All In Pieces

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Happy Almost Summer! Today’s review will be Suzanne Young’s novel All In Pieces.  

Teenager Savannah “Savvy” Sutton is facing a tough situation. After attacking her ex-boyfriend for making fun of her special needs brother Evan, she is sent to a alternative school to finish out her high school studies. At home, her life revolves around taking care of Evan, as their mother left years ago and their alcoholic dad provides little support. With her aunt Kathy threatening to take custody of Evan, Savvy feels like she can barely hold it together. Enter Cameron, a new student who’s nonchalance and nonjudgmentalism intrigues Savvy and provides as a distraction from her own complicated life. With her ex out for revenge and her family life quickly unraveling, Savvy hopes she can keep it together.

One of the thing I really liked was the realism of the writing. Young didn’t hesitate to show us Savvy’s inner voice, raw and real, as she narrates through her difficulties. Situations that happen to real people everyday, no sugarcoating.

As far as I know, this is one of the few novels I’ve read that features a special needs character, which can be a tricky element to write about, but Young did a great job. Evan’s excited and simplistic perspective of the world provides an anchor for Savvy to hold onto.

I look forward to reading more of Young’s work.




Freedom: My Book of Firsts

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Five years after Jaycee Dugard released A Stolen Life, a memoir about her 18 years of captivity, her second book came out. This one, titled Freedom: My Book of Firsts, talks about her experiences since her recovery, reintegrating herself back into society.

Jaycee documents her experiences of  “firsts,” her first time flying, traveling to a foreign country, being at her sister’s wedding, among others. Her accounts also describe her family life, getting to see her mother again, reconnecting with her younger sister, and continuing to raise her daughters. She also talks about founding the JAYC Foundation, an organization focused on helping families that have become victims of trauma. The foundation also provides educational programs to elementary school children.

One of the more interesting aspects of her accounts is experiencing all these things for the first time at an older age. I realized that we have all traveled, met people, gone to school, learned to drive and done more. We never really give our everyday activities a second though. But I had never really considered about how it would be if I hadn’t learned all of that until I was older. To be completely cut off from society for so many years takes bravery and strength to overcome.