Published by Simon and Schuster on November 8th 2016
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Social Themes, Bullying, Disabilities & Special Needs, Dating & Sex
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From New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Young comes a heartrending new novel about a girl struggling to deal with anger issues while taking care of her younger brother with special needs.
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.
All In Pieces is one of those books that breaks your heart, before slowly mending it again. That leaves you in floods of tears and just so exhausted by all Savannah has to go through, but you love it anyway. I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up All In Pieces – that’s the thing with Kindle reads, unless you research before hand, it’s not like a physical book that you can pick up and read the blurb of, so you kinda have to reach far into your brain to remember anything about what you’re going to read. What I didn’t expect was a one-sitting read, to feel such complex and heart-wrenching emotions.
All In Pieces opens with Savvy in class, a class, we learn, that is filled with delinquents, there for one reason or another – Savvy stabbed her ex-boyfriend with a pencil (*High fives* because he was a grade-A douchebag for real), whereas Savvy’s friends are there for addictions, etc and you learn pretty much immediately that Savvy’s life is far from brilliant. Her brother, Evan, has a routine and if his routine isn’t followed, he’s prone to lashing out; her dad is pretty much checked out and Savvy is trying to juggle looking after Evan with attending class and stopping her Aunt Kathryn from taking Evan to her house for good. Savvy’s relationship with Evan was off the scale heartbreaking. The love those two had for each other made me want to weep every time they had a scene, it was just beautiful. I properly admired the lengths Savvy was willing to go for her brother, as any family member should.
Then there was Savvy’s relationship with her friends. Travis and Retha affected me so much. I wasn’t sure I’d care for Travis when I learned he was a recovering drug addict, but I actually loved his and Retha’s relationship and the way they both looked out for Savvy and she looked out for them. It was so refreshing to see people who were just friends for friends sake. There was no bitchiness, no fighting, just love and support and it just made me feel so happy. That even when you’re in despair, there are friends there to help you. It just filled me up with happiness like you wouldn’t believe.
I haven’t even gotten to Cameron. ‘Scuse me while I go swoon forever. Cameron starts off quite monosyllabic – only giving Savvy the barest of one-liners, but once they start to become better friends, once they both learn to trust each other, it becomes something much more. This isn’t love at first sight, this is slow-burning (to the point where I wasn’t sure anything was going to happen, ever) and I liked that Savvy wanted to make sure she had room in her life for Cameron as more than a friend, and that Cameron was willing to give Savvy that space and time. Seeing their relationship develop was beautiful, seeing Savvy realise that when she had a bad time, it was Cameron she wanted to go to, not so he could fix everything, but because he would listen to her, offer soothing words, just be there for her, the way no one else in her life was (except Retha and Travis, obviously). I loved how Cameron’s parents accepted Savvy into their life – despite the fact Savvy lived in a bad part of town, was clearly struggling compared to Cameron’s family’s wealth (again avoiding the dreaded parents hate the poor girl trope HALLELUJAH).
This book just made me so happy and so sad and I just felt SO many emotions. It was such a quick read as well, but it packed SUCH an emotional punch. I really, really enjoyed All In Pieces – Suzanne Young is a brilliant writer. She really gets you where it hurts. I loved the characters, the reality of Savvy’s situation, her relationship with Evan. It also made me angry – any books that feature terrible parents makes me angry, because if you have kids, you have to make them a priority and I just felt like Savvy and Evan’s dad gave up and I just wanted to punch his lights out because he had two amazing kids. All In Pieces was incredible and if this is any indication of Suzanne Young’s writing, I need to read the rest of her books stat.