Pieces

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Overview

A teen revives the legacy of his lost brother in this “exceptional” (Kirkus Reviews) companion to Iceman, from National Book Award finalist Chris Lynch.

When Eric’s brother Duane dies, his world breaks in two. Duane was his best friend—possibly his only friend. And Eric isn’t sure how to live in a world without Duane in it. Desperate to find a piece of his brother to hold on to, Eric decides to meet some of the people who received Duane’s ...

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Pieces

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Overview

A teen revives the legacy of his lost brother in this “exceptional” (Kirkus Reviews) companion to Iceman, from National Book Award finalist Chris Lynch.

When Eric’s brother Duane dies, his world breaks in two. Duane was his best friend—possibly his only friend. And Eric isn’t sure how to live in a world without Duane in it. Desperate to find a piece of his brother to hold on to, Eric decides to meet some of the people who received Duane’s organs.

He expects to meet perfect strangers. Instead he encounters people who become more than friends and almost like family—people who begin to help Eric put the pieces of his life back together for good.

From internationally acclaimed author Chris Lynch comes a gripping and enduring exploration of loss and recovery in this companion to the celebrated Iceman.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"I am seventeen years old. Or I was, before my big shitslice of a brother went diving into the quarry and broke his neck and his skull and my grip on the world... Now I'm about seven," says Eric, who still feels unmoored and angry one year after his brother's death. Unable to connect to his parents and weighing whether to enter the Navy, Eric seeks out the recipients of Duane's organ donations in hopes of finding solace. Obnoxious Barry has (and intends to abuse) Duane's liver; a gentle teenager, Phil, is overcome with gratitude for Duane's inner-ear bones; and an attractive young mother, Melinda, has his kidney. Readers get to know Duane through the conversations Eric keeps up with him in his mind, and Duane's snarky philosophical phrases ("It's a long fall, off a high horse. Remember that, Brother") appear between chapters. When Duane's pushy ex, Martha, reenters Eric's life, she ignites familiar and confusing emotions. Using succinct prose, Lynch creates a smart, raw story about redefining oneself after loss. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
* "Each character springs fully formed off the page, and Lynch’s irreverent, inventive dialogue crackles, turning what could have easily been a maudlin soap opera into a sharply observed story of real human connection. Readers will be pleasantly reminded of the snarky stylings of John Green and Ned Vizzini. Exceptional."

"Lynch paints a cast of indelible characters, even secondary players, with a deft, sensitive hand. And despite the specificity of Eric’s circumstances, his complicated, shifting emotions are immediately resonant. Though the complex family dynamic (and strange affinity for death) explored in Iceman adds nuance to the proceedings here, this novel stands on its own, rewarding new readers with a tender exploration of just what it means to be

whole."

"Poignantly credible...Lynch is the great laureate of American guyhood, and he writes with fierce compassion about a kid who relishes the angry rush of punching men but abhors the thought of a woman he cares for being abused. While the complexity of the situation adds an interesting dimension, at its core this is a story of loss and identity, of a young man finding out who he is through the legacy of the brother who taught him who he was."

"Using succinct prose, Lynch creates a smart, raw story about redefining oneself after loss."

* "[A] powerfully emotional novel of grief and loss...a novel that for the first time brings all of Lynch’s many talents together in one place."

