Review: Piecing Me Together

Renée Watson - Piecing Me Together
Published: February 14, 2017 by Bloomsbury
Genres: Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 272
Find on: Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads
Rating: 5/5 (💜💛💖💘💙💚) (It broke the Heart-O-Meter, clearly.)

A timely and powerful story about a teen girl from a poor neighborhood striving for success, from acclaimed author Renée Watson.

Jade believes she must get out of her neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother says she has to take every opportunity. She has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods.

But Jade doesn’t need support. And just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.

Friendships, race, privilege, identity—this compelling and thoughtful story explores the issues young women face.
Those are the times I feel secure, feel just fine. I look in the mirror and see my dad's eyes looking back at me, my mom's thick hair, thick everything. And that's when I believe my dark skin isn't a curse, that my lips and hips, hair and nose don't need fixing. That my dream of being an artist and travelling the world isn't foolish.

This is a book is something so true and welcoming and unbelieving and hopeful with a gorgeous MC with the art of storytelling, and the only thing that upsets me about this phenomenally relatable read, is the fact it ended too soon, though just right.

-Jade, a young, intelligent, black MC, who spits straight wisdom. She attends a school, mostly dominated by white people, rides the bus to school every day, and after being accepted through an scholarship program to this private school, she's soon accepted into a mentor group, Woman to Woman, as a mentee, and her neighborhood friendships begin to diminish and the girls in the group aren't at all like she expected.
-Jade, in particular, is such a powerful (and necessary) voice, and she's also as someone with an unlikely figure, given YA. This might be misunderstood, but I hope not (aka: an actual figure, curvaceous and proud of it) which I loved, and we need to see more of that.
Sam is not on the first bus, and for one moment – just one – I think, What is something happened to her? The whole story plays out in my mind – she will be on the news every day because she is a white girl and white girls who go missing always make the news. I will volunteer and join the other searchers. We will search all the many places a body could be. Cathedral Park. Some hidden bush under the St. John’s bridge. For months, people will tell girls and women to be careful and walk in pairs, but no one will tell boys and men not to rape women, not to kidnap us and toss us into rivers. And it will be a tragedy only because Sam died in a place she didn’t really belong to. No one will speak of the black and Latino girls who die here, who are from here.
-Breathtakingly enough, this book does not concentrate on the aspect of romance.
-There are truly so, so, SO many important scenes in this books. (i.e. catcalling, being kicked out of the store due to racial prejudices, police brutality, body shaming, etc.)
-Jade’s *amazing, AMAZING* mother.
-Each chapter starts with a Spanish verb/proverb.
-THE JAR OF PENNIES. This little bit made me cry, honestly. My grandmother has one.
-Certain aspects of Maxine because I felt bad for her, honestly. She seems like the word-vomit type. And when she invited Jade to her family dinner,
-I ride the bus to school almost every day, to and from, and the scene of it is described so accurately.

-Sam. No offense, but if you can’t relate, at least, TRY. I literally felt secondhand embarrassment for how inconsiderate this girl acted. Don’t get me wrong, I loved how the book ended on their friendship note, but she was so painfully unbelievable throughout the whole book. Jeez-sus.
-I almost wish we knew a *teensy* bit more about Jade’s father.

ANNNND Renée Watson is co-authoring an MG based on the early years of Betty Shabazz (Malcolm X's wife) with Ilyasah, their daughter, so be on the lookout, for future brilliance from this lovely lady. And I almost included Renée's Harlem's Little Blackbird, a children's book based on the true story of Florence Mills, in my Child's Lit project, and I regret not doing so because it looks like such an enrapturing read, so Renée Watson and all her brilliance is required to stay on our radars.