Pieces of UsFeatured
A summer full of secrets.
Every summer, hidden away in a lakeside community in upstate New York, four teens leave behind their old identities…and escape from their everyday lives.
Yet back in Philadelphia during the school year, Alex cannot suppress his anger at his father (who killed himself), his mother (whom he blames for it), and the girls who give it up too easily. His younger brother, Kyle, is angry too—at his abusive brother, and at their mother who doesn’t seem to care. Meanwhile, in suburban New Jersey, Katie plays the role of Miss Perfect while trying to forget the nightmare that changed her life. But Julie, her younger sister, sees Katie only as everything she’s not. And their mother will never let Julie forget it.
Up at the lake, they can be anything, anyone. Free. But then Katie’s secret gets out, forcing each of them to face reality—before it tears them to pieces.
Four teens, two brothers and two sisters. For years they've spent their summers at their grandparents lake house, the one place they feel they can be themselves, unlike at home where they spend their school year trying to be who everyone else expects them to be. They think the choices they make in their "winter" lives won't carry over into their "summer" ones but every choice has a consequence. When one of those choices goes horribly wrong, all four will be forced to face the truth before it threatens to destroy all of them.
What this story lacked was understanding and forgiveness from the characters. Each is so broken it's heartbreaking and one would think that would make them more empathetic towards one another but it doesn't. Kyle is the only one who seems to show compassion but even he's limited because of his tortured past. Julie is so desperate for love from her mother it clouds her judgement and she loses herself and those she loves most. Alex and Katie showed potential in the beginning but I found his complete lack of understanding and forgiveness disgusting and hypocritical. If you really love someone, you forgive them, especially when they are the victim of a crime no less. I would've like to have seen Alex redeem himself in the end, even if it was years down the road. I felt the ending was rather abrupt and left too open.
What I can say about this book is that it is very realistic. Despite the fact that I didn't always love the characters (and in fact I hated a few of them with a white hot rage) they could very well exist in this world. I think what threw me off most is that the characters in this book are so young and yet so far off the beaten path. I know there are people like this out there, but it really terrifies me to acknowledge that.
At the end of the day, I just feel torn about this book. It gutted me and left me feeling empty. There are good points in it. There is hope at the end, but the majority of it is just depressing and dark. This is about the longest review that I can write because, even weeks later, I'm still not sure how to express how I feel.