Jessica's books

The One and Only Ivan
Revolutionary War on Wednesday
Leprechaun in Late Winter
Ella Enchanted
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Plain Murder
Gone-Away Lake
Circling the Sun
Maggie and Max
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
The Night Sister
Tuck Everlasting
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Bedknob and Broomstick
Mister Monday
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The Birchbark House
The Hobbit
The Witch's Daughter

Jessica's favorite books »

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Book Review: 34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues

**I received this book from Around the World ARC Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  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 thirty-four clues she left behind. Thirty-four strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. Thirty-four 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 confront the past, they will discover not only the darkest truths about themselves, but also what Ellie herself had been hiding all along....

My Thoughts:  If you are looking for a fun, light hearted read then keep looking.  This book was very dark and very emotional.  Once started, it is not easy to put down though so just be prepared to spend some time with it and be warned that it is quite depressing.

The story starts out being told by Jess.  Jess is Sarah's younger sister.  Sarah is Ellie's best friend.  Ellie is a very torn up character.  She is simply a mess!  The story starts with Jess describing the "accident" that landed her sister in the hospital and Ellie in an early grave.  Jess has 34 strips of paper she found in a box under Ellie's bed...34 clues to who Ellie was and why she was so disturbed.

This story is told in alternating POVs of Sarah, Jess, Ellie and Ellie's older brother, Jake.  It was also told in the format of "before" and "after" the accident.  I found this to all get somewhat confusing once in awhile as I had to go back and remember if I was reading through Jess's POV or Sarah's, if it was then or now.  It gets easier as you keep reading though so don't let that discourage you too much.

I liked how each chapter began with one of the 34 clue's that Ellie left.  It helped to tie all the pieces together and to get a sense of who Ellie was and how she interacted with not only Jake, Sarah and Jess but also Tommy (Jake's friend), Lola (Jess's friend) and her own mother and stepfather(s).  You are able to watch Ellie spiral so desperately out of control and it is pretty easy to understand why as you continue to read the clues. 

These characters hurt so much!  Each one of them was consumed with their guilt for not helping Ellie more and the incredible loss they felt after her death.  It was easy to feel their emotions and to connect with each one of them.  By the end, I just wanted to pull them all close and reassure them it would all be okay. 

I thought Jess was the strongest character and liked her relationship with Ellie.  It was sweet and confusing but not overdone.  I think everyone worried about Sarah so much that often times, Jess was left to her own devices, which led to the issues with eating (although that is not brought up too much).  Still, Jess was the one that tried to be there for Sarah as much as she could and tried the hardest to understand why Ellie was the way she was. 

Sarah was just full of depression and I don't think her parents did her any favors.  However, in their defense, I'm not sure they really knew how to deal with what was going on.  I know, as a parent, I would be scared for my child and probably wouldn't make the best decisions either.  I think the way the parent's were portrayed was actually very realistic of how parents might act if put in this situation with their child. 

I felt the same way about Ellie's mom when she figured out what was going on with Ellie. She just plain didn't know how to deal with it and unfortunately, I think there are a lot of parents out there like that.  I have been through what Ellie went through and while my parents handled things differently, I still don't think they really knew how to deal with something so horrendous!  Again, sadly, Ellie's mom and the way she handled things was probably a pretty good picture of how these things are handled often.

This is definitely a book that should be read.  Like I said, it isn't a feel-good, light-hearted read.  It's not even a fun read but it is a book that grabs you and won't let go and keeps you thinking about it long after you have finished it.  For me, that means it was well worth the time and sadness!

1 comment:

  1. This book is on my TBR list, and I can't wait to get a copy. I like reading books with multiple POV and it sounds like the POVs were well done. Great review!