Title: 34 Pieces of You
Author: Carmen Rodrigues
Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction
A dark and moving novel about the mystery surrounding a teenage girl’s fatal overdose.There 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 all along....
34 Pieces of You is a story about three teenagers whose lives were changed after someone so close to them, committed suicide by drug overdose. It showed the aftermath of what happened as each teen reminisce every memories that they have with her while trying to make sense of what happened. It's a poignant story about life, secrets, decisions, consequences and in the end coping and moving on.
It was told from the alternating POV of Sarah, Jess, and Jake and was changing from before and after the incident. I'm not gonna lie, it was confusing for me at the first half because of the ever changing narrator and timeline. But as I got familiar with each character, I found myself not caring about when it happened and just focused on what happened.
Each of them felt responsible for Ellie's death. Each of them blamed themselves for what happened, thinking if only they pay close enough attention to Ellie they could have prevented it from happening. It's heartbreaking and full of raw emotions. And even though, I don't agree with most of these characters decisions and actions (i.e. cutting, drinking, smoking, etc.), I believed that they were realistic teenagers who are in the rebellious, angsty phase of their life.
I started this book thinking that this was a mystery novel, but what I got was a coming-of-age dark contemporary story. I was a bit disappointed to be honest, but I was also surprisingly glad that I read this book. I love how thought-provoking it is and that it didn't spoon-fed the information behind Ellie's death to the readers and instead, it lets them found that out for themselves and make their own conclusion about what happened. Some might find that annoying but not me. I like it because it's different from all the other contemporary books that I have read and it definitely stood out for me.
Overall, it was a likable, thought-provoking read. The storytelling was a bit confusing in the beginning but still unique, the characters were believable but unrelatable, and the plot was emotionally dark and captivating. If you want dark contemporary then you probably will like this.
Warning: Not suitable for 14 years old and below because it tackled a few mature issues such as sex, drugs, cutting, and what have you.