Read Pieces of Us by Margie Gelbwasser Online


Two families. Four teens.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 giTwo families. Four teens.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....

Title : Pieces of Us
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780738721644
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Pieces of Us Reviews

  • Kat Kennedy
    2019-04-19 05:53

    This is one of those books where the author carefully paints and dresses each of her dolls with delicacy and precision. Then she painstakingly applies her marionette strings, lowers them to the stage, and starts the music. The audience watches in polite interest. The puppets move this way and that, dancing out their little, unremarkable performance. As a trick of the light, one by one the strings disappear and the little puppets move more and more like real people.Before you know it, Gelbwasser has her little strings attached to you, and you feel each tug and release with sharp clarity. She writes like a true author of tragedies. It's all mistaken identities, ill-fated timing and misunderstanding. Oftentimes this can feel forcefully contrived and ridiculous plot-forwarding. But not with Pieces of Us. Instead it just felt real. Unfortunate but unavoidable and completely understandable. Each character is driven by a different need and that need is always their downfall. Do they all manage to pick themselves up at the end? I won't say. Should they have? I'm torn with that question.This novel has a great deal of sexual content. It's a lucky thing that I'd already read Taming the Beast:by Emily Maguire. Otherwise, I don't think I would have made it through Pieces of Us with all its content. I took issue, though, with the novels depiction of what occurs to Katie. It's a very raw, disgusting, horrifying moment in the book, and it just keeps getting worse and more graphic. Yet a male character suffers a similar fate and the author offers him the privacy and dignity of not even mentioning it. Why does he get this consideration when Katie is opened up bare? All her shame revealed and smeared around for the reader to see and judge? It feels grossly unfair. It felt cheapening. Is it more horrific and terrible if it happens to a man? Or is it just that, as a society, we're numbed to the horror of violence and sexual degradation to women?It's hard to discuss the quality of writing in this novel. The author switches between four distinct personalities. Some of the voices worked better than others but none truly felt disengenious. Some of the writing is very telling as opposed to showing, but Gelbwassa managed to pull me in anyway.I was completely absorbed by the dance and entirely at Gelbwassa's mercy. She almost had me. Almost. Then, just before the finishing line, the lights came on, the music stopped and I saw a tangle of strings and lifeless puppets. I felt empty, hollow, confused. I'm not sure the ending did the rest of the story justice, but when I close my eyes I can still see the silhouette from the dancing and the music still plays in my mind. I guess that still means it was a good book for me. Not to confuse my metaphors, but if Gelbwasser works on her dismount in the future, then I'll happily read any book she puts out.

  • Aly (Fantasy4eva)
    2019-04-25 03:17

    4.5they said it was too dark, graphic, disturbing and edgy.i just say it's real. this book broke my heart. and i do not care because i know for a fact that pieces of us is going to stay with me for a while. gone is that funk that was hanging over my head for weeks. because when i went out in the middle of reading this book, all i could think about was coming home and finishing it. it has been too long since i have felt like that about a book. too long since i have been this engrossed.what do i say about katie, alex, julie and kyle. well, let's start with alex. alex is one fucked up asshole. and julie is an equally fucked up bitch. in fact, i'd go as far to say they deserve each other. and that's all that i'm feeling right now after finishing this book. just a whole lot of sadness and anger. because although i understand what alex went through as a child was horrible, he still chose to do the things he did. and although julie was clearly disgustingly neglected by her mother, it doesn't take away all common sense. alex, in particular, is very messed up. (maybe the fact that the two actually enjoy watching chickens getting their head cut off was a bit of a hint, eh?) he's cruel and just made me uncomfortable at times. because you see the sweet, soft side when he's with katie. but when he's not with her you see how he treats other girls. to him katie is this saint. she's not like the other 'hos'. the problem with this is that - what happens the moment he thinks she is? the moment she's not the perfect katie that he see's as different to all the other blurry faces that he has hurt, prodded and broken over the years. that's the real question. when it comes to julie, it truly makes me wonder: can jealously really create so much hate, and towards your own sister too? it's just all so ugly. i mean. it was almost, no wait, let's be honest here. i know for a fact she actually enjoyed watching her sister suffer. and it gives me shivers to say it. but it's the truth. that's how much of a cow she is. as things go more and more downhill for katie, to the point where i just wanted to walk away and close my eyes to it all. to make things worse, she just continues judging her, constantly ignoring her even though all the signs are there. even though her sister tries so hard with her. katie is not perfect, i know that, but god, she's a saint next to her little sister. i can't imagine going through what katie does. i just can't. and my heart reaches out to her because so many times i wanted to hold her and protect her. i felt her loneliness and sadness and it scared me. thank god for kyle. that's all i have to say.kyle was a bit of a strange one. the second person narrative always made me feel like there was this barrier that i was constantly trying to push through. it didn't help that he was so guarded. but i love how he is so wise and such a great observer. he see's everything around him. maybe more that he wants at times because even if alex see's him as weak, kyle can never back down when it comes to something he believes in. i admire that about him. i respect him for it.on the flip-side, it was annoying at times how there was more telling than showing, (especially when it came to certain scenes i really wanted to see) and i did find it a little unrealistic how katie's mother loved one daughter so bluntly over the other (also the reasons for her behavior just seemed a little meh). and that ending? i kind of had this WTF moment. it was so abrupt and random. it just didn't seem to fit in with the book. a part of me considered knocking down the (.5) because of it, because even now that ending really pisses me off, but it would be a big disservice to the book. because it really just was that brilliant. you have no idea how much i ached in those last few pages. i was so heart-broken and such a forget those low stars, guys. give it a chance. i think you'll find yourself a little changed by the end of it.oh, and by the way. you'll find yourself really appreciating the cover after reading the book. it's so much more meaningful to me now :) <3

  • Isamlq
    2019-04-11 05:56

    I was holding my breath for something to make me smile. Yet by the time I was done with it, there was this gigantic weight pressing down on me. The blurb hints at it, but this is a bleak, bleak book. Moments of it hinted at happy possibilities but never really went there. So, if good books are suppose to make you feel, PIECES OF US just might be stellar. I’m feeling hell lot of things right now. Granted, none of the things I’m feeling right now are all that positive. It’s bleak, dark; the situations scary, then appalling; then the people pitiful, angering, then later disappointing. And the only moment when things do get better is in the end. Yet despite all that, I’m slightly impressed. And why? Because these people as disturbingly damaged as they were, they had me hoping.Damaged people, the lot of them. Some damaged by their own doing; by poisonous thoughts and petty jealousies brought on by miscommunication and piss poor priorities. Yet there were others among them that had damage done to them. Yet, even when I did feel sorry for them… something always came up later to have me seeing them as coming up short. All of them, victim, and wrong doer alike: coming up short.And this is what surprised even more about them: they were all hell bent on keeping their view of a certain other intact. Some on focusing on the good, blind to any fault of those around them; others still so focused on zeroing in on the bad, never minding what little good there might have been. So damaged. So blind. Where Katie was concerned, Alex was good. Where Alex was concerned, Katie's pure. Where Julie was concerned, Katie was too perfect and had it all...! Kyle and Alex. Clearly, something was not right. Clearly. Still I wondered what kept them together. And even with those moments that weren’t so damned scary/skeevey, I thought there might have been something good there. Yet, one thing after another just proved how much a victim one was and how misguided (though that is definitely too tame a word to apply) the other was.Kyle and Julie. Clearly, they were something good (at first.) They were the one bright spot in this book for. At least at first. Yet all those thoughts and assumptions simply didn’t do any good for them. The silence on Kyle’s part didn’t help either. I could imagine so much more from him. And could imagine so much more form her! But throughout the book, it was Kyle who I held out for. There’s good in him… yet time and again not enough was done. Katie and Julie With a mother like theirs, it’s no surprise things went the way they did. Talk about skewed sense of reality and poor priorities! I wanted to knock some sense in to her. Their father too could have done so much more, if not at least lessened their mum’s impact. Again, his is the case of ‘too little too late.’ Yet if we’re talking damage it starts with a mother living her dreams through her kids, then things getting worse with Katie’s self absorption and Julie’s insecurity. In their scenario, there’s damage done to and by both of them. Katie and Alex It’s Alex who appalled me. While I did feel sorry for him, his experience and what not. It’s his point of view that distanced him from he. All his whore that, bitch that had me drawing back. Yet in Katie’s eyes (both before and after what happened) he’s all that’s good. Yet even with these people who are so far from perfect, I kept hoping. That Alex would turn out to be that guy after all. Or that Kyle would step up. Or that Julie would snap out of it. Or that Katie would snap out of it too. Or that maybe someone would step in and step up for any, one or all of them. 4/5

