Author: G. Benson
Publisher: YLVA Publishing
Disclaimer: I received a copy free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Carmen in sixteen and, due to her largely absent mother, she’s looked after her little brother for as long as she can remember. However, her mother dies and Carmen will do anything to keep her and her brother together and out of foster care. Ollie life is more stable – parents, friends, school, and summer plans. When the two fall into each other’s lives, Ollie is infatuated with Carmen after a kiss they shared at a party but then struggles to find her again. Months later they meet, in a bar of all places, but everything is different and the two have secrets and losses they have suffered that make their relationship harder.
Pieces by G. Benson is not a happy or fluffy book, but it is romantic and discusses a lot of topics in a nuanced way. It discusses neglectful parents, the foster system, homelessness, poverty, abuse, grief, and loss. Pieces does have a happy ending, especially in terms of Carmen’s and Ollie’s relationship. The reason it only got three stars from me was purely due to the pacing, I felt like it was a very long book which sometimes didn’t have a lot going on so it did feel like it dragged sometimes, but I did enjoy the content.
I loved the discussion about the foster system, something I’ve never come across in YA before. It showed how the system fails a lot of children, especially teenagers who are about to ‘age out’ of the system so are often neglected. It shows how children in the foster system can be abused, and it’s pot luck if you end up with someone nice or not.
Pieces is a diverse book, it has two women of colour as protagonists. Ollie is black and Carmen in Latina. Sara, Ollie’s best friend, is a trans woman who is also attracted to girls and ends up in a f/f relationship. Deon, another one of Ollie’s friend, is both asexual and aromantic.
I really enjoyed Carmen’s and Ollie’s relationship. I enjoyed the contrast it showed in their lives despite suffering the same tragedy of losing their mothers. The romance, though, isn’t a central focus of the story, but a nice addition nonetheless. I loved their relationship, but I also really liked them as individuals. Carmen was brave, caring, and loyal. Ollie was kind, compassionate, and an understanding person.
Overall, Pieces was a violent and gritty book in places but discusses a lot of important topics and has a nice f/f romance.
Megan (pronounced MEE-GAN bc her Irish grandfather refused to use the English pronunciation) is a 21 year old british blogger, history graduate, lover of books and expert procrastinator. She is anxious and introverted and is currently attempting adulthood. She loves potatoes which is often blamed on her irish heritage and can often eat her weight in food. She predominantly reads and reviews YA which includes historical fiction, science fiction, contemporary, and f/f romance. She loves reading about unlikeable female characters, positive female friendships & relationships, and is a sucker for a pretty cover.