Kat Alexander's Reviews > Pieces of Us

Pieces of Us by Margie Gelbwasser
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Mar 04, 12

bookshelves: read-2012, reviewed, figment-review
Read on February 29, 2012

I got one of my first impressions that I wouldn't like the book when Julie, the first narrator of four, managed to insult her best friend and needlessly argue use of the word “ironic” by the fourth page. A couple paragraphs down, Julie and Katie's mother is introduced as this demon mom from Hell who favours her older daughter on the grounds that Katie's pretty and Julie's not. The trend continued through the rest of the book: Almost every character felt like a paper doll cut out of a stereotype, rather than a real person. They change, but they flow from stereotype to stereotype, only occasionally gaining some depth. The various characters' evolutions struck me as being well-planned and well-executed, but that didn't hold up well against the way all of the characters seemed fake.

To keep the story going over both states and see all sides, each of the main characters serves as a narrator for a total of four. For the most part, it was pretty easy to tell the characters apart by context (and the label at the head of the chapter identifying the speaker), but a couple of the narraters bothered me. While most of the book is in plain first-person prose, Kyle's sections are narrated in second person, and Katie will every now and then break into verse. These sorts of “creative” narration can work well for a book (case in point: everything Ellen Hopkins has ever written and easily half of David Levithan's novels), but it didn't do anything for me here, instead feeling like a cheap trick used just because the author could.
More than the characters themselves, though, I was bothered by the plot, which revolves entirely around their sex lives. There is hardly a point throughout that doesn't involve one or more of the characters in a sexual relationship, which considering that the oldest character starts at eighteen and the youngest fourteen, bothered me. I have nothing against sex in books, but there's a point when I wonder what the motivation behind the novel was—write a book about teenagers, or write a book about teenagers having sex?

While Pieces of Us wasn't my cup of tea, if you're in the market for a steamy read that's not graphic and chock full of drama, you might want to look here.
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