  • Jana
    2019-04-09 05:53

    The most messed-up book I've read in a long time.Also posted on: book was so crude and contains VERY graphic content. Be warned: if you've read Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma, well, let me tell you ain't seen nothing yet. There was a lot of 'eww' moments and 'did that just happen' faces thrown in there too. I think my mouth was hanging open for like 3/4 of this book. This is like 10 times as descriptive of THOSE scenes and 100% more messed-up and disgusting as that. (I do love Forbidden, I didn't find it as hard to read as some people.)You see, I didn't like ANY of the characters in here. Either they were too abusive, too cynical, too stupid, or just plain suck (sometimes literally). The four main characters were abused in a different way. I could understand Julie's character, and boy, this book made me so HAPPY that I don't have a sister. That's all I'm going to say. Both guys (they're brothers by the way), were just so weird and mysterious and jerks and I dunno. I'm sorry, but that girl Katie, is a SLUT. Simple as that. I know slut-calling isn't great, but seriously if you've read this book, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. All the stuff that she's done and how she reacts and what she do is just disgraceful. This is NOT a female character you should idolise, or even feel sorry for. I spent the whole time wanting to kill her. I hate her THAT much. But you see, I can imagine some girls in my school being in that position. And doing exactly what she did. Right... *thinking*... about the only positive thing about this book. I couldn't put it down. Don't ask me why, I sure as hell don't have a frigging clue. Maybe it's because I wanted to now the ending, I was busy planning some sort of evil plan for these characters. Or maybe because it's so unbelievably messed up that I couldn't stop reading.The ending was like this whole big thing blew up and called it WTF. There was no resolution whatsowhever. On the other hand, I thought it was done deliberatley by the author for the ending to be open for discussion; anything can happen.Overall, this book is such a big NO NO for me. But for people who love crazy (and not in a good way) characters and an engaging storyline, then at the very least BORROW this book from a library. I don't encourage you spending your money, though.

  • Jessica
    2019-04-19 02:21

    This book is not for teens under 17. I'm not sure If I've ever seen so much bad language/abusive terms in a book -- even an adult one. I understand that these 4 teens are damaged and need help, but I didn't see that happen for some of them..? Maybe it's because I was too focused on the graphic nature of it all. I'm sure a lot of people will love this but it just wasn't for me. It was emotional and disturbing and one event hit very close to home. But because of that, I was furious at how the character was treated by one of the male leads. I didn't feel she ever got the justice she deserved and that bothered me. I'll give you an example. But, don't read this if you don't want it spoiled a bit. (view spoiler)[ Katie is raped by 2 guys while she is drunk. Here is a quote after Alex finds out she had sex with them again. He has just had sex with Katie. "And, how, even after I bang her up a little, does she keep coming back, wanting to be with me? Wouldn't that mean she liked them too".Now, I understand he is abusive, and she has went through tremendous pain, but really? I don't think this is good for teens to read.(hide spoiler)]This next part is related and is from Kyle's POV. (view spoiler)[ Kyle is talking to Julie after the above incident."She's wearing capris so you notice cuts and bruises above her ankles too. You wonder if there are more. She crosses her legs. "Stop it," she says quietly. "You have more?" You know she does. Another casualty of Alex. At least no one can see the bruises he gave you. They're hidden within you flesh. "Did he do that?" She looks at them closer. "Me, him, I lost track." Just penance," she says and laughs a hollow laugh."I have a real problem with this. Again, I completely understand Alex is abusive. I get it. I read books about abuse all the time. But this one felt different. It felt as if nothing really happened to provide a good message for teens who may be going through a similar situation.(hide spoiler)]Here is a part I that really shows some of the graphic nature of the book. From Alex's POV (view spoiler)[ So I try to forget her. Picture other girls when we're fucking. Last night never happened. Went to a club tonight and grinded under the lights. The music was loud and pussy and pussy rubbed against me. This was the life. None of those bitched mattered. One dragged me outside and pushed me against the wall to blow me. I pulled at her hair. She acted like she liked it. Then, she had the nerve to try to kiss me after, like I'd like the taste of my own cum. I pushed her away and went to my car. "Thanks," I said, and she stuck up her middle finger at me. Stupid slut.Girls are called pretty much every name possible in this book. I know he has no respect for girls but it was too much.(hide spoiler)]The last quote is from Julie about Katie and Alex (view spoiler)[ " I turned away. "She's not as perfect as everybody thinks. Do you know what she did? What did HE do? Call her a whore? Maybe she needed to hear that. Maybe this time it will stick".But the sisters never talk about what happened. She never questions it or wanted to be there for her sister. And again, nothing really changes with her character.(hide spoiler)]I'm not trying to turn people off from reading this book. Maybe one of the stories was just too much for me to take. If you are easily offended, or a young teen, please take caution before you read this story. It will stick with me for a while and sadly, not for a good reason. I've read several books that are focused on abuse and I even host the feature "Stand Up Against Abuse" on my blog, but this one just didn't leave me with a good feeling like the characters got what they needed. NOTE: Quotes were taken from the NetGalley/ARC copy. They may be different in the finished copy. I would like to thank NetGalley and Flux for providing the review copy. Everything written here is just my opinion and I encourage everyone to maybe read a sample first and check out other responses from reviewers.

  • Linda Dao
    2019-04-24 21:52

    This book. This book is haunting. It ate my heart and spit it out again. I'm still trying to pick up the pieces. Netgalley (oh you beautiful thing) gave me a wonderful chance to read this. I read the synopsis. Clicked request, never knowing how much downloading the galley would rock my world.So I read...and read. Then went to sleep feeling awful but unable to put down my iPhone. I won't bother summarizing. It wouldn't do this book justice.Everything! Everything was painful! But it was real. It was just like high school (or how I remember it). Ahh! The chicken blood! So sickening but that's what made Pieces of Us amazing. I could identify with every character. Katie who doesn't know she's fake until it's too late. Julie who wants to finally be noticed and accepted for who she was. Alex who is broken and forced to grow up too early. Kyle who faces his big brother with disgust, but powerless to stop him. These are teen stories! These are teen lives!And so I continued reading, torturing my soul. Knowing that this could never have a happily ever after but still hoping. Just as these characters hope to repair themselves when they meet again at the lake. Where they could forget everything and just live. And then I reached a point where it was too much. It was a scene between Alex and Katie. This is where my heart finally tore in half. So I did a really stupid thing and looked in last few pages of the book. (view spoiler)[There goes all my hope. (hide spoiler)] I regretted it instantly. So I stopped reading. Just plain stopped. And the books sat there glaring at me for a week. I don't know. I guess that maybe if I left it alone, it would disappear and so would my memory. I wanted that to happen. I cried again for the third time.But not all hope is lost! (for those of you who clicked on my spoiler, I hope you're laughing) A friend from twitter was talking about the book, which got me talking. She finished. *starts clapping* She got me motivated to read again since I've also been in a reading slump since that happened. She told me it was much better to rip the bandage off fast. I listened. I read. I cried some more (I cry too much okay?). Now, I sit here and pretend like I'm affected by this book as I lead myself to believe. My friend also sent me her mock-up review. She is so, sooo right. I hope she posts it on here soon because I'll link it up and show what I really thought of the book with a clear mind. There's one thing she wrote that stuck with me. Pieces of Us is RAW. So raw that it scraped under my tough skin that had thought she had read every face-slapping and tear-jerking kind of book out there. It went through my muscle. Through my bone. And for a while, it became part of me. Part of my blood. Raw. It's the perfect description. I thank you, Jennifer, if you're reading this, for sharing your thoughts with me. I appreciate it. I really do. I also want to thank Margie for writing this. I hope you know that you changed a part of my life. I'll be looking out for more of your work. Just as soon as I recover from this one.Recommended for ages 16+. Please trust me when I say this isn't recommended for 14-year-olds. But I do wish that more teens will get a chance to pick it up. Everyone needs a good dose of reality sometimes. For contemporary fans who are looking for a coming of age story. I must say that I never ramble on like this in my other reviews. This took me about 45 minutes to write, the shortest ever. I'm also not this weird and sentimental. Review will not be able to go up on the blog on account that I don't think it fits in the categories of which I review for. And for that, I'm truly sorry.

