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PIECES OF ME by Charlotte Gingras


by Charlotte Gingras and translated by Susan Ouriou

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-55453-242-1
Publisher: Kids Can

Mira, alone in a basement apartment with a strange, controlling mother, has only her nature books and animal sketches, until she meets Cath and finds her first friend. Taut, first-person narration carries readers to this 15-year-old’s deepest places of insecurity and isolation. Even with her bold, sassy new friend and inspirational school art classes, however, unhappiness still dogs Mira. Her mother compulsively knits and squirrels away thousands of garish sweaters; her benign father surfaces only now and again. Many teens will relate to Mira’s tattered relationships with her parents, as well as her broiling resentment. Gingras divides chapters into short passages that provide needed pauses between Mira’s distilled, distraught reflections. After her father’s sudden death, a fallout with Cath and an unrealized crush on her art teacher, Mira comes undone. Some teens might find culminating conversations with a school counselor too outwardly melodramatic and expository, especially after spending so many pages covertly inside Mira’s troubled mind. Stronger moments surface in the deft handling of nature imagery: a spindly maple, the thrilling rush of feathers, a solitary moose drinking from a childhood lake. (Fiction. YA)