Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Renée Watson
Jade wants her life to expand, but it seems like the doors that are open to others will always be closed to her. She is poor and black, so even though she attends a private school, her life is limited. But then she gets the opportunity to participate in a mentorship program called Woman to Woman. She knows she was only selected because she is “at risk,” but she decides to do it because it could mean getting money for college. At first, Jade just goes through the motions, but Woman to Woman quickly begins to make an impact on Jade’s life. Her experiences with Woman to Woman shows Jade that she has a lot to give too. Maybe she can fill the empty spaces in her life by sharing herself and refusing to stay hidden.
This book is an honest and poignant story of adolescence. It is especially important, because though there is a narrative arc and a satisfying resolution, Jade does not experience any unrealistic life changes. She begins and ends the book with the same racial, socioeconomic, and familial pressures. What changes is her ability to navigate those pressures and see her innate worth. As Jade is highly interested in travel and learning Spanish, each chapter begins with its own basic Spanish vocabulary word and an English translation. Piecing Me Together could be appropriate for both Intermediate and Young Adult audiences, based on both subject matter and difficulty level. The writing style is fairly simplistic, making it a straightforward read, but the complexities of race and poverty present in Jade’s life are enough to make it compelling and thought-provoking for older readers as well.