  • ♥ Sarah
    2019-03-25 00:58

    4.5Pieces of Us is not your typical walk in the park, happy go lucky kind of story. There is no redemption, no salvation and no fairy-tale ending; there is only darkness, bleak reality, and the perpetual feeling of loss... Yes, it was bleak, depressing, dreary, dark, very uncomfortable and discomforting to read. So I don't recommend this for the fainthearted. The subject matter & content definitely calls for mature readers. However, the deep layers of the depicted abuse, serves as a cautionary tale, riddled with gut wrenching scenes consisting of mundane thoughts, yet they were so broken, so fragile and ultimately, so real; Pieces of Us definitely packs a nauseating blow of powerful emotions, laced with tragic metaphors within the framework of a consistently bleak tone & mood. But I couldn't help myself. I held out the tiniest bit of hope. Hope that at least ONE of them might miraculously transform themselves, shed their scars and be reborn: pure, innocent, alive. I warn you now, this does not happen. A lot of things & events transpire, perhaps slowly setting that very possible future up. However, the author leaves it up to us, to determine the fate and the future of these four very disturbed, broken, abused and confused teens. If you're looking to read about something hopeful, wholesome, forgiving & optimistic, with made up problems and happily ever afters, SKIP THIS ONE.Because I assure you, this isn't your typical escapist fare; it's sick, dark, twisted, painful, gut wrenching, revolting, disturbing, mind boggling, unpredictable, raw and real. As much as each of their behaviors equally shocked, disgusted and scared me, I couldn't help but feel for them. I was surprised at how emotionally invested I was in these characters... I won't make any excuses for them and their depraved behaviors, but I will choose to hold out hope for their futures. I think despite the overwhelming bleak tone of the book, the ending hinted at something different. There were four different POVs, their stories intertwining, clashing, blending and breaking, each of them trapped in their own pain, their own cycles of abuse... It could have been taken a bit further. I felt it was within my grasp, the redemption. The recovery. The forgiveness. Something. Almost. Either way, Pieces of Us is just one of those books that's going to linger... As disturbing, provocative & controversial as it was, the story just tore me up. Blew my mind. Broke me down.The different kinds of abuse explored were truly, not only riveting, curious, despicable, repulsive and insidious. Still, a reminder and a warning that I can appreciate.Thanks again, Rachmi for the recommendation!! <3

  • Shari
    2019-04-08 23:09

    If I had to review this book in one sentence.... A Disturbing novel about four teens each abused in their own way. When I first finished this book my initial reaction was UGH, this was so not the book for me. However, I am finding that I can't stop thinking about the characters in this book. Their actions have left me thinking about what I would have done differently in the same situation, and why the characters maybe didn't react the way I would have. At first I found the characters to be weak and sometimes stupid, but the more I think about them the more I realize that not everyone can stand up for themselves at any given time. Some people have to grow into their courage. This book is not for the faint of heart. All four of these teens have been abused in one way or another, and there are a few scenes that are not graphic but still extremely disturbing. The biggest problem I had with Pieces of Us is that I just couldn't connect with any of the characters. They are all very flawed and troubled, but that's not what bothered me. I like it when characters are believable as real people with relate-able problems. Usually I can find at least one thing I like about these troubled people, but in this book I just wasn't feeling it. It's not that I have a problem reading books that don't have a happy ending or books that deal with real life, hard issues. I've read many and loved them. This one just didn't do it for me.The writing wasn't bad but I found it hard to switch between the characters when they were each written in a different point of view. One character was written in the first person another the second, that made it hard for me to really enjoy, like the flow was constantly interrupted. I would start reading and then have to check back to see which character I was reading about, it became tiresome. As much as I am complaining here I do have to admit that I read this book pretty quickly so there was something about it at least that kept me reading. The ending was a bit disappointing because I didn't feel like there was one.Since writing this review I've gone out seeking other reviews of this book because hey this is just one girl's opinion. I wanted to know why others liked the same book that I didn't. So I am including a few links to a few positive reviews as well. Word of warning: if you decide to read Pieces of Us there is a lot of sex (not always consensual), drinking, cursing, and abuse of all types. This is by no means a light read. As a parent I mentioned to my almost 13 year old that she may not be ready for this one, and my almost 16 year old knows that if she picks this one up that I am always available to talk about any of the issues that get brought up.

  • Tara
    2019-03-28 23:00

    This was not a nice story. It did not make me feel good. I finished it with a slight sense of hopefulness, but the raw, gritty, honest story of how terrible and nasty people can be, and how so many people are broken, has overwhelmed me.The story is told from four P.O.V. Katie, Julie, Alex and Kyle. Four teenagers who all have been broken and damaged in some way but who spend the summer months together with their respective grandparents at the lake house. During summer, they try to be themselves without the pressure of parents, friends and being 'who they should be', but even without this pressure, you can see the truth of who these people are, showing through the cracks. Something bad happens at the start of the story and this then blows up halfway through. Each character deals with it differently and you can see how they are all struggling with their own demons. I didn't particularly like any of the characters, but it still didn't stop me from feeling as though my heart is breaking for them. Definitely not a feel good book, left me feeling hollow and empty, but I gave it four stars because it was a powerful book and it evoked strong feelings.Thanks to NetGalley for the copy.

  • Kelly
    2019-04-23 03:22

    Let's talk about a disturbing book. Let's talk about a book that made me uncomfortable. Let's talk about a book without likable characters. Gelbwasser somehow makes you care about four teens who are all so broken and abused/abusive (I'd argue they all abuse and are abused equally). Little by little they continue to fall apart and it looks like there's no redemption to be had at all. I walked away pretty unsettled, and I mean that in a good way. That is successful storytelling. This is a book that's very frank with sex and how it is a tool of power. And there is a lot of power wielding here. There are some pretty big writing issues for me, including weak pacing, passage of time problems, distracting tense changes (especially with Kyle, though arguably he talks to himself in second person for a reason), and it took a long time to hear four distinct voices in the characters. But the story and the goal of the story were so successful and so painful and so powerful that the mechanics are worth overlooking. Full review here:

  • Sya
    2019-04-13 04:18

    I've yet to write up a full review for this title but I found it to be relentlessly bleak and gratuitously nasty. Each teen is deeply damaged, with Alex verging on sociopathic misogyny and there is little light at the end of the tunnel, despite the rather throwaway last line (which was merely trite after such misery). The adults in the story are ineffectual in the extreme with Katie's mother is narcissistic in the extreme and her father kind yet useless. It's all just so upsetting and with seemingly no point. The majority of characters learn nothing from their trials and there seemed little point in telling their stories - I find myself utterly confused at what message, if any, the author was trying to convey. This is not a title that I would recommend, nor is it one that I will read again.

