Title/Author: Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
Genre: YA contemporary
Synopsis: A timely and powerful story about a teen girl from a poor neighborhood striving for success, from acclaimed author Renée Watson.
Jade believes she must get out of her neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother says she has to take every opportunity. She has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods.
But Jade doesn’t need support. And just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.
Friendships, race, privilege, identity—this compelling and thoughtful story explores the issues young women face.
Welcome to my post on the Bloomsbury blog tour! Thank you so much to Bloomsbury for providing me with a copy of Piecing Me Together and including me in this kick-butt blog tour. My part features a book review and a giveaway link!
To preface (and summarize) my review of Piecing Me Together: You should read this book. Of course, now you’re asking me: why should I read it? Well, get yourself a mug of tea & a comfy place to sit… (Plus, if you stay until the end… there may or may not be a rafflecopter link to a giveaway of a hardcover copy. 🙂 )
Everything I loved to the moon & back:
Our main character, Jade, was so, so real, and even though she was imperfect and a bit naive, she was always learning – and in the process, teaching me things, too. She loved chicken wings and french fries and admitted to the fact that she had flaws, and her journey towards standing up for herself was completely honest and beautiful. She learned to use her voice, even if there’s a chance that it won’t change anything. She made art and she used her voice, and it was beautiful.
“I can. I can speak for myself.”
One of my favorite parts of this book is the fact that it taught me things. It was a completely open and new perspective from my own, and it showed me things that I take not for granted, but everything I am unable to see in the perspective of someone else. Instead of seeing through my own eyes like the majority of YA novels, I could see myself and my actions viewed through another’s eyes. Seeing things through Jade’s perspective opened me to the possibility that I’m not as right about the world as I think I am — there is racism and discrimination that still exists everywhere, whether it be blunt and obvious or unassuming/below the radar.
“How quick they are to remind me that I am a girl who needs saving.”
Jade was talked down to, was constantly discriminated against in a way most people don’t even realize is discrimination. And even within her group of friends, there were distinctions and prejudices (just like anyone else… shocker!). It’s a common misconception that all black people are friends or all are similar, whether it be a subliminal influence or intentional. I think this book is important in showing us just exactly how similar we are, and the right way to practice acceptance.
In terms of areas of the story that were lacking, there were only a few:
- The story occasionally felt… detached? It often felt almost like Jade was an observer to her own story rather than part of it.
- Jade is supposed to be a sophomore, but she occasionally felt overly juvenile. She’s street smart & academically smart and is generally mature in her level of understanding, but there were a few times where I just went Really, Jade?
In summary, this was a profound and eye-opening story about friendship and womanhood, learning how to exist in diverse society, and how to speak for yourself.