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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.

A heart-felt and searing story about a teenage girl battling problems with her dysfunctional family. Everything seems to be going against Tara - until friends appear unexpectedly in her life. But she still has demons to tackle, and a trip to Ireland to visit her sister's grave brings another challenge - the most dangerous one yet. You'll reach the last page with tears in your eyes. Heartily recommended for a riveting read.

Lorraine Orman, Good Reads

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    June 7, 2013

    RHNZ Children's

    288 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

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

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook


    June 7, 2013

    RHNZ Children’s ebooks

    288 pages

    Online retailers

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

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

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

Singing Home the Whale
The Nature of Ash
Into the Wilderness
The Crossing


Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
Noughts & Crosses
Juliet, Nearly a Vet collection 2
Thirteen Reasons Why
Alice-Miranda At School 1
Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
Midnight Jewel
If I Stay
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Why I Love Footy
Old School: Diary of a Wimpy Kid (BK10)
The Witches
A Semi-definitive List of Worst Nightmares
You Choose AFL: Footy Fever
Pippa's Island 1: The Beach Shack Cafe
Friday Barnes 6: Danger Ahead
Two Wolves