  • AtenRa
    2019-03-30 05:06

    Wow. Pieces Of Us was an emotional hurricane of a book that despite all the anger and frustration I felt, I just couldn't put down.I have to hand it to Gelbwasser, she had me from the first chapter. Even when I knew it was not gonna end well, I had to know, find out for myself. Like a car crush, I just couldn't look away. As I was reading I found myself feeling agitated, frustrated, angry and unbelievably sad that I couldn't do anything about Alex, I couldn't save Katie. I put the book down, tried to do other stuff to get my mind off it, but nothing would work. It was always about Alex,Katie,Julie and Kyle. Each one of these kids was abused mentally or physically or both. Katie by her classmates, Julie by her insufferable, to put it lightly, mother, along with her own suffocating jealousy, Alex by his mom's boyfriends and dad's suicide and Kyle by his brother's dramatic character change. In my opinion, Kyle was the most likeable one, the originally "good" one. I liked how his chapters were in second person, like some faraway observant was documenting his life. like he couldn't trust himself to utter "I" for fear of realizing that all this was actually happening to him.The character I felt the most animosity towards was first Alex and then Julie. However, as my anger towards their actions grew bigger and bigger, I realised that their behavior mostly stems from traumas of an awful childhood. Was that it though, I still wonder. When does psychological baggage stop and free will begin? How much of their bad behavior is justified? Can we all pin treating other people badly to childhood traumas and by doing that, can we automatically wash our hands of everything we do and never suffer any consequences? That's why in the end, I don't know if I felt sorry about those two. I feel like an awful person saying it but especially in Julie's case, she kinda chose to go down that path, regardless of whatever problems she had with her sister and her mom in the past. She craved for it, it seemed to me. She wanted it from the very beginning. She chose to bury her head in the sand as far as the Katie situation was concerned, telling herself that she is much stronger than her sister and that she can handle it. I really wanted to see how she and Alex ended up (no wonder they were the only ones who stayed to watch the chicken killings every year - chlling scenes, by the way!), but the ending was a bit abrupt and I guess we'll never know. I didn't like the ending at first, but in retrospect I am grateful to Gelbwasser for not prolonging their suffering and misery, or mine.And how can I not be grateful to her for stirring up such strong feelings in me, even if they are a lot darker that what I'm used to? It was thrilling to get out of my comfort zone and read something this raw and real. So, thank you so much Margie Gelbwasser for writing Pieces Of Us :)*****I had actually written half of this review when a GR friend informed me that people want Pieces Of Us banned because it has a blue cover and not a red one.Wait. That's not it.Oh, yes. Because it has a lot of sexual content for a YA novel. I knew it was something ridiculous like that.Just when I thought I have finally understood people, they always surprise me and never in a good way. I will not try to educate people or make them less ignorant. They should know however, that Pieces of Us, apart from a YA book, it is also Realistic Fiction. Realistic Fiction=really happening. If you think these things are completely out of this world and don't happen, you're delusional, to say the least. What I am trying to say is that this is 2012 and whether you like it or not things change and the world goes forward, not backwards. Shocking, I know. It's called progress, deal with it.I don't wish to be offensive, but when people who claim to be readers and book lovers want to to BAN a book, it simply drives me up the wall. Why don't we go back to the Middle Ages and just burn it instead? Tsk tsk tsk…PS. If Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma is considered YA, then damn if Pieces Of Us isn't as well!!

  • Beth
    2019-04-07 02:10

    4.5 stars"Pieces of Us" is a dark, beautiful, brilliant book.It's so...REAL. Even though I haven't experienced anything that the characters went through, Gelbwasser's writing is bleak and sparse and perfect. It builds a world that felt so much like the real one, filled with no black and white but gray and characters that were so much like characters I felt I knew. This is a book that will make you angry and make you sad and occasionally (very occasionally) make you happy. It's painted in utterly colourful three dimensions. That was the utter highlight of "Pieces of Us" and, quite frankly, I do think Alex, Julie, Katie and Kyle are some of the best characters ever. They were just so refreshingly complex. It would be really easy to hate Alex and Julie - especially Alex, the angry, misogynistic, abusive asshole. But Gelbwasser gave him so many layers and an almost rationale behind his total prick exterior so it wasn't easy to dismiss him. Nothing about "Pieces Of Us" is remotely easy; as much as I hated Julie for her treatment of Katie, Gelbwasser makes it impossible not to understand why. Even with Julie and Katie's mother, who egregiously favours her oldest daughter until...something happens, has a life and a reality that is almost hard to handle. Everyone has a viewpoint and everyone has a voice. Actually, everyone had a surprisingly distinctive voice! I never thought I'd see four POVs pulled off this well.Actions are complex, too. That sounds weird but, even though my heart ached for Katie with the videotape, it's totally understandable that Julie would have created the situation utterly by accident. I particularly loved the way Gelbwasser treated Kyle and Alex's backstory and current actions. What happens to Kyle is especially sensitively handled and Gelbwasser handles the pain of her male characters really interestingly, because it was there and it was never undermined, even though it's uncommon for writers to handle the pain of guys without a) losing their voice; or b) slipping into angst. Gelbwasser did neither. She doesn't let Alex's past excuse his actions, but they do inform them. It's such a delicate balance to strike but Gelbwasser gets it really well.A lot of nasty stuff happens in Pieces Of Us. There are a lot of Big Issues bandied around - rape, abuse, suicide - but Gelbwasser's writing is sparse and taut and it never seems like an overdone dysfunction junction. Instead, it is a beautiful, heartfelt and fantastic novel about relationships and change. It would have been an unquestionable five stars if not for the sudden change of pace near the end - I felt that Gelbwasser perhaps moved too fast on the section which depicted Alex's sudden brutality towards Katie and Katie's total breakdown. Neither of them really had enough of a voice or a detailed viewpoint in that and it It seemed like Gelbwasser had suddenly realised that she needed to finish the novel soon and so had frantically cranked up the otherwise unhurried but excellent pace into overdrive. Suddenly the relationships were changing and stuff was going down but I felt disconnected from it. Also, she seemed to paint more in black and white a little towards the end - Julie and Alex felt too much like the narcissistic villians ganging up on helpless victims Kyle and Katie, with their sudden onslaught of unjustifiable brutality towards those characters with not much voice-time given to why, but I did love the way Julie's story ended - so sad but perfect, that she would finally get what she wanted at such a horrible price. I thought that Katie and Kyle's friendship needed more development if it was going to wind up where it did. But I'm still going with 4.5 stars for the brilliant depiction of raw and real life.

  • Angela Fristoe
    2019-04-18 22:15

    First off, this book is not for the faint of heart. Pieces of Us is a very raw and honest look into the minds of four very different teens that all have some type of emotional problems. While I loved this book, I would not recommend it to any teen under sixteen simply because I think there is a need for a certain level of maturity to handle the subject matter. There is cussing, there is drinking, there is sex (consensual and not), and it's not pretty.Written in alternating points of view we get to see the characters not only as they see themselves, but also how others see them. The alternating voices is one of Gelbwasser's strengths. Each of the four characters were very distinctive in their speech and in their thought process. I had a galley copy, so there were minor errors such as missing headings signalling the change in character point of view. But I was able to quickly figure out there had been a change, simply by what the characters were thinking.Julie immediately grabbed me and I felt a lot of sympathy for her. She's the ugly duckling of her family and is constantly envious of her older sister Kate, but she also has her own personality and she stands strong, or at least she thinks she does. She really starts off as the unwilling victim. Her older sister Kate took me a lot longer to get into. She does initially come across as the shallow girl Julie sees her as, but the more of her view we see the more obvious it is that she's facing harder things than her sister ever imagines. Alex and Kyle are a completely different story. Alex is one of those teen guys that my father would have killed if I'd ever brought home. He has zero respect of women and he hides that side of himself from Kate. He is the abused becoming the abuser. Kyle's story seems to be a bit more on the sad side, but there were bits and pieces that really made me wonder at the extent of abuse he was suffering.There is so much more I want to say about this book, but I can't figure out how to do it without spoiling the story. I will say that the ending left me with wanting more, but I think if I had been given the ending I wanted I would have felt that the author had caved under pressure. As it stands I was left feeling both hope and hopelessness for the characters. Definite read if you're looking for a good cry and a dark contemporary read.Check out more of my reviews on my blog Turning the Pages

  • Melanie McCullough
    2019-04-08 02:00

    So, um, wow, this one still has me reeling. I haven't read Margie Gelbwasser's debut novel, Inconvenient--I'll have to do that as soon as I can get my hands on a copy--but let me just tell you that she is a phenomenal writer. Amazing. A gift to the Young Adult literary world. First, I have to tell you that I love books that take place in my geographic area and this one has scenes in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, NJ. Second, I will admit that I wasn't supposed to read this book so early, but I have this habit of reading the first few sentences of every book I receive. Kind of to get a feel for if I'm going to like it or not. With this book, all it took was a few words and I was hooked. I was incapable of putting it down. It's hard to say that I loved any of the characters because they're all so broken and warped that they're not really loveable--make no mistake, these are some majorly flawed and damaged people we're dealing with--but they're definitely sympathetic. I felt for each of them in a different way. Katie I adored because she was so perfect and happy and it is all ripped apart by a single moment of indiscretion. She was naive but still hopeful. Alex is damaged and abusive. Julia is bitter and selfish. And Kyle may have it worst of all but is the most redemptive character of the four. He's inherently good in a way that the others are not.To say it was an intense read would be a gross understatement. It was arduous, incredible, emotional. Reading it, I felt as if I was being thrown against a wall and shattered into a million little pieces. The tension will push the reader to a breaking point. I spent the whole time with my stomach in knots, feeling the pain of the four main characters in this book, worrying and praying that everything would work out. That they would survive. By the end, I was so emotionally invested that I felt hollow when I was no longer a part of their story. Honestly, I loved every second of it, yet it is so completely distressing that I won't recommend it for those who can't handle being torn apart by a book. Or for those who are opposed to swearing or sex in YA because there is plenty of it. I have no idea why I'm drawn to dark stories with bleak themes, but I am and Pieces of Us gave me exactly what I wanted. So if you're like me, I suggest you get your hands on a copy as soon as it's released.

