Published by Random House Children's Books on August 30th 2016
Genres: Emotions & Feelings, Girls & Women, Physical & Emotional Abuse, Social Themes, Young Adult
For fans of Girl, Interrupted, Thirteen Reasons Why, and All the Bright Places comes Kathleen Glasgow's debut novel about a girl who has lost everything--almost even herself. Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she's already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she's learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don't have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you. Every new scar hardens Charlie's heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge. A deeply moving portrait of a teenage girl on the verge of losing herself and the journey she must take to survive in her own skin, Kathleen Glasgow's debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It's a story you won't be able to look away from. From the Hardcover edition.
This review is for a feature that Read Diverse Books has going, called Read Diverse Books Year Round. The goal is to read and review books from marginalized voices, #ownvoices, etc., which can include themes such as race, LGBTQA+, and disabilities. If you want to join in on this feature, check out the Read Diverse Books site (linked above) for more information!
(TW for this book: suicide, self harm, sexual assault, drugs, physical abuse)
*Small note: This book definitely handles mental illness well, and it is very, very dark. As such, I would recommend being extremely careful reading if you’re easily triggered. I read this in a fairly good mental state, but I still got triggered several times and should have spaced out my reading and balanced it with a lighter book to read on the side*
This story follows Charlie, a young woman with a rough past, who finds herself at an in-patient mental facility after attempting suicide. When she is forced to leave because of the expense, a friend helps her start anew somewhere else, but staying on the right track is hard when the past haunts her and present circumstances offer dangerous ways to forget.
As I mentioned before, this book is seriously dark. It’s one of the darkest books I’ve read, in a similar vein to Ellen Hopkins’s books but in prose. Charlie has had to fight for survival for years from having an abusive mother to being homeless to going to a dangerous house just for shelter. However, Charlie keeps fighting as much as she can, and eventually, hope powers through. I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say hope is a big part of it.
What I really enjoyed is the writing style. It isn’t broken into chapters, but reads in a similar style to a journal (starting and stopping when needed to reflect the mental state), though it isn’t written as an actual journal. The formatting sometimes reveals more of Charlie’s emotions than she does herself.
Overall, if you like Ellen Hopkins or Go Ask Alice type stories, GIRL IN PIECES is a strong pick with a protagonist whose happiness you’ll root for the whole way through.