Girl in Pieces

Girl in Pieces

4.9 11
by Kathleen Glasgow

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For fans of Girl, Interrupted, Thirteen Reasons Why, and All the Bright Places comes the New York Times bestselling novel Nicola Yoon, author of Everything, Everything, calls "a haunting, beautiful, and necessary book that will stay with you long after you've read the last page."
   Charlotte Davis is in


For fans of Girl, Interrupted, Thirteen Reasons Why, and All the Bright Places comes the New York Times bestselling novel Nicola Yoon, author of Everything, Everything, calls "a haunting, beautiful, and necessary book that will stay with you long after you've read the last page."
   Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people do 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.
  A deeply moving portrait of a girl in a world that owes her nothing, and has taken so much, and the journey she undergoes to put herself back together. Kathleen Glasgow's debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.

"A haunting, beautiful, and necessary book that will stay with you long after you've read the last page." —Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Nearly broken by a suicide attempt and a spate of personal losses, 17-year-old Charlotte “Charlie” Davis finds solace in the broken shards of a mason jar and, later, through art, in debut author Glasgow’s visceral novel of self-harm. On the streets of the Twin Cities after her father died and her mother simply stopped caring, Charlie “cut all her words out heart was too full of them.” Bandaged and silent, she ends up in a psych unit for self-harmers. Although Charlie sees herself in the other girls, it’s her friend Ellis she craves the most. But the Ellis she knew is gone, stuck in the limbo of cutting deep enough to cause significant blood loss but not enough to die. When Charlie is discharged abruptly, she leaves for Tucson, following Mikey, a boy she liked but who always loved Ellis more. Glasgow skillfully juggles multiple difficult topics (homelessness, self-harm, etc.) without dipping into melodrama. Charlie’s intimate first-person narration places readers deep within her experience while maintaining awareness of the outside world and the people in it. Ages 14–up. Agent: Julie Stevenson, Waxman Leavell Literary. (Aug.)
VOYA, August 2016 (Vol. 39, No. 3) - Donna L Phillips
Charlie is a girl in pieces, physically, emotionally, and socially. In hard-bitten language, she reveals the story behind her self-mutilation. Her father drowned himself. Her mother beat her. Her best friend tried cutting and bled out to the point of brain damage. She lived on the streets. For now, she is Silent Sue, then Strange Girl at rehab—not talking, not sleeping, just starting to work out her problems. Then, the insurance runs out. Her mother lies to the staff to get Charlie out, but she is not really letting Charlie come home. Instead, Charlie is headed to Arizona, where she is supposed to build a new life with help from a friend whom she hopes might become more than that. Charlie’s saving graces are her ability to lose herself in her art and a series of people who care enough to keep her alive. Glasgow draws each of these characters deftly with sparse details and vivid language. With their help, Charlie finds work as a dishwasher, gets a room, survives an unhealthy relationship with the boss’s manipulative brother, and endures one more skirmish with a piece of glass. At first blush, the topic and length of the book might be off-putting, but teens with the courage to crack the cover will find themselves driven to see Charlie’s story through. They will better understand a world that often makes no sense to outsiders. Glasgow’s debut novel is a dark read, but the engaging writing will win an audience for her next one. Reviewer: Donna L Phillips; Ages 15 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—The story begins with 17-year-old Charlie in a mental health facility that specializes in the treatment of girls who have self-injury disorders. When Charlie is released prematurely because of a lack of insurance coverage, she must find her own way in a world she is unprepared to deal with. Readers follow her as she struggles to meet the challenges of survival and as she follows the path of least resistance. As her story unfolds, teens will discover that a lot of horrible things have happened to Charlie, including losing her best friend, father, and mother—all in different ways. She is a cutter, but she's also a lot of other things, too: artist, survivor, scammer, and waif. She's in such a deep, dark place, and it seems impossible she'll ever get out of it. This realistic fiction title is heartbreaking and thick with emotion, and the characters are fully formed and realistic. The book is written in short chapters and can feel a little choppy at times, but the narrative still captivates. It will keep young adults engaged and rooting for the main character throughout. VERDICT Purchase for avid fans of Jennifer Niven's All the Bright Places or Susanna Kaysen's Girl Interrupted.—Danielle Fabrizio, Swanton Public Library, VT
Kirkus Reviews
After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author's note) (Fiction. 14 & up)
From the Publisher
A New York Times Bestseller