  • Carolyn
    2019-04-23 23:59

    5 stars I felt the need to take some time after completing Pieces of Us before writing my review. I needed to digest what I had just read. For me, this book hit home in a very powerful and emotional way. Maybe that is what drew me to read it immediately after discovering it on Goodreads. I tend to gravitate towards what others describe as dark/disturbing/haunting/etc. These tend to be a lot of the "buzz words" in the other reviews of Pieces of Us below. To me, I don't know if I would describe this book as disturbing. It was just a beautifully written account of two sets of siblings dealing with a lot of HARD things that many teenagers deal with daily (whether people want to admit that or not, it's true). To be honest, based on the reviews I read, I was expecting something a lot more sinister. But it wasn't at all. Margie Gelbwasser wrote an eloquent portrayal of rape, sexual abuse, bullying, sibling relationships, dysfunctional families that I believe a lot of young (and older) people can relate to (at least on some level). Pieces of Us touched me so deeply based on my own personal experiences as well as the excellently crafted characters that were well developed and extremely realistic. I am a firm believer that NObook should be restricted from anyone, (regardless of age). I saw a review claiming that no one under 17 should read this because the material is too "disturbing". But what some people fail to see, is that this book could have the potential to help someone who is struggling with some of the things mentioned throughout the book. When I was in middle school I got in trouble for reading a book about an alcoholic, dysfunctional, abusive family even because it was "too adult" for me. But, I was living through exactly what this book was about. It allowed me a chance to see that I am not alone. That someone else went through what I was going through. To learn a way to deal with my surroundings. But because I wasn't deemed mature enough to read it, I just continued living as a shell of a person because my surroundings were too much and it was easier just to fade into the background...Much like the character Kyle did in Pieces of Us. Regardless of how old you, I would highly recommend Pieces of Us to anyone. It is a POWERFUL novel and soooooo well written. The novel captures the imperfections, attitudes, thoughts, emotions and reactions of all its MC's in a way that is just beautifully human. I personally very much disliked the character Alex because of his deeply inbedded misogynistic views and outlook. But Gelbwasser was able to allow me to find sympathy and understanding for him. To look at him as just a boy who was hurt one too many times and not protected in the way a child should be...NOT that it excuses any of his just provides reasons for why he is the way he is. Even more, Gelbwasser captures a way of thinking common in young boys (and men), were the definition of rape becomes blurred and women are not seen as humans but as objects to be owned and conquered and tainted. She also captures the struggle so many girls and women have with their own sexuality (esp. in high school). If they aren't experienced sexually or are not ready to have sex they are dismissed but if they own their sexuality and enjoy having sex and dating they immediately become tainted and labeled whore, shank, slut. In a lot of ways, Pieces of Us reminds me of Speak. The MC Katie, much like Melinda in Speak, struggles throughout the novel to find her voice, to fight for herself, to tell someone about what is happening to her, to ask for and get help. She doesn't and spirals downward until she can't function and believes any sign of love from her lover, not matter how fleeting and how violent he becomes towards her, is better than being alone or telling someone. It is about trying to stand up for your self, to say this is not okay, and to be strong enough to ask for help. Kyle too struggles with his past and present, living with his abusive brother and takes his own journey to be able to come to a point were he could tell his mom and get help. Some readers were not satisfied with the ending. But I loved it. I loved it because it wasn't "happily-ever-after". Because there were still unresolved issues at the end. That is what makes this novel so REAL. I am sorry but people do not wake up one day after living in hell for years to suddenly be able to become a happy, normal, functioning, person again. The road to recovery is long. But the point is, is that they started that journey. Family is extremely complicated and issues that have been going on for years do not become resolved in one summer. They take time. And not every family member is so willing to move past it, for whatever that reason may be. So because Pieces of Us captured this, I instantly fell in love with it. Because of my own recovery from drug addiction, anorexia, depression, and ptsd, I know that "being better" doesn't happen over night. That it is a journey with ebbs and flows. It takes time. And to me, this novel captured that and I am grateful for it because I still need to be reminded of that.RECOMMEND TO ALL

  • Sarah {Literary Meanderings}
    2019-03-25 22:59

    ♥ Find my reviews on Blogger ~ Reviews by Bookish Sarah - - -2.5 starsThis book is from the POV of four different teens. Two sisters and two brothers.The brothers: They live in Philly with their stripper mother. Their father committed suicide years before. The older brother, Alex, is a complete mess. He blames his mother for his father's death and takes it out on everyone around him. He treats his mother with no respect, and beats on his little brother. He disrespects females in general and brings girl after girl home just to use them for sex and send them on their way. Meanwhile, the younger brother, Kyle, is about as spineless as they come. He sits back and watches all these things happen with silent detachment. He goes through his days like a statue and dreads seeing his brother when he gets home from school. The sisters: They live in a small town called Cherry Hill, NJ. They have both parents, but neither one of them is the best parent around. The older sister, Katie, is the most popular girl in school. She's the Pyramid Girl for the cheerleading squad and dating the point guard for the basketball team. Life couldn't be better for her. One night, all of that changes. While drunk at a party, Katie's life is changed forever. She is left floating through life as a shell, waiting, waiting.. waiting. Meanwhile, her younger sister, Julie, is hating her more and more each day. Their mother has always treated her like she isn't good enough, like she could never measure up to Katie. She's not pretty enough, not skinny enough, just not enough. She never stops trying though, trying to gain her mother's love. Where's their father? Sitting back, letting it all happen. Oblivious.Pretty soon, all four teens are counting down the days 'til summer. Summer is when they all get to vacation at the lake house, parent free. They stay with their grandparents in a bungalow village where they can forget about their lives at home. Little do they know, but this is about to change. This summer changes everything.- - -This book is hard for me to review, but here goes..Dislikes:* Adult content. This book is packed with things I would NEVER consider putting in a Young Adult novel. This is NOT for teens younger than 17. There is a multitude of cursing and derogatory terms. I can't think of even one curse word that wasn't used in this book. If I had a young teen, I would never let them read this. Not only is there insanely bad language on every single page, but the sexual content is much too graphic and gritty for young teens to be reading. I don't even think they would fully grasp some of what went on in this novel. It was just packed with sex, cursing, and adult themes. It was too much.* For all of the nitty-gritty, down and dirty things in this book, I expected something to happen to change it. To change how sexist and disgusting Alex was. It was disturbing and just terrible to read from his POV. It made me sick to my stomach. In the end, he never ever changed. I understand that his hate and lewd, crude behavior is supposed to be because his mom is a stripper and cheated on his father, drove him away to kill himself.. but at least he could have gotten help or something, changed his ways, right? No. It was like all that nasty, offensive behavior was for nothing. For shock value, I guess.* I don't find this story very realistic. I know some, if not all, of these things happen in real life, but this was overkill.Likes:* The writing. I enjoyed the writing style very much, and even though this story was angry, sad, and depressing.. the writing was very much moving.* A+ for drama. I think the extreme dramatics of this book is why I read it in just 5 hours. It kept me going, and I admit, I did want to know what fate these four teens would end up with. This book was never boring. Hard to read, but entertaining none the less.Overall:This book is tough. It's a ball of pain and sadness, anger and hopelessness. You will read the whole book, waiting, just waiting for these disturbed kids to get better. To end up with something better, to get help. You need to know, it doesn't have a happy ending. There's a pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel, but not all parties involved in this gritty tale get to bask in that light. It's full of drama, and there is a life lesson here. You have to dig, and dig deep to find it, but it is there. I don't recommend this to people who can't stomach the lewd and crude. Don't read this if you are a feminist, no no. You'll get offended from page one and put it down. I also don't think anyone under 17 years of age should read this. If it was a movie, it'd be rated R, no doubt. If you decide to give this book a shot, do not tread lightly.- - -Book source: NetGalleyPublisher: Flux Books

