One of our Best Young Adult Books of September is Kathleen Glasgow's first YA novel, Girl in Pieces. I'll tell you up front: this is not a light read. But it's powerful with a capital P and has all the makings of a book that will be shared and remembered.
I could tell you more about Girl in Pieces, but I'd rather you read about it from Julie Schumacher--author of the smart, funny, and highly-praised novel Dear Committee Members-- who describes Glasgow's book beautifully in this exclusive review:
Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Seventeen-year-old Charlie (Charlotte) Davis is feisty, smart, and damaged, her body a detailed map of pain. Waking up wrapped in a flowered sheet on the lawn of a hospital, she describes herself as an orphan, a baby abandoned to others’ tenuous care.
Charlie’s task in the novel is one of self-assembly: her scars, though self-inflicted, trace the dismantling of her childhood and reflect years of homelessness, abuse, and a life on the street. Her identity has been shattered, and putting it together again, without tumbling back into the hazards of the past, is the hardest challenge she has ever faced.
Girl in Pieces is a harrowing story. It is also exquisitely beautiful, occasionally funny, and startlingly cinematic.
The novel follows Charlie from a Minneapolis psych ward to the New Mexico desert, accompanied by a sound track that alternates between wistful hope for the future and a virulent self-destruction.
Readers who loved Sapphire’s Push or Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted or Anderson’s Speak will immediately fall for Charlie. As for everyone else: Forget the usual categories when you pick this book up. Girl in Pieces is not a young adult novel, or a novel for adults, or a book about girls, or a book about trauma. It’s a book about a human being and her efforts to survive. Read it with both hands, and get ready to hold on tight.
-- Julie Schumacher
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