Piecing Me Together
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.

Piecing Me Together Details

TitlePiecing Me Together
Author
ReleaseFeb 14th, 2017
PublisherBloomsbury
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Cultural, African American

Piecing Me Together Review

  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    And this makes me wonder if a black girl’s life is only about being stitched together and coming undone, being stitched together and coming undone.I wonder if there’s ever a way for a girl like me to feel whole. Piecing Me Together is such an important and moving book. It released during Black History Month, and was perhaps overshadowed by the buzz surrounding the amazing The Hate U Give that followed up a month later. Both books look at what it means to be a black teen in modern America, but t And this makes me wonder if a black girl’s life is only about being stitched together and coming undone, being stitched together and coming undone.I wonder if there’s ever a way for a girl like me to feel whole. Piecing Me Together is such an important and moving book. It released during Black History Month, and was perhaps overshadowed by the buzz surrounding the amazing The Hate U Give that followed up a month later. Both books look at what it means to be a black teen in modern America, but their tones and focal points are different.The Hate U Give is a hard-hitting book about one of the most horrific problems facing America today: the shooting of unharmed, black teenagers. It pulls no punches; it rips your heart out; it says what needs to be said. Piecing Me Together, on the other hand, is a quieter read. It's about the everyday microaggressions that Jade faces as a scholarship student at a mostly-white school. It's about art - collages specifically (hence the cover) - and using this as a form of expression. It's about careful, nuanced friendships, identity and self-worth. Sometimes I just want to be comfortable in this skin, this body. Want to cock my head back and laugh loud and free, all my teeth showing, and not be told I’m too rowdy, too ghetto. Jade describes herself as a bigger girl, and the book proceeds to consider standards of beauty and how they are forced upon us. But where this book stands out (and, really, where it shouldn't stand out) is that it is less about relations between black people and white people, and more about class issues within race. In Piecing Me Together, Jade joins "Women to Women", a program that connects young black teens with older, successful black women in order to *hopefully* improve their prospects. Jade, however, struggles to connect with her mentor - Maxine - because Maxine grew up surrounded by wealth. The author shows these divides along wealth and class lines within race and how this affects relationships between wealthy and poor black women, whilst also showing how racial divides affect the relationship between Jade and her equally poor white friend, Sam. It's things like this that really open my eyes to my privilege as a white reader. It is thankfully not strange anymore to read a book with a diverse set of characters, or a book that explores white/POC racial divides, but the real test of equality will not be when it's normal to see many POC among the white people on our screens and in our books, but when relationships between POC (of different class/religion/background/etc.) are explored as much as the relationships between white people. This book takes some very necessary steps in that direction. It's also a powerful coming-of-age story, made easy to read in one sitting by the author's engaging style. Highly recommended for YA Contemporary fans.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Lola
    January 1, 1970
    Unlike the majority of teenagers, Jade knows what she wants.She knows that she wants to escape her poor neighbourhood, go to a great college on a scholarship, and eventually buy her mama the house she isn’t able to afford on her own. Yes, she goes to an almost-all-white private school, but she is constantly reminded of where she comes from—and right now, she’s not sure that’s a good thing.Fortunately, the program she recently joined, called Woman to Woman, will help her figure out who she is as Unlike the majority of teenagers, Jade knows what she wants.She knows that she wants to escape her poor neighbourhood, go to a great college on a scholarship, and eventually buy her mama the house she isn’t able to afford on her own. Yes, she goes to an almost-all-white private school, but she is constantly reminded of where she comes from—and right now, she’s not sure that’s a good thing.Fortunately, the program she recently joined, called Woman to Woman, will help her figure out who she is as a young woman and an aspiring artist. Her voice is strong, if only she could learn to use it…This is a slow and honest exploration of what it means to be an African American teenager caught between two worlds. Race, discrimination, and police brutality are discussed and often shown. I couldn’t believe the cluelessness of Jade’s new white friend.Except, I could, of course. I simply did not want to yet again be faced with a character who doesn’t understand that racism exists and that if it isn’t taken seriously, it will keep on breathing.And you know what racism enjoys feeding on, don’t you? The hope that minority groups have of living a peaceful life with equal opportunities and a right to appreciate all that the world has to offer, like white people can.It is not perfect: 1. Jade’s voice is young, even for a junior in high school, 2. the story is calm and, at times, uneventful and 3. the conflict between Jade and her friend was resolved unrealistically fast. But: 1. There is no romance, 2. despite being slow, it reads very well, with chapters that are sometimes not even one-page-long and 3. Jade’s mentor, Maxine, is a character that grows on you (not Jade, her you’ll love instantly). Still having doubts? Did I not mention that there is absolutely no romance whatsoever? That’s because not all young women think about boys non-stop. Take note. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’
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  • Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
    January 1, 1970
    I just cried through the last 40 pages of this. Absolutely incredible.
  • Hannah Greendale
    January 1, 1970
    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend. Uneventful and painfully didactic. Piecing Me Together is a well-intentioned book that struggles in its execution.
