by Kathleen Glasgow
To be published on August 30, 2016
Source: eARC for review from publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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 thick glass of a mason jar cuts deep, and the pain 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.
My take: I'm not sure what's been going on with the synopses of the books I've read this week. This one (above) doesn't really say much for a book without significant spoilers. So first off I'll say that this book could definitely be triggering for anyone with a history of self harm, addiction or abuse. Girl in Pieces is a story about a girl with a tough home life who self-harms and also ends up in a pretty bad situation. She is admitted to a psychiatric hospital, but is discharged too soon due to her inability to pay, then travels cross-country to stay with a (possible) boyfriend and try to put together some sort of a life. But life is hard, strangers are both kind and unkind, and she has to learn even more tough lessons about who she can trust and how to choose a different path than the one that led her to the hospital.
First off: Girl in Pieces is dark, guys. Literally every character has some kind of addiction or crappy home life or sad past or self-destructive tendencies ... or all of the above. I wasn't sure I was going to make it through, but I'm glad I stuck it out.
The book begins in the hospital, but I was sort of surprised (perhaps because of the vague synopsis) that Charlie doesn't spend all that much time there. I've always had a fascination for books set in psychiatric hospitals and rehabs, and thus I was a little disappointed (and worried for Charlie) when she gets unceremoniously discharged, but I also thought the parts of the book after the hospital were the strongest. While being in treatment must be hard, having to go out into the world and face all the old difficulties and temptations must be really tough. With no emotional or financial support from her family, Charlie has to find a job and a place to live. She falls into a relationship with a much older guy (a YA trope I'm not all that fond of) but I though the book handled it well.
I also thought Girl in Pieces was beautifully written and incredibly moving in parts. At the same time, it felt a little long to me. (I was reading an e-ARC and didn't know the exact page count until I looked it up, but yeah, 416 pages is long for a contemporary and at times I felt that things were going on too long.)
Definitely recommended for readers who like dark contemporary YA. The in and out of hospital structure and Southwestern setting reminded me a bit of The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork and the post-hospital parts reminded me of Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt.
If you've read this, let me know what you thought in comments, or let me know your thoughts on dark books. For some reason I find them easier to read in the summer...