Book Title: All in Pieces
Author: Suzanne Young
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Special Needs, Romance
Date Read: 10/15/16
Pub Date: 11/08/16
That’s how they classified Savannah Sutton after she stuck a pencil in her ex-boyfriend’s hand because he mocked her little brother, Evan, for being disabled. That’s why they sent her to Brooks Academy—an alternative high school that’s used as a temporary detention center.
The days at Brooks are miserable, but at home, life is far more bleak. Savvy’s struggling to take care of her brother since her mom left years ago, and her alcoholic dad can’t be bothered. Life with Evan is a constant challenge, but he’s also the most important person in the world to Savvy.
Then there’s Cameron, a new student at Brooks with issues of his own; a guy from a perfect family that Savvy thought only existed on TV. Cameron seems determined to break through every one of the walls Savvy’s built around herself, except if she lets herself trust him, it could make everything she’s worked so hard for fall apart in an instant.
And with her aunt seeking custody of her brother and her ex-boyfriend seeking revenge, Savvy’s fighting to hold all the pieces together. But she’s not sure how much tighter she can be pulled before she breaks completely.
This book. Dear Lord; I keep thinking if I put off reviewing it that I can pretend I’m not finished with it. I seem to be avoiding some sort of finality and have been wrestling with whether or not I should toss my current reads aside, pick All in Pieces back up, and reread it until my heart decides I can move on. It’s been over a year since a book kept me captive to the point of not letting me immerse myself in a new read (Night Film was the last one); if possible, I would give this book something beyond 5 stars-maybe akin to The Gold Star award over on Lorraine’s blog The Book Review Cafe. I’m currently choking back ugly sobs while trying to write this; the crazy part is I can’t quite nail down why. This wasn’t the deepest book I’ve read; the story was fairly short so the characters felt like a brief wisp of relationship as opposed to some deep ending. All I can attribute it to is a hybrid feeling that gave me a sense of heaviness and hope.
It’s no surprise that I was interested in reading this book; I have a fondness for stories containing disabled characters, but particularly those on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. Savvy’s little brother Evan reminded me so much of my daughter that I had to flip back and forth between a few scenes and check if the author had snuck into my life. Here is this teenage girl who’s mother ran away, who’s father is a barely functioning drunk, and who’s little brother who is on the cusp of being transferred to her aunt for custody. The delicate life that this young woman is trying to balance is so fragile that it could completely collapse at any time, which results in said anger issues as described in the summary above. This was Young Adult fiction done well; no silly love triangles and no petty problems with no substance. All in Pieces showed the darker side that a good number of today’s youth are privy to and did not sugar coat it one bit.
The budding relationship between Savvy and Cameron is one of my favorite’s in a contemporary YA thus far. I loved how slowly and deliberately these two developed their feelings; there was no jumping into bed with each other after meeting 5 hours earlier or plans of marrying upon graduation. There were so many tiny details that went into making this story realistic; I found it was the depth and feeling to the details that took it a step further. I found myself able to connect on some level with almost every character, minus Savvy’s ex-boyfriend Patrick because I’m not a monster. There was a sense of community within these families in the poor side of town; even though they were at a correctional school with a multitude of issues, Savvy and her best friends were always looking out for each other.
I could go on for days about this book, but you should probably just read it for yourself before I start throwing spoilers out left and right. This was a heavy, touching, hopeful read that kept me completely engrossed throughout. I almost read it entirely in one sitting, but adulting required me not to. This gave me the same feels as a John Green book, but I hate to compare it to his work because it is also so different. Part coming of age, part love story, this 100% compelled my emotions to go to a place they haven’t been in quite some time. Highly recommended to all lovers of YA fiction; there is quite a bit of language as an advisory to those who are more sensitive to that aspect. This was my first read by Suzanne Young and most certainly won’t be my last.
*I won my copy via Goodreads Giveaway and it was my pleasure to provide an honest review. So grateful to have won this one!