Released: March 8, 2012
Source: The Teen Book Scene
Two families. Four teens.This book is freaking harsh. Like, it's hard for me to write about. Abuse, neglect, date rape, and depression, among other tough subjects, are all covered here. Alex and Kyle and Katie and Julie certainly have their share of family and social drama throughout the year. But when they meet up at the lake every summer with their grandparents, they can forget all that and pretend everything's normal for a while. Only as they get older, it becomes harder and harder for them to morph into different versions of themselves.
A summer full of secrets.
Every summer, hidden away in a lakeside community in upstate New York, four teens leave behind their old identities…and escape from their everyday lives.
Yet back in Philadelphia during the school year, Alex cannot suppress his anger at his father (who killed himself), his mother (whom he blames for it), and the girls who give it up too easily. His younger brother, Kyle, is angry too—at his abusive brother, and at their mother who doesn’t seem to care. Meanwhile, in suburban New Jersey, Katie plays the role of Miss Perfect while trying to forget the nightmare that changed her life. But Julie, her younger sister, sees Katie only as everything she’s not. And their mother will never let Julie forget it.
Up at the lake, they can be anything, anyone. Free. But then Katie’s secret gets out, forcing each of them to face reality—before it tears them to pieces.
Told from each of the four main characters' points of view, Pieces of Us is very much a character driven story. Love them or hate them, Alex, Kyle, Katie and Julie certainly leave the reader wide-eyed throughout the novel. Margie Gelbwasser does a fantastic job of making each of these characters believable. They're not always likable, but that's kind of the point of the story. This isn't fluff - Pieces of Us leaves a reader wrecked. I thought Katie and Kyle were the most deserving of my empathy. I was honestly appalled by some of Alex's and Julie's actions. And don't even get me started on their mothers. It's bad.
I'm still unsure how to describe my overall feelings about this book. I can't really say I enjoyed it; I think the subject matter makes it difficult for anyone to enjoy it, but I did very much appreciate it. It was painfully honest and shined a light on what is unfortunately a reality for many teens.