Piecing Me Together
Piecing Me Together

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Annotation: Tired of being singled out at her mostly-white private school as someone who needs support, high school junior Jade would rather participate in the school's amazing Study Abroad program than join Women to Women, a mentorship program for at-risk girls.
Catalog Number: #153105
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 264 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-681-19107-5 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-0082-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-681-19107-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-0082-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016023127
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
"Who owns the river and the line, and the hook, and the worm?" wonders Jade, a scholarship kid at Portland's prestigious St. Francis High. Through her first two years of school, she's had to balance her home life in a poor neighborhood with her life at a school populated mostly by rich white kids. When offered a mentorship for at-risk girls (which includes a full college scholarship), she jumps at the opportunity to learn how to be a successful black woman. However, she soon suspects that her mentor, Maxine, may only have a superficial understanding of Jade's challenges and that there may be things Jade can teach her. Watson is unafraid to show Jade as a young woman who is resilient and mature for her age, but also plagued by self-doubt. The book itself is a balancing act between class, race, and social dynamics, with Watson constantly undercutting stereotypes and showing no fear in portraying virtues along with vices. The book's defiance of a single-issue lens will surely inspire discussion and consideration.
Horn Book
African American teen Jade doesn't particularly feel at-risk, but at her mother's prodding she takes every opportunity offered to her, including joining a mentoring group with a clueless, careless mentor. Watson takes Jade on her own journey of self-discovery, one that readers will eagerly follow. This involving, thought-provoking novel is a multifaceted and clear-eyed exploration of the intersections of race, class, and gender.
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 7 Up&12; High school junior Jade is an "at-risk" student from a rough neighborhood in Portland, OR. She is also a talented collage artist, and she attends an elite private school on scholarship. More than anything, she wants to go on a study abroad week offered at her school to use her Spanish skills. Instead, she is given an invitation to join Woman to Woman, a mentorship program for young women like her: poor and black. Her mentor, Maxine, is from a more privileged background, and Jade doesn't see what she can learn from her. But in spite of her early resistance to Maxine, Jade begins to open up and gain confidence, and, eventually, she is able to express the importance of her family, her community, and her art. The two strong female characters and the ways in which they struggle with and support each other form the center of this tale. Most young people will relate to Jade's search to find her voice and learn to advocate for herself in appropriate ways. The lack of a romantic lead may leave some young teen readers disappointed, but there is a real, refreshing strength in a fully fleshed-out female character whose story is her own. This is a memorable novel that demonstrates that a happy ending doesn't require a romantic subplot. VERDICT This unique and thought-provoking title offers a nuanced meditation on race, privilege, and intersectionality. A first purchase for YA collections.&12; Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Sixteen-year-old Jade dreams of success beyond her neighborhood despite the prejudices that surround her For two years, Jade has been a scholarship student at a predominantly white private high school where she is one of few African-American students—the only one from her "bad" neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. Jade's mom struggles to make ends meet. At school, Jade has many opportunities, steppingstones to move beyond her neighborhood someday, maybe even travel the world. But sometimes these opportunities and her white guidance counselor make Jade feel like a charity case. Junior year brings yet another opportunity that leaves Jade feeling judged and pitied: the Woman to Woman mentorship program, which promises a full college scholarship to mentees. Jade's mentor, Maxine, is both well-intentioned and also black, but she's from a wealthy family. Jade chafes against the way Maxine treats her as though she needs to be saved. Through Jade's insightful and fresh narration, Watson presents a powerful story that challenges stereotypes about girls with "coal skin and hula-hoop hips" who must contend with the realities of racial profiling and police brutality. Jade's passion for collage and photography help her to find her voice and advocate not only for herself, but for her community. A timely, nuanced, and unforgettable story about the power of art, community, and friendship. (Fiction. 12 & up)
Voice of Youth Advocates
As Jade begins her junior year at St. Francis High, she is excited that this might be the year she gets to participate in the study-abroad program. For the past two years she has taken part in a number of programs recommended by her counselor, but it is the chance to visit another country and give back—to be the one offering service rather than the poor scholarship student who is always on the receiving end—that she has been dreaming of since she started high school. Instead, she is encouraged to enroll in yet another program designed to help deserving youth from the projects become successful in the world. This one, called Woman to Woman, pairs successful women as mentors with selected African American teen girls. Jade is not interested, but the fact that it could result in a scholarship to any Oregon college is a pretty big incentive. Watson’s story explores a number of important ideas: the challenges and rewards of interracial friendships, the realities of racial stereotyping, and the expression of ideas and emotions through art. Many readers will understand Jade’s reluctance to be pigeon-holed, whether as the representative African American or any other stereotype. Readers will appreciate her growth as she learns to speak up for herself and recognize the struggles of others around her, including her wealthy mentor, Maxine, and her white friend, Sam. Jade’s is an important voice, one not often heard in young adult literature, and this title should be in library collections for young adults.—Heather Christensen.
Word Count: 50,961
Reading Level: 4.5
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.5 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 187729 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.2 / points:14.0 / quiz:Q70165
Lexile: 680L
Guided Reading Level: Z

A timely and powerful story about a teen girl striving for success in a world that too often seems like it's trying to break her. "An honest look at how girls stitch together their talents to find their voice and power."--Meg Medina, author of "Burn Baby Burn."


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