The more I read YA fiction, the more I realize just how hard it is to be a kid nowadays. I wonâ€™t bore you with idyllic memories of roasting marshmallows around a campfire, but I will say that for many kidsâ€”and parentsâ€”today the world is a harsh, unforgiving place fraught with consequences. And this reality was never more evident than in the wonderful new novel by Rebekah Crane entitled The Infinite Pieces of Us. In it, she has given us Esther Ainsworth, a smart, soulful sixteen-year-old girl who has already lived far beyond her years and who is now forced to live in a dry, brittle desert that serves as punishment for something she did and whose secret must never be revealed.
As adults, we are well versed in the notion that we must accept the consequences for our actions. But we also lieâ€”to ourselves and to othersâ€”to avoid those consequences, even if only for a while. In this story, Esther learns just how willing adults are to lie to keep the consequences at bay so we can live our lives as though nothing had happened. In such a world, Esther canâ€™t rely on adults for guidance and must turn to her peers, hoping they can help. A touching subplot explores how Esther has fallen away from her sister, Hannah, who blames Esther for ruining her life by making the family move, even though it was their parentsâ€™ decision to do so. I found Hannah tragic and vulnerable and could easily picture a sequel starring her.
If you are a parent raising teenagers, read this book. Because these honest, hurt characters will tell you truths that your children will notâ€”that what you see on the surface doesnâ€™t begin to describe the pain and anxiety they carry inside like an even smaller hurt child.
You can find this review at Goodreads.
From the author ofÂ The Odds of Loving Grover ClevelandÂ comes a hilarious and heartbreaking novel about coming apart, getting it togetherâ€”and moving on. Itâ€™s just a two-hour driveâ€¦
Pondering math problems is Esther Ainsworthâ€™s obsession. If only lifeâ€™s puzzles required logic. Her stepfatherâ€™s solution? Avoidance. Heâ€™s exiled the family to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, to erase a big secret from Estherâ€™s past. So much for the truth. Now for the consequences: an empty swimming pool, a water-sucking cactus outside her window, a goldfish rescued from a church festival, and Estherâ€™s thirst for something real.
Step one: forget about her first love. Step two: make allies. Esther finds them in JesÃºs from the local coffee bar; a girl named Color who finds beauty in an abandoned video store; Beth, the church choir outcast; and Moss, a boy with alluring possibilities. Step three: confess her secret to those she hopes she can trust. Estherâ€™s new friends do more than just listen. Theyâ€™re taking Esther one step further.
Together, they hit the road to face Estherâ€™s past head-on. Itâ€™s a journey that will lead her to embrace herÂ ownÂ truthâ€”in all its glory, pain, and awesomeness.
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