Sunday, September 23, 2012

Book Review: "34 Pieces of You" by Carmen Rodrigues

Provided at Book Expo America via Publisher: Simon Pulse - Release Date: 9/24/12

There was something about Ellie... Something dangerous. Charismatic. Broken. Jake looked out for her. Sarah followed her lead. And Jess kept her distance, and kept watch.

Now Ellie’s dead, and Jake, Sarah, and Jess are left to pick up the pieces. All they have are 34 clues she left behind. 34 strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. 34 secrets of a brief and painful life.

Jake, Sarah, and Jess all feel responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of their own. As they begin to confront the darkest truths about themselves, they will also find out what Ellie herself had been hiding all along....

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 Excerpt from her website:

"I spent all of my preteen and teen years in Miami. I lived in the suburbs (Kendall) until I went to Florida State to study creative writing and theater. (BTW, love FSU. So, if you love FSU too, you just earned bonus points.)

After FSU, there was a brief stint working in New York City. There, I lived across the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey. My apartment had no central air or heat, but it did have a view of the NYC skyline, which made me decide it was rent-controlled fabulous-ness. This was where my writing career began when I begged my way into a staff writer position at a local paper, which led to my first writing group and novel, NOT ANYTHING.

So, what's happened since then? Well, I took a brief hiatus from professional writing to earn my MFA in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. (Totally worth it.)

Now, I'm enjoying the release of my next young adult novel, 34 PIECES OF YOU, which was published by Simon Pulse this month.

I'm also working on weekly installments of A LITTLE SOMETHING, the long-awaited sequel to NOT ANYTHING."

Ellie is a girl on the edge. The type of girl that takes you out for the time of your life and brings you out of your shell. She also encourages you to make poor decisions and can cause you to lose yourself in the glare of her spotlight. She is an enigma, complicated and troubled. She is also now dead, due to a tragic night that is somewhat shrouded in mystery.

Through a series of cryptic clues, Ellie's friends try to put together the pieces of her life and discover the truth of the events leading up to her death. 34 Pieces of You is told from each characters' perspective and Rodrigues is brilliant at teasing out the details and the secrets that each one is hiding as well.

Each sad, lovely character has a unique and true voice (including Ellie). I laughed and cried right beside them. Rodrigues has created a world that is true to the modern teen experience. While she does not shy away from the dark side of being a teen, none of it is a gimmick or device to seem cool or hip. The final revelation of Ellie's full story is heartbreaking and beautiful.

34 Pieces of You is an exquisite and heart-wrenching tale of the dark side of growing up, loss and finding yourself.

An interview with Carmen Rodrigues about the evolution of 34 Pieces of You


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