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Review: Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

Title: Piecing Me Together
Author: Renée Watson
Year Published: 2017

Awards Newberry Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Award winner

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 261
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2018 Google Reading map)USA (OR)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the back of the book): Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighborhood if she's ever going to succeed. Her mother tells her to take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way. And Jade has: every day she rides the bs away from her friends and to the private school where she feels like an outsider, but where she has plenty of opportunities.

There's also at least one opportunity that she doesn't really welcome: Woman to Woman, a mentorship program she joins on the promise of a scholarship. Just because her mentor is black and graduated from the same high school doesn't mean she understands where Jade is coming from. She's tired of being singled out as someone who needs support, someone people want to fix. Jade wants to speak, to create, to express her joys and sorrows, her pain and her hope. Maybe there are some things she could show other women about understanding the world and finding opportunities to be real, to make a difference.
Review: I am always excited to read books that win the Youth Media Award and this one got two nods in 2017 so that is a great recommendation! And holy moly is it deserving; I am blown away by this book.

There is so much to this book. Yes, it's about a black girl from a poor neighborhood who goes to a boarding school on scholarship, but that is just the surface. Through Jade we hear about how society patronizes young people, black people, and girls. We read how it feels to be marginalized for where you come from rather than being appreciated for who you are and what you bring to the conversation.

Jade learns to advocate for herself, to hear other people's stories, and to be patient when people don't understand. This book is beautiful; it is a story well told as well as an anthem for anyone who has felt misunderstood and maligned. And it is empowering.

Challenges for which this counts:

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