  • Maxwell
    January 1, 1970
    Why isn't everyone talking about this book!? I am honestly shocked that I hadn't heard about this before it was sent to me by the publisher (though this review is not sponsored or influenced by them in any way—as always, thoughts & opinions are my own).This story is about Jade who is going into her junior year at a mostly white, wealthy high school in Portland where she is a scholarship student. She's learning Spanish, which is a big part of the story, and looking forward to this year becaus Why isn't everyone talking about this book!? I am honestly shocked that I hadn't heard about this before it was sent to me by the publisher (though this review is not sponsored or influenced by them in any way—as always, thoughts & opinions are my own).This story is about Jade who is going into her junior year at a mostly white, wealthy high school in Portland where she is a scholarship student. She's learning Spanish, which is a big part of the story, and looking forward to this year because it's the one where she may finally be able to go on a study abroad program over spring break. At the start of the new school year, Jade gets placed in a mentorship program for African American students who are "at risk" and need someone to talk to, even though Jade, who has both her parents (divorced), uncle, and best friends in her life supporting her. She's unsure of getting involved in the program, but knowing her participation can ensure her a scholarship to any Oregon college once she graduates convinces her to stay with her mentor, Maxine.The book follows Jade's year of school as she faces challenges with friends, her mentor, and discusses topics of racial identity (both within and outside of the black community), history & politics, and the thing that's most important to Jade—her art. She makes beautiful collages and is inspired by her life to put pieces together as she tries to come to terms with her own identity as a young woman, a black girl, and someone straddling so many divides. It's a beautifully written story, one that taught me a lot, made me stop and consider the world from a totally different lens (which I think is what some of the best books do), and a story that will leave you, like Jade, inspired. 4.5 stars
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  • C.G. Drews
    January 1, 1970
    This was a really LIFEY type of book. And you can argue that "lifey" isn't a word all you want but I'm just going to keep using it because I'm as eloquent as a refried bean. (How do I even REVIEW. It's a mystery to us all.) Anyway! I did think this was a rather slow book and it didn't have so much a plot as it was a just the tale of a black teen girl named Jade who's also an artist and also just tryign to find her place in the world and be proud of who she is. It's about her LIFE. Everything fro This was a really LIFEY type of book. And you can argue that "lifey" isn't a word all you want but I'm just going to keep using it because I'm as eloquent as a refried bean. (How do I even REVIEW. It's a mystery to us all.) Anyway! I did think this was a rather slow book and it didn't have so much a plot as it was a just the tale of a black teen girl named Jade who's also an artist and also just tryign to find her place in the world and be proud of who she is. It's about her LIFE. Everything from micro-racism to outright to feelings about opportunities and what that even means. To art! And experiences! And being forgotten! And being talked-over by people! And being a teen which is awkward and messy and sticky especially if you spill ice cream on yourself...which Jade didn't do, but I do, so just putting it out there that that is 800% of the reason teenagerdom is sticky.THINGS TO LOVE• epic mother-daughter relationship that's really helpful but also complex and frustrating at times• also super girl-to-girl relationships?!• like I am not kidding: this book is 100% about women relationships• I loved Jade's character development and how she learned to speak up for herself• the fear that Jade went through basically every day (about being ignored or police brutality or being singled out unfairly because she's black) was really palpable• It was really hopeful! I can imagine how good this would be for so many black teens to read, #ownvoices + let's build people up• Jade was also fat and #yay for rep there!• and the artist thread was really amazing and I love that she collaged!So it's a quiet book, but I think very needed. I personally need more plots in books so it didn't really rock my world, but that's nothing against the book, just my horrid attention span. Also Jade is really relatable and I love her line at the end when her uncle asks who she's all dressed up for and she's like: for me. GO JADE!!I don't know what's worse. Being mistreated because of the colour of your skin, your size, or having to prove that it really happened.
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  • Malia
    January 1, 1970
    This is the sort of quiet, underrated book that really deserves more attention. It is probably not dramatic or dark enough to make much of a wave. However, it is so relevant and really makes you think about race in this country and also about the enormous hurdles faced by families living in poverty. The main character, Jade, is smart and thoughtful, but she is also frustrated and I really felt for her. All she wants is fairness, and it made me sad to see her grapple with a world that is often so This is the sort of quiet, underrated book that really deserves more attention. It is probably not dramatic or dark enough to make much of a wave. However, it is so relevant and really makes you think about race in this country and also about the enormous hurdles faced by families living in poverty. The main character, Jade, is smart and thoughtful, but she is also frustrated and I really felt for her. All she wants is fairness, and it made me sad to see her grapple with a world that is often so unfair, and to think about the many, many people in similar situations. Of course, no matter where we come from, no matter what color our skin, we all have problems and we all feel the world is unfair at times, but people living the way Jade and her family did in the book struggle on a day-to-day basis with things we often take for granted, like getting regular, healthy meals. I thought The Hate U Give was great, but I do think this book deserves as much attention. Both focus on racial identity, in and outside of the black community and offer insight we should all consider as we try to make the world a better place for everyone. It is a simple story, yet it really made me think. I also liked that the author lent much attention to different female relationships in the book. Jade and her neighborhood friend, Lee Lee, her white school friend, Sam, her mother, her mentor, her high school counselor. It's a short book, but I know I'll remember it for some time and would highly recommend it!Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com
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  • Whitney Atkinson
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book based on two people's recommendations that it was game-changing and eye-opening. On one hand, I do like that this book brings up issues that I haven't seen before in any other books about a young, black teenager, such as reconciling privilege and advocating for racism as a bystander and voicing injustices. There were threads and motifs that were woven throughout this book gorgeously, and I also thought that Jade's evolution from someone unsure of herself to someone who is vocal I read this book based on two people's recommendations that it was game-changing and eye-opening. On one hand, I do like that this book brings up issues that I haven't seen before in any other books about a young, black teenager, such as reconciling privilege and advocating for racism as a bystander and voicing injustices. There were threads and motifs that were woven throughout this book gorgeously, and I also thought that Jade's evolution from someone unsure of herself to someone who is vocal about she wants was really encouraging and powerful, and I can see how impactful it will be especially for young, marginalized teens who read this. On the other hand, I just don't see it as anything revolutionary, so it was a little bit overhyped. It's a great story, there's great writing, and the transformation of the characters was really meaningful, but it was lacking a punch that would set it apart from other books, and I just didn't feel that impact as much as I wish I had. Nevertheless, seeing Jade's ambition and honestly was so refreshing and several people who saw me reading this asked about it because they liked the cover, so I still say it's a winner.