  • Anna
    2019-04-11 03:20

    Pieces of Us is a novel about family secrets and the complexity of human nature.What compelled me to pick up this book was the simple yet beautiful cover, a picture of a swing frozen in midair with lovely hues of green and blue in the background. Little did I know, this book would have me battling an emotional tug-o-war until the very end of it.Katie is a popular cheerleader at her school with a perfect, charmed life anyone could ask her. However, after one seemingly innocent and fun night at a party, her world is shifted upside down and nothing would ever be the same again. Julie is Katie's little sister. She lives in the shadow of Katie, who steals all the attention from their mother. Alex is a somewhat broken guy who keeps a hard exterior as a 'survival mechanism' from years of abuse inflicted upon him by his mother's pimps. He sleeps around with other girls but hates them for being so willing to get into bed with anyone who asks for it. Kyle is Alex's little brother. He is meek, shy, and soft-spoken; basically your average awkward teenager. He fears Alex because his words and actions have cut him deep along the years, yet Alex is unaware and believes that he is only preparing him for "the real world."These four teenagers relocate to their lake houses in New York every summer to escape the reality of their lives for two fleeting months filled with possibilities. However, Katie's terrible secret manages to manifest itself, and nothing is the same again.No book is complete without lovey-dovey moments, and Gelbwasser was obviously aware of that! There were some nice, fluffy, feel-good scenes that definitely deserved an Oscar Award of some sort.I absolutely adored the cutesy parts of the book with Katie and Alex! (for example, when they were roaming the streets of Philly) I loved that, despite Alex's bad-boy past, he still manages to respect Katie and love her unconditionally. I awwwhhh'ed and smiled to myself a lot during these parts. (Good thing I was not in public while reading this, I am sure people would have looked at me strangely)However, like I said earlier, this book was an emotional tug-o-war for me. Gelbwasser expertly weaves each character's narration and personalities over the course of this book, making it easy to love 'em for a few chapters, then hate 'em as the story progresses. There were many twists and turns, leaving me feeling torn and indecisive about everything. Let me just say that this book may be difficult for some people to read because it dances around the topics of abuse and rape. It also contains explicit language (thanks, Alex) as well as very graphic scenes. There were moments where I was so surprised at a character's indecencies that I immediately scribbled their name onto my imaginary hate list. The last few chapters of the book were definitely the hardest to read and comprehend, because every personality starts unraveling. Words cannot express how many tears I shed because of that, I cried RIVERS, PEOPLE, RIVERS!! There were moments where I wanted to reach into the book and grab Alex and Julie by the shoulders and shake some sense into their shallow ways of thinking. I felt the most sympathetic for Katie, poor Katie. The girl was so broken and emotionally shattered that I wanted to hug her and tell her everything would be okay. At the beginning of the book, I found Kyle to be the least interesting. Towards the end, he steps up to the plate and was the only character with some sense in him, and I wanted to celebrate. He turned out to be a sweet, caring, and lovely guy, which leaves me wondering how he is even related to Alex. I must say Julie's sudden change in character left me speechless. She completely abandons and turns her back on Katie, clearly misguided. By the end of the book, I really despised Alex. I was hoping he would have a change of heart, but my hopes were proven futile, because he did not. As you can tell, my emotions were frayed and torn by the end of the novel, but it also left me feeling kind of hopeful. Despite the fact that there were a handful of moments that made me want to hurl the book across the room or scream some sense into certain characters, it was a very satisfying read. This piece of work was something fairly new to me, because I have never read something so uncensored, harrowing, raw, vulgar, lovely, beautiful, and hopeful all at the same time. The ending left me feeling a bit empty, so I am crossing my fingers and hoping for a sequel!! Read this novel with an open mind and immerse yourself in the storyline. I am sure you will come to enjoy it very much.4 out of 5 stars!

  • Rabiah
    2019-04-03 01:59

    Originally Posted at: when you think of "summer" books you think of romance, fun, boys and bonfire nights. Well, this summer book totally changed that whole image. Pieces of Us is a story about four teens, who all have something that they want to forget, to break free of. We have four stories from four perspectives which show responses and emotions to the events that occur in this novel.I liked the idea of Pieces of Us, and the general story line was great, and it was a really interesting contemporary. BUT...I found that some parts of the book were too graphical for a younger young adult audience (which totally made me just change the rating from YA 14+ to 15+). The profanity in this book is quite high, and so I would recommend this to older teens.What I found interesting about the characters was that in this book, unlike most YA contemporaries today, they're not American per se. They're Russian, so it's cool to see a difference in character background :)For me, most of the characters change in my view from either really good to really bad or vice versa during the book. It's quite shocking to see how my favorites turned to be the ones I hated in the end!First up, we have Katie, the one who starts the chain-reaction of events. I didn't like her at the beginning, because she was just too much of a popular girl for me and (in my opinion) overly-obsessed with being the most popular person in school. However, I guess underneath it all, I really did feel sympathetic towards her– I don't know if anyone would do the same thing in her situation, but you gotta give her some props for what she goes through and how she makes it in the end. Somewhere during the middle though, I have NO IDEA what goes on with her, but I ended up liking her in the end.Julie is Katie's younger sister, and the child who's mom completely skips over, only fretting about Katie and her popularity (I'll get to the mom later). Julie I first liked, because she was pretty down to earth, the smart girl, not known for her looks and such. But at the end, geez, what's with her? I don't want to give away too much, but this girl gets a life-makeover, I'll tell you that.And now: the boys. Alex...what can I say? Hated him pretty much throughout the novel, even though he has the tiniest sliver of the whole "bad-boy" attraction, I generally disliked him from start to finish. There were moments in the book when you can't help but feel sorry for him, but seriously? Not a person I would like to know.Kyle, oh Kyle. I always liked him! He's the only character which didn't change my opinion through the story, and he's just the sweetest guy character out there. Honestly, being stuck with three difficult people has got to be a pain, but he's just so patient and you'll keep rooting for him, no matter what.Now coming back to an earlier point: Katie and Julie's mom. What is UP with this woman? If you combined Matilda's mom and the Trunchbull (both from Matilda by Roald Dahl), you would have found them to be a more moral and somewhat sensible person than this lady. Hated her. Too obsessed with Katie's popularity, to the point where she's even more so than Katie herself, and when things spread around, she treats them like they're normal! Absolutely hated this woman. GAH.Other than for the weird and horrible mother, something else that I would have changed would be the length. This was slightly too long, so it dragged in some bits, but I felt that it could have been a much more "up-beat" read if it was a little shorter.Overall, Pieces of Us is about the summer which none of us would ever want to have, despite the freedom to be themselves, there's the secrets surrounding these four teens that cage them. Gelbwasser has written a touching and heart-wincing novel which definitely stands out in the young adult contemporary genre. Can't wait to read more from this author, as I'm sure I'll be astounded by the amazing writing once more.

  • Tee loves Kyle Jacobson
    2019-04-11 03:11

    Margie Gelbwasser is a courageous author who has breeched the norm to write a gripping story about issues that are plagueing our youth of today. She has lit the torch and ran miles with this story about love, loss, cyber bullying, date rape, abuse (mental&physical), self destruction, and depression. This review was hard for me to write because I could relate to the story. It brought back so many old memories and hurts I buried that I cried and then I laughed but most of all I was grateful that Margie wrote such a gripping story.This review is going to be a little different then what I normally do but I feel I need to share little pieces of each character. There are two families involved and in one family you have Alex and Kyle and then the other family is Katie and Julie. They go every summer to their grandparents summer home. Where they are allowed to be someone else for the summer and leave all the drama of life and school be hind and just be themselves. While there they can be whoever they want to be and do whatever they want to do.Alex loves going to summer house because once he is there he can leave behind the girls and other stuff he is into during the year. He gets to see Katie and share the summer with her. Because he knows once he goes home he will have to go back to living the life he lives everyday. He is not proud of his life but hey he is raising his younger brother because his mother is never home and his father is not in the picture. He has to take care of Kyle and he does it the only way he knows how.Kyle loves the summer house because he gets to spend time with his grandparents and be in the one place that he and his father shared. He gets to see Julie his best friend to and enjoy a summer worry free. He does not have to worry about Alex forcing him to do things he does not want to do. He also gets to be in the place that meant a lot to his father and he does not have to worry about his mother coming around because she refuses to go to the summer house.Katie loves the summer house because while she is there she can be Sasha and Sasha loves being with Alex. They share everything and she does not have to be anyone else. She can be herself around Alex and know she will not have to do things she does not want to do. She can just hang out and share in this summer romance with no strings attatched and no hard goodbyes. She can leave the crazyness of her mother behind and she can enjoy teh one place her father loves. Julie loves the summer house because she gets to see Kyle her best friend. They hang out and swim and play cards and go to the arcade together. They share a bound of friendship that can not be broken by anyone or anything. They can be whoever they want to be and no one will know any better. This is the summer Julie becomes aware of the difference between girl and woman.This summer will m ake some and break some. Some will experience mental break downs and abuse and some will find a way to escape the world they are living. Both worlds will collide and force everyone to take a hard look at each other. Choices will be made and lives will be destroyed but in the end everyone must ask themselves is it worth it? Can they change for the better or is life destined to deal them lemons. How far can love go? Is family everything it is cracked up to be. Alex, Kyle, Katie, and Julie will hit rock bottom and have to swim their way to the top but will they make it or will they drown?Book Trailer Song Arms Wide Open by Creed had the pleasure of interviewing Margie click on the link to see what she had to say about writing this story and the characters.http://adiaryofabookaddict.blogspot.c...