"A haunting, beautiful, and necessary book that will stay with you long after you've read the last page." —Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything

"Equal parts keen-eyed empathy, stark candor, and terrible beauty. This book is why we read stories: to experience what it's like to survive the unsurvivable; to find light in the darkest night."-Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King

"Raw, visceral, and starkly beautiful, with writing that is at times transcendent in its brilliance. . . . An unforgettable story of trauma and resilience."--Kerry Kletter, author of The First Time She Drowned

"A breathtakingly written book about pain and hard-won healing . . . I want every girl to read Girl In Pieces."-Kara Thomas, author of The Darkest Corners

Girl, Interrupted for a new generation….The story of the mad girl is ultimately a story about being a girl in a mad world, how it breaks us into pieces and how we glue ourselves back together."—Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart and Abandon Me 

"Girl In Pieces is like the friend you wish you had by your side for every hard choice and every time you've felt lost or alone. It's fearless and uncompromising, but overflowing with heart and wisdom."—Anthony Breznican, author of Brutal Youth.
Dark, frank, and tender, Girl in Pieces keeps the reader electrified for its entire journey. You’re so uncertain if Charlie will heal, so fully immersed in hoping she does.”—Michelle Wildgen, author of Bread and Butter and You’re Not You

"Girl in Pieces has the breath of life; every character in it is fully alive. Charlie Davis' complexities are drawn with great understanding and subtlety."-Charles Baxter, author of National Book Award finalist The Feast of Love

"Charlie Davis has been damaged and abused after several years of living on the streets, but she is fiercely resilient.  Though it will appeal to readers of Ellen Foster, Speak, and Girl, Interrupted, Girl in Pieces is an entirely original work, compulsively readable and deeply human."-Julie Schumacher, author the New York Times bestseller Dear Committee Members

"In this sharp and beautiful portrait of eighteen-year-old Charlie Davis, Kathleen Glasgow illuminates not only the anxiety of youth but the vulnerability and terror of life in general. What a shock it is to engage with such a sensitive, sad, rage-filled soul: Glasgow's rendering of experience and emotion is so succinct and honest that I kept catching my breath in recognition, and admiration for her sensibility and empathy which glows on every page. Girl in Pieces hurts my heart in the best way possible."-Amanda Coplin, author of the New York Times bestseller The Orchadist

"Charlie Davis' voice is diamond-beautiful and diamond-sharp which, when strung together by a delicious story and memorable characters, creates a rare and powerful read. Kathleen Glasgow's Girl in Pieces is a treasure of a novel."-Swati Avasthi, author of Split and Chasing Shadows

"Written with wit and authenticity, Girl in Pieces is an extraordinary coming-of-age story, an unsentimental and affecting tale of a girl who almost doesn't make it to adulthood. Glasgow has a terrific ear for dialogue and an enviable gift for creating vivid characters, and her narrator--eighteen-year-old Charlie Davis--brings a backstreet eloquence to bear on a wrenching subject. Wise, unflinching, and balm for the kind of heartbreak that can't ever be fully mended, Girl in Pieces is a very, very good novel."-Summer Wood, author of Arroyo and Raising Wrecker

"In Glasgow’s riveting debut novel, readers are pulled close to Charlie’s raw, authentic emotions as she strains to make a jagged path through her new life. Love and trust prove difficult, and Charlie’s judgment is not well honed, but her will to survive is glorious."—Booklist, Starred review

"[Readers] will find themselves driven to see Charlie’s story through. They will better understand a world that often makes no sense to outsiders. Glasgow’s debut novel is a dark read, but the engaging writing will win an audience for [Glasgow]."-VOYA, Starred review

"Heartbreaking and thick with emotion,...[Girl in Pieces is] for avid fans of Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places or Susanna Kaysen’s Girl Interrupted."-SLJ

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt



I can never win with this body I live in.
—Belly, “Star”

LIKE A BABY HARP SEAL, I’M ALL WHITE. MY FOREARMS are thickly bandaged, heavy as clubs. My thighs are wrapped tightly, too; white gauze peeks out from the shorts Nurse Ava pulled from the lost and found box behind the nurses’ station.
    Like an orphan, I came here with no clothes. Like an orphan, I was wrapped in a bedsheet and left on the lawn of Regions Hospital in the freezing sleet and snow, blood seeping through the flowered sheet.
    The security guard who found me was bathed in menthol cigarettes and the flat stink of machine coffee. There was a curly forest of white hair inside his nostrils.
    He said, “Holy Mother of God, girl, what’s been done to you?”
    My mother didn’t come to claim me.
    But: I remember the stars that night. They were like salt against the sky, like someone spilled the shaker against very dark cloth.
    That mattered to me, their accidental beauty. The last thing I thought I might see before I died on the cold, wet grass.