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  • TL
    January 1, 1970
    Another day of not feeling good so this will be short review.A beautiful, thoughtful, moving novel that makes you think. It had a quieter vibe than The Hate U Give but just as important and powerful. We need more books like this in the world and add them to every library in schools/towns that we can.Would highly recommend :)-----Quotes: (in no particular order)And this makes me wonder if a black girl’s life is only about being stitched together and coming undone, being stitched together and com Another day of not feeling good so this will be short review.A beautiful, thoughtful, moving novel that makes you think. It had a quieter vibe than The Hate U Give but just as important and powerful. We need more books like this in the world and add them to every library in schools/towns that we can.Would highly recommend :)-----Quotes: (in no particular order)And this makes me wonder if a black girl’s life is only about being stitched together and coming undone, being stitched together and coming undone.I wonder if there’s ever a way for a girl like me to feel whole.“I know something happens between the time our mothers and fathers and teachers and mentors send us out into the world telling us, "The world is yours," and "You are beautiful," and "You can be anything," and the time we return to them.Sometimes I just want to be comfortable in this skin, this body. Want to cock my head back and laugh loud and free, all my teeth showing, and not be told I’m too rowdy, too ghetto."Something happens when people tell me I have a pretty face, ignoring me from the neck down. When I watch the news and see unarmed black men and women shot dead over and over, it's kind of hard to believe this world is mine.""Sometimes it feels like I leave home a whole person, sent off with kisses from Mom, who is hanging her every hope on my future. By the time I get home I feel like my soul has been shattered into a million pieces.Mom's love repairs me.” "The thing is, I don't think I'm shy. I just don't always know what to say or how to say it. I am like Mom in so many ways but not when it comes to things like this. She is full of words and bites her tongue for no one. I wish I could be that way.""I'm regretting saying yes to this mentorship program. So far my mentor has stood me up because of some drama with her boyfriend and shown up in the middle of the night with gifts like that's supposed to make it all better. All of this has me wondering, what have I gotten myself into?Has me wondering, what is this woman really going to teach me?" "I have never thought about my deserving the good things that have happened in my life. Maybe because I know so many people who work hard but still don't get the things they deserve, sometimes not even the things they need." "I don't know what's worse. Being mistreated because of the color of your skin, your size, or having to prove that it really happened. ""I ride through the transition blocks, and then I'm back on my side of town. Where the river is polluted. I am thinking about the fish and the river. The giving and learning. I am wondering how choices are made about who gets what and how much they get. Wondering who owns the river and the line, and the hook, and the worm. " ----
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  • Trevor
    January 1, 1970
    PIECING ME TOGETHER is a lovely quick read about a girl trying to find her own place in the world. I enjoyed Watson's THIS SIDE OF HOME last year & am even more impressed by TOGETHER. Watson makes strong female characters & I loved Jade, this book's MC.Jade lives with her single mom & uncle E.J. in Portland, Ore. & goes to a predominantly white school. She is a bright student, getting A's & tutoring many peers. Jade is an artist & her goal in life is to travel the world, PIECING ME TOGETHER is a lovely quick read about a girl trying to find her own place in the world. I enjoyed Watson's THIS SIDE OF HOME last year & am even more impressed by TOGETHER. Watson makes strong female characters & I loved Jade, this book's MC.Jade lives with her single mom & uncle E.J. in Portland, Ore. & goes to a predominantly white school. She is a bright student, getting A's & tutoring many peers. Jade is an artist & her goal in life is to travel the world, hence learning Spanish & attempting to get a scholarship. She decides to join Women to Women to attain this, as well as wanting to know how to balance a checkbook, seeing other artists, etc. Very smart girl. Her mentor Maxine isn't what Jade had in mind: Maxine is focused on her ex-boyfriend Jon & always seems to be somewhere else while she's supposed to be "mentoring." This is one of the things Jade is stuck between by either talking about it or staying silent. Besides this book having a strong voice on race struggles & opportunities, Watson makes Jade a body-positive character, as Jade describes herself as being thick but doesn't have a negative view about it. Bo-po is always welcome in YA. Jade also has other major obstacles, other reasons for her to learn how to stand & speak up for herself. Watson does a fantastic job of this, showcasing a young woman who decides not to give up on herself. Who decides not to quit because she would only be hurting herself. This is just one of the powerful messages to take away from here.Another thing I loved about this book is that there is no romance!! This solely focuses on making a voice for yourself & following your dreams, even if there are roadblocks in your path. I think that's real important to show, that you don't NEED to be involved in a romantic relationship just to be (whatever). Instead, there are views of family & friendship & it was just really, really nice to see. I only wish it was longer, but it wrapped up nicely. Highly recommended.
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  • Fafa's Book Corner
    January 1, 1970
    Review posted on Fafa's Book Corner! Beware spoilers ahead!Trigger warning: Racism and police violence.Piecing Me Together was completed during #rimpysreadsathon. Piecing Me Together was a book talked about last year through booktube. Surprisingly I hadn't heard about it through GR or Twitter. After reading some reviews and seeing that it was in my library, I requested a copy. I'm very glad I did!Through her mother's encouragement Jade has taken every opportunity her school has offered. The lat Review posted on Fafa's Book Corner! Beware spoilers ahead!Trigger warning: Racism and police violence.Piecing Me Together was completed during #rimpysreadsathon. Piecing Me Together was a book talked about last year through booktube. Surprisingly I hadn't heard about it through GR or Twitter. After reading some reviews and seeing that it was in my library, I requested a copy. I'm very glad I did!Through her mother's encouragement Jade has taken every opportunity her school has offered. The latest opportunity is Woman to Woman. A mentorship program. Jade is initially reluctant to accept. Jade feels that she won't gain anything from it, and it's not really for her. Until her guidance counselor mentions that if Jade completes the program then she'll receive a scholarship for any university in her area. Naturally Jade accepts. Throughout the book Jade learns more about speaking up, and gains some vital experiences.I was happily surprised about how much I enjoyed Piecing Me Together! I didn't have high expectations. It is narrated in first person following Jade's point of view. Each chapter has title, wherein there is a word in English and translated to Spanish. Some chapters were shorter than others.Jade was such a great character! I found her to be relatable. I too have some trouble speaking my mind from time to time. I loved reading about her growth and how she gained the courage to speak up! Jade actually read mature for her age, which I appreciated.Throughout the story Jade struggles balancing her two worlds. At school she has to act and dress a specific way. At home she reverts to normal but her friends are still a bit apprehensive with her attending a mostly white school. Spanish and art is a huge part of Jade's character. Jade makes collages about her surroundings and the people in her life. Her biggest dream is go to Spain and experience the culture first hand. I enjoyed reading about her passions and how much work she put into achieving her goals!I loved Jade's family! Her mother worked as a caretaker and was such a strong woman. She had a lot of good advice to give Jade and Maxine! And for once a parent in YA actually gave meaningful and relevant advice. Jade's relationship with her uncle E. J. was so sweet!Jade's best friend Lee Lee was also fantastic! These two supported each other and were for each other there in times of need. Jade's relationship with her mentor Maxine was also well done! They had lots of rough patches but in the end they became close. Maxine was a good mentor to Jade and two helped each other grow. Maxine frustrated me in the beginning. But once she told her side of the story, realized her mistakes, and started to grow I grew to admire her. Jade's relationship with Sam was complicated. Sam is a white poor girl, whereas Jade is a black poor girl. The author effortlessly shows the reader the difference between their situations and how it is linked to their skin tone. Sam does and says some pretty hurtful things to Jade. She realizes this comes back and apologizes. Jade also owns up to her own mistakes. Together they start their friendship anew with no more secrets from each other.Woman to Woman was an amazing edition! I honestly wish there are books with this type of mentorship which I can read about. All the women had different experiences and supported each other! The trips that Sabrina assigned were fun to read about! I truly believe that all women should have access to this type of mentorship. Regardless of color and background. It's necessary and you can gain so much knowledge.Several different issues are brought up! From police violence, social class/status, racism, to catcalling. The author handles this all effortlessly without sounding preachy. I loved how Jade teams up with her fellow classmates and friends to do something to raise money for Natasha Ramsey, a black girl who was brutally attacked at a party. All the conflicts were realistic and I rooting for Jade.I'm just going to mention two things that really surprised me. Towards the end of Piecing Me Together Jade confronts her teacher about not being nominated for the school trip to Costa Rica. He explains that he has to give other students a chance, and that Jade already has so many opportunities. Jade calls him out on his prejudice and leaves.The teacher comes back around to Jade to apologize. He also mentions that she has been nominated for the trip next year. I found this to be truly beautiful! Rarely do you ever experience let alone read about a teacher realizing his/her mistakes. And actually acting upon that realization!There is no romance! That's right you heard me, a contemporary without romance. While it isn't impossible it's quite rare. Jade does make mention off maybe dating and getting married. Right now Jade remains focused on her life and school. I really appreciated this!The only problem I had was that I wasn't invested. I was enjoying reading but I just wasn't invested. Then out of nowhere Piecing Me Together grabbed hold off me and never let go. I was invested in Jade's life and all the characters. While this is a minor complaint it still prevented me from giving a 5 star rating. Overall I really enjoyed this! I recommend this book for everyone. You'll all find something to relate too.
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  • Book Riot Community
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book about Jade, a teen girl growing up in a poor neighborhood in Oregon who attends a mostly-white private school. She is invited to an “at-risk” mentorship program called Women to Women, and Jade quickly figures out that just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean they can relate to each other. Jade’s voice is compelling and real, and the book is interspersed with gorgeous poetry (see Chapter 35, Things That are Black and Beautiful). The cover is also stunning – artwork done by I loved this book about Jade, a teen girl growing up in a poor neighborhood in Oregon who attends a mostly-white private school. She is invited to an “at-risk” mentorship program called Women to Women, and Jade quickly figures out that just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean they can relate to each other. Jade’s voice is compelling and real, and the book is interspersed with gorgeous poetry (see Chapter 35, Things That are Black and Beautiful). The cover is also stunning – artwork done by Bryan Collier – which reflects Jade’s artistry and the overall theme of being stitched together and coming undone. I loved this book, and look forward to recommending it over and over again.— Karina Glaserfrom The Best Books We Read In April 2017: http://bookriot.com/2017/05/01/riot-r... ____________________A friend began raving about this immediately when she finished it, so when the Call Number Box included it as their February title and it hit my door the next day, I knew it was going to be a match made in reader heaven.This is powerful story about class, about how you find yourself, how you lose yourself, and what it means to be a black girl in America. Jade attends a fancy high school on scholarship, but she takes the bus from her poor neighborhood in Portland. When she’s recruited for a mentorship program and is taken around the city to visit places she’s never been able to before, Jade isn’t thrilled — why does she, the poor girl, only get to see her city and not travel to a foreign country like many of her classmates get the opportunity to do?Watson writes with tremendous heart, but she doesn’t shy away from highlighting the tough moments of growing up, either. There is a really thoughtful exploration of friendship, particularly of the intersectional variety, as well as the microaggressions that can happen on a daily basis within them. Jade is a girl who describes herself as “big” in ways that authentically capture the feeling of having a body that doesn’t fit a certain mold — and through the story, we see Jade is okay with this. It is simply who she is.This is a smart, savvy look at race; more than just looking at race relations, this delves into race challenges within the black community. It’s written in tight, taut prose and packs a punch in a few amount of pages. One of the best YA titles of 2017 so far.— Kelly Jensenfrom The Best Books We Read In February 2017: http://bookriot.com/2017/02/28/riot-r...
