> Skip to content

Powerful YA novel by an award-winning writer about a teenager coming to terms with the suicide of her sister.

Powerful YA novel by an award-winning writer about a teenager coming to terms with the suicide of her sister.

Dear Vincent is also a novel about the power of love, and how the acquisition of inner peace requires forgiveness of ourselves and others.

17 year old Tara McClusky’s life is hard. She shares the care of her paralysed father with her domineering, difficult mother, forced to cut down on her hours at school to help support the family with a part-time rest home job. She’s very much alone, still grieving the loss of her older sister Van, who died five years before.

Her only source of consolation is her obsession with art — and painting in particular. Most especially she is enamoured with Vincent Van Gogh: she has read all his letters and finds many parallels between the tragic story of his life and her own.

Luckily she meets the intelligent, kindly Professor Max Stockhamer (a Jewish refugee and philosopher) and his grandson Johannes, and their support is crucial to her ability to survive this turbulent time.

NZ Post Award-wining author Mandy Hager tackles the difficult topic of suicide fearlessly, with a novel that's not afraid to go to the dark places but which resolves its story beautifully. It's uplifting and positive.


This is Mandy Hager’s best novel and she has had some good ones. It is beautifully crafted, extremely well written with characters whose lives burst out the pages and it is about teen suicide. I hear you gasp! No one wins from suicide. . . . The ending is superb and wonderfully hopeful. I cried my heart out. Young adult mainly but really anyone who feels their life is worthless and contemplates suicide. Don’t miss it. I will never forget this novel.

Bob Doherty, Bob's Book Blog

Dear Vincent is one of the most powerful, emotionally-charged books I’ve ever read. I don’t think I’ve had such an emotional response to any other book, both adults or YA. The story is narrated by Tara, so you experience all the ups and downs of Tara’s life and you go into the dark spaces inside her head. When you figure out the path that she is taking, you just want to yell at her to stop and think clearly. You want to be the person that she can talk to and help her see sense. Dear Vincent is an important story that all teenagers should read. Thank you Mandy for telling Tara’s story. The fact that it can have such an emotional response on a reader is testament to your amazing writing.

Zac Harding, My best friends are books.

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    June 7, 2013

    RHNZ Children's

    288 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • Fishpond
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • EBook


    June 7, 2013

    Random House New Zealand

    288 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle NZ
    • iBooks NZ
    • Google Play EBook NZ
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia NZ

Awards and Recognition

  • LIANZA Young Adult Fiction Award
    LIANZA Young Adult Fiction Award
  • Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Award
    Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction 2014

Also by Mandy Hager