“Girl in Pieces” provides the typical young adult cliches

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“Girl in Pieces” provides the typical young adult cliches

Riley Murphy

If you follow my book blog close enough, you would know that all of my reviews are fairly positive with only few critiques. I mean, why recommend a book you hated? What’s the point of that? I like to pride myself on finding great books that make you want to cancel all of your plans, never pick up your phone, and keep reading until your eyes are sore.

However I have recently picked up a book that has disappointed me so much that I just had to warn you all. I remember seeing this book at Barnes and Noble quite a long time ago, reading the synopsis, and instantly wanting to cancel my plans and throw my phone in the garbage in order to finish it as fast as possible.

The only problem (and I think a problem that all avid readers struggle with) was that it was hard cover and as many book browsers know, hardcover books are usually more pricey than an average soft cover.

So I waited. And waited. And waited. Eagerly anticipating the chance to get my hands on this book and saving up all of my Barnes and Noble gift cards.

When I finally got this book I was thrilled to finally crack it open and dive into this world the author has created. However, as soon as I got through the first chapter…I knew I made a mistake.  

The highly anticipated and idealized version of “Girl in Pieces,” I had in my head was slowly shattered and a dull, laughable version replaced it. The characters were paper thin, the plot was predictable, and overall the book was just dry.

“Girl in Pieces” by Kathleen Glasgow follows the story of teen Charlie Davis who is riding the roller coaster of life and finding herself experiencing more highs than lows, to say the least. The books opens up with a mute Charlie in a mental treatment center who is still trying to heal from the pain of her past and trying to deny her want to self-harm- her past consisting of being thrown out of her home at a young age and forced to live on the street, being raped under an underpass, losing her best friend to attempted suicide, being sold into a sex house, and attempting suicide herself.

Skipping a few pages, Charlie gets released from the hospital and takes a bus all the way to Arizona in order to live with her friend Mikey who saved her from her rape. After getting to Arizona, she finds herself a job washing dishes, an apartment, and even a love interest.

This was the trap I fell into. Sure this all sounds good when you read it in only a couple of sentences, but when it’s dragged on for a brutal 398 pages you start to find the plot a little tiresome.

What the synopsis doesn’t tell you is that the job washing dishes is at your stereotypical “artsy-kids-write-poetry-and-smoke-who-knows-what-in-the-back” coffee bar. And the characters who work in that bar are your typical “grunge-artistic-druggie-who-doesn’t-talk-much-but-likes-to-write-songs-in-their-free-time.”

Now I may be coming off a little harsh, but I feel like this is the typical setting for all of these emotional young adult novels. Some hurt girl goes looking for a place in the world and finds her comfort and support in the arms of artistic strangers and suddenly her world is complete and she feels welcomed.

Yippee. While I will credit Glasgow with creating a well-developed lead character, she ultimately ruined it with certain cliché aspects of the story.

Another huge problem I had with the book was that at times I found it hard to follow. Glasgow tried really hard to make her writing poetic and flowery, but this ultimately sacrificed clarity of what the characters were trying to say or convey.

There were times that I had to just sit back and laugh because some of the dialogue sounded like something I read in a Hallmark card and I just couldn’t take it anymore.

While the ending was beautiful (partially because it was finally the end of the book), I ultimately found the author’s note more meaningful than the story itself.

Glasgow ends the book with a note explaining how she came up with the book. She explained that she herself used to self-harm and never felt that she would find anyone who understood her pain or, for that matter, wanted to understand it. Instead of wanting to hear more of Charlie’s story, I was left wanting to hear more of Glasgow’s.

In the end, “Girl in Pieces” really didn’t live up to my hype and I was just thankful it was over.


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