*I received a free copy of Very in Pieces from Harper Teen via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *
Very Sales-Woodruff is done being a good girl. Done being the only responsible one in a family that’s unraveling. Done being the obliging girlfriend in a relationship that’s sinking. Done saying no to what she wants—like Dominic, her rebellious classmate.
With her mom’s drinking, her dad’s extended absences from home, and her younger sister, Ramona, running wild, the path Very has always seen for herself doesn’t seem to matter anymore. At the same time, Very’s grandmother, a poet known less for her work and more for her exploits with the likes of Andy Warhol and Arthur Miller, is slipping away.
If everything else can fall to pieces, why can’t she?
Very in Pieces is a whimsical and a little sad tale, in which Veronica has to deal with more than the loss of her grand-mother, while at the same time growing up quite a bit.
My Very in Pieces review:
Very in Pieces follows Veronica, who has a good head for science, but not so much when it comes to art. However, her whole family is filled with artists, from her eccentric grand-mother who has published several poetry books to her mother, the painter, and her sister who is good with all things artistic. Very thinks that science is much easier to understand, because there is proof in numbers and scientific laws, where art is more open and where imagination and skills are both needed. Very feels like her whole life is falling apart – her grand-mother is very ill, her little sister isn’t her best friend anymore and is acting very remote, her doting father is hardly ever home, and her mother has taken to drinking too much.
While the story in Very in Pieces was quite interesting, I had trouble connecting with the characters, it was as if they were described rather than ‘living’ on the pages. And while what Very was going through was hard in many ways, she seemed to not want to deal with things full on. She spent quite a bit of time with her grand-mother, but the moments they shared felt a little distant, and it was very hard to really feel that Very was sad about the end being nearer each and every day.
When a sculpture starts taking form on the wall to Very’s grand-mother’s house, the whole family is trying to figure out who is making it, and why several items from the grand-ma’s poems are being used in the completion. Very in Pieces could have been much more – if only I had gotten to completely feel what Very was feeling it would have been a stronger story. As it was, I felt like it barely scratched the surface, and what little character development happened wasn’t fully committed to.
Written in first person point of view, present tense, I thought I would get a closer look into Very’s thoughts, and while the writing was beautiful, the story didn’t touch me deeply.
Some of my favorite Very in Pieces quotes:
“Smart One, start in her room.” That’s her pet name for me. Smart One. Ramona, my younger sister, has infinite names – Little One, Deep One, Luv – but I am always Smart One. Because I am. Smart, that is.
She’s my sister, my own flesh and blood, so I shouldn’t want to kill her, and yet I do. Is there a name for that? Patricide, Matricide, Fratricide, Sororicide? It sounds dumb, like a horror movie about a bunch of blond, buxom sorority sisters chasing each other around with knives.
She’s thrown on a couple of strings of Mardi Gras beads in red, pink, and orange. I don’t comment because I know that’s just what she wants me to do. Or maybe she doesn’t care. It’s become harder to tell.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: