Piecing Me Together

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Feb 2018

Member Reviews

I love Renée Watson and this book was no exception. Such an important book - and I found out it was published in Black history month (awesome!) - about the micro-aggressions a black teen faces in every day life in america today. This book really opened my eyes to my privilege as a white person that books that deal with bigger issues - like The Hate U Give and gun violence/police brutality - seem to forget to include. It's the smaller struggles that people seem to forget about, and its the smaller struggles that make life difficult. Excellent read.
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Thank you for the review copy. I loved this book SO much. I haven't read anything by Renée Watson before but I'm going to check out he other books now. Such a thought provoking read and I will definitely read it again.
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This book was incredible, easily the best thing I’ve read this year. I could not recommend it enough, it’s incredible how much of an emotional punch was packed in such a short book. Can’t wait for Watson’s next book!
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An moving and powerful read that deals with a lot of important issues such as class and racism and therefore I would recommend that everyone picks it up. I'd especially recommend it for fans of The Hate U Give, who may be looking for more books dealing with similar themes and issues. The only issue I had with the book is that it's very short and could have perhaps been expanded a little in order to give a little more space to some of the ideas.
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Renée Watson is such a remarkable author, creating impactful and empowering narratives for young women of colour. Understated elegance.
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I had heard so many good things about this book, and I kept seeing it on the buy one get one half price section of Waterstones. So when I saw it on Netgalley, I instantly requested it and luckily, I was sent it! As soon as I had downloaded it, I started reading it straight away and it took me three hours to read - in one sitting.

Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighborhood if she's ever going to succeed. Her mother tells her to take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way. And Jade has: every day she rides the bus away from her friends and to the private school where she feels like an outsider, but where she has plenty of opportunities. But some opportunities she doesn't really welcome, like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for "at-risk" girls.

Just because her mentor is black and graduated from the same high school doesn't mean she understands where Jade is coming from. She's tired of being singled out as someone who needs help, someone people want to fix. Jade wants to speak, to create, to express her joys and sorrows, her pain and her hope. Maybe there are some things she could show other women about understanding the world and finding ways to be real, to make a difference.

This is 100% a 5 out of 5 star book. Everything was just absolutely perfect apart from one small thing: the beginning was quite slow. However, after the first few chapters, we become really involved in Jade's life and the struggles that she has to go through on a daily basis: it was the story of a black teen girl, who's also an artist and also just trying to find her place in the world and be proud of who she is. It's about her LIFE.

One of the things that I loved about this book was that Jade was an artist who specialised in creating gorgeous collages. Her goal in life was to travel the world, and in order to do this, her plan was to get a scholarship. She is offered a place in the Women to Women group - much to her chagrin - but she learns to enjoy the group and really make it her own. 

Some other things that I loved about this book was that there WAS NO ROMANCE, which was brilliant. I think that's real important to show that you don't NEED to be involved in a romantic relationship to be successful. Instead, there are views of family and friendship, and it was just really, really nice to see a coming of age story without any love interest. There was also some epic mother and daughter relationship scenes where her Mom was helpful, and then not helpful, and the whole relationship could be frustrating. But hey, who said getting along with parents was supposed to be easy?

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.

- Renée Watson, Piecing Me Together

I also loved Jade's character development and how she learnt to speak up for herself and talk to the Women to Women group about what SHE wanted to learn. Watson also conveyed the fear of society that Jade had to go through every day because she was black, and I really do hope that other black teens read this story and take on the message that they do not belong in the background and their voice really does matter! Another great matter of representation in this book was that Jade describes herself as thick, showing a body-positive character who is comfortable in her own skin. 

Watson does an amazing job of creating a character who stands up for herself, who decides not to give up on what she wants in life and who also has great f/f friendships who love and support each other. This book is very much character driven and the developments in which every single character goes through.

If you haven't guessed already, I absolutely loved this book and urge everyone to read it!

Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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Jade is taking the bus to go to private school every day. She studies with rich and privileged kids, but lives with a single mother who doesn't make much money. For Jade opportunities are scarce and when she gets them she needs to grab them with both hands. She's smart and artistic and does incredibly well at school, she regularly tutors others, but her achievements often go unnoticed. Jade has never been on holiday and a school trip would be a dream come true, but will she be invited?

Jade's being pushed into the Women to Women mentorship program, but she doesn't feel her mentor is teaching her much. However, if Jade wants to learn from her mentor she might have to share her thoughts. Jade needs to find her voice, so other people will hear her. Maybe if she speaks up she will finally be understood and get the chances she so longs to have? Will she ever be able to find out who she is and where she fits into the world, can she fit all the pieces of her personality together to make a beautiful whole like the collages she makes?  

