Very Sales-Woodruff is done being a good girl. Done being the only responsible one in a family that’s unraveling. Done being the obliging girlfriend in a relationship that’s sinking. Done saying no to what she wants—like Dominic, her rebellious classmate. With her mom’s drinking, her dad’s extended absences from home, and her younger sister, Ramona, running wild, the path Very has always seen for herself doesn’t seem to matter anymore. At the same time, Very’s grandmother, a poet known less for her work and more for her exploits with the likes of Andy Warhol and Arthur Miller, is slipping away. If everything else can fall to pieces, why can’t she?
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Veronica "Very" Sale-Woodruff is having a hard time dealing with her famous poet grandmother dying of cancer. She's having a hard time dealing with her clingy, yet not-interested-in-sex boyfriend. She can't deal with her mother's jealousy of Very's attachment to her grandmother, her father is never even at home, and her little sister is so unbearable that Very doesn't even try to talk to her anymore.
Until Very meets Dominic, the bad boy with a soft side who is intrigued with Very and tries to get to know her. Very resists for as long as she can - "I HAVE a boyfriend." - but soon realizes that she wants more out of her stale relationship. A predictable, yet not unappealing, romantic plot is one of the aspects of this contemporary novel.
The most interesting part of the story is Very's relationship with her family. Her little sister, Ramona, is becoming more and more despondent the longer her grandmother is ill - possibly a connection there, Very? - but Veronica has a hard time connecting the dots. Their mother is quite obviously uninterested in being too involved in her daughters' lives, while their grandmother has realized that she just doesn't have enough time left. Their father is simply avoiding the whole situation.
With an interesting family history and complicated familial dynamics, VERY IN PIECES is a unique look at how one girl and her family cope with the imminent death of a loved one. Well written, with a complex setting and good character development.
The only thing the story was really lacking was Ramona's point of view. I so badly wanted at least one chapter that was just about Ramona, or even from inside her head. In my opinion, Ramona was the far more interesting character, and I wanted to badly to get to know her even better.
The Verdict: A well-written novel about the impact that negative change can have on one strong-willed family's lives. Recommended for those looking for a strong contemporary read with a touch of romance and a lot of heart.