Today’s post comes to us from Youth Advisory Board member Victoria who read “Pieces Of Us,” a powerful novel by Margie Gelbwasser about four teens who are each struggling with issues and problems from their past that all seemingly disappear when they spend the summer at their respective grandparents’ lake houses. Yet, their secrets get out and they are forced to deal with reality, resulting in a dark, but gripping story about each of their difficult lives.
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YAB Review: “Pieces Of US” By Margie Gelbwasser
The cover of the book is simple. With nothing more than a scenic background and a swing, a person walking by will not have much to go off of. The most interesting thing about the cover is the title’ “Pieces of Us” covers a very large spectrum with a name like that. Anyone who would be interested in reading about what makes people who they are, how people interact, act, and what makes them tick, would definitely want to turn the page. The title of this book is intriguing in a variety of other ways as well besides the fact that it describes people. To me personally, it describes individuals and how our lives make us who we are. With every experience, emotion, and decision that we make through our lives, we come a little bit closer to finding out who we as individuals truly are.
Sum It Up…
This book is not for the faint of heart. The story describes four teenagers who have all been abused in one way or another. Some characters have secrets, others have a troubling past, but everyone comes together at a lake when they all visit their grandparents for the summer. Katie seems like the perfect teenager; everyone likes her and those who don’t, want to be her. But through it all, Katie hides a very troubling life. Her sister Julie sees Katie as someone who she wants to be, and Julie’s mother makes sure she never forgets that. Meanwhile back in Philadelphia, Alex and his brother Kyle deal with the aftermath of their father’s death and Alex takes control of the family with his anger due to an almost absent mother. Even though the characters are very well developed, the author uses four points of view (one of them second), which makes the flow constantly interrupted and in some cases even hard to follow. There are a few scenes that are not graphic, but still extremely disturbing.
When were you hooked?
This book did not wait a few pages with boring introductions and character creation; it instantly put me into the life of each character. Vivid imagery quickly followed. I was amazed by the strong language and the story telling. I found myself constantly wanting to keep reading to see how the story would unfold. Everything I am describing happened on the first page. I was instantly hooked by adjectives that paint a complete picture of one of the four characters.
I can safely say that the author did not hold back and told the story without any censorship. Even though I felt that there were some pretty big writing issues, including confusion with time passing, distracting tense changes, and the constant switch between different characters’ voices, overall, the author’s amazing ability to perfectly describe each setting really made this book outstanding. The story behind every character, every interaction, and the plot in its entirety was extremely powerful and successful, even with some painful moments. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a read that you cannot put down.
Victoria is a biotechnology student at the Minnesota State University, Mankato. She is currently spending the semester working at Children’s Hospital as a Medical Call Center Representative. Victoria spends most of her time studying for classes, yet she still finds time to hang out with friends. She is most often found dancing or painting during her free time.