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Piecing Me Together

Cover: 'Piecing Me Together'

Staff Review: "Piecing Me Together" by Renée Watson

★★★★★

Jade is a junior at the best private school in Portland.  She is a talented artist and a bright student, determined to learn Spanish and one day travel the world.  Unlike most of her classmates, Jade is on scholarship and she is painfully aware that this school, and the opportunities it presents, are her ticket out of her poor North Portland neighborhood because “girls like me, with coal skin and hula-hoop hips, whose mommas barely make enough money to keep food in the house, have to take opportunities every chance we get.”  In the process, she must learn to navigate the mostly white world of her school and the art community without losing herself.

Renée Watson’s powerful story explores the challenges Jade faces of finding and holding onto her voice in a world of racial profiling, police brutality, toxic sympathy, and a lack of understanding between class and race.  Through Jade’s honest narrative, Watson thoughtfully and realistically confronts the difficulties of friendships – both between races and within – as Jade learns to speak up for herself when friends and mentors let her down.   Piecing Me Together is an important book, forcing readers to challenge assumptions they might have about race, economic class, and the hearts of today’s adolescents.

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: fiction

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