Hi everyone! I’m very happy to be the third stop on the Piecing Me Together Blog Tour. I loved Piecing Me Together, so I’ll be sharing a review. I hope you check it out and enter the giveaway posted at the end.
Title: Piecing Me Together
Author: Renee Watson
Published: February 14, 2017
Themes: Family, Privilege, Race, Friendship, Coming of Age
Rating: Four Stars
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.
Cover Thoughts: I love the actual collage on this cover. It’s totally gorgeous and I love the Black POC front and center on there.
For a Contemporary book, this is really magical. Piecing Me Together felt like such a personal story that could fit many black girls lives today. When we meet Jade, she’s living in poverty and fighting her way out of it by doing well in school. Unfortunately, due to her being black and also on the lower economic spectrum, she gets encouraged to join Woman to Woman, a mentorship for black girls who are labeled “at-risk”. From the outside, it’s a little easy to see why Jade would be chosen for the mentorship, she lives in poverty, is at her private school on scholarship and is raised by a single mother.
On the other hand though, Jade is anything but at-risk. She’s passionate. I really liked hearing about the mentorship program because I think it was good in theory. Like Jade though, there were some reservations about it, like how there was a focus on boys and superficial things at time. I wish there had been a little bit of a deeper look at the mentorship because I really thought it was going well at the end. Jade’s mentor, Maxine annoyed me quite a bit throughout the story. Maxine was a little self involved and prideful when it came to Jade. While Maxine is black, she grew up in a different kind of way than Jade. Her family was very proper and reserved. This made Jade uncomfortable and nervous at times given her background. I loved seeing these two woman interact with each other even if Maxine did frustrate me at times. I like how Jade spoke up about Woman to Woman and encouraged the mentors to cover different topics, topics that these girls should know, like finances and budgeting. I don’t often see financial aspects come up too much in YA, so I loved seeing how Piecing Me Together talked about finances a bit. When Maxine One thing I especially liked was how Maxine and Jade’s mom’s interactions were written. As Jade begins to spend more time with Maxine, her mother is on the hesitant side. She also grows jealous at times over the relationship.
Jade is one of my favorite characters in all of fiction. I loved how driven she was, how she wanted more not only for herself but for the mentorship. She was determined to carve herself a space out whether that was speaking up about the mentorship or making a collage. Jade had two big interests in Piecing Me Together, Spanish and art. I really enjoyed seeing these incorporated. At the beginning of each chapter was a word in spanish, and it’s definition. These words would generally focus on what the chapter would be about. I thought it was an interesting way to showcase Jade’s passion for Spanish. I really liked how often Jade made collages and discussed art. Collages are one of my favorite formats for art because of how you tear things apart to put them back together. Jade’s collages dealt with her feelings and events that happened. Jade is a girl who is on the bigger side and I loved seeing how that also affected her life. I felt her thoughts and experiences were very realistic and I know I could relate to them at times.
Piecing Me Together is such a timely book that deals with so many serious issues of today, police brutality, white privilege, racial differences, and socioeconomic scales. There’s really so many examinations at different issues that makes this such a gem to read. One of my favorite parts about Piecing Me Together was seeing how Jade’s friendships differed between her black friend, Lee Lee and her white friend, Sam. It reminded me a lot of an on-going storyline in the middle-grade series, Three Girls In The City.
Sam, while from a similar financial background as Jade, Sam and her grandparents worry when Sam goes to her house. Later in the book, Jade hears about a girl their age who was a victim of police brutality. Sam, being white, doesn’t understand why Jade is so upset about it. In other instances, Sam doesn’t notice the difference in privileges that they get. Woman to Woman is called a privilege for Jade whereas Sam’s privilege at school is something Jade really deserved and wanted. I like how Piecing Me Together showed the stressful and difficult look at racial differences between friends.
Piecing Me Together is a book to read for this year. The issues it covers are so important today and I loved seeing how naturally they fit. I think Jade will stay with most people. It was really easy to read. The chapters are short, but I loved the spotlight each one of them had on different experiences. I do wish some chapters were longer and that the book was longer. I think Piecing Me Together will give a very insightful look at how black teens go through life and how their worldview lens differs from the usual white Young Adult protagonist..
Giveaway Link for one (1) hardcover of Piecing Me Together
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2/15: Reading is Better than Cupcakes
2/16: YA Indulgences
2/17: Awkwordly Emma
2/21: Dazzled by Books
2/22: Here’s to Happy Endings
2/23: A Little Book World
2/24: Random Musings of a Bibliophile