  • Jessi
    2019-04-03 00:13

    I feel that I'm rarely at a loss for how things to talk about with a book, but it seems that Pieces of Us has left me unsure of what to say. I won't say that I vehemently disliked this by any means, but it certainly didn't capture my heart and mind the way that I expected it to. Pieces of Us starts out with a lot of promise. The four characters--Katie, Julie, Alex, and Kyle--are all introduced and you immediately get a feeling for each of their characters. Katie hides behind the facade of beauty and popularity. Julie is shy and has been made to feel inadequate by a terrible mother. Alex is full of rage with a mean, vengeful streak only tempered by Katie. Kyle is inexplicably broken--so much so that he speaks in second person.After the brief introduction, I expected to fall in love or lust with each of their characters and their personal struggles but ultimately I found it difficult to connect with them the vast majority of the time. Each one makes any number of bad decisions and I know that makes them human and normal but I just found that I couldn't CONNECT with their bad decisions. I couldn't empathize with them. Throughout the course of the novel, each character changes and grows immensely but not always for the better. Some characters I found I connected with and then they pushed me away and made me strongly dislike them and lose interest in their well-being. The only characters that I had any hope for in the end were Katie and Kyle...and that was just barely. They each ended on a positive development, but I found myself so turned off by the actions of the other two that it overshadowed the somewhat hopeful note that the novel ends on.While I'm normally not a fan of more than two alternating POVs, the idea of having all four POVs both really worked...and didn' this novel. I loved the opportunity to see, hear, and feel what each of these characters was going through at any given point. There's simply too much going on in their lives that connects them all and a lot would get lost without that. However, I wish I could have spent more consecutive moments with each character. You get glances into each of their lives and then it moves quickly on to another. While the disconnect and rapid-movement was probably meant to emphasize the broken/scattered nature of their lives (which I'll admit it did), it gave me a sense that I couldn't develop real connections with them and quite possibly contributed to my previously mention disconnect with the characters. That's all I feel like I can say without getting into specific characters and their situations/changes--things you need to discover on your own with this novel. I'm a fan of darker YA novels and this one fits the bill--but it wasn't everything I thought it could/would be. I have to give it credit for pulling me in at least some--it was like watching a train wreck where you couldn't look away. Pieces of Us tackles a lot of tough issues--but not all of them necessarily well. If you're really looking for a novel that dives into the dark side of being a teenager with bad parents, then maybe this read will be what you're looking for. Be warned--it's dark and it's ugly and I wouldn't recommend it for readers under 16 or 17.

  • Hannah Moe
    2019-03-28 02:13

    Pieces of us is told from the alternating points of view of four teenagers: Katie, Julie, Kyle, and Alex. Katie and Julie are sisters who live in New Jersey, Kyle and Alex are brothers who live in Philadelphia, but each summer they go to the same lake to visit their grandparents. Alex and Katie had always had sort of a summer romance going on, but they agreed to just keep it in the summer, until one summer when they decide to finally start a real relationship. Kyle and Julie had always been just friends, until feelings between them started to change too. But Katie has a secret, and when that secret gets out it turns the world upside down for all four of them.This is not a nice book, there is no happy ending. This is the first book I’ve ever read that made me feel sick to my stomach and truly uncomfortable. This book is filled with disturbing events and characters who are all terrible people in their own way. However, I still have to say that I did LOVE this book, it definitely unforgiving but it was so well written. I’m sure Margie Gelbwasser entirely meant for her book to be crossing the line into a painful and much too real world that the reader will be stuck thinking about for a long time. I’ve never had a book make me so deeply upset, but also I’ve never had a book make me FEEL things so deeply and personally, and that’s what kept me needing to turn the page.First of all, I can’t say there was a single character in this book that I could let myself like for more than a page or two. They were all their own mix of broken, abusive, weak, selfish, indecisive, and stupid. Though with the devastating events they went through, I found it hard to really blame them for it. By the end of the book it seems like all the characters had started to become a bit insane. This book definitely isn’t appropriate for anyone younger than high school, and even then a lot of people might not be able to handle it. This book uses very strong language and can get very graphic.I’ve always liked sad books because I feel like they give me a lot more to feel and think about than just a basic happy book with no drama. This book really pushed the limit, but it was incredible how much of an emotional roller coaster it put me on. Luckily I can’t personally relate to most of the things the characters had to go through, but there were a few small things I could understand first hand and it made those parts really hit home for me. I felt so involved in this book; I can’t even count the number of times I wanted to just jump into the book and try to fix everything. I think the alternating points of view really helped with that. The reader is able to see inside each of the main characters personal thoughts, which caused me to feel like they were all stupid for not being able to understand each other as well as I could understand each of them.Since I finished reading the book a few days ago, I still haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I feel like the story has become a part of me, and that’s why I feel like it really was a good book, traumatic experiences and all.

  • Aly (My Heart Hearts Books)
    2019-04-19 22:54

    Featured on & myheartheartsbooks.tumblr.comTwo families. Four teens. 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.Katie and Julie are sister. There mother clearly loves Katie more and basically ignores Julie,always putting her down with backhand insults, that is if she even pays attention. Alex and Kyle are brothers, Alex always beating on Kyle and putting him down. They all meet each summer when they go to their grandparents houses at the lake. Alex and Katie have a summer relationship where the things that happen during the school year doesn't exist. Only the summer and the moments that they share between them. When tragic falls upon Katie during the school year, she tells no one. However, it threatens her being, and makes her reevaluate who she is and who she thought she was and who she is expected to be. Julie and Kyle are friends, but then Julie develops feelings and wants that relationship to development. These four teen appear to have it all, but looks aren't what they seem and they all have problems that they just aren't willing to admit.This novel is heartbreakingly good. You just wish that there were a band aid big enough to help heal each battle wound that life has inflicted upon Katie, Julie, Alex and Kyle. It's too easy to forget that this is pure fiction, and you genuiely develop frustration because although the answer seems to clear and easy to the reader, it lies just out of reach for the character. You also experience these extreme remorse for Katie and Julie for having to experience a life where their mother is the mother. That lady is so delusional and so hopeless, and her bad parenting is partially (a really big part, in my opinion) why Katie and Julie are so screwed up. Reading this novel makes you think twice when you see people and think that they have it all. No one has it all, and this novel reminds you that under the surface, the people you meet may be silently screaming for help.You should definitely check Pieces of Us when it come out on March 8th, 2012.ARC provided by NetGalley

  • Ashlie
    2019-04-09 01:22

    Kirkus reviewed this book as "Suspenseful, disturbing and emotionally fraught, a strong novel for a strong stomach." I think that is all an understatement. The teens in this story are beyond damaged, and you need more than a strong stomach to be able to sit through the very mature content. It's rated as a "14 & up" book, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone under AT LEAST 17. Some of the content, while not detailed, made me sick to my stomach. Many times I put the book down and walked away, but I think some of these issues are real ones that teens face today so I didn't want to ignore it because it wasn't a "happy" novel. The other reason I thought it was important to finish this book is because I need to review it to let others know how extreme and crude the content is. I'm not a supporter of "banning" books, but if my daughter came home with this book, I would definitely have a discussion with her about it. I didn't enjoy any of it. I felt sad for the kids who told their stories, but the writing wasn't what I hoped for when I read the blurb. The story was nothing as I expected and the ending left me upset that I'd picked up the book at all. Kirkus says there is "hope," and I understand this perspective, but I found the ending haphazard and clashing. The character who "finds hope" shows no sign that she's actually getting the help she needs (i.e., the circumstances leading up to her current situations where never dealt with) she never told the truth to the people who needed to know who could deliver reprimands and consequences. It is something that should have been investigated and explored, not locked away by a character's fear. The other two character's drop off the map of the story and just...are. I was disappointed and not to be dramatic, disgusted. I could never recommend this book to a young woman or even a friend. If someone was reading this book over my shoulder I would be embarrassed at what I was reading. I wanted so much for this book to change directions and become uplifting and help all the characters deal with their issues, instead I found that there were no real resolutions, just constant building upon the catalytic problems. This story left me feeling depressed, disturbed, grossed out and without answers. I am so bummed about this book.

