All Our Broken Pieces

img_20191227_154630072img_20191227_154640888Lennon (yes, you can easily guess where the name came from) is a young woman living with her divorced mother in Maine. She is beautiful, talented and creative (in sewing cosplay-type stuff), and she has OCD. In fact, she blames the fact that she has OCD for a car accident in which her mother is killed. This event throws Lennon into crisis, landing her in a mental hospital for three months. After leaving the hospital, she flies all the way across country to California to live with her father and his new family in Bel-Air. Her new family is very wealthy and attractive, but also–except for stepsister Andrea–loving, fun, and determined to do all they can to help her adjust and thrive.

Next door to Lennon lives a young man her age named Kyler.  He is smart, also talented (closet rock musician), and gifted with caring parents and sibling. HIS problem is that at the age of seven he was burned badly in a house fire, leaving a large part of his face scarred. He skulks around in long hair and hoodies to prevent drawing attention to himself. Of course these two are drawn together. As romance ensues, they aid each other in overcoming their individual fears and habits.

Kyler’s classmates forgive his antisocial behavior when they realize he is a great musician. Girls in the audience (and at school) decide he is HOT (despite the scarring) after watching him perform. After a hastily-scheduled performance at a big charity party, two (not just one) professional recording agents compete to sign Tyler’s band. Lennon goes far in overcoming her OCD, although an evil plot by stepsister Andrea humiliates her before her entire new school and throws her back into residential care for a while. Parents get in the way of the romance but eventually realize their error.  The plot is fairy-tale-ish, but it is developed well, will please many young adults, and would probably make a highly successful movie for the YA crowd.

There are no sex scenes, although the author does describe a few moments of intense attraction. The language, as you see from the above photo of all the tabs, is coarse, except that Kyler and Lennon both often speak in rather flowery, poetic, philosophical strains that don’t exactly sound like they come from the mouths of sixteen-year-olds. It is jarring to read that kind of dialogue–usually expressing profound and sensitive feelings toward each other–juxtaposed with frequent use of the F-word. How is it this discordance is not noticed by authors? As I think it says somewhere in the Good Book (but no, I won’t stop to look it up), can cursing and blessing proceed from the same mouth? Or, in this case, can it proceed in close occurrence from the same mouths without undermining the credibility of the finer feelings touted? Perhaps their references to “sucking face,” for example, more accurately describe the attraction they share.

Be that as it may, people who do not mind the frequent ugly language will probably enjoy this book. It is true that the author does a very good service in describing how Lennon experiences her form of OCD and how she learns to handle it.

Categories: Body Acceptance, Bullying, Controversial YA Topics, Dance, Death and Grieving, Depression, Dysfunctional Relationships, Fashion, Grief, Mental Health, Navigating through High School, Offensive Language in YA Literature, Parent Conflict, Peer Relationships, Rock Musicians, Social Media

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