• A Million Things

  • By: Emily Spurr
  • Narrated by: Zenia Starr
  • Length: 8 hrs and 2 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (134 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“An original and impressively assured debut. A gem of a novel.” (Graeme Simsion, New York Times best-selling author of The Rosie Project)

A soaring, heartfelt debut following 55 days in the life of 10-year-old Rae, who must look after herself and her dog when her mother disappears.

For as long as Rae can remember, it's been her and Mum, and their dog, Splinter; a small, deliberately unremarkable family. They have their walks, their cooking routines, their home. Sometimes Mum disappears for a while to clear her head, but Rae is okay with this because Mum always comes back. 

So, when Rae wakes to Splinter's nose in her face, the back door open, and no Mum, she does as she’s always done and carries on. She tends to the house, goes to school, walks Splinter, and minds her own business - all the while pushing down the truth she isn't ready to face. 

That is, until her grumpy, lonely neighbor Lettie - with her own secrets and sadness - falls one night and needs Rae's help. As the two begin to rely on each other, Rae's anxiety intensifies as she wonders what will happen to her when her mother's absence is finally noticed and her fragile world bursts open. 

A Million Things transforms a gut-wrenching story of abandonment and what it's like to grow up in a house that doesn't feel safe into an astonishing portrait of resilience, mental health, and the families we make and how they make us in return. 

©2021 Emily Spurr (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

BookBrowse Best Debut Winner 2021 

"Spurr delivers a haunting account of a young girl grappling with abandonment in this excellent debut.... Through Rae's devastating yet hopeful interior dialogue, Spurr delicately illustrates the complexity of loss and isolation." (Publishers Weekly

"A Million Things draws the reader into an intimate world of unforgettable characters and heartfelt expressions of love and grief. This is a great selection for book clubs who are looking for...a genuinely touching read." (BookBrowse)

“Swept me into its thrall so immediately that I didn’t realize I’d been holding my breath until I reached the end.... Fresh and slim, this novel pierces like a bullet and soothes like a psalm.” (Amy Jo Burns, author of Shiner

What listeners say about A Million Things

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  • Overall
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Beautiful and heartbreaking

Spurr's storytelling in this book is masterful, very powerfully depicting Ray's situation and emotions without directly telling you what happened. The story flits around the edges of what the reader knows early on is a horrific
event, which makes the gradual unwinding of the plot more suspenseful and agonizing. The story being told from a child's perspective is heartbreaking, and echoes Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird and Frankie from The Member of the wedding. Such a good listen

3 people found this helpful

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Absolute eye opener

Reality from a child's eyes of a parent with mental health issues! A real eye opener as a parent! The struggle is real but we have to remember our children!! I would never want my child to go through what this little girl did because of a decision I felt was mine to make. Not all our children are as capable as this little girl was portrayed. My heart goes out to all those who feel this way or have gone through Situations such as this. ♡

3 people found this helpful

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Heartbreakingly sweet

Oh sweet Rae and Lettie! What a wonderful, gut wrenching, heartbreaking, but sweet story. I didn’t realize it was YA, but when you have a 10 year old narrators I guess that speaks for items. I can’t imagine how strong Rae was at only 10 and I love the friendship she built with Lettie. I will carry these characters for awhile. (Spoiler alert-another review says the dog dies, he doesn’t!!)

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3.5 rounded up

I enjoyed the audiobook reader. This book is told from the perspective of a 10/11 year old, and for the most part it was enjoyable. I did find her internal dialogue to sound more like a 13/14 year old though, which at first bothered me….But then I thought about how she’s intelligent , and , because of her circumstances , has to be more mature than the typical child of that age.

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Outstanding!

I loved this book. so very well written and I completely enjoyed each and every character.

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Thought provoking and heartfelt

I really enjoyed this novel. when I read the preview I assume that the child had been abandoned and in a way she had. I was so moved Rae's determined spirit although she was in fear almost every moment of her waking hours. I appreciated the bond between Ray and Letty and how they both helped each other in unforeseen ways.

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Wonderful read!

Such incredible descriptions in a fascinating and twisting tale. I enjoyed reading it very much.

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The final message

I throughly enjoyed this book. I started to get a clue what was happening and couldn’t put it down wanting to know the truth.
I deal with my mothers mental health on a daily basis. This brought tears to my eyes in the end. Such a difficult illness to grasp on the other end.

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Don’t waste your time

It just goes on and on about nothing. It’s predictable and really doesn’t have plot.

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Incredibly touching, immersive story

I almost passed up this book because I worried it would be too sad. It is actually one of my favorite stories now. The characters are loveable, human, and kind. The story of the main character is so endearing and moving I won’t soon forget her voice or perspective. I couldn’t stop listening. The narrator is one of my new favorites! I look forward to more by you, Emily Spurr! Please keep trusting your instincts and putting heartfelt and hopeful and honest stories into the world. Zenia Starr’s voice was perfect for this book.