Monday, October 22, 2012

34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues

34 Pieces of You
Good Reads Summary
34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues

A dark and moving novel—reminiscent of Thirteen Reasons Why—about the mystery surrounding a teenage girl’s fatal overdose.

There was something about Ellie... Something dangerous. Charismatic. Broken. Jake looked out for her. Sarah followed her lead. And Jess kept her distance, and kept watch.

Now Ellie’s dead, and Jake, Sarah, and Jess are left to pick up the pieces. All they have are 34 clues she left behind. 34 strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. 34 secrets of a brief and painful life.

Jake, Sarah, and Jess all feel responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of their own. As they begin to confront the darkest truths about themselves, they will also find out what Ellie herself had been hiding all along....

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Technically it took me but three hours to finish this one (does that entice you at all?) This is despite the initially confusing jump between the pasts and presents of those three voices. Perhaps it’s because of the speed at which I got through this that I felt little invested in most of them (or maybe not.) All those 13 Reasons Why comparisons pushed me to read this except beyond the tragic deaths in both, I didn’t feel for this quite as much. In 13, Hannah recounts in specific and sometimes painful detail how a body played a role in her life; this one focuses on how those left behind are affected: Steamrolled seems apt.

So there were three. Ellie has left behind a world of hurt and the question of did she or didn’t she. Mostly this was about how she factored into their lives and how her being gone has left them feeling. We have her older brother, her best friend, as well as her best friend’s sister to contend with. There’s a lot of history to mine through as well as a complicated set of connections on how this one loves that person and how that one doesn’t want that one. The one that’s easiest to comprehend is that between Ellie and Jake.

Two sides to her brother, one side tugging at my heart a little stronger than the other. Ellie hasn’t had it easy, and him as big brother is compelled to make things right and be there for her. It’s this (making things right or making things better) that was sad and real at once. But that eventual wanting of more was what rang most honest to me. The need to be his own man, not just her older brother and not just their mother’s son was the most honest thing about him. It would seem that her brother has the most straightforward heartbreak… that’s not how it plays out though because other aspects become clear, that while Ellie is the life of the group, other things were happening as well:

Sarah and Jake’s own history is complicated to say the least; there’s obviously something more between the two… and it takes ages to understand why’s and who’s and what now’s because though they may have (had) a connection, neither of them were angels. And still Jake and Sarah (alone or together) left me feeling little. In fact it was Jessie who inspired more than interest in me, the pain she takes away from this was a different sort… and unexpected. That despite being younger than them all, she’s the one who sees another side to Ellie. To most Ellie is the center of it, the charismatic one who pulls others to her, this may be true… but Jessi sees more, and as we learn, knows more as well. 


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