Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review: Pieces of Me by Amber Kizer

Pieces of Me
Pieces of Me by Amber Kizer
When high school oddball and introvert Jessica Chai is killed in a car accident, her parents decide that Jessica would have wanted her organs donated to those who so desperately need these gifts of life. But Jessica is angry about dying and being dismembered. Taking the idea of cell memory to the next level, not only do the recipients get pieces of Jessica, but gets pieces of their memories and lives moving forward—she knows what they know and keeps tabs on their growth, recovery, and development. This begins her journey to learn her purpose as she begins to grasp that her ties to these teenagers goes beyond random weirdness. It's through their lives that Jessica learns about herself, as she watches the lives she literally touched continue to interlock.
Publishes in US: February 11th 2014 by Delacorte Press
Genre: YA light sci-fi realistc feel
Source: library
Series? no

Buy it: Amazon Barnes & Noble  IndieBound  Book Depository

Author stalk away: ~site

    Pieces of Me spoke to me on multiple levels. The premise was awesome, and the minute I saw the synopsis (especially the longer one on the inside of the book) I added to my list and requested from the library. I have devoured books about illnesses, organ transplants and the like. Lurlene McDaniel is my hero in writing books that make me feel for the characters and something about disease just fascinates me, especially in teens where they are both so deeply effected by the impact on their lives and also at the same time so resilient. They can focus on both facing death or serious illness and still care about finding love. 

    Jessica is a great main character. She felt so invisible but she wanted to be seen. This could have been my autobiography in high school and still some to this day. It was hard to get to know her and know she would die. But living through the kids that received her organs... Well, loved the premise. It took me a bit to get used to the characters, their voices, personalities and the intricacies of their lives. I didn't get a whole snapshot of their illnesses or what led them to get a transplant, but I got enough. And as the book went on, and I was with Jessica in their heads even when they weren't aware that she was looking on their lives, seeing how some of them interact with one another, cheering them on or giving them advice. It helped me to really get to know them and be invested just like Jessica in their lives and what's becoming of them. 

    Vivian with her cystic fibrosis and her more inward personality connected with me first. Despite the huge impact it has on her life, she has adapted. She has a passion for art and that is how she connects with another recipient. Overcoming obstacles and still trying to get the most of her life was a message I enjoyed. Especially her relationship with her dad, and the things that he did to make her therapy and lung exercises seem like a game instead of a chore. 

    I felt so bad for Misty and her living situations. She was in the true ghetto. Getting sick and being hospitalized she felt so much guilt because of the money involved to save her life. It put a big strain on her already poor family and she wanted to take that burden away. She hides in the library and becomes very close to another character Sam. He gives her peace and comfort in a world where nothing felt safe. Her grandma was convinced that she was possessed by a demon, her dad and mom yelled and argued and she never felt safe there, but among the books, and connecting with her online friends gave her a sense of escape. 

   Sam was so wise, and sought answers. He was obsessed with searching out the miracles in every day life, and he created a game and chats in order to raise money for charity. He wanted to believe in a higher power, a purpose deeper than surface level and day to day in life. He provided a lot of comfort for both Misty and Leif, but also learned a lot from them too. 

    Leif is a character that was a whole lot deeper than I expected, and I think that he ended up surprising even himself. He explored life outside of football and really wanted to figure out what in life made him happy and also made a difference. When he meets Vivian, I loved the awkward sweet way they interacted, how they second guessed themselves and the building attraction that they both were convinced wasn't reciprocated. He challenged Vivian to see life beyond today and gave her the courage to live beyond the here and now, and make plans and hope for the future. Because none of us are gauranteed a tomorrow, its not just those with chronic illnesses. Sure, they have a lesser chance of a tomorrow, but they shouldn't deprive themselves of a full life and chasing after what they want. 

     The ending was so fitting and perfect for this story. It was uber emotional and sad in some ways, but also there was a sense of conclusion while still making way for "mores." They realized Jessica had given then a chance at more, and through her death and gift, getting to live more right along with them, something bigger and longer lasting than just herself. Jessica also got her closure and peace, but also a window into what they're doing with their futures. 

Bottom Line: Emotional story about teens who are connected by donated organs, but lives even more entangled and close than they'd ever imagined.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Would you donate organs?
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  1. I can totally see how this book spoke to you. Happy it was good.

  2. I think this is a little different than I had originally thought but it sounds really good! I really like Amber Kizer so I'll definitely have to pick this one up!

  3. Oh man I am so glad you reviewed this! This seems like the type of book I would love to read and I have put it on my TBR right now! It sounds really interesting. After reading Out of My Mind by Sharon M Draper (strongly suggested, it made me cry, and not many books do that) I want to read a book called Wonder and this one! Thank you for reviewing :)

  4. I'm so glad her books touch you this way. I already feel bad for Misty too. Poor girl! :( Looks like there were loads of awesome characters and they look so different from each other. Yay for a great story :)

  5. So many different characters but you're right, it's easy to relate to Jessica.

  6. This seems truly interesting and I love the fact that there seem to be many great characters with some depth as well. Also, good thing it's a standalone because I have a TBR pile at the moment (like always, really lol.) Great review, Brandi! :D

    Lola @Seeing Night Reviews

  7. Freaky! I have thought about it

  8. I am an organ donor... this is making me rethink that though LOL

  9. Wow -- I had no idea that's what this book was about. I just finished a book that, while it wasn't about organ donation, was about one character and the impact she has on a bunch of other people...
    Jen @ YA Romantics

  10. You do loves these types of books and you are right teens tend to be resilient. This sounds like a deeply satisfying read and I am so glad you enjoyed it

  11. It is easier for me to deal with other emotions than mine own.

  12. Oh really? I think its pretty amazing.

  13. Oh gosh I feel ya on the mountain of TBR. A standalone is pretty great.

  14. Yes, it was hard to get straight in the beginning

  15. I didn't even hear of it, I don't think except for when it was on the library's list of new books and I knew that I would likely love it.
    Going to add Out of My Mind to my TBR.

  16. I actually couldn't get into her paranormal, but loved this.

  17. Yes, indeed. I have read a few others who take liberties with the cell memory

  18. It was touching and if into that sort of thing, def recommend

  19. Wow... this sounds very original and very good. Glad you enjoyed!

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives

  20. This sounds really cool. I've always been fascinated with the idea of someone who has a transplant taking on characteristics of the person they received the organ from. Will definitely check out. And YEP. I'm listed as an organ donor!

  21. Bookworm BrandeeJuly 9, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    I didn't know Amber Kizer had written something new! I love her Meridian series. :) I love the premise of Pieces of Me!! I can see where it might be hard to get a feel for all the characters but it seems like the characters were well developed. I'll definitely pick up this one, Brandi! Great review. Oh, and I'm an organ donor. :)

  22. readingunderground.orgJuly 11, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    Damn. This sounds like a hard-hitting book, and I love the idea of a part of you being transferred on to people who have your organs. Sounds a little like the supposed idea that cannibals ate people's brains to transfer their knowledge and skills to themselves.

  23. That's one of the awesome things about fiction... if it's well done, you can believe anything is possible!

  24. Wow Brandi! Sounds like this book is packed with some awesome characters and is tied up perfectly. Great review!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

  25. I have never read anything about an organ transplant. I am sure it was an interesting and emotional book, I will put this on my list.

  26. Awesome review, Brandi! I want to read this, too. I always wonder about organ transplants, and I am really into sharing if that's at all possible. But having cell memory like in this story puts a pretty neat twist on everything.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews


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