*REVIEW* 34 Pieces of You
A dark and moving novel--reminiscent of "Thirteen Reasons Why--"about the mystery surrounding a teenage girl's fatal overdose.There was something about Ellie...Something dangerous. Charismatic. Broken. Jake looked out for her. Sarah followed her lead. And Jess kept her distance--and kept watch.
Now Ellie's dead, and Jake, Sarah, and Jess are left to pick up the pieces. All they have are thirty-four clues she left behind. Thirty-four strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. Thirty-four secrets of a brief and painful life.
Jake, Sarah, and Jess all feel responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of their own. As they confront the past, they will discover not only the darkest truths about themselves, but also what Ellie herself had been hiding all along...
34 Pieces of You was a surprise for me... I expected to like it a little bit more than I did, but after reading it, I'm not at all surprised by the unsettled feelings I experienced throughout the book. For me personally, it was difficult to read about teenage characters so full of pain. I wanted to go through the book and hug them and it's a true testament to Carmen Rodrigues that her characters felt THAT real.
34 Pieces of You introduces us to several characters, the main ones being Sarah, Jake, Jess, and Ellie. It's the story of Ellie's death by overdose, the secrets she kept, and the other characters attempting to deal with what happened and moving on without Ellie in their lives. The POV switches rapidly throughout the book and through flashbacks, we see Ellie interact with all of the other characters. We also see the devastating fallout her death has caused.
Jess finds a box full of 34 strips of paper, small clues to how Ellie felt about everyone in her life, and shocking secrets about childhood horrors. Readers also learn secrets the other characters have been hiding and we see them struggle to find meaning in all that has happened. Will they be able to accept Ellie's death and move on? Will they find hope, hope that things will get better? Or will it become too much to bear?
I think that this book is powerful in that it really will make readers think about emotional distress and the way it can manifest in ourselves, and in ones we love. Being that I am a counselor who works with teenagers, this book was a little hard for me. Scenes of cutting, alcohol and drug abuse, and childhood trauma gave me a sick feeling in my stomach throughout the book. I think it really says something about this book that it could create such powerful reactions.
I think people will enjoy the story, getting to see the characters and their relationships with Ellie was special, and some of the revelations that come about are surprising. And I really liked the direction the ending was heading. I would rank this one 3 of 5 stars but that is more due to my personal hangups with the book than with the book itself, if that makes sense. You be the judge: 34 Pieces of You releases the beginning of September. Enjoy! *XOXO*
Expected publication date: September 4, 2012 by Simon Pulse
*Thanks to ATWT for the ARC*