Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pieces of me by Darlene Ryan

Maddie has only been living on the streets for a short time, but she has already learned some of the do's and don'ts - she has definitely learnt enough to know not to trust every person she meets.  When she meets Q it seems as though they are destined to go their own ways, but something about him makes her trust him enough to let him lead her to a place where she can get a free meal without a sermon, and a safe place to sleep.  What starts as an uneasy relationship soon develops into a quick friendship, which quickly becomes complicated when their partnership grows to a threesome with the arrival of Dylan into their lives. 

Abandoned by his father, Dylan struggles to cope with the sudden lose of his family, a difficult time for anyone - never mind a small child.  As Maddie and Q struggle to keep a roof over the head of their growing family, Maddie comes to realise that things are not as straight forward as she thought, that she may not be able to handle the life she has chosen.  As things begin to unravel, Maddie has to make some difficult decisions, decisions that could change all their lives forever.

Maddie is a voice for the hundreds (if not thousands) of teenagers who have made the choice to live on the streets rather than face the life that waits for them at home - and other characters in the novel give voice to the other reasons that some children, teenagers, and adults end up on the streets.  At times it feels as though Maddie has it a little bit easy, she has developed a favourable relationship with one of the people at the shelter, she finds Q when she needs to, she finds someone who can help her find food, it sometimes feels a little too easy - but she is driven, caring, and smart which may make a difference. 

I felt a real connection to Maddie, maybe because she is so practical yet still really cares for the people who become her family, but also maybe just because she takes a difficult situation and doesn't fall into a spiral of self pity and drug use.  This is not a hard hitting novel, there are moments that shock you, but not enough to make this novel unsuitable for younger teen readers.  If you like to read real life reads, with a real teenage voice then Pieces of me may be the book for you. 

If you like this book then try:
  • Scars by Cheryl Rainfield
  • Cuts like a knife by Darlene Ryan
  • I swear by Lane Davis
  • Trafficked by Kim Purcell
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Dead to you by Lisa McMann
  • Such a pretty girl by Laura Wiess

Reviewed by Brilla

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