Piecing Me Together is a beautiful strong story. Jade doesn’t feel seen or heard by anyone. She’s from a poor neighborhood, going to a private school where nobody seems to understand her. Jade doesn’t have many friends because of this, which is a fantastic thought-provoking topic for a story. She can totally lose herself in her art and this talent put a big smile on my face. Renée Watson describes her creations in such a stunning vivid way that it makes them pop off the pages of the book. Even though Jade’s being given opportunities, she isn’t happy with everything she’s being made part of and she’s absolutely right about that too. Jade is being asked for the Women to Women mentorship program. At first Jade feels smaller because of this program, but slowly she starts to find her voice and she grows into someone who can stand up for herself, which was such an amazing process to witness.

Renée Watson has a fantastic engaging writing style. I was captivated by her story from beginning to end. I really enjoyed reading about Jade's personal development. While she is used to running away from her problems she’s learning to solve them, to demand to be heard and seen instead. I absolutely loved that. I also liked the dynamics between Jade and her mentor, the way Jade lets her know how she feels and voices her opinions. Jade is smart, articulate and talented and when she lets people know how she feels she finally gets her results. It takes a lot of courage to do this and that is what I admired the most about this book, Jade’s journey to find that courage within herself and using it for others who need it as well. I love stories about strong girls and think Renée Watson has done a brilliant job with this one.
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I was drawn to this story because it is about a girl who is dedicated to working on her future and is not side-tracked or inspired by a love interest, so that was a major plus because unfortunately it’s so rare in YA. Seriously there was no love interest, not even a mention! Anyways — Jade lives in a poor neighbourhood in very White Portland and believes the only way she can succeed in life is to get out. She’s super smart and talented, and tries everything. When she’s put into a program for “at risk” girls to be paired with a mentor, she’s hesitant, because she doesn’t feel understood. I liked the idea of this story, and I’m glad I read it, but I found that it took a long time to get anywhere and that the writing was quite choppy and not flushed out enough. I barely knew anything about Jade’s mentor, who becomes a big character, and I always felt like I had missed something. I do think that this story will be a comforting read for young women of colour for Jade’s strength and determination.
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I received an ARC of Piecing Me Together from Netgalley. I'd seen the book floating around in the internet, and the US cover looked intriguing. I wasn't so into the UK cover but now that I've read the book, I love it - more about that below!

It's #ownvoices for black representation.


This book focusses on the intersection of class and race, and does so both by looking into the past and following the story of York, the slave who traveled with Lewis and Clarke, and by following Jade's life in the present. Thus, the reader is given the opportunity to see how life at this intersection has changed throughout the centuries.

It also discusses the misconception that those in privileged positions think that the people who are minorities just want to be help. I like that Jade makes it very clear that she is also able to help other people. The concept of reverse racism is also dismantled.

The scenes with Jade's mentor and the mentor programme were very profound. It was interesting to see that Jade's feedback was welcomed and accepted here, and that she was valued as a person.

The chapters are very short, yet there is so much in each of them. They are very much to the point and succinct, while still leaving you with a lot to think about.

The scene where Jade's friend ignores the fact that a situation was racist and fatantagonistic, and states that Jade might be overreacting was infuriating for me. I could relate to being surprised that the friend did not realise there was tension between them, after this fight. I have had similar situations in the past, and it makes me so angry when people who say they are friends, refuse to admit that racism influences how people act.

I love the UK cover so much. It really portrays Jade's personality and how she uses her art to work through her feelings. I love it!

This novel does not have a romance storyline in it, which was quite refreshing to read.


I loved this book. It's so strong and beautiful. Definitely worth reading! Check it out!

Trigger warnings: racism, fatantagonism, classism.
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This book was beautiful and had so much to say. In one way it was about a Black girl trying to get through life with a mother who works so hard and can barely afford to keep the family fed. On the other hand, it was also a book about a private school girl who finds it hard to assert herself and ask for what she wants out of life. And about how to make people listen to her when she does. It's about racism. It's about opportunities. It's about Spanish and poverty and being Black. It's about so much more than anyone could put into a small synopsis. 

I loved the bits of Spanish at the start of each chapter and how much that Jade was into languages. They made such an interesting point about how giving a girl a trip to the opera when she's passionate about the Spanish language and making collages, isn't much of an opportunity when they could send her on a trip to a Spanish speaking country or help furthering her art. Giving her opportunities for an actual career and life rather than just viewing her as an underprivileged Black girl who needs charity. 

At it's heart though, it's about Jade learning to speak up for herself. Learning what opportunities are worth pursuing and when she has to speak up and say "this isn't useful for me, this is what I want" and getting the people around her to listen. 

