Wednesday, June 14, 2017

[Review] All In Pieces by Suzanne Young

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Publication (dd/mm/yyyy)01/12/2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 259
Source: Library
Genre: YA - Contemporary (14+)

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity
My Rating: 
Heartrending and tragically beautiful realistic fiction 

My thoughts

Wow. This was hard to write. 


  1. Because this will be the first review that I have written in a long time with the intention of posting on my book blog so I'm a little bit rusty, and
  2. Because this is the kind of book that is difficult to talk about. Yes, partially due to the heavy subject content, but also due to the intense need I have bouncing within me to get this right. I want to do justice by this book. I hadn't expected to love this book quite as much as I did.

All In Pieces follows Savannah Sutton, a teenage girl whose life is crumbling around her. Her world revolves around caring for her little brother Ethan who has a learning disability, and protecting him from the cruelty of their jerkass father and the rest of the world. When her now ex-boyfriend called her brother a retard she jammed a pencil through his hand, expelling her from the local school and placing her in the one reserved for no-good delinquents. Things are about to get worse.

I absolutely adored Young's debut novel A Need So Beautiful. Still haven't gotten around to the sequel, but I recall relishing in the lush prose and the way that she makes you care for the protagonist. In All In Pieces the prose is quite simple, with a very clear voice for our protagonist. This made it effortless for me to plough through the narrative; the writing didn't need to be complex, this isn't the kind of story that requires it. 

But definitely, like her debut novel, Young made me care for the protagonist, way more than expected. Sutton (she is most frequently referred to by her last name, and in one other variation) is just trying to get by and do the best with her situation. She wants to be good and take care of her brother whom she loves to bits. She wants a family, not the broken mess that she is left with when their mother walked out on them. Maybe I could care for her because I knew that there are kids out there who suffer like this. She mostly suffers in silence, and I felt helpless as the reader following the story as she wasn't getting the help she needed.

Enter Cameron. Cute, rich and also in the delinquent school. They start talking and eventually become friends, and when we learn a little more about him we do start to get an impression of a less than perfect life and boy. I can see why Cameron reaches out to Sutton - he sees a bit of his own mother in her (because she cares for her brother) and his good upbringing and personality, and the fact that he sees her playing hard to get. The chemistry was kind of lacking, but I still found it quite sweet. This is definitely a slow burn kind of romance, which I always prefer. *team slow burn FTW!*

The family dynamics were interesting to read about, and I feel like Young handled it realistically. So much love for Ethan, bless his little heart. :) He definitely thrives in a less than ideal environment, and his tenacity and spirit were really encouraging, and make you want to hug him and take care of him too! (Or maybe I've been studying child development too much lately.)

I wish that her friends could also have had a little bit more page time, they were interesting and I wanted to know even more about them. The ending was hopeful and sweet. Oh, and I laughed and I even cried once and it was mostly just perfect. Definitely recommended for those who like reading about realistic teens in difficult home situations.


First line: My life is none of their business.


"At least I have Evan. No matter how shitty I think my life is, I have my brother. I'll always have him. And although he's the hardest part of my life, he's also the best. Because when Evan's happy, I'm happy. If only I can figure out how to keep him that way forever. How can I possibly make him happy in the awful place we live? (134)

PS. There were more quote-worthy moments but I didn't bother to make note of them. If I do continue blogging again I'll definitely be keeping tabs in the future!


AUSTRALIA: Booktopia

INTERNATIONAL: Book Depository | Wordery

I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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