THE GIRLS HERE, THEY TRY TO GET ME TO TALK. They want to know What’s your story, morning glory? Tell me your tale, snail. I hear their stories every day in Group, at lunch, in Crafts, at breakfast, at dinner, on and on. These words that spill from them, black memories, they can’t stop. Their stories are eating them alive, turning them inside out. They cannot stop talking.
    I cut all my words out. My heart was too full of them.

I ROOM WITH LOUISA. LOUISA IS OLDER AND HER HAIR IS like a red-and-gold noisy ocean down her back. There’s so much of it, she can’t even keep it in with braids or buns or scrunchies. Her hair smells like strawberries; she smells better than any girl I’ve ever known. I could breathe her in forever.
   My first night here, when she lifted her blouse to change for bed, in the moment before that crazy hair fell over her body like a protective cape, I saw them, all of them, and I sucked my breath in hard.
   She said, “Don’t be scared, little one.”
   I wasn’t scared. I’d just never seen a girl with skin like mine.

EVERY MOMENT IS SPOKEN FOR. WE ARE UP AT SIX o’clock. We are drinking lukewarm coffee or watered-down juice by six forty-five. We have thirty minutes to scrape cream cheese on cardboardy bagels, or shove pale eggs in our mouths, or swallow lumpy oatmeal. At seven fifteen we can shower in our rooms. There are no doors on our showers and I don’t know what the bathroom mirrors are, but they’re not glass, and your face looks cloudy and lost when you brush your teeth or comb your hair. If you want to shave your legs, a nurse or an orderly has to be present, but no one wants that, and so our legs are like hairy-boy legs. By eight-thirty we’re in Group and that’s when the stories spill, and the tears spill, and some girls yell and some girls groan, but I just sit, sit, and that awful older girl, Blue, with the bad teeth, every day, she says, Will you talk today, Silent Sue? I’d like to hear from Silent Sue today, wouldn’t you, Casper?
    Casper tells her to knock it off. Casper tells us to breathe, to make accordions by spreading our arms way, way out, and then pushing in, in, in, and then pulling out, out, out, and don’t we feel better when we just breathe? Meds come after Group, then Quiet, then lunch, then Crafts, then Individual, which is when you sit with your doctor and cry some more, and then at five o’clock there’s dinner, which is more not-hot food, and more Blue: Do you like macaroni and cheese, Silent Sue? When you getting those bandages off, Sue? And then Entertainment.
After Entertainment, there is Phone Call, and more crying.
And then it’s nine p.m. and more meds and then it’s bed. The girls piss and hiss about the schedule, the food, Group, the meds, everything, but I don’t care. There’s food, and a bed, and it’s warm, and I am inside, and I am safe.
    My name is not Sue.
JEN S. IS A NICKER: SHORT, TWIGLIKE SCARS RUN UP AND down her arms and legs. She wears shiny athletic shorts; she’s taller than anyone, except Doc Dooley. She dribbles an invisible basketball up and down the beige hallway. She shoots at an invisible hoop. Francie is a human pincushion. She pokes her skin with knitting needles, sticks, pins, whatever she can find. She has angry eyes and she spits on the floor. Sasha is a fat girl full of water: she cries in Group, she cries at meals, she cries in her room. She’ll never be drained. She’s a plain cutter: faint red lines crosshatch her arms. She doesn’t go deep. Isis is a burner. Scabby, circular mounds dot her arms. There was something in Group about rope and boy cousins and a basement but I shut myself off for that; I turned up my inside music. Blue is a fancy bird with her pain; she has a little bit of everything: bad daddy, meth teeth, cigarette burns, razor slashes. Linda/Katie/Cuddles wears grandma housedresses. Her slippers are stinky. There are too many of her to keep track of; her scars are all on the inside, along with her people. I don’t know why she’s with us, but she is. She smears mashed potato on her face at dinner. Sometimes she vomits for no reason. Even when she is completely still, you know there is a lot happening inside her body, and that it’s not good.
    I knew people like her on the outside; I stay away from her.