VOYA - Mark Flowers
In an effort to reconcile himself to his brother Duane's death a year before, Eric, from Lynch's Iceman (HarperCollins, 1994), goes looking for the recipients of Duane's organ donations and tracks down three of them: an eager-to-please teenager; a harried, young single mother; and a young man Eric quickly writes off as an egotistical jerk. Eric's tentative, confused, often angry interactions with these three, as well as Duane's ex-girlfriend, form the core of this powerfully emotional novel of grief and loss, which should resonate with more literate fans of Kokie's Personal Effects (Candlewick, 2012/Voya August 2012). Since writing Iceman, Lynch has become best known for his award-winning, provocative novels like Freewill (HarperCollins, 2001/Voya August 2001) and Inexcusable (Antheneum, 2005/Voya December 2005). Like those novels, the narrator's full character is hidden from himself, but here the depths of anger and violence are better developed and motivated, creating a much more fully realized protagonist. And though the situations are more mundane, they are even more closely and tenderly depicted—particularly affecting is a set-piece at a four-year-old's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. The side characters share in Lynch's more traditional focus on deep characterization, and the whole novel is pervaded by his more recent innovations in dexterous, vivid, often elliptical prose, resulting in a novel that for the first time brings all of Lynch's many talents together in one place. Reviewer: Mark Flowers
Kirkus Reviews
A teenage boy seeks connections with the people who received his beloved brother's donated organs in this darkly humorous novel by the author of Inexcusable (2005). A year after his 20-year-old brother Duane died in a diving accident, 18-year-old Eric still can't seem to move forward. In an attempt to keep the "nothingness that is filling the Duane space" from taking hold, he reaches out to three of the donors who received his brother's "pieces." After meeting shy, redheaded Phil, brassy Barry and sweet single mom Melinda, Eric finds himself constantly asking the questions, "Who are these people? Who are they, to me? Who am I, to them?" Duane's outspoken and softhearted ex-girlfriend Martha dispenses advice and comic relief as Eric puzzles out the answers and tries not to fall for beautiful Melinda, who is eight years his senior. As these unusual relationships take root, Eric realizes that what the donors are to him is a freshly minted family that helps ease the pain of the one that he lost. Each character springs fully formed off the page, and Lynch's irreverent, inventive dialogue crackles, turning what could have easily been a maudlin soap opera into a sharply observed story of real human connection. Readers will be pleasantly reminded of the snarky stylings of John Green and Ned Vizzini. Exceptional. (Fiction. 12 & up)
Booklist
"Lynch paints a cast of indelible characters, even secondary players, with a deft, sensitive hand. And despite the specificity of Eric’s circumstances, his complicated, shifting emotions are immediately resonant. Though the complex family dynamic (and strange affinity for death) explored in Iceman adds nuance to the proceedings here, this novel stands on its own, rewarding new readers with a tender exploration of just what it means to be
whole."
BCCB
"Poignantly credible...Lynch is the great laureate of American guyhood, and he writes with fierce compassion about a kid who relishes the angry rush of punching men but abhors the thought of a woman he cares for being abused. While the complexity of the situation adds an interesting dimension, at its core this is a story of loss and identity, of a young man finding out who he is through the legacy of the brother who taught him who he was."
Recommended Library Media Connection
"Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, this book is a touching tour through the experience of losing and finding different kinds of love."
Children's Literature - Carol Mitchell
Eighteen-year-old Eric has lost his brother, Duane, in a sudden accident. Eric has spent his life admiring and leaning on his brother. Duane’s death leaves a chasm in Eric’s life that he fills with anger. He refuses to accept Duane’s death as we can see in the fact that he refers to Duane in the present tense and he vehemently opposes the donation of his brother’s organs after the life support is disconnected. After a year of working to shake his brother’s presence in his head, Eric decides to meet with the people who received his brother’s organs. Three of them agree to meet and these starkly painted characters become entwined in Eric’s search for the next step in his life without his brother. At first they are unsure of what their connection should be, but in the end each character is impacted by their relationship with the others. The author strips Eric bare as he takes us on the journey through this very difficult period in Eric’s life and leaves us assured that he is on his way to once again becoming whole. Reviewer: Carol Mitchell; Ages 14 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—It has been three years since the events recorded in Iceman (HarperCollins, 1994), Lynch's novel about 14-year-old Eric, a tough and angry hockey player who struggles to understand his feelings and his place in his family. In those years, Eric has given up the sport and, more significantly, his older brother has died after a diving accident. At the start of Pieces, Eric is attempting to process his feelings, especially now that bits and pieces of Duane have been transplanted and live on in the bodies of strangers. Eric initiates a meeting with three of the recipients: a sweet teen named Phil, who benefits from Duane's inner-ear bones; the "überhot" Malinda, a young mom who received Duane's kidney; and the antagonistic and heavy-drinking Barry, who lives thanks to Duane's liver. Eric is both comforted and shocked by the trio, but, along with Duane's former girlfriend, Martha, the five quickly become embroiled in one another's lives, and Eric and Martha find the freedom to grieve and move forward. Lynch is known for his gritty novels with flawed protagonists. He does not disappoint here, once again giving readers characters with emotional and psychological complexity. A long time coming, this sequel is a sophisticated, extended look at a teen's maturation and growth through a series of dynamic life changes.—Jennifer Miskec, Longwood University, Farmville, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416927037
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 2/5/2013
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 290,449
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris Lynch is the Printz Honor Award–winning author of several highly acclaimed young adult novels, including Printz Honor Book Freewill, Iceman, Gypsy Davy, and Shadow Boxer—all ALA Best Books for Young Adults—as well as Killing Time in Crystal City, Little Blue Lies, Pieces, Kill Switch, Angry Young Man, and Inexcusable, which was a National Book Award finalist and the recipient of six starred reviews. He holds an MA from the writing program at Emerson College. He teaches in the Creative Writing MFA program at Lesley University. He lives in Boston and in Scotland.

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Read an Excerpt

PHILOSOPHY

My brother is a philosopher. I know this because he’s told me, countless times. More than just a philosopher, even.

“Philoso-raptor,” he calls himself. “Swift of mind, rapaciously inquisitive.” On his twentieth birthday this year he alerted me to the fact that “at approximately two dumps a day, more than seven hundred a year, times twenty years, that puts me over the fourteen-thousand mark for squatting, most of it on the toilet. That, my man, is a lot of contemplation.”

That’s my brother.

He’s always telling me to be philosophical, to take things philosophically. I’ve never entirely wrapped my mind around what that means, but it seems right now is as good a time as there ever will be to figure that out.

There’s a moss-green river that cuts in half just in time to bypass the hospital on both sides. Sometimes it doesn’t appear green, but even at those times it smells green. Doesn’t matter, though. People are always on the banks, walking up and down, sitting in the park that belongs half to the hospital, half to the river. Because of the sound. It’s millions of splashy voices all going at once, and this river is never, ever silent.

I’m standing with my back to the voices and my front to the gleam of the new hospital wing rising up, eight stories of yellow brick and glass against the deep purple clouded sky. I think I’ve picked out the window on the second floor, in the room where my brother is not going to die. All the voices behind me say that Duane’s not going to die.

Is it being philosophical to believe the voices? I suppose it could be.

Is it being philosophical to be picking up golf-ball-size rocks and whipping them one after another at that window like a spoiled and angry and petulant kid?

Of course it isn’t. I’m sorry, Duane. I’m sorry, man. You’re not even gone and already I’m letting you down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2014

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    No sample and it sounds good

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