Friday, January 20, 2017

Girl in Pieces

I recently finished my latest YA "teen with mental/emotional disorder" book. I was pleasantly surprised by it, too.

At first, Kathleen Glasgow's book seemed like it was going to read like pretty much every other book in this category: teen ends up in hospital after suicide attempt gone awry, teen meets nice doctor and makes friends in hospital and figures out that if they can accept her and she can accept them then she should be able to accept herself, blah blah et cetera. 

The protagonist Charlie does begin the story in a hospital, and she does meet a friend and trustworthy doc there, but that's only the beginning of her story. The bulk of her story takes place after she leaves the hospital, and she has to try to figure out how to get on with her life.

Her mother's not interested in having her home again, so she moves halfway across the country to crash with one of her old friends. Although the only possessions she has fit in her backpack, she brings a lot of baggage with her. She's not welcome in her home, the friends she made when she lived on the streets have all scattered, and the boy she wants has already moved on and found someone else.

Although she makes a number of bad choices in the months following her release, underneath she is still trying, desperately trying, to ascend to better things. Along with her bad choices, there are small triumphs (she gets a job, she gets her own apartment). Her biggest bad choice comes in the form of a new guy, and although he has even more baggage than she does- they have kind of a Sid and Nancy relationship going on- I still found myself rooting for them. Not rooting that they'd magically get better and ride off into the sunset together, but just rooting that they'd get a little bit better as individuals because I found them both to be likable characters.

I found the ending to be a little long, but I think it was necessary to illustrate how long it takes for someone with these struggles to make progress, even a small degree of progress, because there are inevitably going to be some setbacks involved.

I finished it a couple days ago, but I've since gone back and re-read a few parts. Now, onto another!

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