Meet the Author

Kathleen Glasgow's debut novel is the New York Times bestseller Girl in Pieces. She lives and writes in Tucson, Arizona. To learn more about Kathleen and her writing go to her website,, and follow her on Twitter @kathglasgow.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Girl in Pieces 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
MorrisMorgan 4 days ago
I’m not even going to try to properly review “Girl in Pieces” aside from saying that it is a difficult read about such topics as mental illness, cutting, horrific abuse, and homelessness. It’s all presented in a type of journal format and leaves the reader feeling unsettled – as it should. This novel would make a good jumping point for conversations between parents and teenagers. This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
callmerosetyler 4 months ago
I bought this book only two days ago and I'm already finished with it. I found this book to be an absolute page turner! Charlie was such a relatable young girl for me. Every time the darkness swallowed her again, she managed to find a way out of it. Powerful and heartbreaking. Cheers to Kathleen Glasgow!
KarenfromDothan 4 months ago
Kathleen Glasgow’s debut novel, Girl in Pieces, is a powerful story about self-harming. The main character, Charlie Davis, has been rejected by her mother and by her classmates. The only way she can release the blackness that builds up inside is through cutting pieces out of herself. She keeps her instrument of choice, a thick piece of broken glass, in an old first aid kit she calls her tender kit. Most self-harmers try to hide their self inflicted wounds and scars and so move largely unnoticed through society. This book helps explain their thought processes and why they do what they do. It also highlights how little help the mentally ill receive. Since the greatest number of them are between the ages of twelve and twenty-four, this YA novel will help bring understanding and insight to a underserved segment of the population. The author did a fantastic job with a difficult subject. It’s a intense, unvarnished story that evokes strong emotions. I found myself really rooting for the main character to rise above her past and to overcome her disorder. An engrossing read for YA and adult readers alike.
Deb-Krenzer 4 months ago
This was definitely a YA book, but it's one of those that adults would like as well. While I am a little squeamish with the subject as a whole, the book only implies the subject and looks back at the history. And, of course, the thoughts as Charlie contemplates doing it again. This book really delved into the thoughts behind a recovering addict. The story is told in such a way that it's not boring. While seemingly sad, it is interesting and entertaining reading. I enjoyed this much better than Gillian Flynn's "Sharp Objects" which dealt with the same subject. There seemed to be more character development and I felt a closeness with Charlie who was always getting her heart broke. Thanks Random House Children's and Net Galley for allowing me to read and review this e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
Holly 5 months ago
Girl In Pieces is the journey of one girl overcoming her horrific past to be something better than she thinks. Charlotte aka Charlie Davis is a seventeen year old from Minnesota who cuts herself to escape the pain from all the losses she has dealt with in her short life. After getting out of a hospital and discovering that her mother doesn't want her there anymore, Charlie takes the risk to move to Arizona to be close to one of her friends. While there, she discovers how strong she really is and who of her new friends will she be able to trust in the long road to recovery that will show her where and who, she is meant to be! My heart is still aching for what Charlie went through and this book will bring out emotions in you that you never thought was possible. I don't want to give much of anything away from what I read but the part in Arizona and with a certain boy named Riley will have you glued to the book just to see how Charlie gets through everything. It's the perfect book that shows that you can be at the very bottom of the pile, with good friends and the will to survive, anything is possible. I truly believe this book should be a required reading for teens to get them talking about this sensitive subject and to maybe just save a life by just caring for someone in a good kind of way. The way this book is writing out is perfect because it's like reading a diary and that's awesome for what this story is saying. Thank You to Kathleen Glasgow for writing a book that made me want to read more books by you from now on!! I received this book from First In Line in exchange for a honest review.
Bibliophagist_Omnilegent 5 months ago
