Saturday, 27 May 2017

Pieces of You by Eileen Merriman is brilliant, reminiscent of John Green and Jennifer Niven. The book deals with the hard issues of sexual abuse, self-harm and depression. Don’t be put off by this, as it’s not all doom and gloom: it’s also a beautiful love story, and about seeing the best in yourself and learning how to overcome obstacles. Becs has moved to a new city with her family. It’s impossible to fit in, the boy next door is cute, but Becs thinks she herself’s awful. To a teenager this will all sound familiar: the awkwardness of being new at a school, of looking in a mirror (or avoiding looking) and seeing  a failure, of being perpetually embarrassed by (almost) everything. Unlike some teenagers, Becs is also suffering from something she can’t seem to overcome, an action that will keep having repercussions until she is brave enough to deal with it. As her relationship with Cory becomes increasingly serious, her confidence grows and she realises that she can be happy again. Slowly she gains friends and starts to feel at home at school and in her new city. Author Eileen Merriman does a brilliant job of walking in a teen’s shoes: Becs, along with her friends and foes, are convincing. Pieces of You is a wonderfully compelling story suffused with heartbreak and humour about first love, about sexual awakening and the lives of teens: the decisions they are confronted by, as well as the dangers and difficult situations that young people can find themselves in, and how to cope with these. At the close of the book is a useful list of agencies and helplines. Merriman, a consultant haematologist at North Shore Hospital, is a New Zealand author to keep an eye on.
{Reviewed by STELLA}

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