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    A powerful story about class, about how you find yourself, how you lose yourself, and what it means to be a black girl in America. Watson's story is full of heart, as much as it's full of moments that are heart-wrenching. Loved how this book explored friendship and intersectional relationships, as well as the microaggressions that can occur within them. This is a smart, savvy look at race; more than just looking at race relations, this delves into race challenges within the black community. Also A powerful story about class, about how you find yourself, how you lose yourself, and what it means to be a black girl in America. Watson's story is full of heart, as much as it's full of moments that are heart-wrenching. Loved how this book explored friendship and intersectional relationships, as well as the microaggressions that can occur within them. This is a smart, savvy look at race; more than just looking at race relations, this delves into race challenges within the black community. Also? This is a book about Jade's love for art, for creating, and for sharing her story in bits and pieces. Watson expertly weaves this all together with both the collage metaphor and, perhaps even more cleverly, through the Lewis and Clark (plus York) story. Bonus: Jade describes herself as a big girl, and her ways of navigating the "fat/thin" lines are compelling and so realistic they hurt. I'm going to be thinking about this one for a long time. Hand to those who loved Kekla Magoon's HOW IT WENT DOWN, Watson's first YA book THIS SIDE OF HOME, and Lilliam Rivera's THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ.
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  • Latanya (CraftyScribbles)
    January 1, 1970
    And this makes me wonder if a black girl's life is only about being stitched together and coming undone, being stitched together and coming undone. I wonder if there's ever a way for a girl like me to feel whole.What can I say? Renée Watson returns with another story of young black girlhood. After reading This Side of Home, I wanted more from this author. She delivered. Jade is a YA female protagonist that's needed. She offers, on page, the daily mirror almost every black girl reflects upon. Iss And this makes me wonder if a black girl's life is only about being stitched together and coming undone, being stitched together and coming undone. I wonder if there's ever a way for a girl like me to feel whole.What can I say? Renée Watson returns with another story of young black girlhood. After reading This Side of Home, I wanted more from this author. She delivered. Jade is a YA female protagonist that's needed. She offers, on page, the daily mirror almost every black girl reflects upon. Issues of class, poverty, racism, police brutality, and body shaming dance without simplicity, without whitewashing, and without coddling. Nothing's clean. Nothing's wrapped in bows and glitter. Honesty exude. Heart and soul reigns. What you see is a healthy portion of reality that won't leave you hungry.Pros:1. Jade. Made of coal skin and hula-hoop hips, she knows male teens see her as a 5. Yet, her soul is immeasurable. She's aware of who she is and where she's headed. She deserves a heard voice and she's going to receive an audience. But, you cannot help wanting to shield her from inevitable moments, like the Natasha Ramsey incident and how her heart stops when she witnesses a cop pull over a black woman (view spoiler)[ When she sees the woman just get a traffic ticket and nothing else, she exhales the tight breath she inhales - a moment all too familiar to those, like me, dealing with the same reality. (hide spoiler)] You root for her present and her future. 2. Real issues discussed. Classism, racism, body shaming, police brutality (the story shouts out victims of past police and societal brutality), and poverty. Nothing's clean. Nothing's coddled. Nothing's wrapped in glittery bows. I don't know what's worse. Being mistreat because of the color of your skin, your size, or having to prove that it really happened.3. Complex characters. Maxine. Jade's mom and dad. Sam. Mr. Flores, even the school's counselor and lunch lady are not spared. Societal complexities are discussed. No one's clean. No one's coddled. No one's whitewashed.4. Cultural winks. Lee Lee would get that. She'd look at me and we'd have a whole conversation with our eyes. Or, what measure is black? Does she dispel stereotypes at school? Or, do she have to prove she's black enough when around the community?Cons:1. Story's short. I wanted more!2. Some of the conclusion is a wee tidy for me. But, I'll deal.Highly recommended. 5 stars. Read, share, learn, and grow.
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  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    "Sometimes it feels like I leave home a whole person, sent off with kisses from Mom, who is hanging her every hope on my future. By the time I get home I feel like my soul has been shattered into a million little pieces...And this makes me wonder if a black girl's life is only about being stitched together and coming undone, being stitched together and coming undone." (p. 85-86)I loved this story about a girl attending a private school on scholarship and her relationships—with the school, with h "Sometimes it feels like I leave home a whole person, sent off with kisses from Mom, who is hanging her every hope on my future. By the time I get home I feel like my soul has been shattered into a million little pieces...And this makes me wonder if a black girl's life is only about being stitched together and coming undone, being stitched together and coming undone." (p. 85-86)I loved this story about a girl attending a private school on scholarship and her relationships—with the school, with her mom, with her mentor, with her dear friend from her neighborhood and a new one from elsewhere, with news of police brutality against a young black girl, and with the world around her. Ultimately, it's a story about finding one's voice through art. And the poem at the end is incredibly powerful. "The only noise in the kitchen is her pen on the page crossing out and adding in, writing and rewriting stanzas, mixed with the slicing of scissors, the tearing of paper. On and on we go until the sun meets moon." (p.247)
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  • Ava
    January 1, 1970
    OH MY GOD THIS WAS MAGNIFICENT. I highly, highly, highly recommend this book about a poor Black girl artist growing up in Portland. Wow. Please, please read this. There isn't enough hype for this masterpiece, despite the fact that the majority of my friends rated this 5 stars. Why aren't people talking about this? (Or where have I been to miss it? Seriously, I wish I picked this up months ago.)Just read it.