Kathleen Glasgow has handed us her heart within the pages of this book. In this chilling reality which so many people live. A girl lost in her own skin, not knowing who she really is or if she can survive and back away from the edge. Charlotte is broken, she has no one left to fix her, to put the pieces of herself back together. She is on the edge and about to fall over. As I read page after page, I realized I was not reading a simple book I was privy to someone's innermost thoughts. I could feel the sorrow and angst rolling off of Charlotte. The bitter pain of not having anyone left to turn to. The cool smooth glass as she rubbed it between her fingers. I could feel the ridged bumps of scars upon scars as she ran her hands over her arms. It all but ripped my heart out. Every word written upon the page felt alive, it felt as if the story was a deep ocean swelling with emotions, crashing down on the reader. I felt the raw honest devotion poured into each individual character. I love the way the book is written, how it starts off short and poetic, giving us a taste of how it must feel to be inside Charlottes mind. Then it blossoms into a rhythm that envelops the reader in the bumpy road of self healing Charlotte takes. Charlotte as a character embodies the very thing people wish to ignore, she is an in your face wake up call without having to say a word. She fights for herself, even when she thinks she's failed she is still fighting. That is the best message anyone can give is to never stop fighting for yourself. No matter who left her behind, No matter what happened to her. No matter what got in her way and once again shoved her to the ground or caused her to fall back into old habits, she took a look at herself and decided to change and change she did. She proves that no matter how far you fall you can always get back up, as long as you never give up on yourself. Kathleen put so much of her heart into this book I would swear it became a living thing. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. **I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, the words above are my honest opinion of the book. My review has not been altered or affected by the author**
BoundlessBookaholic 5 months ago
I was beyond excited to read this book for the Sunday Street Team. I think more people should tell darker stories, because they exist in our world. This was an amazing book. The writing was heartbreakingly beautiful. I received a copy from Netgalley to review, and ended up giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. As soon as I picked up this book, I pretty much didn’t want to put it down…except to take some breaks when my heart felt like it had cracked open in my chest. The book wasn’t all darkness, but it definitely wasn’t a happy book. Which is fine with me, because life isn’t sunshine and daisies 24/7. Charlie’s story, and even a lot of the secondary characters stories, will resonate with a lot of people. I absolutely loved Charlie’s character. She seemed so real. My heart ached for her, and the people surrounding her, that have to deal with inner and outer demons. I really liked a lot of the female characters in this book, but barely any of the male characters–except a couple. A lot of the guys were jackasses. Charlie goes through so much in this book, and by the end, I’m glad she has people she can turn to, people she can rely on. Honestly, I think everyone should read this book. It reminds you that sometimes bad things–overwhelming things–happen. But with some supportive friends, you can embrace life to its fullest. One of my favorite things about this book is that you can feel the raw pain and emotion. Kathleen wasn’t scared to show the downs of life, to show how the tornado building inside you can lash out at any moment. I made notes of some gorgeous lines while reading: “We all have our Kiefer stages, when we want to destroy ourselves in order to create. To see if that’s beautiful, too.” and “I say the wrong thing, if I can bring myself to say anything at all. I’ve always felt like an intrusion, a giant blob of wrong.” and “I’m so unwhole. I don’t know where all the pieces of me are, how to fit them together, how to make them stick. Or if I even can.” Final note: An amazing book. It’s definitely dark, but it has an optimistic ending. I’m so glad I read this book. As soon as I finished reading, I bought myself a copy for my personal collection. I’d highly recommend this one.
MarisaR 5 months ago
Glasgow is a new voice to behold. Every line of this book made me feel something. Lyrical. Visceral. Heartbreaking. Real. I loved it.
SMParker 5 months ago
Glasgow’s writing style is so thick with emotion and yet sparse on the page. In places, it reads like poetry. I was immediately drawn in by Glasgow’s words, the book’s atmospheric setting. Then there was the character’s struggle with her sense of self, her mistrust of others. Charlie’s pain was so pervasive that it felt like layers of gauze being stripped away from a wound. Layer after layer we see what and who has hurt Charlie. Glasgow is an artist when it comes to building tension, revealing the ache. And there is a lot of ache in this book. My chest felt tight with fear and compassion for Charlie, a homeless 17-year-old cutter. While Charlie is in therapy, her counselor reminds her to breathe. I had to remind myself to do just that as I read these pages because I wanted so badly for Charlie to survive. I wanted to heal her and comfort her and make the world a better place for her. Glasgow’s debut doesn’t shy away from the physical act of cutting or exploring the physical and emotional residue left behind. We see Charlie hide the shame of her scars. We know Charlie feels unloved and