34 Pieces of You

Carmen Rodrigues. Simon Pulse, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4424-3906-1
Rodrigues's (Not Anything) intricate but sometimes wallowing second novel follows the lives of three teens connected by volatile high school senior Ellie, who overdosed on pills. With skillfully intertwined perspectives, the novel jumps between the months before and after her death. "Ellie had this way of pushing me past what felt logical into some other realm of what felt good because it was so wrong," says best friend Sarah, who is sinking after Ellie's death. Sarah's parents fail to notice that her quiet, 15-year-old sister, Jessie, is physically wasting away, the result of keeping secret her romance with Ellie. Meanwhile, Ellie's brother, Jake, is wracked with guilt for leaving her at home with their drunken mother and failing to return from college in time to save her. Rodrigues's moody vignettes, which are punctuated by stark fragments of Ellie's writing, strike a tone of despondency that sometimes drowns out her precise, poetic language. Yet clearly drawn characters and insights into one individual's profound influence on the lives of those around her result in a haunting read. Ages 14–up. Agent: Steven Chudney, the Chudney Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/24/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4424-3908-5
Paperback - 323 pages - 978-1-4424-3907-8
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