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  • Nina (Every Word A Doorway)
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes I just want to be comfortable in this skin, this body. Want to cock my head back and laugh loud and free, all my teeth showing, and not be told I'm too rowdy, too ghetto. It's a shame that one book release on a certain topic – such as The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – can create such a buzz, whereas others focusing on similar, if not the same, topics are easily overlooked. Both of these books focus on race, injustice, and inequality, but go about addressing these themes in a very diff Sometimes I just want to be comfortable in this skin, this body. Want to cock my head back and laugh loud and free, all my teeth showing, and not be told I'm too rowdy, too ghetto. It's a shame that one book release on a certain topic – such as The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – can create such a buzz, whereas others focusing on similar, if not the same, topics are easily overlooked. Both of these books focus on race, injustice, and inequality, but go about addressing these themes in a very different manner.While The Hate U Give addresses blunt police violence against black individuals, Piecing Me Together zooms in on a more subtle form of aggression, namely micro aggressions. It is a quiet, slow, and character-driven book about self-love, dreams, friendship, and the power of art. This book talks about what it means to be a black, to be a woman, and that having the same skin colour does not necessarily result in mutual understanding.Though contemporary is not my go-to genre, I find myself enjoying it so much when I feel like a book is expanding my knowledge on issues I cannot relate to and teaching me something about life. Piecing Me Together is that kind of book. I found myself writing down quotes every other page. Though I consider myself a person who is aware of many struggles POC experience in their daily lives, this book has opened my eyes to a great deal more. My neighborhood is full of big dreamers. But I know that doesn't mean those dreams will come true. In many ways, Piecing Me Together is in line with other books and addresses issues that sound familiar. The main character Jade has been awarded a scholarship to a mostly-white private school, and she struggles with fitting in, being treated differently, and being given opportunities she feels forced to take if she wants to fulfill her ambitious dreams. What Piecing Me Together does extremely well is presenting a nuanced introspection and considering multiple perspectives to every issue. To me, as a white person, it seemed like Jade was granted many opportunities to strive for success; to Jade, as a black person, it seemed like white folks were telling her in how many ways her life needed fixing. This is just one of many examples of how Piecing Me Together looks at things not as black and white but as grey, and thus opened my eyes to things I wouldn't have considered before.Though this book seemed like it was going to display a narrative similar to books like The Hate U Give, it features a different take on class and racial divides. What sets Piecing Me Together apart from other books on black youth is its thematising of inequality and class divides within race. Jade struggles to connect with her mentor Maxine, a black woman growing up in a wealthy family, just as much as her white friend Sam struggles to connect with the other wealthy white girls at school. This book shows how the racial divide affects Jade's friendship with a white girl and how the class divide affects Jade's relationship with her black mentor. I have never read a book which thematised divides within race, or not to this extent, and I was extremely impressed with how multi-faceted Piecing Me Together addressed race as a whole. I try to let the music wash away that feeling that comes when white people make you feel special or stupid for no good reason. I don't know how to describe that feeling, just to say that it's kind of like cold, sunny days. Something is discomforting about a sun that gives not heat but keeps shining. Everyday micro aggressions, such as being the subject of scrutiny in stores, are brought into play to illustrate both Jade's struggles as a black teen and her struggles as a black teen in a friendship with a white teen. Jade is convinced these things happen because she's black, while Sam dives into a different reasoning. Piecing Me Together's aim is not to clarify who is right, but to show that Jade just needed to be heard but instead received dismissal. This is so important for every aspect of our lives, not just issues of race. We need to listen and take into consideration the opinion of others, regardless of whether we agree with them or not. It's not being disagreed with that hurts, but being shut out, overlooked, ignored. Learning to speak up is a major anchor point of Jade's character development. Throughout the story, she learns to use her voice to protest injustice, to receive things she wants, and to fix friendships she needs. A lot of expression is also done through her artwork (collaging, by which the title was inspired) which focuses on her struggles as a person but also the overall struggles of many black Americans. Though not a dominant theme, Jade describing herself as a bigger girl allows for Piecing Me Together to further address identity, beauty standards, and self-worth. Things That Are Black and Beautiful: A Starless Night Sky Storm Clouds Onyx Clarinets Ink Panthers Black Swans Afro Puffs Michelle Obama Me Overall, Piecing Me Together takes a unique and excellent standpoint on issues of race, social status, and their impact within and across race and class. To me, this reading experience was a novelty. It is a coming-of-age story with an engaging, multi-faceted narration and a powerful message. Piecing Me Together provides proof that hidden gems can be found in the shadows of popular releases (even if I liked said popular books), and I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a contemporary that packs a punch. **I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
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  • Xan West
    January 1, 1970
    This book was seriously amazing. It destroyed me in the best way. Gorgeous writing, wonderful and complex characterization, a beautiful arc. I now will read this author's entire backlist because it's just brilliant, in more ways than I have words for. This novel is told from the POV of Jade, a fat Black poor teen artist growing up in Portland. It's very much about class, art, and finding ways to speak up for yourself and be true to who you are. It's also about police violence targeting Black fol This book was seriously amazing. It destroyed me in the best way. Gorgeous writing, wonderful and complex characterization, a beautiful arc. I now will read this author's entire backlist because it's just brilliant, in more ways than I have words for. This novel is told from the POV of Jade, a fat Black poor teen artist growing up in Portland. It's very much about class, art, and finding ways to speak up for yourself and be true to who you are. It's also about police violence targeting Black folks, and activism against racist police violence. Most of the central characters are Black women, both teenagers and adults. I love the moments between the women, watching Jade and her mentor, or her mentor and her mom. I especially loved getting to witness Jade's relationship with her mom, and how much support she draws from it. The fat rep in the book resonated, felt real. Jade grapples with fat oppression and has an analysis of it, while it still also gets inside sometimes. That's generally one of the things about this novel that I loved the most, the way Jade has an analysis of so much that's going on, is constantly reading power and privilege at work, analyzing it, thinking about it, and is also touched so deeply by it emotionally. I loved being inside her head, seeing how she thought about things, from the Lewis and Clark expedition to misogyny to racist police violence to class dynamics to strangers on the bus. She is always thinking and always feeling, has such intense empathy and also so much emotional armor. The complexity of her POV grabbed me so hard, and there are just so many moments, small and big, that made me feel so much. I want to mention that this is one of those rare YAs that does not have a romance plot or subplot. I really liked that about it.I loved how much the book showed her thinking about and doing her art, how central that was. I really wished that I could see her work, kept trying to picture it in my mind. I love books with artist main characters that really take a breath in moments of creativity, let those moments have size and heft. This is one of the best I've read. It's a gorgeous book, and I am so happy that it is out in the world. Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)[ Detailed description of police violence. Detailed description of street harassment by an adult man targeting a teen girl. Detailed description of fat hating sexual harassment by teen boys targeting a teen girl. MC frequently experiences racist, fat hating, and classist microaggressions and macroaggressions throughout the novel; they are always textually challenged, and sometimes also directly challenged by her or other characters. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    4.5*Probably one of the best YA books I’ve read in a very long time
  • Chelsea
    January 1, 1970
    It’s a real shame that this book isn’t getting more attention. It’s such a strong contemporary novel!This novel follows a teenage black girl named Jade, who attends private school on a scholarship while living in the “hood”. Jade is struggling with her identity, and the novel follows her through her junior year and her new mentorship program.Here’s a list of things I really liked about this book:There is no romance whatsoever, and I certainly didn’t miss having one. This is Jade’s story, and I l It’s a real shame that this book isn’t getting more attention. It’s such a strong contemporary novel!This novel follows a teenage black girl named Jade, who attends private school on a scholarship while living in the “hood”. Jade is struggling with her identity, and the novel follows her through her junior year and her new mentorship program.Here’s a list of things I really liked about this book:There is no romance whatsoever, and I certainly didn’t miss having one. This is Jade’s story, and I love how this book focuses more on friendship and showing that you don’t need a relationship to find yourself.I love these coming of age stories about finding yourself and figuring out your future. Those are really my favorite kind of books, and if you like them as well, you would love this book.Very character driven. There isn’t a ton of plot, but Jade is a complex main character who feels real, so lack of plot is a-okay with me.I love seeing an author develop a main character’s hobbies - it shows the thought put into creating that character. Jade loves art and is very good at Spanish, and I love the way both of those hobbies were incorporated.This feels very honest. I imagine the author is writing a lot from experience, and it feels like a very authentic book, not just in terms of the great discussions about race.It’s a short book, so it’s a pretty quick read. Definitely one a reader could finish in a couple of sittings.There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this one! Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who enjoys contemporary novels.
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  • MissFabularian
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this book. It's message driven, but the message is timely and much needed. Jade is a scholarship student at a prestigious private school in Portland. She is an artist who takes things other people throw away and makes them beautiful. Inspired by current events, and the experiences of York, the slave who traveled with Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition, her artwork is her outlet and form of self care. To see full review and author interview click here.
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  • Janani
    January 1, 1970
    This book is so stunning and complex, I can't believe more people aren't talking about it. Renée Watson is such an elegant writer. I'm only sorry that I didn't pick it up sooner.
  • Amanda NEVER MANDY
    January 1, 1970
    **I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.**When I am in giveaway mode I try to move down the list as quickly as possible. I really only glance at the cover to gauge how interested I am in it and skim over the title to make sure it isn’t part of a series (always have to start with book one). I don’t dig into the synopsis because I like to be surprised when they show up in the mail. This book was a huge surprise for me because lately I have been trying to avoid YA books. It’s **I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.**When I am in giveaway mode I try to move down the list as quickly as possible. I really only glance at the cover to gauge how interested I am in it and skim over the title to make sure it isn’t part of a series (always have to start with book one). I don’t dig into the synopsis because I like to be surprised when they show up in the mail. This book was a huge surprise for me because lately I have been trying to avoid YA books. It’s not that I think they are bad but that I’m not really interested in reading them anymore. Most of them lack the depth I crave and the subject matter doesn’t speak to me like books geared to an older audience. I’m pretty sure I have entered the old, cranky fart stage of my reading.This book is a gem. I loved everything about it, especially the main character. She is so full of life, thoughts and opinions and I just couldn’t get enough of her. The writing style was superb and it told a story that laid bare so many important topics that any person from any age can appreciate it. Newbery Honor Books are ALWAYS worth it!
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  • Dahlia
    January 1, 1970
    I love Renee Watson's contemp YAs; I just think she always nails not just the voice but the experience she's going for. Both THIS SIDE OF HOME and PIECING ME TOGETHER are about Black girls in Portland struggling to be heard in different situations, yes, but they're also about said girls discovering the power of their activism, and how important their voices are and can be, and how to find the people in this world who will help amplify you versus those who will shut you down, and that's an especi I love Renee Watson's contemp YAs; I just think she always nails not just the voice but the experience she's going for. Both THIS SIDE OF HOME and PIECING ME TOGETHER are about Black girls in Portland struggling to be heard in different situations, yes, but they're also about said girls discovering the power of their activism, and how important their voices are and can be, and how to find the people in this world who will help amplify you versus those who will shut you down, and that's an especially strong theme here. I am definitely a fan.
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  • Sarah (YA Love)
    January 1, 1970
    This book is absolutely wonderful and quietly powerful. I'm going to read this aloud to my freshman classes this year. It's a new all-time favorite and I want you all to read it.