unlovable because of her scars. And yet the thing she keeps so dear, so close to her is her “tender kit” the small safety blanket (shards of glass, gauze and ointment) that she uses to drain the pain from inside. Her tender kit is her comfort because people are unreliable. People hurt. Cutting transfers that pain for a brief swell of moments. This is a book about survival. The horrors of physical survival when you are homeless: getting food, daily shelter, remaining safe in the unprotected dark. It is a book about emotional survival and how one teen works through the pain of abandonment and abuse. How she deals with the scars that her family, strangers, and even friends have etched into her heart. It is a book about embracing your art & your voice, finding a way to set the beautiful parts of you free in the world. For Charlie, that was her drawing. Her art was her language, and it was beautiful. GIRL IN PIECES is an intense and gorgeously written book about survival and the kind of precious hope that can spring from the most desperate of wells. After being with Charlie on her journey of survival, it was a gift to see her gather her pieces and begin to thrive.
QuinnenDonnelly 5 months ago
Harrowing. Beautiful. Exquisitely written. Unputdownable (if that's even a word). Just a few ways to describe Kathleen Glasgow's tremendous debut. As a teenager, I remember devouring GIRL, INTERRUPTED. And more recently as an adult, I had the privilege to lose myself in another book in ways I hadn't since my teenage years, with Hanya Yanagihara's A LITTLE LIFE. In so many ways, GIRL IN PIECES, belongs beside both of these works. GIRL IN PIECES begins with Charlie finding herself in treatment for self-harm. She keeps to herself, not even talking to the other women she shares her space with, who are also the first people she's met like herself. Slowly, the reader is given glimpses of where Charlie came from. How she arrived at this point in her life. Charlie's life has been hard -- you don't end up with her set of life experiences because anything's been handed to you. But treatment is, in a way, a chance at a turning point. Except that like so many things in life, it, too, is a stage, and she needs to figure out some things on her own. I'm wary to say too much of the plot for fear of spoiling the book. It's so much about Charlie's journey, the people she meets both in MN and in Tucson, and how much they shape her journey -- how much she lets them shape it. It's a book about relationships, not just the ones we have with other people -- boys, family, friends -- but the most important one, the one we have with ourselves. I hope this becomes required reading for teens in the way that SPEAK is, because I believe it's just as illuminating. A privileged glimpse into behavior that's often misunderstood. No life is a throwaway. Everyone deserves the chance to put together the pieces.
MsArdychan 5 months ago
Please Note: I received an ARC copy of this book as part of Nori's Sunday Street Team blog tour in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence the opinions in my review in any way. Wow, this was a brilliant book! One of the reasons I read is to catch a glimpse of lives and situations that I don't know much about. I can't know what it's like to be homeless and desperate, to be in so much pain that it can't be expressed by simply screaming and throwing things. This book shows one girl's struggle with self-harm and her long road to a healthier life. The characters are memorable, the situations, terrifying. But there is a great sense of self determination that kept me enthralled. What I Liked: Characters: Charlie is just so messed up. After her father dies, her home life becomes unbearable. She becomes homeless after a fight with her mom and things go from bad to worse. It is heartbreaking. In a smart move by Kathleen Glasgow, Charlie's backstory is presented in bits and pieces. As the story progresses, we see how she got tangled in this predicament. Damaged people tend to find each other, and it seems inevitable that Charlie gravitates to other people with issues. Is it that she feels less judged? I don't know, but you can see that there will be a rocky road ahead if she hangs with these people. Portrayal of Self-harm: This book bluntly shows how and why people hurt themselves in ways such as cutting and drug/alcohol abuse. It does not glamorize or sugar-coat anything. Due to this, it can be very hard to read at times. If you know anyone with these problems, it could be very upsetting (I cried several times). But I think this book gave me a much deeper understanding of this problem, and for that, I am grateful. What I was mixed about: Setting: This really is a quibble, but why is every coffee shop a haven of quirky characters? This is the second book I have read lately where a person is new to town and finds refuge in a funky coffeehouse. And (of course) Charlie finds a job there almost instantly. I had no idea that it was so easy to get a job these days! I do get that the coffee shop is an important aspect of the story. But couldn't it be something else, like a bookstore, or a Goodwill? Overall, this is a very special book. It is a story of overcoming adversity and finding your self-worth. I highly recommend this.