This book really has something for everyone. It's an incite into what it's like to be a Black girl, what it's like to be a teenager and what it's like to live in poverty while also giving out advice and life lessons that is useful for everyone to know. Definitely one of the best books I've read this year.
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Piecing Me Together is about Jade who lives at home with her single mother, and goes to  a mostly white school on scholarship. Throughout the book Jade struggles with the guilt of not going to the same school as the kids in her neighbourhood, and the fact that she can’t wait to get out of her neighbourhood and travel. I loved that the book deals with the everyday microaggressions of life for black people, and the class system in America instead of the big themes usually found in books of this nature. Overall It is a beautiful book that deals with a black young girl’s experience growing up, beauty standards, class and race in America. 

Thank you Net Galley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) for my free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
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While the cover did not stand out to me, I am really happy that I read the blurb and requested a copy of thus from the publisher and NetGalley (thank you!).

I found this book to be highly relevant and important for young people in the modern world in discussing race, equality and issues of tolerance and identity. While it is slow paced, it is the pacing of the day to day insights that help to make a well developed story, which explores characters and relationships in detail. 

Yes, there are some similarities to Angie Thomas The Hate U Give but I found the topic to be a really interesting one and was glad to read a novel which continues the discussion of society and treatment of others. Will recommend!
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When I saw this book, I have to admit that the cover and title alone didn't immediately grab me and honestly, I probably would have skimmed past it if I hadn't noticed the words John Green wrote about it on the front. I've long been a fan of his work, so I figured if he was recommending it, then it was worth a deeper look.
I'm so glad that it caught my eye because as soon as I read the synopsis that I was clicking on the request button.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Whilst I did have a few issues with the characters and wanting a little more depth and development to them. On the whole, it was a great book.
It deals with a lot of really important issues in a sensitive and very real way. Delving into the emotions of situations and how different people see things in different ways.
While, as I mentioned, I did want a little more character development. Jade was a realistic, likable main character who kept me interested in the book.
I'm so glad I requested this one that almost got away.
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Thank-you to NetGalley for, once again, providing me with food for thought. Not just about race, but a search for the self that will strike a chord with anyone who's ever felt uncertain about who they are and what they have to offer.
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The writing is captivating. It's such a short book but it feels longer in a good way. Although I wouldn't of been against it being longer. 
The characters transformation all felt very meaningful. They all seemed to learn things from Jade once she really found her voice and confidence to speak up for what she wants and feels.
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I thought Piecing Me Together was a brilliant read; absorbing, subtle and enlightening all at the same time. It bears comparison with Angie Thomas' THUG in many ways, sharing the ideas of a black teenage girl attending a fancy school outside of what most would see as her community, and the problems that follow. It differs in that THUG focuses on the big stories, taking its inspiration from the Black Lives Matter movement, while Piecing Me Together is a quieter, more everyday account of protagonist Jade's participation in a mentoring programme and the microaggressions she is confronted with. 
Piecing Me Together is a short book, without any massive events or melodrama, and so its impact crept up on me as I read; Watson's storytelling style, through Jade's voice, is incredibly effective, allowing the character to highlight what she's up against without descending into standard YA self-pity. She's a brilliant creation: intelligent, driven, entirely aware of the opportunities being denied to her. I loved the relationships Watson creates too, especially the complex bond between Jade and her mother, as well as Jade's developing relationship with her less-than-reliable mentor. There's no love interest, no reductive drama; it's all totally real and important.
I will be going on about this book all year; it's a superb read and I hope it will be a widely discussed one too.
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Fans of The Hate U Give (and really any of the other amazing YA books addressing race and identity that have been published recently) will enjoy this book about Jade, a black girl from a "bad" neighbourhood attending a mostly-white school as a scholarship student. When she's offered a place in a mentorship programme for "at-risk" girls, she's not sure if she wants to participate — she already has plenty of adult role models, and the whole thing seems a bit patronising. 

Jade's struggle to reconcile wanting a better life for herself and her family yet not feeling comfortable with her mostly-white school or more affluent black mentor makes this a compelling story. I loved watching Jade grow in confidence and self-awareness, creating positive change and actively working on her friendships. 

Basically it made me feel a lot of feelings and I cried at the end, so it meets my criteria for a good book.
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Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson is absolutely stunning and brilliant. I loved it through and through. I will be looking for Renée Watson's other books and follow her future books.
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Piecing Me Together really illustrates the frustration of people not seeing things from your perspective. The friendship between Jade and Sam was so complex and normally you seen this frustration played out through strangers, but for it to be a best friend that kept themselves ignorant was really something else. This book had moments of real power. It was inspirational and thought-provoking, one I would one hundred per cent recommend for those desperate for something more after 'The Hate You Give' and 'Love, Hate & Other Filters'.
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