According to my 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge, I read 105 books this year. I thought I would give you a list of my 10 favorite (and maybe a couple more) books.
My absolute favorite book of the year was Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow. I read it twice this year.
Book blurb via Goodreads-Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.
My review: I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! This book was hauntingly beautiful from page 1 to page 400. In fact, this book was so good that I am afraid this review will not do it justice.
Charlotte who goes by Charlie is a seventeen year old girl who has had a rough start. She has seen and experienced a lot of bad stuff in her short life and the only way she feels she can escape from that pain is to create a different sort of pain through cutting herself. Charlie ends up in a group psychiatric hospital ward where she finally feels safe from the people she was hiding from. There are some interesting nurses, doctors and patients she interacts with that help her realize that she is worth saving. When she is discharged, Charlie moves from Minnesota to Arizona to start a new life but when she gets there it is not as easy as she thought to stay away from old habits. Charlie meets Riley West, a musician , fighting his own demons. They hit it off right away because of their shared painful pasts. However, Charlie realizes that maybe becoming Riley’s friend isn’t the best thing for her recovery.
The author weaves Charlie’s story together beautifully through out the book. We get bits and pieces of her past to help us understand her hurt and anxiety. The descriptions of Charlie’s struggles are sometimes so heartbreaking it is hard to read. For example, “When the door closes, I turn off all the lights and curl up in the bathtub in a very tight ball. I imagine myself inside an egg, a metal egg, impenetrable, locked on the outside, ANYTHING to keep myself from crawling to my kit…” (Charlie’s kit contains glass to cut herself with). Though it may seem Charlie is weak, she is actually a very strong character. She is only 17 throughout most of the book and has to survive on her own in a strange city. Charlie works hard to transform herself and to put the pieces of her life back together.
Working with teens everyday, I know cutting is a problem. It is called NSSI (Non-Suicidal Self-Injury). It can be triggered by a variety of reasons, stress, anxiety, bullying, abuse, feelings of worthlessness. Girl in Pieces does an amazing job showing us how sad and lonely self-harming can be. The author writes from her own experience which she talks about at the end of the book. Ms. Glasgow says, “Self-harm is not a grab for attention. It doesn’t mean you are suicidal. It means you are struggling to get out of a very dangerous mess in your mind and heart and this is your coping mechanism. It means that you occupy a small space in the very real and very large canyon of people who suffer from depression and mental illness.”