Renée Watson’s Piecing Me Together is both timely and timeless in demonstrating the dance of adolescence into young adulthood. Themes within Piecing Me Together encompass race, gender & privilege; but at the heart of it, this is a book about friendship, community and resilience. Watson turns stereotypes around and has characters that are not the easiest to like but fully developed.
How I found this book: I found this book shortly after finishing The Hate U Give and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Plot: Jade accepts a scholarship to a mostly white private school to better herself and her chances of success. She is excited about a program that they offer which would include a study abroad experience. Jade applies herself in her studies and instead of the opportunity to study abroad she is selected to participate in a Woman to Woman mentor program for at-risk-girls. She doesn’t see it as an opportunity but as another example of how her current situation is so difficult to circumvent. Her apprehension grows as she finds her mentor to not be as successful or qualified to help Jade grow and learn. Jade starts to make her voice heard despite her initial lack of interest. Jade wants to reconcile the worlds she is hovering between, the neighborhood she is from and the school she attends. She makes a friend at her new school, and this friendship allows her to see another girls struggle – despite being from a slightly better neighborhood and for being white – that there are hardships that cross barriers of race and class.
Writing: Watson crafts characters that you dislike, even Jade. It is a true testament to her writing ability to show us a flawed character, that in one minute you are frustrated with her stubbornness and in the next minute you a cheering for her to succeed. The language is approachable and relevant for young adults. The pacing is quick and this would be a good selection for a classroom text.
What makes it stand out: The presentation of problems that cross race, class and gender. Although you are mostly seeing the world through Jade’s eyes, you also get to see the issues that her mentor, friend, mother, uncle and teacher have to deal with. The greatest success of this book is showing the positive results that can come from one person initiating action, how one person can help define a community and one person can make a difference.
You May Also Like:
Juggling Dual-Personas: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Coming-of-Age: Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
Strength of Community: The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Rich vs. Poor: The Wangs vs. The World Jade Chang
Piecing Me Together
A timely and powerful story about a teen girl from a poor neighborhood striving for success, from acclaimed author Renée Watson.
Friendships, race, privilege, identity—this compelling and thoughtful story explores the issues young women face.
featured image courtesy of bookiemoji on instagram