A dark and moving novel—reminiscent of Thirteen Reasons Why—about the mystery surrounding a teenage girl’s fatal overdose.
was something about Ellie... Something dangerous. Charismatic. Broken.
Jake looked out for her. Sarah followed her lead. And Jess kept her
distance, and kept watch.
Now Ellie’s dead, and Jake, Sarah, and
Jess are left to pick up the pieces. All they have are 34 clues she left
behind. 34 strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. 34 secrets
of a brief and painful life.
Jake, Sarah, and Jess all feel
responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of
their own. As they begin to confront the darkest truths about
themselves, they will also find out what Ellie herself had been hiding
34 Pieces of You is an amazing book that explores family, friendship, and relationships. It is told in the perspectives of three different characters - Jake, Jessie, and Sarah - and it is easy to tell who is narrating each chapter. Also, the story often jumps back in time to before Ellie's death. To keep the reader from getting confused by the time changes, each chapter is clearly marked with "before" or "after" and the month in which the scene took place.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
Since the book has such stunning characterization, I'm going to spend a paragraph talking about each narrator, and his or her relationships with the other characters. The first one I'm going to talk about is Jessie, my personal favorite of the three narrators. Jess is a great character. She is sweet and kind, and everything that happened to her sister and Ellie has begun to break her inside. This is probably the biggest spoiler I'll give away, so don't read the next few sentences if you don't want to be spoiled. Before Ellie's death, Jess had begun to have feelings for Ellie, and the two of them had begun a secret relationship. The night before Ellie died, Ellie had betrayed Jess by sleeping with a boy. Jess wanted to be with Ellie, but the relationship was hurting her because she couldn't be sure if Ellie felt the same way about her.
Another one of the narrators was Sarah, Jess's older sister and Ellie's best friend. The friendship between Sarah and Ellie began on Sarah's twelfth birthday party. As she became friends with Ellie, she began to become involved in things that weren't good for her. The night Ellie died, both she and Sarah had overdosed on pills. Sarah survived, while Ellie didn't. Sarah is confused about her relationships with boys. She has been interested in Ellie's brother, Jake, for years, ever since she was twelve and he was thirteen. He hasn't seemed to show much interest in her, though, and his best friend, Tommy, has been pursuing her. She isn't sure if she should be with Tommy since she has feelings for Jake. Sarah's mental health is not so good, and she often goes to see a therapist. She is clearly broken and struggling after Ellie's death.
Jake is Ellie's older brother. He feels guilty about her death because he left for college when he knew Ellie didn't want him to leave. He promised her that he would come back right away if she needed him, but, when she called, he didn't come until the next day, and it was too late then. He doesn't come back home after her death because he's trying to escape his problems. He begins a relationship with a girl in college, but he finds himself thinking about Ellie's death and about Sarah. He clearly has some kind of feelings for Sarah, and he realizes that he needs to come to terms with them. He also feels guilty because he knew a secret of Ellie's. This secret was one of the reasons that she was not okay, but he didn't try to get help for her. Instead, he went off to college and left her behind.
If you like dark YA contemporary, read this book.