  • Jenni Arndt
    2019-04-08 05:12

    You can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.Pieces of Us was a painful book to read. It was unrelenting and vivid and it felt like a punch in the gut. At times it made me feel dirty for continuing on, but I had to. This book does not shy away from the taboo, I had to check a few times to make sure that I was in fact reading a YA book. It is heavy on the language and painfully descriptive of the sex. This wasn't like any book I have ever read before, but I loved it. I spend most of my time reading paranormal and dystopian books, so when I read a book like this it feels like it brings me back to reality.The characters in Pieces of Us all have their own horrifying story and we get to learn it first hand as the POV splits between our 4 MC's chapter by chapter. The most painful for me was Katie, hers was a story that you would see on CNN and it would make you feel utterly disgusted to your core. Julies story also pulled at my heart strings, and I felt so bad for her in the beginning. As it went on and Julie fought harder for her mothers approval I really started to dislike her and once she was vindicated and received that approval I hated her. The girls mother is really a terrible woman, I found it a little hard to believe that she would favour one child so openly.Alex and Kyle have their own problems and the broken home that they come from was all too real. Their absent mother who let her children slip away from her angered me to no end. I could not bring myself to like Alex, even when he was showing his softer side as Sasha, all I could think of were the derogatory terms he used when talking about women and I wanted to punch him in the face. While their story isn't as descriptive I'm left to wonder if it is still just as effective because it leaves the horror to your imagination. I know that what I have said here may not make you want to run out and read this book. It left me with a very somber and empty feeling and I think Pieces of Us is a book that will stick with me for a very long time. But it is well worth the read, just be warned that you are in for some heavy reading.

  • Kate
    2019-03-29 02:03

    I read this ARC via Netgalley.Katie and Julie are sisters - Katie's the pretty, popular one, while Julie lives in her shadow. Until Katie's popular boyfriend and his friend rape Katie at a party when she's too drunk. Now Katie looks forward to the summer, when her family goes to the lake with old family friends. With Alex Katie can be Katya, an innocent virgin, while Julie crushes on Alex's younger brother Kyle. But Alex and Kyle have secrets too. Since their father killed himself, their mother became a prostitute. Alex believes all girls - except Katya - are whores, and he beats on Kyle and makes him sleep with the trashy girls he picks up too. In alternating chapters each character offers brief glimpses into their lives. At first Katie was obnoxious and Julie sympathetic, but Katie's reaction to the rape (and the fallout from it) makes her more sympathetic than Julie, who for most of the book doesn't understand the reasons behind Katie's change in behavior. By the end I had grown to dislike Julie and hate their mother. I felt bad for Kyle, who couldn't even talk about himself in the first person he was so disconnected from his life, and I hated Alex for pretty much the whole book. I had a little bit of hope that he would change for Katie, but when he didn't I hated him so much more. I understood why he behaved the way he did, but that didn't make his behavior any less disgusting.This is not the feel-good book of the year, and all the characters had extreme issues. Yet I was compelled through the story to see where it was going and hoped that some of them would be redeemed in the end. The narrative was not at all confusing as sometimes happens with multiple first-person narrators - each character had a very strong voice.The plot relies heavily on sexual relationships, and mostly abusive sexual relationships - the "normal" relationships are glossed over - and there is a lot of offensive language.

  • Shantal
    2019-03-28 22:14

    Full Review at of Us by Margie Gelbwasser is a novel that broke my heart, I'm not normally lost for words, but this book left me overwhelmed. I do not like how this book made me feel but that doesn't mean this book didn't accomplish it's goal. This book talks about how life is for many people and we, who don't have those kind of issues, sometimes don't understand. This novel will make you feel uncomfortable and when you think you've reach a point where it's just too much, think again. There are situations in life that are disturbing and this book will present them as raw as possible, the story is told from four P.O.V Alex, Kyle, Katie and Julie all of them broken and abused in one way or another, somehow the only thing they desire is to spend the summer at the lake house, it's the only place they can be who they really want to be away from all the pressure. Katie and Julie are sisters, both have a bad relationship with their mother for different reasons, one of them because her mother ignores her and the other because she can't live up to her expectations without loosing herself in the process. Alex and Kyle are brothers, trapped in a tragic event with a mother that does not give a good example for any of them, the four teenagers feel trapped and confused in a sea of problems.The writing style had me a little confused and made it hard to switch between characters, the ending left me upset, I just want to state that love doesn't hurt, not emotionally or physically and if you read this book and feel like you identify with any character please tell someone what's going on. Overall an emotional read. I think this book is not suitable for teens under 17 years old. If parents allow teenagers to read this book I would advice parental guidance. There is a lot of sex, abuse, drinking and cursing.

  • Jen
    2019-03-26 03:15

    Thank to you NetGalley and Flux for this copy of Pieces of Us. It's not often that I'm at a loss for words but this book that's full of hurt and pain left me speechless and emotionally drained. It's gritty and real, dealing with issues that run the gamut from parental neglect to a taped date rape that goes viral. 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 to 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.

  • Mrs Mommy Booknerd
    2019-04-04 01:21

    There are things that are a part of life and cannot be avoided. For most kids, that is experiencing the trials and tribulations that come with growing up. Most of us have suffered a breakup, suffered from a bad choice that took us down a wrong path, suffered fights with friends and/or siblings and suffered through issues with our parents. Pieces of Us touches on all those topics is in honest and realistic fashion. It is the other side of the story, the side that is not always happy, the side that makes us uncomfortable, the side that shocks us.Pieces of Us, takes you on a journey through the harsh realities of high school, family relationships and dating violence. Pieces of Us exposes the ruthlessness of love, betrayal, bullying and other more serious topics. Pieces of Us shows how technology (computer and cell phones) can be used to bully, intimidate and control an individual. Making damaging a victim so much easier. As a parent, Pieces of Us was an emotional read. It forced me to confront fears and evaluate my parenting. The stresses our youth are under are greater than when I was growing up. Sex, alcohol and peer pressure are much more prevalent now. This story will resonate with me for a long time. I am still reeling. I am strongly encouraging every parent to read Pieces of Us. The struggles described in those pages will leave you wanting to hold your children a bit closer and to love them a bit more. I am nearly at a loss of words...powerful story.P.S. I am in love with this book cover!!!

  • Wendy
    2019-03-25 05:07

    hmmm... I going to have to digest this for a few days.gritty, raw, unnerving, uncomfortable, anger... I have to make sure I'm not just emotional because of the unsatisfying ending.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It's the next day, and I'm still having a hard time digesting this book. I don't want to just give this one star because the behavior of MOST of the characters was repugnant, offensive and pathetic. All the characters begin the story with no hope at all for a happy ending. And if you know me, I love happy endings. But not always, I mean. I get it when a book ends a certain way if the author has a deft hand with a story and can pull it off at the end. This might be one of those books. I really can't tell. Maybe the meat of the story hits a little too close to home for me (No, i've never had a (view spoiler)[sex tape released to the entire world via facebook (hide spoiler)]). But besides maybe Kyle, there are no redeeming qualities in any of the characters. They are literally portrayed at having no choice but to take the worst possible choice. But, on the other hand, it's not a crappy book. I was engrossed in the story, the writing was good with even a POV in the 2nd person which I'm seeing more and more these days. It's reasonable pulled off. ** more spoilers below ***Rape and abuse is always a tricky thing to write about. I applaud the author for pulling no punches. But I'm just left with no sympathy for anyone in this book. Well, there is Kyle, but honestly he's a weak character. He is 15-16, so there is that.