Monday, January 16, 2012

Pieces of Us by Margie Gelbwasser

Title: Pieces of Us
Author: Margie Gelbwasser
Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
Acquired: Received free for an honest review
Age Group: Young Adult
Grade: 85% or B
Buy It: Amazon
Two sets of deeply damaged siblings fall apart when their once-compartmentalized worlds of school and summer connect and crash. Alex and Kyle are brothers; Katie and Julie are sisters. Alex despises his mother, whom he holds responsible for his father's suicide and failing to protect him from a string of brutal boyfriends. He takes out his contempt for women on his loose-girl sex partners, frequently offering them to his intimidated younger brother Kyle, whom he abuses even though he thinks of himself as his brother's protector. The only girl Alex doesn't see as a slut is Katie. But Katie, who, when the book opens, is a queen-bee cheerleader with a star-athlete boyfriend, has too much to drink at a party and, semiconscious, has nonconsensual sex with her boyfriend and his teammate, an ugly secret the boys then use to torment and control her. Meanwhile, Katie's younger, less-pretty and pudgier sister, Julie, plagued by a mother who belittles her, believes that her sister stole the one boy who liked her.
My Thoughts::
As with several books that I've read recently, this book wasn't something that I wouldn't normally pick up. But the summary of this book seemed very very interesting and I was compelled to read it to discover these weird family dynamics and to get to know these broken characters.

The plot was a bit slow, but it made up for this with fantastic character development. Instead of an action sequence, we get to become really involved with the characters and get inside their heads. But while no one is running from danger, there is excitement of a different sort. The emotional roller coaster of this novel for one. Not knowing how each character was going to react to each other was keeping me at the edge of my seat.

The characters, though I didn't like them all, were crafted wonderfully. I changed my feelings about some several times, but I was supposed to. As readers we are supposed to watch them change because of what they are going through. Even the character that I hated the most, I felt sorry for. And I knew that the author wanted me to feel these things. There is a difference between hating how a character is written, and hating a character. The author did a wonderful job of making me hate characters, but still understand them and like to read about them.

Overall I think that this book relied heavily on character development and put us on an emotional journey instead of a physical one. The character were fully developed and nothing seemed rushed. Not everything was resolved, but I liked the open ending. I'd recommend this book to fans of Sarah Dessen, or someone who is interested in reading about inner struggles.

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