business, blah blah, but it is the beginning of your life we're talking about, so I guess the question is fair.

Sorry I am going on at length and still not answering the question. This is what lawyers do, I suppose.

Anyway, I did not have sexual relations with that woman. (That's a Bill Clinton joke, but maybe you are too young to get it. That is a kind of scary thought to me. But anyway.)

Here's the deal: I took the Red Line to the Green Line, got off at Brookline Village, walked into this eight-story glass box of a building, took the elevator to the fourth floor and walked into Fertility Solutions, suite 416. I went by myself, though I had tried to get Marcia, who was my girlfriend at the time, to go with me. (This little fact becomes important later. Bear with me.)

I signed in with the receptionist, and then a nurse, a heavy, fiftyish blond woman who sported that olfactory treat of too much perfume covering up cigarette smoke, and had gold rings on every finger and fingernails that were probably an inch and a half long and a name tag that said "Angela" escorted me to the donation room and handed me a clear plastic cup with a blue lid. I placed my donation in the cup and returned the cup to Angela, which was probably the most embarrassing moment of my life up to that point. I don't know exactly what process followed, but a month later, Sandy called to tell me that Eva was pregnant. I was jumping up and down I was so happy. Marcia was there, and she was less happy.

So that is how you were conceived. I guess it's not that much of a story, in the end. But since I am your father, sort of, I mean, biologically definitely, but anyway, I think it is my parental responsibility to bore you with stories. So you didn't ask, but I'm going to tell you anyway about how I met your moms. I know that after my mom died I liked hearing stories about her. Except when I didn't, and then I wanted to throttle the stupid insensitive jackass who was trying to tell me some stupid story about my mom that was more about him anyway.

I guess if I'm honest, those are the kind of stories I have to offer. Like I said, you can read them or not. But I hope you do.

Love, Sean

Dear stupid grief journal that seems unfortunately to be my only friend these days:

Well, well, well, Sasha has stopped with the IM, and she is pretty much not talking to me at school anymore, which is probably because I am likely to bite her head off about something stupid mostly because I hate her for having parents, which is not really her fault, and at lunch the other day I had to leave when stupid Sara started bitching about "I hate my mom, blah blah." I hate Sara's mom too, I mean, I get why she hates her mom, her mom is a total nightmare, but still it's better ...

I don't know. I'd say the same thing if I was her, and then I probably wouldn't notice if the girl whose two moms just got crushed by foodstuffs got up and ran to the bathroom and cried while some druggie girl smoked Marlboros in the next stall.

I don't know what her name is, but she offered me a smoke, and I almost took one because what the hell, it's not like I have to worry about what Mom would say, or how Mommy would launch into how Grandpa Ed died of lung cancer. Which, I mean, if you look at it, she died with clean lungs, but not smoking didn't keep her alive. Nothing keeps you safe ever, so why bother trying to stay safe ever, why do anything to stay alive when you could die today?

I am not crying. I don't know, O, Grief Journal (we read that stupid poem where he goes "Go to it, O Jazzmen" in English class, and it was the dumbest, but I do kind of like that O, and I can't very well say O, Denise, since Denise told me she's never going to read this, Okay Denise, whatever, maybe I'll just stop writing it then.)

But then who am I going to talk to? Sasha? Kristen? Sara? They're all, I have to go do homework so I get into Harvard early decision, and I'm all I stopped doing math homework because my mom died and so did my mommy and geometry seems pretty unimportant next to that, I'm sure even Ms. Weymouth would agree. Prove these triangles congruent: 1. Axiom, life sucks. 2. Fuck you. 3. Triangles are congruent. Maybe I could talk to that druggie girl in the bathroom, which is I mean, I guess if you are smoking Marlboros in the bathroom something's gotta be wrong with you, and something's wrong with me too, and it was nice how she offered me a smoke even though smelling like shit probably wouldn't have helped my day any, but she didn't want to talk and relate, she didn't want to distract me, she just offered me a Marlboro, and those are like eight bucks a pack or something, so it meant something for her to offer me one.

I'm still not crying. I guess that's what I wished for. But I don't feel anything right now. That's better than feeling bad, I guess. I remember that girl I was, who hung out with Sasha and Kate and Sara and Kristen and thought about stupid stuff and cared about stupid stuff and worried sometimes if she would be gay like her moms, which I guess wouldn't be so terrible, but now who cares? Why even bother being gay, why bother not being gay, why bother with anything. Why bother eating. Because I'm fucking starving and it turns out I really like those burritos Sean bought.


Excerpted from Donorboy by Brendan Halpin. Copyright © 2004 Brendan Halpin. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Donorboy 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Ms.Arielle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the best teen books I've read in awhile! I can't believe this was his first novel (although not his first book). I think Rosalind's voice really rang true. Having lost my mother at a similar age I think a lot of teens will relate to how Rosalind copes with her grief. Also, I heard buzz that there is talk of a movie. Cool. ALK 11/17/06
sonyagreen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I can't believe I enjoyed a book written mostly as emails and a journal. But it's that good. And funny.
banderson1973 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great look at 'family' in today's world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Went to go read the sample and it was a sample of "spellbound" WTH?? if anyone knows how tp fix it, reply to OZB
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
My thought of this book is that its very good. It teaches you life lessons. This could happen in real life and sometimes it does and this is what sometimes happens. I recommend this book to anyone. I normally dont like to read so when I tell you to read it, I think you should. Hopefully you'll read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
its an okay book...bout girl loses her lesbian moms and has to live with sean the sperm donor. learns life lessons, makes friend and a family