  • Leigh Collazo
    January 1, 1970
    More reviews at Mrs. ReaderPants.Considering the tremendous success of The Hate U Give earlier this year (and still going strong), I think this title got a bit...overlooked. Released in February, just two weeks before the release of The Hate U Give, Piecing Me Together deserves a lot more attention than it's getting. Professional reviews and Goodreads ratings for Piecing Me Together are solid, and I highly recommend it for all school and public libraries serving teens. It's also perfect for midd More reviews at Mrs. ReaderPants.Considering the tremendous success of The Hate U Give earlier this year (and still going strong), I think this title got a bit...overlooked. Released in February, just two weeks before the release of The Hate U Give, Piecing Me Together deserves a lot more attention than it's getting. Professional reviews and Goodreads ratings for Piecing Me Together are solid, and I highly recommend it for all school and public libraries serving teens. It's also perfect for middle school readers, some of whom might not be ready for the more mature content of The Hate U Give. WHAT I LIKED: This book is 100%, totally and completely, needed in all school and public libraries. There are not enough books by African-American authors featuring African-American characters in our libraries and in mainstream YA literature. Piecing Me Together fills a void for an underrepresented audience that needs to see themselves in the characters and situations they read about.I loved the way the teens use their artistic talents and work together at the end to help a total stranger's family. I loved the portrayal of a strong African-American family that is struggling financially but is still involved in each other's lives. Even though Jade's mother works long hours and must stretch every dollar, she still opens her home to her younger brother (Jade's uncle E.J.) when he needs a new place to live. It's another mouth to feed and they don't have any extra space, but Jade's mother accepts E.J. into their home without hesitation or complaint.I hope this book will help readers see how little comments they make or actions they think are insignificant can be incredibly hurtful. This everyday racism often grows from ignorance and fear, and Piecing Me Together shows readers the effects of daily microaggressions based solely on skin color.WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I have to be honest, I didn't really like Jade so much at first. I got frustrated with her reluctance to speak up when she felt wronged. I thought she was too hard on Maxine, her mentor, who is only a few years older than Jade and brand-new to mentoring. She has problems in her own life, just as we all do. While Maxine isn't so reliable at first, she's at least trying to help Jade (who is a total stranger to her). And even though she is distracted at times, she is receptive to Jade's opinions when Jade finally decides to speak up. Maxine asks Jade what she's thinking and gives her lots of opportunity to say what's on her mind. It isn't Maxine's fault that Jade doesn't tell her, and it's unfair for Jade to blame Maxine for not understanding why Jade is aloof and considers quitting the Woman to Woman program.That said, Jade does find her voice and recognizes it is unfair of her to expect Maxine to just know what Jade is thinking. I loved this slow maturing of Jade's character. It's authentic and makes Jade much more likeable for the last third of the book.This is one of those "pensive" books, where there is a lot of inner monologue and not a lot of action. Some readers will love that; others won't. THEMES: everyday racism, poverty, seizing opportunities, speaking up, communityTHE BOTTOM LINE: A much-needed addition to any school or public library. I think many teen girls will identify with Jade.STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: On order.RATING BREAKDOWN: Overall: 4/5 Creativity: 4/5 Characters: 4/5 Engrossing: 3/5 Writing: 4/5 Appeal to teens: 5/5 Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5 CONTENT: Language: none that I remember Sexuality: none Violence: mild; police brutality incident occurs to someone the narrator does not know personally Drugs/Alcohol: none
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  • Maxabooklover
    January 1, 1970
    I'm going to write a book review about this masterpiece.This book is about a girl named Jade who lives in Portland, Oregon and she goes to a white school. Basically she is the only black girl in the whole school. One day, she gets called out to join The Women to Women project and at first she doesn't like it, until she meets Maxine, a women who is also black and has had similar experiences to Jade. When she joins Women To Women she meets other girls who are black and learns a lot about herself. I'm going to write a book review about this masterpiece.This book is about a girl named Jade who lives in Portland, Oregon and she goes to a white school. Basically she is the only black girl in the whole school. One day, she gets called out to join The Women to Women project and at first she doesn't like it, until she meets Maxine, a women who is also black and has had similar experiences to Jade. When she joins Women To Women she meets other girls who are black and learns a lot about herself. If I were to say which book this genre is I would say Contemporary. I like how strong Jade the female protagonist is. There are some examples where she is strong: When she was waiting at the bus stop after her first Women To Women meeting and an older man came up to her, looked down at her breasts and almost kissed her. Jade wasn't having any of that and she pushed the gross man away and shouted at him. I found that to be so strong! Like instead of letting him touch her and god knows what else, she does the right thing. Also when Jade was ordering a hamburger and fries at Dairy Queen and these teenage boys were rating girls on the scale from 1-10 and they start rating Jade. One slapped her butt but she didn't get upset or anything. She just decided, I shouldn't waste my time here. I should just go home to eat instead and she calmly walks away. Even when one of the teenage boys swears at her and tells her how big of a butt she has. I like how the book is not focused on romance. The book is focused on The Black Lives Matter which I just learned about. The book is so special and should be read by all ages, 10 up. I like that the book focuses on a black girl instead of a white girl. I mean, there aren't many books with a black girl's perspective. I give Piecing Me Together 5 stars without a blink of an eye. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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  • Justina Ireland
    January 1, 1970
    Jade is an earnest and immensely likeable main character. This book is a quick read and is perfect for readers looking for stories of Black girls without the edgy content of so many issue books which feature Black main characters. Sometimes you just want to spend time with a character and enjoy their company. This is one of those books.
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  • Chessa
    January 1, 1970
    Love, love, love. I finished with tears in my eyes and goosebumps on my skin. A powerful story of finding your voice, stepping into your power. I just loved it. The kind of book that you want to hug at the end.
  • Kristina
    January 1, 1970
    I love Renee's writing style and stories so much <3Simple and thought-provoking at the same time! Downright gorgeous! Absolutely recommend if you are interested in reading more diverse books.
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