Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

piecing

“And this makes me wonder if a black girl’s life is only about being stitched together and coming undone, being stitched together and coming undone.

I wonder if there’s ever a way for a girl like me to feel whole.”

Jade Butler is an artist. She transforms mundane pieces of newspapers and magazines into colorful and striking collages. But everyday, Jade takes the bus to her school that is far away from home, far away from her family and friends and far away from the community of Northern Portland where she lives. At St. Francis High School, Jade is one of few black kids amongst the most wealthy and white students. Even though her family struggles to make ends meet, Jade works hard to get the best grades so she can one day go to college and travel the world. However, her life changes when she joins a female mentoring program in hopes of getting a college scholarship. Jade’s new friendship with her mentor Maxine is not always easy, but it helps Jade learn how to speak up for herself.

Renée Watson’s Piecing Me Together is a story about a young woman who learns how to stay true to her despite seemingly impossible odds. This novel will appeal to readers who enjoy classic coming-of-age tales, but Watson takes this classic structure and infuses it with Jade’s much-needed, fresh, observational voice. Piecing Me Together takes on important topics like racism and police brutality, and it should be read by people from all backgrounds. The issues in this novel affect all of us. No matter who you are or where you come from, readers will be inspired by the essential lessons Jade learns about life, friendship and family.

Watson, Renée. Piecing Me Together. New York: Bloomsbury, 2017.

Madeleine Rozanski

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